A few years ago, I was standing in the warmth of spring sunshine on the platform of the Mission San Diego Trolley stop, looking west toward the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium. It was the season opener for the Padres, and even though the game wasn't for several more hours, the parking lot was already full of tailgaters.
I really hated living in San Diego -- for all sorts of reasons -- but I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Trolley. My apartment was just up the hill (a painfully long hill when you've been drinking) from the Mission San Diego stop, Oggi's was at the Fenton Parkway stop, the Shakespeare was just a block or so from the Washington Street stop; the malls, Little Italy, and downtown were also Trolley accessible. The boneheads that designed the system didn't run the line to the zoo or the airport or any of the universities or the beach, but I still think it was one of the finer aspects of living in San Diego. That probably clues you in as to how little I enjoyed living there.
Like all public transportation systems, the Trolley draws its fair share of colorful characters. But most Southern Californians are too self-absorbed/obsessed with social class to take public transportation, so the colorful characters are easier to identify because they didn't get as lost in the shuffle. Conversely, since I was one of the few normal people taking the Trolley, it wasn't hard for the crazies to zero in on me.
And so it was that I found myself talking to a man who could very easily qualify as the San Diego Padres' biggest fan. For 27 years, regardless of whether the team was playing at home, rain or usually shine, he had stood outside the same gate of Qualcomm Stadium (formerly Jack Murphy Stadium, formerly San Diego Stadium) with a transistor radio and listened to the broadcast of every game. Every single game.
"I'm their biggest fan," he told me with immense pride. "Trevor Hoffman knows me."
That's the way he said it, too, "Trevor Hoffman knows me" -- correctly phrasing it in the context that his dedication to the team is greater than any one player. That's not to say that he wasn't wearing a No. 51 jersey.
According to my new crazy friend, over the years his dedication had been recognized by various players who had heard about the crazy fan. He had received a few game balls, the jersey he was wearing and 2002 season tickets as a result of his dedication. He excitedly showed me his tickets -- nosebleed seats, but who can complain about free tickets to a ballgame? I would hope that there is a special place for him at Petco Park these days
I have no idea why I told you that story, but I suppose the moral is that persistence pays off. Use that information as you will.
Yet another reason to avoid the Deep South: The sale of sex toys is illegal in Georgia.
"The man obviously needs some sort of counseling." Obviously.
This sounds like the kind of bar I wish I had the guts to drink at: "During the standoff, a man reportedly came outside and told police that some people were still in the bar, but they weren't hostages -- just passed out."
I am deeply jealous that people are trying to learn who Esther really is. I don't get that sort of attention. Therefore, I have decided to reveal her true identity.