It's been well documented on this site that I am a flight attendant that gives Dodger fans hell on my flights. Well, those of you who were very disgusted by my last posting of such events may be a little more delighted with the outcome of my antics yesterday.
As I was boarding a flight from the Greater Los Angeles area, an old, regal-looking black gentleman walked right by me with a man that was obviously his son. My first thought was, "WHOA! Sonny Rollins! One of my heroes! (You can tell from my name that I love jazz music)" I continued my inner-dialougue, "I'll just wait till we level off, and service is done before I go annoy one of the best musicians in American history.
Well, during the boarding process it was my duty to make PA's. I saw a few Dodger hats and bags and stuff, so I decided to rub in the walk-off homer that happened the night before.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard blah-blah-blah... Good Dodger game last night, huh? O.k.! Who's a Dodger fan? Raise your hand. Ok, girls up front, see the people raising their hands? Make sure they get no food or drinks the entire flight."
The crowd politely laughed. Some boo'd. All in good fun.
As I am doing the safety demo, the nice, old black guy says to me, "Hey. Was that you giving the Dodger fans a hard time?"
"Of course! I hate the Dodgers! I'm a Giants fan."
"Well, I'm a Dodger."
I take notice to how he does not say "fan" at the end of his sentence.
"I was ON the Dodgers."
"Wow," I try to say with my foot blocking anything from coming out of my mouth. "What's your name?"
"Oh, cool. I thougth I recognized you!" I had seen a picture of him in a Brooklyn Dodger uniform just the day before.
"Well, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'd love to talk baseball later on if it doesn't bother you too much."
I was embarrassed and flustered, but I rationalized my behaviour by telling myself, "Who cares if he was on the Dodgers and you made an ass out of yourself? Am I supposed to be nice to Dodger players?"
So about an hour into the flight, he gets up to go to the bathroom. When he comes out, I pounce on him (politely of course).
"I don't want to bug you too much. Can I ask you a couple questions?"
"Well, tell me a little about the Giants/Dodger rivalry in your perspective. Was it as intense with the players as it was with the fans?"
"Oh yea. On the field, or course it was! But it was only on the field. Off the field, Mays, and Monte Irvin and some of us would run around New York together. Go drinking together. Chasing broads together." He said the "broads" part as if he were bragging. I laughed out loud.
Or course I did not have a tape recorder rolling so I can't tell you everything he said verbatim, but I also asked him about pitching to Mays. He said something like, "Well, Mays was a first pitch hitter. I told Willie, 'You ain't going to hit my first pitch because I'm going to knock you down with it." He told me, "Fine, I'll hit the second one then."
He said the manager would fine anyone $50 if they let Mays hit the first pitch.
He alluded to the fact that Dodger fans now don't have the same passion that they once did.
My favorite thing he talked about was John Roseboro. I stupidly asked him if he was on the field when Marichal clocked Roseboro with the bat. He said no, of course, but he talked with Roseboro about that. He was telling me how Roseboro had a black belt in karate and he asked him why he didn't kick Marichal's ass. He said Roseboro was like, "Man, I didn't know where I was or what I was doing! I just got hit with a bat!"
So, there you go, McCoven. Some insight into our beautiful rivalry from one of its most prestigious members.
And as a side note, the little part about Sonny Rollins for any non-jazz nerds. Sonny Rollins got the nickname, "Newk", because he and Don Newcombe were spitting images of each other. They often got confused for each other when they were in New York together in the 50's.