Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ah, Opening Day.

Every year, the Dodgers grow on me just a bit more.

It was harder this year too. I've lived in LA now longer than I did in San Fran. The girlfriend loves the Dodgers, especially now that Torre is here. I've been homesick for a hometown team and the camaraderie that comes one feels with victory and defeat. The Dodgers have been great with my local charity.

Yesterday at opening day they were some definitely touching moments as they introduced the surviving Dodger Greats.

Duke Snider walked boldly into center field. This 80 year old still had that 24 year old swagger still swimming around inside trying to get out. Even from the bleeders you could see the young sprig attempting to spring.

Tommy Lasorda came out, waved at the fans and then refused to leave the dugout. He still has shit to do. It delayed the game as they attempted to get him out. I believe he was baited with a pretzel with the good mustard on it. Sandy Koufax kissed and made up with the organization now that FOX is no longer in the mix. For those who don''t recall FOX alluded to the idea that he might be gay. Koufax swore he was done with them and pledged his support to the Mets. When he threw out the first ball (a strike from the bottom of the mound) a reconciliatory hush blew across the Ravine. For the baseball purist it is the greatest of all days. Koufax even threw out the first ball. Fernando Valenzuela was brought to tears during his announcement.

Sitting in front of me where the three crazy old ladies (one wired for sound) with their Dodger gear and scorecards. Each strike, run and out was meticulously recorded. Next to me sat one of the finest of all traditions-- a grandfather, a dad and a son had all blown off work and school to get to the game. Of course, my gal snatched the binoculars to get a closer view of near virginal basepaths (at least in regulation), the various fans in the crowd and,of course, a glimpse of the very tan and rested Torre. The new SoCal brownish hue on his skin contrasted perfectly with the Dodger Blue and White. She was thrill to peep him and then dug up some addition stats and fact I am a truly lucky man to have a gal in my life that passed the Baseball 101 long ago and doesn't need an explanations for the neophytes. She understands that baseball is not boring... it's just meticulous. It is a thinking man's sport. Even if that man is Larry Bowa.

There was a ruckus around the seventh inning with several folks milling and pointing. Here it comes I thought, the traditional tossing of a Giants Fan hat over the railing.. but it was the MAyor. The fricking Mayor of Los Angeles, took a moment to come hang in our bleeds for awhile. This guy is a rock star up there. Consumed by a crowd of "grab and pic fans," the security cards laid off and let the mayor do people thing. With no media in sight, one behemoth fan, bald headed gang-tattooed approached the mayor. What he said was inaudible, but it took the Mayor on to a heartfelt, soul searching answer.

For the first time in awhile I felt connected. For the first time in awhile I felt welcome in Los Angeles. For the first time in awhile I was a part of history.

Mostly connected to Royalty of the team legacy, connected to my gal, connected to the people that make up Los Angeles.

I felt like a fan.

My best gal waited heroically for me in the beer line. It was beaut of day and noth

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