Dodger Stadium and the kindness of strangers or just some strange kindness

A friend gave me a ticket to Monday's Dodgers game and, with little else to do, I headed off to the stadium by myself. I figured I might get some great inspiration to write about the Manny Ramirez-less Dodgers. Or I could write about the beginning of the McCourt divorce trial.

However, both of those situations have been covered. The usual suspects (Peter Gammons, Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, and Bill Plaschke) looked upon Manny Ramirez and judged him guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. The McCourt divorce case will likely be an ongoing saga throughout the month of September. (If you have not visited there yet, I highly recommend Josh Fisher's Dodger Divorce site, perhaps the finest blog ever devoted to the division of marital assets surrounding a divorce that involves a baseball team.)

What happened instead Monday night was something that was both exciting from the standpoint of a baseball fan, i.e. a near no-hitter by the Dodgers Hiroki Kuroda, and a strange, but, at least for me, happy display of the power of Twitter, which got me just what I needed at the time: a pen.

So, why did I need a pen? If you've been reading me here, you would know that when I go to a baseball game, I always keep score. It's just something I do.

I always keep score in ink because it looks nicer. Pencil fades and, even more importantly, pencils break. I always bring at least two pens to every baseball game I go to. Sometimes, I bring three or four. Monday night, I settled for two.

But, then one of worst fears hit (OK, maybe my not worst fear, but one of my worst annoyances), BOTH pens were running dry. One was completely shot. The other required me to press hard on the paper to get any ink out. And it came out all blotchy.

I began to panic. I thought to myself, "Why don't I ask the people next to me if they have a pen?" But, I decided against that plan of action. It was far too direct. My Midwestern roots threw me into a bout of shyness.

Why didn't I go up to the concession stands and buy a pen? But those cost a lot. Five or six dollars I believe. And I already paid $6 for a Diet Coke. And $15 to park. I have principles. I have to draw a line somewhere. Although, I really didn't have an implement to draw a line with.

I thought of going up to one of the people who hawk credit cards at the stadium and fill out an application with a phony name and then take the pen. But I couldn't chance the pen being attached to the clipboard with some sort of string. Besides, that plan would require deceit on my part. I'm not good at that. Perhaps I was overthinking this.

So, I decided to tap into the power of social networking. It's the future isn't it? I would ask for a pen on Twitter. I had my BlackBerry and time to send out queries.

  • 7:08 PM If anyone comes to Reserved, Aisle 1, Row R and brings me a functioning pen, I will owe you my undying loyalty. Until I lose the pen.
  • 28 minutes later, I resorted to stealing lines from "Say Anything": I don't care if someone wants to break my heart. I just really want a pen right now!

Then in the top of the third inning, a woman I had never met before in my life came up to me and said, "Are you Bob? Here's a pen. I got it from the Sparkletts guy." And then she disappeared. And some Sparkletts salesman is out a pen. Not that the pen was from Sparkletts, it was actually from a security company in San Bernardino County.

And the rest of the night was a pleasant one. The Dodgers beat the Phillies 3-0. Hiroki Kuroda had a no-hitter until fan unfavorite Shane Victorino singled with one out in the eighth. Kuroda was then pulled from the game and given a standing ovation. Hong-Chih Kuo got the last four outs for a save.

All was happy in Dodger Stadium for one night. At least for me. Mainly because I got a pen. So I could do this.


As for the future of the Dodgers? Beats me. Things have a way of working themselves out. After all, I have a pen.

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