By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Dodger Blue(s)THE DODGERS GAVE OUT those annoying blow-up bat sticks Sunday night, and the resulting scene might have been the weirdest in the history of the stadium, which appeared to be possessed by a sea of alien locusts. Very frenetic, very raucous, very blue locusts. 56,268 of them. Thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack, thwack!
The season was on the line, and the crowd was ready for it: At a little after 4 p.m, with game time still more than an hour away, the cars were parked all the way down Elysian Park Drive, outside the stadium. If nothing else, this was a Boston businessman’s wet dream — the biggest crowd ever seemed to be the hungriest ever, and they were already lining up for Dodger dogs and $8 beer and absurdly expensive merchandise. When Frank McCourt says we are the greatest fans anywhere, maybe he really means we’re the fattest in the world — and those most willing to plunk down $190 on an Eric Gagné jersey. (And they went to arbitration with that guy?) Whatever.
The question was, Were the Dodgers ready? The answer, of course, was no, not really. It seemed that they might be after that nice young man Jayson Werth homered to right in the first inning. But when he scored again two innings later, it would be the last run of the night. Meanwhile, Odalis Perez was missing the edges of the plate as often as Jose Lima nailed them the night before when the Dodgers stifled the Cardinals 4-0 to put them in one more game — this one, with a chance to go back to St. Louis for the final game of the series, winner take all.
But when Wilson Alvarez then gave up a three-run homer to the very awesome Albert Pujols, the Dodgers — in spite of their late-inning virility — seemed ready to face reality and fold to the better hand. They managed just one more hit, and it was a tepid single, not the miracle we almost expected after so many come-from-behind wins during the season. When Robin Ventura, record holder for grand slams among active players with 18, came up to pinch hit in the eighth inning, he hit the ball about 18 inches from home plate. “It’s very poetic,” Ventura said later, then announced his retirement.
A dark, Dodger-blue depression began to set in, but manager Jim Tracy pulled one more end-of-game miracle, striding out of the dugout toward the celebrating Cardinals in the field and shaking the hand of St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa. Milton Bradley and the rest of the Dodgers jumped in behind him, and the two teams mingled together around the diamond like a bunch of T-ball buddies. Gagné and Pujols went mano a mano and came away laughing. And suddenly, the end of the season didn’t seem like such a big deal. It was time, already, to move on.
Moments later, just outside the gates, a man said to his friend, “Sure, Kobe’ll score 36 points a game, but the Lakers will go 4 and 78.” On the ramp down to the lower parking lots, a young guy described the Clippers’ season-ticket package to his buddies. “Two Laker games, two Spurs, two Kings, two Magic . . .” Within seconds they had agreed to pool their money and go for it.
Pen Is Envy
THE SKINNY MONTBLANCBoutique on Rodeo Drive is like a tiny Parisian magasinon the Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, an intensely lit museum with glass crystal cases filled with pricey objets d’art masquerading as essentials for daily living. Here, it’s stylish German-made fountain pens, which might be, in this spectral age, necessary talismans of the lingering need for physical contact between hand and paper. At least that’s how it seemed when Jackie Collins, the queen of gossip novels, was handed the Bohème Royal, a $150,000, diamond-encrusted Montblanc, with which she inscribed the opening chapter of Los Angeles’ contribution to a massive book begun in New York by Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, and filled out, in longhand, by anyone who cares to drop by a Montblanc store. The aim is to produce the world’s longest love story written by more than one hand, and to get a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. A publicity stunt, in other words.
Who better to pull it off with a wink and a tincture of lye than the author of Hollywood Wives? Collins knows exactly what sells, and she was handed the ideal pen to do the job, ostentatious but not too flashy, wreathed in the wicked pleasures of 15 carats of conspicuous consumption.
The writer, dressed in a peacock-blue jacket in an abstract jacquard worn over a low-cut obsidian blouse embossed with black satin zebra stripes, flipped the thousand-page book back to the first leaf, and read aloud Bushnell’s overture: “There is practically no woman alive who can resist a handwritten note, and Pinky Weatherton was no exception.”
Her recital had barely begun when it was stopped for some fumbling with the microphone, which Montblanc’s North American president, Jan-Patrick Schmitz, soon resolved. “And now we get that little thing up and running,” Schmitz said, his English colored by his German syntax. Miss Collins, grinning, pounced: “It’s always good when you get a little thing up and running.”