NOTE: The MTM Editorial Staff changed the name of this piece; Yellow Journalism that would make Donald Trump smile.
CHAVEZ RAVINE, CA – I got my buddy Steve’s tickets to the Dodgers game yesterday. He’s hung onto these seats for so long that the first year we got them they were only $6 per, which meant less than $500 for the season. Along with Dodger Dollars you could use for the $4 parking. If that doesn’t date it, half that first season was truncated by the strike. They’re located in the lower corner of the Leftfield Pavilion, right above the 360 foot sign, the last precipice of stands between the Dodger bullpen and the green grass of left field. If you pause on a home run hit into the bullpen you can make out the usual gang of longtime mainstays, like Don, who sits in the very corner seat and, in a decades old ritual, bungees his old 1970s transister radio to the railing every game; or Debra, who drives in from Oxnard every night and screams out “Dod-gers” to the root root root part of the seventh inning stretch; or most imporantly Randy, the guy we’ve become closest friends with, who’s been coming to Chavez Ravine since he was a kid in the 70s and, as a high school teacher for the past thirty years he’s generously brought generations of his students out there to enjoy the scene.
I couldn’t use the tickets because I had my own game to play at 1:00. So, I let my kid 13-year old kid Kasey go with his buddy Jack. Kasey’s been to plenty of games and almost takes them for granted. I didn’t get to my first big league game until I was in college, thanks to my lame (I keed!) family who, every time we visited Queens or Long Island from Oneonta, would balk at driving “into the city” for anything. I thought we were in the city. Now I actually live in a city and Kasey’s growing up right down the street from a great ballpark, so whatever else I’m lacking in my parenting skills, exposure to professional sports isn’t one of them. This would be the first time he went unchaperoned by an adult, however, cast blindly among hordes of sweaty throngs of bleacher goons drunk on Micheladas and blender margaritas; my parenting skills could be very well be hanging in the balance.
Aside from the above [ahem]… Randy has known Kasey since the boy was there for opening day at 7 months old, so I wasn’t casting him completely to the wolves.
There of course was another, equally reasonable concern that the kids themselves would be the ones wreaking havoc, spilling drinks on the bullpen catchers (surprisingly possible), or bothering spectators by practicing their soccer moves with whichever beach balls land their way (not quite as possible). They could even go streaking out on the field (not possible, though apparently it did happen the other night).
Meanwhile, I was way out in the Valley, losing a game full of baserunning blunders, bonehead decisions, no hitting and just plain crappy fielding (and that was just by me). They turned out to see a much better game, and Randy reported that they were perfect gentlemen the whole time. Afterwards, they wandered out the wrong exit and my wife had to drive around Elysian Park during stadium traffic and a classic car show going on at the same time, so she wasn’t exactly thrilled. When I got home they were already up in Kasey’s room, playing something called CS:GO on their computers, and said the game was “ok.” “You saw Clayton Kershaw strike out 14 and drive in the only run of the game!” “Oh yeah, he was good.” What was I ever worried about?