Tuesday, August 25, 2009

At-Game Recap (8/23/09): Erin, My Secret Identity, and the SoSG Bar

Sunday's Dodgers-Cubs game wouldn't normally be one for the memory books. The Dodgers' sputtering offense, particularly without Randy Wolf in the lineup, couldn't manage more than one run in losing to Ryan Dempster and a 4-for-4 Jake Fox. Manny Ramirez looked just as lost up close as he does on television, except this time it happened not only on the field (misplaying a carom awfully, while Matt Kemp looked on from centerfield in apparent bewilderment and/or disgust), but also at the plate (including a game-ending, Carlos-Beltran-like called strike three). The afternoon sun out on field level was hot, real hot, Robin Williams Good Morning Vietnam monologue hot. And I attended the game with a good friend who is a lifelong Cubs fan, and since he decided to come to the game dressed in a Cubs jersey, I had no choice but to counter by wearing my own Dodgers jersey, further increasing an already overheated body temperature that beers did little to regulate (and don't think I didn't try my hardest).

But there was a nice highlight for me, in that I got to spend bits and pieces of the game hanging out with Erin, of Robots Took My Medicine (and formerly, Beantown West) fame. Erin, who came to the game with her fiancee Christine, was a pleasure with which to hang out, and I'm not just saying this because she bought me a beer (a premium one at that; I'm not used to such non-proletariat fare!).

I met Erin at last year's Dodger Blogger night, which was kind of funny, with her being the only woman in the suite, and me wearing a nametag that said "Hello! My name is STEVE SAX". Since then, I've read Robots (and its predecessor) regularly, and she's stopped by SoSG early and often. I'd met her one other time when I was at a game with SoSG Alex Cora, but we never got much of a chance to chat.

And as readers know, we Sons appreciate our secret identities. I mean, it's not that big of a deal, nor is it that exciting of a secret, but it's just better for all involved that we operate under pseudonyms. So the very act of meeting another SoSG reader, let alone one who publishes on her own accord, is a little bit of a leap of faith on our account. I mean, we have our batcave locations to protect.

But lowering the veil of anonymity for Erin is fine because, well, Erin is one cool cat. She is the kind of person with whom you'd like to hang out at a game: knowledgable and well-versed but not overbearing or oppressive; full of opinions, but willing to hear the other side and engage in the debate; serious about her craft of writing a Dodgers blog, but not too serious to refrain from poking fun at herself, or lose sight of the joys of the journey. It's always more fun to watch games around nice, spirited people like Erin and my Cub friend; it makes the whole game more interesting and enjoyable. And, she had a good time razzing my Cubs comrade, who gave it back as well, but all politely and in good fun.

On top of all that, Erin is highly adept at playing the nomad in the stadium, jumping from suddenly-occupied to unoccupied seat with aplomb. In a city like Los Angeles, when you still have pretty-boy bozos in their Ed Hardy faux-ripped shirts and retro sunglasses reeking of Axe body wash, showing up in the bottom of the fifth inning (you know who you are), this is quite a skill. Wit, personality, AND agility--Christine is a lucky woman (and a very nice person as well, btw).

I never thought I would make a new friend through this whole Dodger blogger thing. It's pretty cool that it's worked out that way. Stepping back, I suppose it's a real testament to the entire SoSG community that we've been lucky enough to build a readership that is witty, funny, and a great group of guys and girls. They're cool on the site, and if Erin is any indication, they're cool in person, too.

One of the coolest comments I've seen came earlier this month, when SoSG reader Greg Bishop wrote in a Game Thread, "I do enjoy the site. A lot. SOSG is like Dodger Thoughts with beer." [Nothing against Dodger Thoughts, of course; I like DT, but I also like beer.] And Erin is a microcosm of this phenomenon; it's just a bunch of fun people who like to hang out and riff a bit as they imbibe a beer and watch the game. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your pseudonym.

We Sons have put a lot of time into this site, trust me. But the SoSG community really makes it all worthwhile; so, thank you. Really.

As for my secret identity, I think it's in safe hands, kind of like when Spider-Man revealed his identity early on to the Fantastic Four, and then ended up having a long friendship with the Human Torch.

But just in case, Erin, next beer's on me.


Josh S. said...

Using the Spider-Man/Human Torch relationship to make your point?

THIS...this right here...is an example of why I love this site so much.

Josh S. said...

Also, if you haven't read them already, I highly recommend Amazing Spider Man issues 590-591. They contain a great little two-part story about how the deal Spider-Man made to make everyone forget his secret identity affects his relationship with the FF, particularly the Torch.

Fred's Brim said...

Good piece, Saxy! I post a lot on a UK music site and have met several people from there during their visits here and my trips abroad. I have made some really good friends despite the distances.

If you have any ability to judge people, in particular by how they write, then trust your judgments and take the chance to meet the ones that you find appealing. In most cases, you will be happy you did

QuadSevens said...

This post makes me want to have a beer, watch a Dodgers game, and watch a Spiderman movie all at once. Good stuff!

Steve Sax said...

@Josh S: It merits another post (which I was saving for the off-season, but might bring forward given your comment)--but I gave up on Spider-Man as soon as this Brand New Day crap happened. That retcon was absolute bullshit. And because of this, Marvel lost a reader whose complete run (of Amazing Spider-Man) stretches back to the 100s.

I haven't looked back since I left around the mid-500s. Are you telling me 590-591 are worthy of restoring a bitter ex-fan's opinions?

Josh S. said...

I will say this: One More Day, the story that led to the retcon, was horseshit.

Just about everything published since the reboot, though, has been some of the most entertaining Spider-Man stories in yeeeeeeeeaaaars.

Decent new villains, great supporting cast, and a rotating crew of capable writers with fresh ideas.

So, yes, I hate that they had to go "there" (Mephisto-assisted reboot) to tell the stories they wanted to tell, but damn if the stories they ended up telling aren't great.

Neeebs (The Original) said...

Saxy: Great post. And I concur with what you just said, 100%.

Though the secret identity may explain why SOSG has not pushed the SOSG Dodger game.

I think a good compromise would be to sponsor the game, but let the commentators hang out and meet up with each other. The Sons could wander and observe in anonymity.

And, btw, in my lifetime, I will unmask Spiderman.

Steve Sax said...

@Josh: I like Mark Waid, so at least there's that. I really wish Marvel could just go back and get MJ married to Peter again. Once they do that, I might come back--AND fill in the ~60-issue gap. Until then, I'm out.

Josh S. said...

I understand your sentiment, Sax. I really wanted to hate it all. I was actually shocked when I didn't.

There might be movement on the MJ front, but I am a couple issues behind.

Nostradamus said...

I can't disagree with anything said, so far, though my lack of knowledge of the Spider Man canon makes that statement somewhat less meaningful.

I love Jon's writing, and I still read DT nearly every day, but sometimes being a Dodger fan leads me to behave in a childish and inappropriate manner, and this place usually fits the bill (and I say that with affection).


I don't know if we can lure any SOSG proprietors out of hiding, but if I'm at the stadium, any of you lunatics are welcome so stop by and share an adult beverage.

JBJ-1138 said...


this was supposed to be on a complete separate note (but is slightly related due to comicbookyness)


Eric Karros said...

Why square brackets in the eighth paragraph vs rounded brackets everywhere else?

Josh S. said...

I've got a a Dodger Stadium ticket question that hopefully someone can answer:

A couple of friends of mine want to go to a Dodger game with me and they want to sit in the All-You-Eat-Pavilion. I've been put in charge of getting the tickets. I haven't sat in the pavilions in a few years, so I can't remember how many seats are in each row there. I ask because I prefer to sit on or near the aisle and Ticketmaster keeps giving me high seat numbers. Does anyone know the last seat number in say, for example Section 304?

And a related question, if I order my tickets by calling (866) DODGERS, do they allow me to choose seats on the aisle, or is it a computer-generated "best available" thing like Ticketmaster?

Thanks for any help!

rbnlaw said...

Try Stubhub. You get to see the numbers and in some cases, they'll mention that they're aisle seats.

Sax, sorry we couldn't meet up on my last trip to the stadium. As mentioned here, the Shortstop is a great meet-up point for pre-game festivities. DB and I were there together on different nights. I was there last Tuesday; he was there on Wednesday. I'm sure my aura was still around.

Kyle Baker said...

@ Josh S-

Yeah, TicketMaster via the web makes it really difficult - nay, impossible - to choose specifically where you sit. However, if you do call, the box office can be much more accommodating. Especially if you fudge the truth and tell them that you are taking your elderly father who needs to sit on an exit row for health reasons or something like that.

Kyle Baker said...


Heh...I was reading your post and was thinking, we were there on the same night? Whoa....that cheap-ass PBR must've really hit me hard. Then I kept reading. Threw me for a second!

Kyle Baker said...

Definitely use Stub Hub for buying specific seats. Don't know, though, whether the Dodger-sponsored things like the Homer Simpson Memorial All You Can Eat Until You Get Sued Pavilion deals carry over through a third-party seller like Stub Hub.

And how many friggin Dodger Dogs can one really eat?

Kyle Baker said...

Excellent sort of meta post, Sax. I think it's good to have this sort of perspective re the site and its community every once in a while, beyond the GT banter and so forth.

I really like the work the site-runners here do and don't get a chance to thank them very often, so consider this that thank you for now.

I think what's really compelling, if not truly pathetic, is how on a game day, people will start congregating "in" a thread several hours before game time. I NEED this. As I'm "working" during the day, thinking about lineups, following late-breaking news, etc., it cracks me up how others who may actually be 20 yards from my office or 4,000 miles away are also in the same mindset.

As for anonymity, it's not an issue for me and I'm always up for meeting fellow Dodger fans, especially, true to character, if there is a strong baseball game and beer theme involved.

It might be a hoot sometime for frequent commenters to get together to watch a game not AT the game but in a setting where we could all banter back and forth as we watch the game, (e.g., at what the kiddos call a sports bar). It would be a fun meet and greet, and would save a lot of typing. And we could report back with a post on the goings on. Just a thought...

Josh S. said...

Thanks for the input, guys.

The AYCE pavilion isn't appealing for the gluttony aspect, it's appealing because I can get my usual fare without dropping an additional $30-$40. (Though I'm well aware that the food quality there suffers in comparison to the Field Level.)

Josh S. said...

Dusty, maybe a meet and greet at one of those ESPN Zone viewing party dealies?

Kyle Baker said...

Yeah, those Dodgers-themed viewing parties I've read of recently...I believe Barney's Beanery hosts some, ESPNZone, even a Shakey's Pizza Parlour out in Culver City, if memory serves.

karina said...

Sax: you guys have done a great job with this blog and that's the reason people keep coming back. You even have built a community of hardcore Dodgers fans, smart enough to be funny and gracious even in the bad moments, like you do.

I'd wish i could say something to express the great work you do, i guess the most accurate option would be: thank you!

un camion de cariño for you all!

karina said...

If you organize a viewing party, i'd love to see a couple of pictures, deal?

I promise that day i'll have a couple of drinks in your honor.

Erin said...

Sax, this is probably your best post ever. :)

Seriously, though, I was just thinking that I need to write about Sunday's game, and then I came here and saw that you beat me to it, and made me sound pretty awesome to boot. But I'm going to write my post anyway. Soon. For now, I'm going to go and reread this one a few more times.

Kyle Baker said...

Karina, you may have noted I'm not exactly "gracious even in the bad moments." Not my strong suit; glad others are! ;-)

Kyle Baker said...

Sorry for going on and on, but I just thought of one more thing that has been rumbling around in my head lately. Sax's post helped concretize it and so maybe this is a good time to bring it up. [Where's the suggestion box? ;-)]

It could be an interesting undertaking, if it wouldn't involve much work, to have an area of the site where SoSG contributors could post pics taken at the games they attend and accounts of said games -- a roving reporter sort of thing, the way we usually and thankfully get a report from SoSG themselves who take in a game. Because the SoSG, superpowers as they may have, can't be at every game.

Again, just a thought. I'll STFU if I'm off base.

Respectfully proposed...

Steve Sax said...

@DB: What about at your house? Can we all meet there?

Seriously, if we do set up a game where we all meet at some place and watch the game, we should all bring our laptops as well to keep up the nerd-dom.

Steve Sax said...

@DB: as for the guest at-game posts: interesting idea. Let me bring it up to some fo the other Sons (at least, the ones that aren't currently incarcerated)...there's something there. Hold that thought.

And thanks for the suggestion! Should you, or anyone else, have any more, send us an email!

Kyle Baker said...

@ Sax

Actually, yeah, my pad is more than open to any sort of gathering. Plenty of patio room, easy to access in Pasadena, can hear the fireworks after the game on a Friday night, and telecast in HD a good bit of the time.

When I was posting earlier I was chuckling to myself envisioning us gathered at some place in the spirit of Dodger brother and sisterhood, yet hunched over individual laptops posting comments, barely interacting. Ahhhhh, nerd-dom.

Kyle Baker said...

Thanks for the visual - now I'm picturing several SoSG incarcerated in Azbakan.

karina said...

@Dusty Baker or frozen and delivered to Jabba.

Azkaban is a very scary place.

rbnlaw said...

All right you mooks, don't forget that at least one of us resides behind the Orange Curtain (me). I'm all for a meet and greet, but during the mid summer months would be best (I am planning one more Shortstop run before the season ends).

As for guest authors, I did get my lame-ass pics published when I visited the Big Phone for the Dodger/Giant game a few weeks back. What Sax failed to publish were my riveting pics of Oakland/Alameda Stadium from the AirBart station, the front of Harry Harrigan's pub (awesome and cheap), and one other that escapes me.

Nonetheless, a good thread and good ideas.

Steve Sax said...

@rbnlaw: I think your last shot was that putrid jail cell in Oakland Alameda County Jail. I didn't think that shot was fit for public consumption, right?

Delino DeShields, Sr said...

I'm just glad Erin didn't cut off your head to gain your powers.