From friend of SoSG "Beast Mode"
A good sign your day job sucks is when calling in sick to go pick up trash is a more appealing option. This is exactly what I did on Tuesday when I came down with food poisoning and took part in the Dodgers Caravan beach clean up at Santa Monica Beach with the help from the good folks at Heal the Bay.
Overall the Dodgers did a great job with the event. It ran very smoothly and I was very surprised at how much interaction there was with the players. They were in the mix among the crowd the whole time. While there were members of the Dodger security staff floating around, they were all but invisible. After the caravan rolled out Heal the Bay gave out so many Dodger related prizes that close to half the participants came away with something. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones but that’s OK. I won enough tickets playing Skeeball on the pier afterwards that I went home with a sweet switchblade comb.
About 200 fans came out despite the soggy conditions and were split into groups. Each group got paired up with two Dodgers. I was in group # 3 which based on the reaction of the other groups was the group to be in with Matt Kemp and Steve Garvey leading the charge across the sand.
• Matt Kemp was genuinely nice and really seemed to be enjoying himself. He was very engaging and definitely wasn’t shy. He posed for countless photos and happily signed as many autographs as he could despite the Dodgers’ security guy insisting on no autographs. A great highlight was him giving a birthday shout out to a girl’s 97th year old grandmother via her Flip camera.
• Papa Steve never stopped smiling. He had kind of a Mayor Quimby vibe minus the booze and hookers.
• 35 was the over/under for Shawn Green and Matt Kemp. Ladies over 35 screamed for Green like he was the 5th Beatle. The under flocked to Kemp.
• After being up close to Rafael Furcal, I will never complain about his durability again. The guy is tiny. Furcal vs. Eckstein is a cage match that needs to happen.
• Overheard Sweet Lou Johnson tell a story about getting plunked by Don Drysdale. Said it hurt so bad he didn’t cry until the next morning.
Charlie Steiner was in good spirits and looking fit and trim. While the Dodgers were being swarmed post trash pick up, he had no one to bug him so I took the opportunity to tell him I thought for sure he’d be fending off more ladies than Kemp. He got a good chuckle out of that and my suggestion that he dive into the scrum and be Kemp’s wingman.
• Adult autograph hounds are a little strange- especially when surrounded by autograph seeking children.
• Gabe Kapler has big hands.
Regarding the actual work component of the event, Santa Monica Beach was so clean you’d think Dark Helmet and Mega Maid had been there the night before.
There wasn’t much trash to pick up and I fear Heal the Bay may have created more trash by being very liberal with handing out plastic trash bags. However, my unrelenting optimism will go ahead and assume they have an in-house bag recycling/reuse program. (Please note: this is the same optimism that has a hunch James Loney will go deep 25+ times this season.)
These were my trash collecting highlights:
• A contact lens in its unopened package.
• A condom wrapper. Thankfully its contents were nowhere to be found.
• Several drink box straws. (C’mon parents. Get your head in the game.)
• A near miss with a dead body under a lifeguard stand. Turned out someone was just having a campout.
Thanks Mr. Beast Mode (aka BM - tee hee). Sounds like Heal the Bay was a great way to earn a sick day's pay. Now if someone can Heal Jason Bay, the Mets might have a chance!