I have a lot of Dodgers t-shirts. It reflects a dangerous convergence of my insane degrees of Dodgers fandom, coupled with the fact that I have never met a free t-shirt that I didn't like (and have given fake names, addresses, and social security numbers to credit card companies hawking their wares at stadiums, in order to secure said free t-shirt).
When one of my Dodger t-shirts starts to get a little threadbare and worn, I end up having to retire them to the rags pile. With this post, however, I want to start trying to commemorate some of these shirts for years of service clothing me, or for the memories that they evoke, before they spend the rest of their useful lives dusting furniture or cleaning gunk from the recesses of my hubcaps.
This shirt in particular was distributed to a select group of people invited to the Fox lot for the "Blue Carpet Event" back in April 2007. Coming off of a 2006 post-season appearance that finally got the Dodgers a postseason victory (for the first time since 1988), hopes were high at the start of the 2007 season, our first full year blogging the Dodgers. And though none of the Sons could attend in person, we sent a stringer (back in the days when we could afford stringer reporters on our staff!) to cover the event for us.
I remember that when we were invited (by either Fox and/or Josh Rawitch, I believe), I was excited by the fact that our little blog had been recognized by the Dodgers in the first place. That was, and still is, one of the thrills of blogging. A free t-shirt can make a big impression.
Looking back on the event, the tentpoles of the evening seem a little quixotic. Luis Gonzalez ended up playing for the Dodgers only for that one season, and though his OPS+ of 104 was impressive for a 39-year-old, his 15 HR and 68 RBI that season were below expectations for a left fielder (little did we know what was coming in left the next season). Gonzalez lasted only one more year in baseball (with the Marlins), before retiring as a five-time All-Star with that incredible 2001 World Series title he earned over the Yankees.
Furcal's 2007 was setback by injuries which have plagued him off and on since his first season with us in 2006, though he remains our mainstay in the middle infield with flashes of brilliance if he could only stay healthy (which I still think will happen). Both players were in attendance that evening, which made the event even more special for the fans.
The t-shirt itself was never really a good fit; it was extra-large in size, too big for my frame; and the cotton itself wasn't of very good quality, being a little on the scratchy side. Still, for the past three and a half years, it served me well at nights, not to be seen in public by anyone except my wife and kids. Unlike a lot of other memories of that 2007 season, this shirt delivered value for years aferward.