Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Angels in the Announcer’s Booth by Donna Ramone

It was years before I fully understood who my angel was. I don’t watch baseball. I doubt I even know all the rules to baseball. But in my hour of need, when I thought I was inconsolable and near death, a sound came from the heavens to the airwaves. An angel called out, soothing and calm, wishing me a very pleasant good evening, wherever I may be.

Living in Southern California, a person generally gives their town of residence as X hours from Los Angeles, the X representing drive time without traffic. Therefore, I lived an hour from Los Angeles, but it rarely took me an hour to get to or from Los Angeles. This particular afternoon, I happened to be in Los Angeles and I was hungry. Having purchased comic books from my favorite store, I noticed the orange place across the street with the stupid name: Cheebo. Figured, why not, I would go to Cheebo for food. Goddamned Cheebo. While eating with my partner at the time, we both remarked that it was overpriced but good enough. Sandwiches and shit. I laughed at the name Cheebo the entire time. So stupid. Cheebo.

The vomiting started by the time I made it across Sunset Blvd. I looked directly at Cheebo as I puked into the gutter. The vomiting wouldn’t stop long enough for me to point at the stupid orange building with the stupid fucking name and say to all the passersby, “Cheebo did this.” The most I managed was, “Fuckin’ Chee-HYRUUKK!” I still hate Cheebo. I searched their Yelp reviews and no one reported “vomit,” “puke,” or “throw up.” All those affected must never leave reviews. I never leave reviews, either.

Puke, puke, puke, puke, puke. I wouldn’t stop puking. Cheebo was Satan possessing me. I canceled my plans to meet friends that night and puked. I was throwing up in bags, out the car window while driving, into random trashcans. Every time I assumed there was no way I could possibly expel anything from my body, vomit would manifest and eject itself out of my mouth. Stopping at the nearest market, I barely managed to walk myself in to try get some Pepto Bismal and end my suffering. But alas, I was in Los Angeles, and I had just walked into my first Whole Foods. All I could find were some essential oils before running out the door and puking in the parking lot. I was sure this was the end. Behold, a pale horse, and his name that sat upon him was Cheebo.

By now I was begging for my beautiful, personal, underappreciated toilet. I called out for sanctuary as I made my way home. But it was close to five in the evening, on a Friday, and I live an hour away from Los Angeles. That means it will be another three or four hours before I would get home. As I lay my head partially out the window (in the event of more vomit), unable to move or speak and waiting for death’s sweet embrace, my partner turned on the radio.

“No, please,” I wanted to say. “No music…” but there was no music. Just a voice. A very lovely, calming voice. Dulcet, I think it’s called. It was the voice of an angel, but talking about the Dodgers. In that moment, I knew what every baseball fan has known since 1950. There is voice that makes even our worst loses, tolerable. A voice that’s always letting us know it’s a wonderful day to be alive. A voice wishing all of us a pleasant good evening, wherever we may be. Vin Scully is my angel. Hour after hour of crawling traffic on my way home, Vin Scully was there. His tone, his calls, his joy all made me feel better. I had never listened to baseball before, but I knew there was someone incredibly special talking to me through that AM station that night. A moment before, I just wanted silence and to get home. Now, I could have sat in traffic with my head out that window listening to Vin Scully call the Dodger game until the sun came up.

Over a decade after I vomited all over Los Angeles, Vin Scully retired. Even though I was no longer living in California, I was still tuning in (thank you, internet radio phone apps). I watched all the ceremonies. I listened to his last games. I still don’t know all the rules to baseball, but that’s never why I listened.

After announcing his final home game, my angel spoke and said, “You and I have been friends for a long time, but I know in my heart that I've always needed you more than you've ever needed me, and I'll miss our time together more than I can say.”

I cried so hard, for a moment I thought I might puke.   

Donna Ramone learned everything she knows about baseball from movies and history podcasts. She’s a Razorcake contributor and advocate for humans and animals (even the ugly ones). Today she lives in Salt Lake City and really wishes you would stop with the SLC Punk jokes already.  

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