And yet, ask I did.
What got me over the Favor-Asking Threshold was wanting to do a favor for somebody else. See, Mark has a good friend (Dan) who loves the LA Dodgers. I think it's fair to say that the root of this extreme Dodger love is not the team itself. The players may be fan-worthy, but they come and go.
It's also not the City of Los Angeles. Or the contagious Dodger love effused by one-time player and longtime manager Tommy Lasorda (who, quite famously, says he bleeds Dodger blue). No, Dan's love for the Dodgers is rooted in the voice of the Dodgers--Vin Scully--the man who's been doing play-by-play coverage of Dodger ballgames for 64 seasons.
Let's pause and consider sixty-four seasons.
I do understand the love of Vin's voice. Growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles, it was the summertime soundtrack for our neighborhood. Our neighbors, the Myers, were huge into baseball and hearing Vin's voice reminds me of slip-'n'-slides and hot dogs and ballgames in the street.
But for Dan, Vin's voice was more than that. It was a constant in his life--a familiar voice full of storytelling and picture-painting and comfort.Talk about bleeding blue, Dan has never not listened to Dodger baseball.
Now, I have a friend who works for the Dodger organization. She is also an incredible puppeteer ("Feed me, Seymore!") and a scriptwriter. I met her during the book-to-movie process for Flipped, so I haven't known her all that long, but she's someone I recognized immediately as being sincere, astute, and forthright. It didn't take long to also see that she had a great big heart, and that she was someone I wanted as a friend.
|My big-hearted, beautiful friend|
I mean, it's just wrong to impose on a new friendship or someone's big-heartedness!
But Dan's girlfriend (learning of my Dodger connection) took me aside and asked about the possibility of getting something signed to Dan by Vin for his birthday. And knowing how much it would mean to Dan to have something signed to him by Vin, I approached the Favor-Asking Threshold and knocked.
My friend was receptive and after over a month of plotting and juggling the logistics of an epic birthday surprise, Mark & I traveled to Dodger Stadium with Dan and his girlfriend, and Dan got to shake hands with Vin and tell him what he meant to him.
|Dan & Vin Scully in the Press Box Hallway|
So Dan met his idol, and he did get a signed baseball. (Mark had one tucked away in his cargo shorts and when we asked Vin if he would mind autographing it for Dan, he graciously agreed. It was only afterwards that my friend told me that their contract specifically states that they cannot ask for autographs).
As if that wasn't enough, Dan also got to meet (and get pictures with) Tommy Lasorda, and Fernando Valenzuela (a star pitcher for the Dodgers in the '80's) and Nancy Bea, the Dodger's organist since the late 1980's.
All before the game!
And then...what a game! The Dodgers (who were down from the get-go) came back to beat the Mets in the bottom of the 12th inning. It was certainly a magical night at (what Vin has dubbed) the Magic Castle.
|Vin with The Running Dream|
And now, despite the excellent outcome, I have stepped away from the Threshold.
You won't find me near it again for a long, long time.