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.

20 comments:

Rache said...

Everything you've written, I've done or thought. My son's first game was at Dodger stadium and I just cried. I just cried. My husband didn't get it. Not a lot of people do (sucks to be them). I live in the San Francisco Bay Area so there is whole frustrating element to being a Dodger fan for me. When I die and my life flashes in front of me , I am pretty sure about 75% of it will be Dodger baseball related.

So that's why I bought one of your shirts. Good luck

Erin said...

Thanks so much for the story and the support. My son's first game will be at Dodger Stadium, too, hopefully this season. I have no doubt I will cry, even though it will probably be my 50th (at least) game there.

Rache said...

That place is like the holy land for me. I can still remember where I sat for my first game, my last game with my Uncle, the seats my dad had when he saw them play a WS game in 81'. I got pissed in the off season when they changed the bathrooms at the top of the deck (the ones that were SO SMALL) and the last time I took the tour I ran into Tommy Lasorda. Best place ever.

Philip said...

Thanks to Jon Weisman's Dodger Thoughts I found your site and the t-shirt. I have already placed an order for the latter and quick review of your writing tells me I will be coming back to enjoy the former.

Me said...

These are wonderful!!! But is there ANY possibility of adding a women's cut tee? PLEASE?!?!? :-) Anyway, kudos to you. These really are spectacular!!

Erin said...

Thanks, Philip. I've been absent from this site for far too long. Done a little writing on funeralsfordinosaurs.com, but I've considered revamping Robots a bit and getting back into it. Comments like yours make it all the more appealing.

As for the women's cut tee, I can't do that right now through this campaign. There's always the possibility of doing the campaign again, with different types of shirts, but I'm not sure if that will happen. I'd love it, but I don't know if it would be popular enough. And at this point, I don't want to upset anyone who came by, wanted a women's cut, bought the regular one anyway, and will now find out that I've added the women's cut after all. I'm glad you like the shirt, though. If you don't want to order it now, check back here sometime in the future to see if I've added any other styles.

Anonymous said...

Magnificent idea, sir. I bought two. A pleasant evening to you, wherever you may be.

Dusty Baker's Toothpick said...

Dangit, my work computer firewall is stopping me from accessing the T-Shirt site. I'll log on from home tonight after the Dodgers spank the Giants!

Robbie M said...

I've bought a shirt and hope you get to see me on TV wearing it! ;-)

Omar PJ said...

Bro...I bought a shirt 3 weeks ago (or so i thought), and have been waiting to receive it. When I finally got impatient and came on to track the status, there is NO RECORD of my order ever having been placed? I can't even find record in my email or paypal, though I could have sworn everything went through. Please help me out. I really want the shirt, and will even buy 2 (one for my wifey), but the buy button doesnt seem to work anymore. HELP?!

Erin said...

Sorry, Omar. Teespring definitely would have sent you an email confirmation of the order if it had gone through. You can contact support@teespring.com to see if they can help you, but I don't really have much information beyond that.

I've been considering relaunching the campaign, but getting the word out the first time around was pretty difficult, mostly because I didn't want to look like I was just spamming everyone. But if I do relaunch, you'll hear it here first. So keep your eyes peeled.

Also, just for the record, I'm a woman. Not a "bro." :)

Omar PJ said...

Erin, thanks for the reply...

OOPS! So sorry I didn't bother to read your name/stats. My bad! :)

Anywho...please start it over. I'm sure everyone who has already purchased one of these, as well as myself, will help you spread the word stronger on the second pass!

The design is beautiful, and is a nice nod to beloved Vinny. Just subtle enough to feel like a "secret handshake" for our Dodger fam. I know I would wear it with pride.


Erin said...

Hope you noticed that I did relaunch the campaign, Omar.

teespring.com/deucesarewild2

Omar PJ said...

I did!! I bought 2 and tweeted it out to all my followers on twitter, instagram, and work buddies.

rsle said...

Please tell me that you have plans to relaunch this campaign. I love Vin & I love this shirt!

often-early-elisabeth said...

Erin, I love this shirt and I am hoping that you will relaunch another campaign soon! I am a Portland, Oregon native that is now a proud Dodger fan! My LA born and raised boyfriend would bench me if he knew I missed out on getting him a shirt.

Anonymous said...

This shirt idea is incredible!! If you relaunch the campaign, I will definitely buy one.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to still get one of these shirts?

Anonymous said...

Yeah any chance for a relaunch

Cathie Bonnar said...

Please relaunch or can I relaunch for you?