Ronald Kidd - October 2, 2020

Notes from the Pandemic

Yvonne Is at Dodger Stadium

Birthday celebrations this year have been different.

For mine, there was the great cupcake dropoff at friends’ houses, planned and flawlessly executed by my wife, Yvonne. For hers, I racked my brain to come up with something just as good. Since my brain already has been pretty well racked this year, I came up with zip.

In desperation, I did what I often do for birthdays and Christmas: I asked if there was anything in particular she would like. She said she would think about it. The wheels were turning.

One morning a few days later, as each of us did our daily Internet surf, Yvonne laughed and said, “How about a fan cutout?”

We had seen a few TV games of our favorite team, the Dodgers, and had chuckled at the cardboard cutouts in the stands showing the Dodger faithful. The cutouts had seemed silly at the time, but suddenly, having been stuck in the house for months, Yvonne liked the idea. 

And if she liked it, so did I.

Ordinarily I would have tried to keep the gift a secret, but in this case we needed a photo with specific requirements—a neutral background, arms close to the body, and Dodger gear.

I ordered a team cap, and she posed with a blue shirt, one of her cool necklaces, the Dodger cap displayed in her hand, and a smile that Vin Scully would have enjoyed. I snapped the photo and submitted it.

In her birthday card, I printed the picture and wrote above it, “Soon appearing in Section 157 at Dodger Stadium.”

A few weeks later, we checked the Dodger website, where fan cutouts are displayed one section at a time. Sure enough, in the next-to-the-last row of Section 157, in front of a guy with a beard and sunglasses, there sat Yvonne.

Her new spot wasn’t far from the seats we’d occupied when we had lived in Pasadena and shared season tickets with some friends. Here we are, impossibly young, seated on either side of our neighbor at the time, Jenny Bean.

The most memorable feature of those seats had been a guy a few rows back, also with a (long!) beard and sunglasses. Wearing an outfit that might charitably be called hippie lumberjack, he had a foghorn voice, and whenever nearby fans bought beer and carried it to their seats, he would boom, “Don’t spill the beer!” In fact, that’s what we called him: Don’t Spill the Beer. For us, he was as much a part of Dodger games as Steve Garvey or Ron Cey.

Funny thing about that. Yvonne and I never spilled the beer. But in one game, a foul ball headed toward him, and he desperately tried to grab it. He missed the catch but got a huge round of applause anyway.

You guessed it. He spilled the beer.

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