Mrs. Orel and I try to give blood on a regular basis. Little did I know that bleeding blue for the Dodgers is good preparation for bleeding O-positive for the Red Cross. Here's why:
1. Three painless innings is all it takes. How long does it take to go to a Dodger game? At least three hours for the game itself, not to mention driving and parking—plus a few minutes to shoot a Giants fan in the parking lot*.
Compared to that, giving blood goes by faster than a Jonathan Broxton at-bat. One hour and you're in and out**.
How much does a Dodger loss hurt? For the true Dodger fan, it hurts deep into the recesses of the soul. (For meaningless games, the hurt merely stops in the foyer of the soul, sometimes pausing to use the guest bathroom***.)
Compared to the deep-soul hurt, a fingertip pinprick (to determine your blood's iron level) and two seconds of a pinching sensation (as the needle goes into your arm) is nothing.
Personally, I find it helps not to look at the needle. While it's unwrapped I let my eyes and mind drift—the Dodgers are paying Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones more than $83 million!—and before I know it I'm draining more blood than Dracula at a retirement home.
*Coming soon: Five Reasons Giants Fans Make Good Organ Donors.
**"That's what giving blood is all about."
***It is polite enough to leave the seat down.
2. We're not afraid to answer probing questions. Blood donors undergo a brief screening process every time before giving, and the questions* can get quite personal. It's all in the name of healthy blood, of course, but you have to be ready to answer questions regarding your medical, travel and sexual history, and even about tattoos and piercings**.
But Dodger fans have been asking themselves hard questions for years. "How can I root for a team that traded Pedro Martinez?" "Kevin Brown? $105 million? Really?" "Why do I blame the Dodgers when Piazza turned down record money?"
*One of the more entertaining questions: "Do you or have you ever had babesiosis?" I don't know what babesiosis is, but that question sounds like a great pickup line, especially when followed by "...because you must have a terminal case, baby."
**They also ask some pretty obvious questions. Once the worker told me, "I'm going to put you down as a male." I'm no Grizzly Adams, but come on. That was just a formality...I hope.
Or perhaps she meant to denigrate my masculinity. "You're a poor provider and your genetic material is not worthy of being passed down to future generations."
3. We're used to obnoxious people. Just like there's at least one drunk fan per section at Dodger Stadium, there always seems to be "that dude" giving blood while you're there. The kind of guy who won't shut up. The kind of guy who fills the entire room with his inappropriate energy.
Last time it was the mid-forties fellow wearing the T-shirt with beer bottles printed all over it. "No alcohol for the next eight hours," the worker told him as he finished.
"No alcohol? What if I, you know, mix alcohol in with juice or water?"
"You mean no margaritas?"
I don't think he lasted the eight hours.
The time before it was the chatty gray-haired man wearing the Laker-purple spandex bike shorts. He told every female present how often he had been going to the gym*.
*But at least he wasn't going drinking afterward!
4. Free food! Many Dodger fans have availed themselves of the All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion. While the Red Cross "canteen," i.e., snack table, doesn't offer nachos or Dodger Dogs, one of the perks of giving blood is the free juice and cookies afterward. Hey, free food is free food.
For those watching their weight, losing a pint of blood provides the perfect excuse to chow down a Nutter Butter or two. Plus, all donors get a coupon from some local eatery*.
*Once we got coupons good for a free scoop at Cold Stone Creamery, which is a deal. Place should be called Cold Stone Robbery.
5. Moral superiority. Not only is the bandage around your arm good for a few hours' worth of smugness, but giving blood is among the most cost-effective charitable donations you can make. That feeling of rightness? Not unlike rooting for your favorite team.
And if your team happens to be on a losing streak, at least you can renew your mojo. Eligible donors can give blood every 56 days, or about as often as they refill the nacho sauce at Dodger Stadium.
Apologies to Joe Posnanski for shamelessly aping his style.