Thanks for the introduction, Sax. And thanks to all the Sons - living and "deceased" - for adopting me. I'm proud and excited to serve in this new capacity, and I pledge to do so in strict adherence to my oft-stated guiding philosophy: “Masterful Insight/Useless Snark, or Is It the Other Way Around?” I'm really happy to be joining along with my main knuckleheads, Nomo and Stubbs. For those of you who may not already know me, here’s a little bit of background on how I arrived as a Son at this auspicious blog.
I started following the Dodgers in 1981, mainly to spite the loathsome Cardinal country fans around me where I grew up. The Dodgers were making an eventually successful World Series run that year, and I’d already fallen for the Los Angeles Lakers the previous year, so the Los Angeles connection just made sense, at least to an eleven-year old.
What I liked perhaps most about that Dodgers team was its rookie sensation Fernando Valenzuela. His melodic name rolled off the tongue of a kid afflicted with a southern twang and his trademark delivery style hooked me on the Dodgers and Fernando for a lifetime. In fact, a lot of kids I knew who played Little League in the early 80s were fascinated with Fernando. We would try to imitate his delivery style during practice before the coaches would yell at us for forgetting the basic mechanics they were trying to teach us.
Vacationing in Los Angeles, my dad took my brother and me to my first Dodgers game in August of 1983. August 5, to be exact. I know because I still have the ticket stub. Note the price! (cc: Frank McCourt)
Fernando pitched and won by the way, beating the Braves and pitching a complete game. We sat in the Left Field Pavilion, which remains my spiritual center at Chavez Ravine. My dad is no longer with us, but I still buy a ticket for that area and sit there on the anniversary of that game if the Dodgers are in town, as often they are. Wassup, LFP!
That game also introduced me to my namesake, Dusty Baker. Dusty was of course playing in left field, and since we sat right behind him, and since we share a last name, my brother and I immediately became big fans. So, Dusty was our man and now I honor him by using his name as a new Son.
I've been a proud Angeleno since the late 90s, likely inspired to live here after that great trip I took as a lad. I still get a little weepy when they play the Fernandomania montage (complete with the appropriate ABBA "Fernando" soundtrack) on Dodgervision. Nowadays, I go to about 20 or so games every season, and I’m fortunate that my wife (Mrs. Dusty) and sister-in-law (MDIL) are also big Dodger fans who watch all the games and go to the games with me throughout the season.
What drew me to SoSG was the sense of community that the blog engenders. I would have already jumped out a window on some particularly bad Dodger days if not for the place the original Sons created that allows us to commiserate and (cry) together. Sons has also allowed me to meet some mighty good friends with whom I have a lot in common besides just our Boys in Blue. I also always like to meet SoSG readers who are at the Yard, so be sure to drop a line when you will be there. We can drink over-priced beer together (cc: Sax).