Friday, May 17, 2013

They're Back!

First things first. Because I've gotten at least five requests to relaunch the campaign, I'm going to give it a shot. I'm going to keep it at nine days, though I could go up to 22, because I want to make sure that people don't have to wait forever to get the shirts. The price is staying exactly the same. I'm setting the goal at 10 shirts. It lowers my profit per shirt, but that was never the point anyway, and it makes sure that we have a great shot of getting them printed for the people who were late to this party. Obviously it would be great to get even more out there.

So, if you've received a shirt and worn it out and people have been like, "Hey, where'd you get that rad shirt?" point them to the Teespring site and tell them to order while they're hot. Just in case you missed it in that hyperlink, it's

Since we've already seen the first batch, I can completely confirm that the shirts look AMAZING. So, please spread the word. I'm buying a house soon. Do you guys know how much closing costs are? It's insane.

If you've received a shirt and haven't already sent me a picture of you wearing it, please do so. I love seeing them. I've yet to take a picture of myself wearing it, but that's coming. Here's what I've gotten so far:

Here's Steve rocking the shirt in Hawaii.
Hideo Nomo of SoSG Tweeted his with a lens flare.

This guy Tweeted about his shirt.

Even my friend Will (a Braves fan!) got in on the fun.

Edited to add:

I don't know how I forgot this one. My shirt on another chick's floor. That's how I do.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

They're Here!

My two t-shirts from the campaign arrived today. To say that I'm giddy would be a major understatement. The shirts look so good. Totally impressed with Teespring and their whole process.

My only problem is that one of the two shirts arrived with a dime-sized grease stain above the "S." I think it will come out, and so the shirt is literally in the washer as I speak. Which is the only reason you're not currently seeing a picture. Teespring was kind enough to refund the purchase cost to me. In a couple of hours (I have to air-dry it; I'm not willing to set the stain by putting it in the dryer) I'll be able to throw it on and bask in its beauty.

Anyone else get theirs today? It's so exciting that they're finally real!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Rather Tame

I bet all of you think I just started writing again in order to sell some shirts, and now that I've sold them, I don't have any interest in writing anymore. Well, you're wrong. It's just that between working 12+ hours a day and then continually being rejected by home sellers (four different times now), a girl can find herself pretty busy.

Besides, everyone's already talking about the Dodgers' complete ineptitude. What could I add to the mix at this moment? I'll be writing again soon, I hope.

In the meantime, let me just share this: I'm watching the game at this very moment between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. It's the top of the fifth, and a certain situation just occurred. I wanted nothing more than to be wearing my "Deuces are wild" shirt at that very moment, but then Vin surprised me and didn't even say it. I guess he doesn't want to overdo it, but come on, Vin. Don't leave me hanging.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

It's Not Just You

Last night was awful. Not only did I have an incredibly stressful day of looking at houses in a ridiculously low-inventory sellers' market in which you have to make an offer $20,000 over list price 30 seconds after sensing the house has gone on the market or lose any chance at it forever, but I also had to deal with the Dodgers subjecting the fans to a torturous loss. The Dodgers had chances to score in basically every inning. And they managed one run. Then Oyster Pubes (credit to SoSG for the anagram) destroyed us with a walk-off home run in the ninth.

Oh, and we also likely lost Hanley Ramirez. Again. No big deal. At this point, we should really stop being surprised. This season has gotten hellish really, really quickly.

The Dodgers are a runner-stranding machine this season. They hit the double digits in that category in last night's loss. The last number I heard Vin mention was 13. Maybe it climbed higher than that. If you feel like you're constantly watching the Dodgers strand men on base, you're not wrong. Some stats at least sort of explain it: According to SI's latest Power Rankings (which has my Red Sox sitting on top, so there are some silver linings to this season for me), the Dodgers are second in the NL in OBP at .327, but 13th and 14th in home runs and average with RISP, respectively.

I'm not here to analyze these numbers. Someone with more statistical knowledge is probably already on top of that. I'm a huge fan of all the stats out there in baseball analysis today, for sure. But for now there's a pretty basic one that even the most anti-stat person would understand: We need to score runs. In the end, that's pretty much the only stat that matters. Score more runs than your opponent.

And not just because it would have been really great for us to back up Kershaw on what must have been a horribly difficult start for him to make after the death of his father. He pitched no-hit baseball into the sixth inning. He deserved better from the rest of his team. But it's not like he's not used to a lack of run support. His average for this season is 2.43, which puts him solidly in 104th position out of the 109 pitchers listed in these expanded ESPN stats.

It's not just for Kershaw, though. The Dodgers have the second-lowest run total in the majors so far this year. So, like I said: We need to score some runs.

They are hard to watch. But that doesn't mean we stop watching, right? We soldier on. Because this is our team.

My wife and I have already made offers on two houses. We have lost them both. The first house was only sort of ideal for us. Not enough rooms, not the perfect location, but doable. The second one was perfect. But someone better keeps coming along and snatching up what we were so confident was ours. The Dodgers -- certainly the fans -- thought the 2013 season was ours. But someone better just keeps coming along and getting the wins.

Of course, that analogy falls apart when you consider that the reason we keep losing these houses is that someone with more money comes in and takes them from us. And who has more money than the Dodgers right now? Certainly not anyone who's beaten us thus far.

So let's try this one: My wife just had to walk out of the living room because our son is climbing all over her and driving her crazy, ignoring the concept of "personal space." So she took a break for a second. The Dodgers are our three-year-old. Adorable, sure. Beyond frustrating at times. But often entertaining and endearing even in that frustration. And always ours. Always lovable and deserving of our protection and support.

Matt Kemp will break out of his slump. Injuries will heal. We're still only 3.5 games out of first. All hope is not lost. This is what I have to keep telling myself during every game. So now we keep our fingers crossed that Matt Magill's first start wasn't a fluke. Because he's going again tonight. And I really, really want to shut up those obnoxious SF fans.

Oh, and you still have one day and a few hours to buy your own "Deuces Are Wild" shirt. So go and get yours now.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

This Is Just Like Riding A Bike

The Dodgers just keep sucking, but I remain ever the optimist. Could it be because I've sold 107 of the shirts? Perhaps.

But it's probably also because I know injuries heal. And that we're in the N.L. West, where playing one-game-under-.500 baseball means you're still easily within reach of the division leader. Like, only 3.5 games back. That's doable.

It does mean we have to start winning. And perhaps get a little bit of that luck that every team needs at some point in the season.

I don't know if I'm back to writing full-time about the Dodgers. But I do know that I'm not ready for "Robots Are Everywhere" to die. Not yet, anyway. I have a feeling there is at least something I can contribute as a displaced Dodger fan living a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the nearest MLB stadium. It's not the worst place to be, but it's a far cry from being under 10 miles from the greatest place on earth.

So I hope if you're here now, you're willing to come back again sometime soon. I can't promise a daily post, but I can guarantee I will do better than I've done in the past, when I went almost a year between posts.

Oh, and the bonus is that the extra activity on my blog in the last several days has brought out at least one bigot. "Anonymous" (that omnipresent, big, brave internet handle) stopped by to inform me (on the last post I wrote before this t-shirt hullabaloo started) that gay people have "the same rights" as our neighbors. Classy move, Anonymous. I appreciate that you had to go out of your way to leave a negative comment on a stranger's blog. If ever there were an action that defines exactly the kind of person I'm sure you are, that was it. Kudos to you on finding the simplest way to express your true self. Some of us spend years working on that ability. I bet you've had it your whole life.

But let's end this on a positive note. While looking through old pictures, I realized that I once came thisclose to Mr. Vin Scully, way back in December 2008. Ah, the days when I could afford season ticket packages and was thus invited to these sorts of events.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We Can Do This

Some Red Sox fans made a pretty hideous shirt on Teespring in order to commemorate something David Ortiz said on the mound at the first game at Fenway Park after the marathon bombing. The idea of the shirt is a good one; the execution is rather poor.

So far they've sold more than 900 shirts.

I know my shirt is better. It represents everything that is good and pure and amazing about the Dodgers and baseball in general. It is clean and classy and not overdone. And I'm pretty certain I would believe this even if I weren't the shirt's designer.

I'm not saying I want to beat 900. I mean, of course that would be lovely. But I don't really have a number in my head. I just know that 57, which is where we stand as of this writing, is rather low, given the number of awesome Dodger fans out there in the world.

When the buyers receive these shirts, I want to see them at Dodger Stadium. I want to get emails of people taking pictures on field level, in the reserve section, in the parking lot with a security guard, outside the Vin Scully Press Box, at the Wells Fargo on Sunset where I used to get cash before I went to games. In short: everywhere. But that can't happen on any sort of large scale unless we spread the word.

If you have ideas on how to get the shirt out there in peoples' faces, I'd love to hear them. In the meantime, tell your friends. Buy some early Christmas presents. Let's show Vin and the Dodgers what they really mean to us.

Buy the shirt by clicking the picture above or right here.

Oh, and follow me on Twitter @proudagain, if you're into that sort of thing.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Love in the Time of the Internet

I don't even know the last time I wrote about the Dodgers. There was a time when this site was devoted to game recaps and rumors and commentary and all things Dodgers. And I loved it.

But back then, I didn't have a job. My only responsibility was a six-pound dog who followed me wherever I went. I spent my days watching baseball and inane comedies replaying on TBS and going to Dodger games and writing about the Dodgers (and Red Sox).

Now I have a job. And a wife. And a kid. I work 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week. I'm afforded the luxury of working from home, so I still get to watch and love all things Dodger Blue. I just don't have the ability to be as participatory as I once was.

I don't live in Los Angeles anymore. I moved nearly 1,000 miles north, to Vancouver, Washington, which is across the river from Portland, Oregon. I feel entirely disconnected from that place I love so very much: Dodger Stadium. I see it on television and I can still feel what it was like to sit there on a hot day, occasionally finding my way to a shady spot when I couldn't take the heat any longer. I've been a vegetarian for more than two years now, but I still remember the taste of a Dodger Dog with ketchup and relish. And if I ever end up back at Chavez Ravine, I will forget vegetarianism for just that one afternoon or evening. Because a Dodger Dog tastes like home.

No one ever paid me to write about the Dodgers. No one ever needed to. I loved everything about doing it. And even without money, I still felt like I did it successfully. And given that I am nearly 33 years old and can point to very few successes in my life, that's saying something. I miss that feeling of accomplishment that came, perhaps naively, from even knowing 10 people were reading what I had to say about Manny Ramirez or Juan Pierre or security at Dodger Stadium or being able to blog right from the press box.

I think it boils down to the fact that when I was writing about the Dodgers, I felt like I belonged. I had friends at sites like Sons of Steve Garvey. I was expected in the game threads, and I showed up for most of them. The guys at the now-defunct Cobra Brigade loved me, and the feeling was mutual. Don't believe anyone who tells you that you can't form real relationships over the internet. I would have done anything for any one of those guys (including buy a beer for Steve Sax -- the SoSG one, not the real one -- at a game once), or any of the people who regularly showed up in comment threads at those sites.

I am in a happy marriage. I love my wife and our son. But as she and I point out to each other quite a lot, we don't really have any friends. We have our Facebook friends that consist of people we knew mostly in high school and college. And we love many of them. But that feeling of camaraderie that I had while writing about the Dodgers is something I've yet to find again. Even the feeling that came from just being at a game with 40,000+ other fans -- high-fiving strangers when great plays happened -- just doesn't exist when I sit here, exactly 981 miles from Dodger Stadium.

I just miss it all. Including Vin (watching/listening to a game from so far away just doesn't quite have the same feel to it). My love for Vin Scully has been well-documented on this site. If you know anything about me, you know I worship at the feet of Mr. Scully. After I attended the game on the first-ever Jackie Robinson Day, here's how I wrote about reacting to Vin's appearance:
There were many camera guys and press people standing behind home plate, but I could still see Vin. And when they announced him and the crowd stood and cheered for at least a minute, I completely lost it. I was seconds away from a full-on sob, and I had to fight to control it. I'm pretty sure ESPN never got me on camera, but if they did, your first look at me would have been a close-up of a crying girl.

I love him. I always have, and I always, always will. He is a consummate professional. He is engaging and endearing and knowledgeable and entertaining and just amazing. He is easily the best announcer of any kind in the game today, and probably in the history of sports.

Recently, my wife came up with the idea of making a Scully shirt. And I jumped at the chance. Not because it would make us some money (though I won't pretend that's not a nice bonus), but because maybe it would give me the ability to have that feeling of belonging, however indirectly it may come. Because if I sell a few shirts and I'm watching a game from up in the Pacific Northwest and see someone wearing one of my shirts? Hey, that's pretty cool.

And the thing is, I really love this shirt. I'm so proud of it. We ordered the first two shirts just to get things going. And at this point I want to reach the goal of 50 sold simply so that they will be printed so that I can wear my own. It just looks so sharp and so nice and it celebrates the Dodgers and Vin in one simple phrase. The sense of belonging I've been looking for would be even more prominent because not everyone knows Vin (unfortunately) and not everyone knows what he means when he says, "The deuces are wild."

I don't know exactly how to promote this thing so people know about it. I've Tweeted and emailed a few folks who I knew from my halcyon days in the Dodger world. And at the time of this writing people have placed orders for 26 shirts. We're more than halfway to our goal of 50. I don't want to be shameless about this, though. Because it's not all about the money. It really isn't. So if you like it, buy one. Then tell your friends. And hopefully we'll get to 50 and even beyond.

And then when we all wear our shirts -- my shirt -- maybe we'll feel like we're part of something. The people who bleed Dodger Blue, who know we have a good thing in Mr. Vin Scully, who hang on his every word, and who live for those moments of feeling the sunshine on their faces while sitting at field level or in the pavilion or anywhere in that gorgeous stadium. This shirt is about us. And I love it. I hope you will, too.

If you want one of your own, click the picture of it above, or visit the Teespring site here.