A DOG & A BEER WITH THE DODGERS
It’s an odd and slightly unnerving experience when someone scores a home run at a LA Dodgers game.
It’s not that it is an unusual occurrence. On the contrary, my hosts for the day informed me that they are actually a decent side, so someone dressed in pyjamas bludgeoning a small white ball into the stands can be usually be counted upon to happen at least a few times every game. No, it is more that, when the home run is confirmed, the speakers suddenly start blaring out a raucous version of a tune well known to every Glam Rock fan of a certain age.
Rock & Roll Pt2 is one of the most used sporting themes in the USA, but I wonder how many of the people listening would realise that, as they clap and whoop along, they are stomping to the tunes of Gary Glitter, one of the U.K’s most notorious sex offenders? Not many and I suspect if they did, whatever royalties he might be receiving would dry up pretty sharpish.
Still, the music aside, my first experience of a baseball game was very good fun indeed. It was a last minute invitation from my new chum, Robert, who had been offered a couple of tickets to join his friends Elizabeth and Grafton at the opening season game at Dodger Stadium. The sight of me slurping uni from the shell a week before, had obviously not put him off and he suggested I might like to take his extra ticket. I couldn’t say no to that kind invitation and promptly agreed to meet up with him in Santa Monica for the ride.
I have been making lists of events I want to experience as I ease myself into my new American lifestyle over the next few years and a dog & a beer at a baseball game was ranked high amongst them. Few things strike me as being more quintessentially American.
There could not have been a better time to go than the opening game of the season at the fifty-year old stadium (ranked third oldest in the country, I was reliably informed). They take opening day very seriously in these parts and, by the time we arrived, the stadium was full and a military guard of honour was rolling up a huge American flag after the warbling of the national anthem. Someone from a band called The Black Eyes Peas was dragged out to throw the opening pitch and elderly talk show host Larry King tottered out to give the call to “Play Ball”
All good fun, and as the game progressed my new friend, Grafton attempted to explain the rules to me. I may be none the wiser as to what was going on even after his valiant efforts to teach me, but I can at least now claim to be a good luck charm.
Not only did the Dodgers win comfortably against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but during the first innings a batsman swung at a ball clipping it directly into our section of the stands. While I put my hands over my head and ducked like the world’s premier sissy, the ball sailed straight into the waiting mitt attached to Grafton’s right hand.
It is fair to say that he was made up and took several curtain calls as the folks in the neighbouring seats applauded, hollered and shouted “good job”. I like to think I played my small part in his good fortune too.
Ah, this is a food blog, you remind me. Well, during the game, I ticked this great American experience off my list by wolfing down a couple of hot dogs (a “Dodgerdog” and a Polish dog, for the record) along with a large glass of pissy, gassy beer than went through me quicker than Charlie Sheen goes through low rent hookers.
It was a good day.