A couple days ago over on Facebook I posted about getting a pair of cheap seats to the Vin Scully Appreciation Game at Dodgers Stadium in September and how by not spending $1,400 for butt rests down near the field I would have mooooore than enough to get a “SCULLY 67” customized Dodgers jersey honoring The Greatest Broadcaster Of The Last 67 Years And Of Aaaaaaall Time who I unabashedly idolize and cherish!

Turns out easier said than done.

Almost immediately after securing the tix, I went to the store at MLB.com and tried with aaaaaalll my might to order one but for reasons unknown to me, when you enter “SCULLY” in the name box, it gets rejected. Period. To paraphrase the pop-up error message: “Noooooot! Please try again.” Don’t believe me? See the screengrab below (click to enlargify) and/or go try it for yourself.

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Suitably apoplectic, the only alternative I found to circumvent the heinous ban was to enter Vin’s last name backwards — “YLLUCS” — and then actually consider making the purchase and taking the jersey to a tailor to have the letters re-reversed into the proper order, at additional expense of course. I kid you not, this was a length I was willing to go. This is how much I want to celebrate and recognize the retiring institution that is My Vin, who has been around every spring and summer of my e-n-t-i-r-e-t-y  — all the more remarkable because it’s happened in my native city where history and longevity don’t mean shit. Additional disclosure: This fervent drive to represent is augmented by the fact that for the previous two seasons as a DirecTV subscriber, thanks to the greedy SportsNetLA debacle, I was unable to watch games and hear Vin at will as I had been aaaaaall my previous years on this planet.

But first bless me, I opted to do a desperation search for “Scully Custom 67 Jersey” in faint hope of finding any other options. And as miracles would have it found an eBay page for a obscure little local El Monte outfit called TNS that was offering what appeared to be Exactly What I Wanted readymade for sale — and at $6 less than what MLB.com was charging.

So I went ahead and ordered it, triple-crossing my fingers that I wasn’t getting supreeeeemely ripped off.

The jersey arrived from TNS (here’s their Facebook page) Tuesday night — and boy did I NOTNOTNOT get ripped off. In fact the jersey deserves a triple OMG for being beyond my expectations. Feast yer eyes at the authenticity and gorgeousness with details like an embroidered Vin Scully signature and a microphone patch on the sleeve!!! And the fit? Perfection!

I will wear it soooo proudly for Vin Scully Bobblehead night Tuesday, September 20, and Vin Scully Appreciation Day, his final home game of his illustrious and incomparable 67-year career, September 23.

Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher… It’s gonna be bad for the the pitcher.

Silence!

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I’m not sure if Christmas as I used to anticipate/celebrate it is a thing of the past. This is the second year Susan and I collectively shrugged when the topic of a tree came up at the beginning of the month. And when it came time to mount the lights to the house, I was notably bah-humbuggy in doing so and then didn’t add the decorative reindeer and light trees to the yard.

1934191_211594125839635_3439375567731108525_nAs for gifts, there just weren’t any big ticket items on my list… though I suppose I could’ve used a new clutch for my truck. But how do you wrap that much less put it under the tree we didn’t get? The one thing I told Susan I needed was a new watch, as the date function on the cheapo one I bought at Big5 a few months earlier had crapped out, and she fulfilled that and then some with a solar-fueled Casio. She also surprised me with a cool tripod for my iPhone and a magnification stand thingamajig that’ll probably be more practical as a conversation piece than an actual tool.

Susan gave me no ideas what she might want. So I got her the new Adele album and a hardcopy of the sequel to “To Kill A Mockingbird,” plus a few other stocking stuffers that she enjoyed. I also picked out a new area rug on the fly to replace the one Bonnie the pitbull had peed on to death. Ever the romantic, I know.

10270284_210791665919881_2697434772938340703_nSpeaking of Bonnie, the news that she was adopted last weekend was probably the best gift Susan and I could’ve gotten.

It disturbs me a little, my holiday harumph. I do love the season. There’s not a decorated house I pass be it ultra-elaborate or strung up with just a single sloppy strand that I do not sigh with joy at.

In the end our Christmas, while not one charting high on the memory meter, was still one filled with cheer and good will. And egg nog.

Last night/this morning showcased the first Christmas Day full moon since the year Nineteen Hunnert and Seventy Seven so of course having gotten up early, I snapped it from our porch pre-dawn as seen below. Murry Christmas!

moon3 moon1 moon2

thelastorchid

Susan’s company’s move a few months ago had her bringing home a dinged up orchid plant that at the time was just lots of thick, waxy leaves and little hope that the porch environment would be conducive to it flowering.

Or so we thought. Maybe it was the excessive heat and humidity. Maybe it was magic. It was certainly nothing I did, but dote on it and cross my not very green thumbs.

Within a few weeks a couple “branches” for want of the right word grew, first one and then a second, and from them more than a score of little nubs exploded into full-blown blossoms that never ceased to amaze me every day.

Equally impressive was how long the blooms lasted. I’m used to flowers that come and go over the course of a few days — maybe a week or two. Not these orchid blooms. They hung around and hung around until it finally started getting cold this past few weeks. Pictured up close and personal above is the last of them, snipped this morning and now stationed on my desk in a little pot of water where I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

With a little Quicktime trial & error I figured out how to include the footage of two perspectives in one file, so now for something completely different… For the first time I documented a bike ride (involving the CicLAvia of October 18, 2015, that sequed into Mr. Rollers’ Chinatown meetup and birthday ride) with cameras simultaneously mounted to the handlebars and the seatpost, resulting in this 5-minute hyperlapsed perspective on the 105 minutes recorded of the trip that’s probably guaranteed to induce vomiting or seizures or both.

The immediate focus on possible causes for the Dodgers going down to defeat after Thursday night’s loser-takes-nothing Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and the Mets was primarily on the heated exchange that took place in the dugout between player Andre Ethier and coach Don Mattingly.

How very aura- and karma-oriented (aka LA-LA-land) of those who attributed that argument to an increase in negativity that ultimately engulfed and doomed the Blue Crew.

Bullshit.

Yes, I have a different point of view. The Dodgers lost the game, not because Ethier was pissed off at whatever he was pissed off at in the bottom of the third inning. They lost in the top of the fourth because that’s when a spell got put on ’em enducing a collective amnesia that let everyone on the field wearing a blue cap forgetting completely and entirely about that little bit of real estate they’re in charge of defensing, commonly known as third base. It’s kind of important.

Let me set it up as best I can. We’ve got a Met player named Daniel Murphy on first base. Another Met named Lucas Duda is at the plate. There’s one out. Pitcher Zack Grienke is on the mound working his magic. The Dodger infield, specifically second baseman Howie Kendrick, shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Justin Turner have strategically super-shifted to their lefts away from their standard positions to better protect any hits getting through into right centerfield or right field and possibly execute an inning-ending double play. Seager’s moved closer to second base, Kendrick’s moved closer to first base and the most severe relocation of all, Turner stands marooned all the way out in shallow right field.

Duda ultimately draws a walk and in doing so Murphy advances to second base. Dodger catcher Yasmani Grandal tosses the ball back to Grienke. Next batter, right? Wouldn’t that have been nice.

See, here’s were the bell tolled for Los Angeles. Murphy, while on his casual trot to second and who’s apparently known for being one of the dimmest baserunners in the league, sees third base completely w-i-d-e open and simply continues around second until sliding safely into third and standing atop it with what has to be one of most casual steals in the history of Major League Baseball; certainly its postseason. Sure, Murphy broke into a sprint to get there, but he didn’t have to. The Dodgers were so glacially slow on the uptake he could have slowed to a walk. It was sooooo laidback — and the Dodgers soooooo zen-like in their complete lack of awareness — that he could’ve stopped between second and third and lit a cigarette. Or whipped out his cell phone and called his mom.

“Hey mom, guess where I am?”

“Well dear, it looks on the TV that you’re on your way to making the Dodgers look really bush league stupid!”

Only Grandal, yelling helplessly at the plate made an attempt in complete vain to alert his comrades to the theft in progress and they were all, whaaaaa-? Huunh? Ooooooh. Turner started to jog toward third figuring better to react late than never.

So egregious was this Dodger failure of How To Play The Game (committed, mind you, not at the speed of an actual base hit, but rather at that meandering pace of a base on balls) that third base  should heretofore be emblazoned with Murphy’s name because he now owns it. Flat out and forever. Mineral and air rights included. It is his. I will never ever be able to look upon it without thinking of him.

I cannot compound the disaster of this fail enough. We’re not talking weekend city softball league, we’re talking about Major League Baseball-caliber skill and play and strategery here. It should go without saying that players and a team that execute a supershift to protect a specific area of the field of play should then damn well unexecute it post haste to re-protect the area they left vulnerable.

Instead the Dodgers abandoned third base like a hockey team might pull a goalie from the net to assist offensively. The prime difference being that in hockey, such an effort is last-ditch, and not done midway through the second period.

Maybe afterward with Murphy camped out on the hot corner, the Dodgers tried to minimize it. Shake it off. Maybe they figured “Let’s just get the next two out and put this behind us.” Good idea. And the fact is they got the next batters out. Trouble is the first batter Travis D’Arnaud hit what’s called a sacrifice fly ball deep enough into right field to allow Murphy on third base to tag up, run home and score. And with that the Dodgers lead of 2-1 disappeared into a 2-2 tie.

At best if the Dodgers had protected third base after Duda’s walk, Murphy would have advanced on D’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly from second to third and been stranded there when the next Mets batter got out and the 2-1 lead would have been preserved.

What also would have been preserved was the Dodgers hopes for winning. But I think in the ensuing innings such an embarrassing and demoralizing failure to accomplish such a basic and fundamental element of their game was just dwelled upon gnawing away their confidence the way a flesh-eating bacterium chews up skin.

In pure poetry it was the same Daniel Murphy in the sixth inning who stroked a solo homerun off Grienke to give the Mets the 3-2 lead and ultimately the win. But to me the game wasn’t decided at the last out of the bottom of the ninth inning. It was written and done waaay back in the fourth.

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