"Shit," she said.
"I just realized what it means that you moved here."
More than anything, it now means that I have a Dodger routine. In addition to the occasional bonus tickets from my friend, I split a 25-game package with a paralegal named Craig who I met on the Dodger Thoughts bulletin board. My seats are in the infield reserve, pretty high up, but they're Section 1, right on home plate, the best that a regular guy can afford more than twice a year.
A few days before the game, I'll contact one lucky friend, telling him or her that I'll cover the ticket and parking if they pay for refreshments. Also, they have to drive, because I like to get stoned before the game. I tell them that they need to pick me up at least 45 minutes before the opening pitch, because unlike many Dodger fans, I refuse to arrive late. And I never miss anything, because I rented my house based on its proximity to Dodger Stadium. It's a 10-minute straight shot down the 2, the breeziest freeway in town.
Usually, we're there in plenty of time. I found a special parking spot where we can get high in peace, without worrying about corrupting the morals of a child or getting caught by lot security. And then it's a little hike up to the infield reserve level, with a quick stop at the Gordon Biersch stand for a bratwurst and a Hefeweizen, and maybe a pretzel. I'm a bit of a crank about the food at Dodger Stadium. Dodger Dogs are, in my judgment, disgusting, though I have a soft spot for Carnation malt cups and usually succumb to one in the fourth inning.
We head off to my seats, though we never actually sit in them. I'm next to two very nice women, who, unfortunately, both weigh at least 350 pounds, and therefore crowd me out. I know of two aisle seats down in the fourth row that, for some reason, are never occupied, so we head to those instead. And then I whip out the binoculars as the Blue takes the field.
But whether I'm at the game or not, the Dodgers are an integral part of my daily life. The family has adjusted. If we go to the beach on a Sunday, I try to get us there early so I can listen to a couple of innings on the way home. And I always schedule my highly aggressive daily romp with my son so I can watch the game as he hurls himself at me and I pummel him with pillows. Elijah, in revenge, has manipulated the romp so that I have to wear my Dodgers cap and he has to attempt to knock it off. Anything to get him interested.
But it's not all frolic. Moving in with the Dodgers has made me a moodier person, if that were possible. One evening, in the midst of a miserable stretch where the team lost 12 of 13, my wife, Regina, approached. The Dodgers were about to drop one to the Padres, an extra-inning job that had been mistakenly entrusted to Danys Baez, an overrated reliever now mercifully in Atlanta.
"WHAT?" I said. "What the hell do you want, goddamn it?"
"I was wondering if you could drive Elijah to school tomorrow," she said. "And hey, asshole, it's not my fault that your team sucks. Do not take it out on me!