Friday, July 24, 2009

Once Upon a BobbleSlam

A SHORT TIME AGO, IN A STADIUM NORTH OF THE HARBOR FREEWAY INTERCHANGE, there was a mysterious man with a hurt hand. (No, not him.) But he lived in a land which worshiped a hero with a limp leg, so this in itself was not of immediate consequence.
On this particular night, the masses gathered to pay tribute to this diminished man. But he was nowhere to be found, so the people consecrated miniature golems in his likeness.
Soon, a battle broke out. With the land's soldiers tied up in battle with invading forces and its military bases loaded with reinforcements, who should reveal himself but — hark! — the mysterious man?
"The man with a catapult for an arm, who hath been fighting valiantly for his land, shall not swing his sword," declared the King. "It so happens he is eighth in line for the throne, and ancient decrees allow the mysterious man to battle in his stead."
"I shall enter the fray once, and once only," declared the mysterious man with the hurt hand. Indeed, that was all the people wanted.
Little did the people know it was the only time he had wielded his sword that day. No matter; he attacked first, a pitched battle ensued, and he smote the opponent with a single mighty swing.
A shooting star burst forth from his sword and sailed with lightning speed into the woods of a tiny burg which was tucked away in the corner of the land, and whose field he often resided in.
The victorious blow was one out of desperation, yet occurring early in the melee, it gave the people of the land time to celebrate their good fortune.
"Come forth from behind thy castle's curtain!" called the people. "Show thyself and accept thine huzzahs!" And indeed the man did just that — twice.
The invading army, thoroughly humiliated, decamped posthaste — as if swept away by the wind created by the swing of the man's sword.
Their leader took them to a centrally located land of ivy, where they hoped to find better fortune.
The next day was free of conflict for all parties involved, allowing humble chroniclers to recount the deed for generations to come.
"Is our hero returned for good?" the people wondered. They would learn that not only is he back, but he would stay until the seasons turned. And his legend would continue to grow.

photo 1 by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers; photos 2, 3, 7, 8 & 13 by Juan Ocampo/Dodgers; photos 4, 5 & 10 by Chris Carlson/AP; photo 6 by Alex Gallardo/LA Times