Disclaimer: My thoughts. Therefore mine.
Summary: Summertime musings.
Perez has a cup on his head.
A small Dixie cup. Blue. The ones they use in the dugout. Lip down, it’s stuck to the top of his hat.
He bobs his head up and down and smiles.
It doesn’t fall off.
The pink bubblegum helps. A big wad of it keeps the cup in place.
The bench is alive. Laughing, smiling, talking. The boys in blue haven’t looked this happy in a while.
Vin mentions the cup. Notes that Perez is the “kind of character” who wouldn’t mind; perhaps he intentionally left it there. He mentions the smiles.
Suddenly everything is perfect. You hold your breath and you take it all in. You want to cry because they look so happy and it’s so wonderful and you have to remember to breathe.
You recall hot summer days. Dodger dogs and peanuts in the gold seats. Sometimes under the shadows of the overhang, other times sweat creeping above the brow--forming under the itchy brim of your hat--as you sat in the sun.
You remember how quickly those dogs used to go. How every time you were at the concession stand or in the bathroom they would score a run. You remember Butler’s jumping (more like bounding as he lifted his body over the fence to bring back a home run) catch.
You have to remember it on the big screen though. You were stuck in the bathroom. You had to watch it on replay as you listened to your father describe it.
And you feel like crying. Because Karros is no longer a bum, Mondesi is a Yankee, and the Dodgers are in first place. And the team is laughing and smiling and they look so darn happy. And Jim rambles on about team work and work ethic, and Shawn hits another homer, and the trade to Atlanta is working out beyond your wildest dreams.
And Perez is still on the bench with that cup stuck to the top of his head.
Gagne saves another. The stupid guys over on ESPN would probably comment on hockey or Canada, but Vin talks about Perez and that cup.
Because suddenly it’s the epitome of who and what the Dodgers have come to represent.
And you want to cry because they’re so good. And your brother is rambling about the St. Louis Cardinals and he has a framed poster of Barry Bonds in his bedroom. And you don’t want it to end. You want them to keep winning. You want to throw it in the faces of T.J. and all those non-believers back at the beginning of the season.
You want to curl up and cry because they look so happy and you’re crying and you don’t want it to stop because you’ve gone to these games ever since you were born and this is the first time other people have taken them seriously and thought that maybe, just maybe, they could go far in the playoffs.
And you want to tell your dad all about it. You want to tell him how Gagne may have been an awful starter, but he’s a “fantabulastic” (and yes, you would use that word) closer. And you want to watch those stupid awful Dodger commercials with him on FSN that make you cry because they make you think about your dad and summer baseball games.
And you so badly want the Dodgers to just keep on winning. Your throat closes up and your nose gets all stuffy and you can barely see the screen because your vision is all blurry.
You wanted them to win the year before too. You just thought, “win it for dad.” You wanted him to see them win and you wanted him to see you cry when they won. But instead you had to settle for even worse Dodger baseball and a few smiles as the Diamondbacks won.
And maybe, just maybe, you think that they could win it this year. And even though you can’t share it with your dad, you think you may be able to. And that really makes no sense to anyone else, but it does to you.
Again, you’re crying because Odalis has a cup on his head and everyone in the dugout is having fun.
But you’re not really crying because of that.
Suddenly you’re glad that Vin is still calling the games because he’s always been there. His voice is comforting and you hope that he never leaves (even though you know he’ll have to). They’re stupid fancies and stupid wishes, but you want them all to come true. You want the Dodgers to win the pennant and you want Vin to keep on calling Dodger games.
And you want to talk to your dad at least one last time. You just want.
Because summer Dodger games aren’t the same without your dad. And your mom can take you, and you can smile and laugh, but all you really want is your dad.
And it’s not fair.
Because two weeks later the Dodgers are still leading the D’backs by one and half games, but they’ve dropped their last two. And you so badly don’t want them to lose. You feel it slipping away and you’re afraid they won’t win.
So you want to bottle up that day, bottle up that memory of Perez and the cup. You want to remember forever the happy look on the players’ faces.
All you can do is hope and wait meanwhile. Remember and watch the games on FSN.