Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dinger's first game

Dear Porkchop,
Yesterday I heard a mean, ugly man saying bad things about Dinger, the Rockies mascot, on TV. I think Dinger's cool. Please tell everybody I'm right.

Dear Virginia,
Funny you should mention that, because I've been doing some research on that very subject. Please feel free to print this story out and hang it on your refrigerator, or set it to music and sing it at school - whatever you need to do to spread the word.

Dinger’s first game
By Porkchop McGillicutty

The sun shone down on the mile-high city that fateful day in a late-sixties autumn, finding two young men – we’ll call them Joe and Edgar, because they need names –engaged in some mid-day catch.

“Pop-up!” Joe shouted, and Edgar scrambled, squinting against the sun to pluck the stitched sphere from the heavens.

“Grounder,” Edgar replied – and it was then that the problem ensued.

Joe failed to keep his glove down and his eye on the ball, and so the grounder rolled across Blake Street into the front door of the neighborhood watering hole. It rolled through the bar and into the back office, where the owner – we’ll call him Ted – kept his collection of fine cigars. It rolled through the open door of Ted’s big humidor, finally settling in a dark corner.

“Forget it,” said Joe from the lot, and Edgar agreed. They had to get to the Broncos game anyway.


When the time came, in the wee hours of a frigid morning in a mid-nineties winter, the long-forgotten baseball rolled back out of the humidor, propelled by the movement of the life form within. Violently pitching back and forth, it began to split along its seams, the leather cover groaning in its last futile effort to hold back the colossal force.

Finally, suddenly, a purple triceratops sprang forth, fully formed, improbably standing on two feet, some seven feet tall.

He shook his great scaly head, and surveyed his surroundings. Where am I, he wondered, and what am I doing here? I should be on the plains or in the marshes, king of all I survey, and yet here I am in a tiny room.

No answers presented themselves in the office, so he lunged headlong through the door, breaking it off at the hinges. Barely slowing, he powered through the front door and onto Blake Street. It was deserted.

Across the street, the beast saw a great brick building, with banners touting the heroes of the realm.

It is they, he thought, who have consigned me to this hellish existence. I shall wait for them in their castle, and confront them when they arrive. They shall die the cowards’ death they deserve. He began to scale the walls.

“The first 10,000 fans will receive a grisly demise,” he thought, with a grim chuckle he couldn’t explain, as he nestled down to sleep beneath the center-field bleachers.


Had the triceratops awakened just a bit earlier on that brisk evening the following spring, he might just have carried out his wishes.

As it happens, he arose from his slumber in the bottom of the 14th inning. The Mets had scored a run to retake the lead, but the beast could hardly be aware of that. All he knew was that the heroes had returned to their home, and that he had to act quickly in order to exact his revenge. He stretched out deliberately, going once more over the plan he had dreamt of for months.

He would start in the sections around him, eating every man, woman and child in his way; then he would work his way around the castle clockwise, stopping at the pentagonal altar on the opposite side. As he drew from its power, the rest of the revelers would flee into the night, screaming in terror and telling the rest of the land about the fearsome creature living on Blake Street.

Surely, the townsfolk would soon enough be lining up to pay him tribute.

With a violent glint in his reptilian eye, Dinger lumbered up the concrete stairs and into the artificial light.

And then…

And then…

Not everyone remembers the exact moment when the essential goodness of his favorite baseball team won him over, turned him forever into an irrational creature whose well-being hangs on their fortunes. Perhaps it was a story his grandpa told him, or his first bite of cotton candy at the park that would become his second home.

For Dinger, it was instant he reached the mezzanine and heard the crack of the bat, and the orgiastic cheering of the fans. Dante Bichette had turned on a fastball and driven it deep to left field, plating three runs, winning the game.

From each soul in the sellout crowd witnessing that opening game came such love that it overwhelmed the purple behemoth. It turned his skin to plush, and covered it with festive polka dots. Quite without planning it, Dinger began hugging every child he saw, as he does to this day.

History tells us that Dinger hatched from an egg found during a Rockies game at old Mile High. It’s a good enough story, since the truth was witnessed by no one.

But still, for accuracy's sake, thank goodness for omniscient narrators.

Thank goodness for Dante Bichette.

And thank goodness for Rockies baseball.

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