Tuesday, August 6, 2013

When it's bird versus cop, the feathers will fly

Yeah, the San Francisco Ball Scribe blog is back after a mere three-year hiatus. Sorry it took so long. I had a cold.

Actually, I had more than a cold. I had a lot of things happen in my life that made it hard for me to be funny. I lost my passion for a lot of things, including this little modest attempt at humor and insight into the life of a major-league beat writer.

I have felt a lot better lately and wondered how I could reintroduce this blog, which ended so abruptly. I was kind of stuck...until the pelican came into my life.

This pelican:

Or whatever the hell bird this is supposed to be.

First off, I apologize for the fuzziness of the picture. I was laughing my head off when I took it Sunday.

Here's the scene: I and my fellow scribes are inside the tunnel at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg waiting to be let into the clubhouse for our postgame chat with Bruce Bochy. Usually we wait about 10 minutes after the final out before we are let inside.

Later that day, a college baseball game was to be played in the stadium and this bird apparently is a mascot for one of the teams.

The Pelican and his "handler," the guy in the rainbow shirt, were just moseying inside the tunnel when this security guard intercepted them. The bird apparently failed to produce the proper credentials to be inside that tunnel.

I'm not exactly sure what that credential would look like, but I sure as hell would like to be there when they shoot the photo for it. I imagine the bird flapping its wings and running in circles and the photographer yelling, "Stand still, dammit."

The best part about this was the way the pelican was pacing back and forth with its arms folded as his handler got on the phone trying to reach the proper authorities, and I love the expression on the bird's face -- the perfect indignation for this entire episode.

I really wanted to walk over and say, "Hey, buddy, don't lay an egg!" But this wasn't my fight.

I also have to love the vigor and determination with which the security guard was doing her job. I seriously doubt she thought that this was the start of a great Al Qaeda plot, but she had rules to follow and no blob of feathers was going to sneak past her. The ever-increasing anger of Rainbow Guy the longer this went on made it even funnier.

So, we writers are watching all this and busting a gut. That's a problem, because the Giants lost a one-run game, and anytime the team you cover loses you are expected to show decorum when you walk into the manager's office for the postgame interview. We call it the "game face."

We didn't have our game faces on, and the longer this bird-versus-cop standoff went on the harder it became to make an effort of solemnity.

Finally, a woman who works for the Rays strode along the tunnel and told the security guard the bird and rainbow guy were OK. The guard protested about the lack of credential but finally gave in.

We thought we would have a few moments to gather ourselves, but this then this fellow below, completely unrelated to the Pelican, happened by, and now we writers are peeing our pants laughing.

The best part about the photo is the security guard at the clubhouse door, watching this scene as if he were a funeral director during a memorial service.

No smiles, no laughs, as if he sees this creature a hundred times a day.

I'm a pretty jolly fellow, and I have a tough time keeping a straight face when I get into a laughing fit. I really thought for a moment I'd have to stay outside before going into Bochy's office.

But I lucked out. General manager Brian Sabean was on the trip and he apparently went into Bochy's office after the loss for a talk with the manager. We were kept out of Bochy's office for a good 15 minutes, maybe more.

Usually we'd be angry about that. Not on this day. We were grateful.

Now, I'm just trying to imagine pelican going home after the game, sitting on the couch, pulling his head off (or leaving it on, if that's how he rolls), popping open a cold one and telling his significant other, "Man, you wouldn't believe this hard-ass security guard I had to deal with."

It's enough to make a good bird molt.