I’m slumping. I’ve been doing nothing but work, although I make time to watch games. I find that being a baseball fan makes me a better teacher. I find some way to work in the Dodgers to every class, and every class will have two or three people out of thirty-odd students whose eyes light up and who start talking about the game and can’t stop. It’s cute. I teach adults, and most of them are from very different backgrounds than me. I sometimes feel that we’re from different planets, but some of the planets apparently get the game on the satellite dish, so we have this tiny little place where we meet on equal ground. It’s pleasant. Last week a student was quiet during class, but approached me during lunchtime and started talking all about baseball and how when he was on his tour of duty in Iraq last year, the only things that got him through the bad times were pictures of his wife and daughter, and baseball news. He said he treasured every scrap of information he could get, “even about teams I hate.” Every couple of months he would get a big box of magazines and news clippings from friends back home, and he would ration them out, reading them in order, making them last until the next box came. What’s remarkable is that this guy has never spoken three sentences in class before, and I had always thought he was sullen, or dimwitted. Turned out he was just quiet after all those months in the desert. Now I know how to get his attention.
We’re getting ready to switch shifts, and I’m going to be working evenings for a few weeks. I don’t like that at all. Not only will I miss games, but all my baseball buddies will be on the other shift. I’ll be stuck with the other night instructor, who enjoys watching Survivor in the break room and likes to play Neil Diamond tapes during the lunch hour (a student looked up when she put on “Comin’ To America” and said “My grandma loves this kind of music too!” She was not amused.) A far cry from my daytime cronies, who love to chew over a topic like “Is it time for Gonzo to give it up?” and re-live magical moments in Chavez Ravine. Even the receptionist at work is a baseball fan. She and I are going to the game together soon, but she only likes to go on giveaway nights so we’re kinda limited as far as choices go. She’s favoring the Furcal bobblehead on July 6th against Florida but I’m thinking I’d rather have the mesh cap June 29th against the Padres. You know it’s a cheap piece of shit, but I really just want to get within spitting distance of Adrian Gonzalez and his plumber’s crack.
So, backtracking a bit: The Dodgers came home on the 8th after an exhausting road trip (see below), and played the 8th, 9th, and 10th against Toronto at Dodger Stadium. Despite a careful search, I could discern no noticeable hotness among the Blue Jays. It was a whole different story when the Mets came to town on Monday the 11th.
The Mets have two of my future ex-husbands, Shawn Green and Paul Lo Duca. Shawn Green was on my radar several years back, back when I “occasionally watched baseball” and before I evolved into “baseball chick.” I remember listening to my grandfather gripe about him back when he was a Dodger. At the time, I found him weird but hot in a geeky way, and now he’s older and less hot, but still agreeably geeky. If anyone saw those words between him and Brad Penny regarding the signs, know that my heart was beating with terror! Poor Shawn! Brad could break him in half with those beefy forearms of his, and just when Greenman was getting over that broken foot. I don’t doubt for a moment that Shawn was guilty, though. I’m smitten, but I’m not stupid. Shawn looks like the kind of person who got used to getting away with shit at a very young age because he has such a innocent, angelic face. You know, the kind of kid who would break a window and then blame it on Billy, the troublemaking neighbor kid from a broken home. Have you ever noticed how when he makes a bad throw or an out and out error, and he KNOWS the camera is zooming in on him, he casually looks away, playing the “la la la I can’t hear you” indifference card.
My other favorite Met is Paul Lo Duca. I just enjoy watching him, as I’d enjoy watching a rare and unusual species of animal in a zoo. I don’t personally know many people from New York, but I picture native New Yorkers as being exactly like Paulie. Small, quick, always with the grumpy scowl or the brow furrowed in thought, restlessly hitching up his pants at the plate, pointing his stubby finger, shooting off his mouth (a co-worker of mine will never forgive him for telling Sports Illustrated “Fuck the Dodgers” after they traded him a few years back.) He is the classic New York Guy. When he talks with that accent I get crazy. And then I think of something a friend from New York told me years ago when I was jonesing over some random guycrush from the Big Apple. “People from Los Angeles shouldn’t hook up with New Yorkers. New York kids, even rich ones, grow up without back yards. Single family insularity is completely alien to them. It causes problems.” OK, but I can still think Lo Duca’s mad hot for a little guy. Mr. S-Mob, who is proud of his Northern California Sicilian heritage, should be glad I’m lovin’ on the Italians instead of the Latins for a change.
Anyway, after three Dodger triumphs over the Mets (and after Kuo pissed off Paulie by flipping his bat in sheer disbelief over hitting a home run–his first in MLB) we moved to interleague play and took on the Angels, which started off well and ended up dreadful. Personally, I was horrified when a throw to second by (my darling) Russell Martin ended up whacking poor Casey Kotchman on the head in the middle of Saturday’s game. Not only does that hurt, it also robbed the Angels of their one sexy player. Not fair. They won anyway. Damn Angels. Here’s Casey on the ground. His goatee is still looking good!
Then the next day poor Loney was playing right field (?) and crashed into the wall. Damn Vladimir Guererro just kept running. If this sport was played by women we would have all dropped the game and raced over to aid our fallen comrade (even if she was on the opposing team.) My co-worker Paul was in the all-you-can-eat pavilion at the time and swore he could feel the vibrations from Loney’s smashup shaking his seat. I was glad to see Crazy Eyes (according to Joe Beimel, that’s Loney’s nickname) back and apparently no worse for wear this week.
Now we’re back to the Blue Jays, in Toronto, which means the games are on at four in the afternoon California time. I had KFWB 980 cranked up on the way home from work, listening to the boys beat the pants off the men of the Great White North. It’s kinda sad that some people live on a frozen tundra and have to have a covered stadium, innit?
From there we go to Tampa and the Devil Rays and then Arizona, and then back to Chavez Ravine. Next homestand I plan to see at least one game. Stand by for action photos as I celebrate the hotness that is Dodger Blue.