Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kid in the Candy Store

One of the fun parts of blogging is that I'm still a fan.  I still put on my Dodger cap and maybe a Dodger related t-shirt and I go out and do fan stuff.  Having the opportunity to work in the press box and get credentials is an exciting opportunity and all, but it has its drawbacks too.  I think I prefer the fan thing.  With all the access to players and interviewing them and getting the great quotes and inside stories, there's a downside, and that is that you have to maintain that unemotional demeanor and unbiased allegiance to the almighty sense of impartiality.

Chone Figgins, fighting for a roster spot, takes time to greet fans after Tuesday's practice.  He joked with a fan, "I don't sign anything where I'm in a Seattle uniform, the stats on that card are awful."

Maybe that's why I didn't pursue the journalism profession many years ago when I had the opportunity as an undergrad.  I was interested in it to no end, but now I realize that if I had gone that route, my Dodger allegiances would have probably had to go out the window.  Or at least left on the window sill.  And that wouldn't have been very fun at all.

So this morning, the 52 year old me got up early and boarded a plane to excitedly attend a week of spring training in Arizona.  It is vacation time for both my not so enthusiastic wife and I.  We landed in Phoenix at 9:00 am and headed straight for Camelback Ranch to watch morning workouts.  At least that was the plan.

Now I'd love to say that the trip didn't take any detours, but my husbandy duties required a stop for breakfast.  Then just as we were about to enter the facility, dear wife tells me that we need to find a  JC Penney store to purchase a hat for her to shield her face from the Arizona sun, (and it couldn't be just any hat as there was a CVS pharmacy right there.  It had to have some stye and match an outfit).  Needless to say, my childlike patience was being worn quite thin as I pulled into the parking lot at around 11:00 am to watch the players workout.

To her though, it was just a workout.  "Not a game, a practice."  She doesn't understand that at all.  In fact, she has a hard time understanding why an old guy like me still gets excited watching men that are younger than some of my kids playing baseball.  She decided to just stay in the car as this morning the Arizona heat was quite bearable and she had enough reading material to keep her busy.

So I grabbed a few pieces of memorabilia.  A ball, the ESPN magazine with Puig on the cover and a 55 commemorative pin with a photo of Lasorda pitching on it.  From there this middle aged kid entered the CBR facility to take in the Dodger experience.  At least for an hour before the team finished for the day.  I was pretty sure that they were wrapping up for the morning as a saw a few sporty vehicles departing the complex as I entered, (most likely those of players that were done for the day).

And there they were.  The boys in blue, with those heavenly home white uniforms.  You know the "white" I'm talking about.  That crisp white that hits the senses with a power that simply tells you, "those are the good guys."  Memories come back.  I think of entering Dodger Stadium as a seven year old boy with my dad and those sparkling clean home whites worn by the good guys.  Forty-five years later those same units are worn by kids, some less than half my age, but they are still the good guys.

Maury is teaching bunting techniques over at the pit.  Players are shaggy flies in the outfield.  A trio of Figgins, Guerrero and Puig are batting at the plate in front of the cage, receiving pitches from a machine.  Mark McGwire is patiently providing instruction and a translator is conveying his message to Guerrero and Puig.  Davey Lopes is proving base running instruction to Yasiel in between turns that he takes with the bat.
Newest Dodger Alexander Guerrero signs for fans following his Tuesday morning workout at Camelback Ranch.

It is spring training at its best.  Young players honing their craft.  Crusty veteran coaches spreading their knowledge.  Willing and earnest players soaking in that data.  I love this time of year.  It is the end of winter.  A new year is dawning and a new hope is felt in the air.  This is "the year."

The cell phone chimes.  "Yeah, I'm almost done, honey."  She came and joined me.  Heck, she even was able to coax both Guerrero and Puig over to us to sign a ball and my magazine.  She's good at this stuff, but she doesn't understand the passion I have for it.

Seven days, in the candy store.  I love this stuff.  

Not the greatest strategically placed autograph, but a signature nonetheless.  Thanks, Yasiel.


  1. Hey Evan:
    I think we married twins!

  2. Loved that story Evan. You are a wise man to attend to the hat matter first. After all you do have to go home again. Also not bad to have an autograph magnet with you. You sly dog you!!

    Sounds like you are having a great time already.

  3. Your living the dream buddy !!

  4. @ Dick/Harold and Gary: Wish you were all here sharing this. Had dinner with the TBLA clan that is here tonight, (Linda, Jim, Ray, King Baltazar and Ron). You guys are missed!