The Hometown Dogs

Back when I made the rounds at the bars, there was this one bartender who was a deep (some would say degenerate) sports better. He would fit in with Draft Kings today but this was the late 1980s. Everyone called him Scooter. He was one of those five-foot-two-inch guys who could lift a whole keg of beer up onto his shoulder and walk it from the store room to the bar. He had been in the Korean War and hated the TV show MASH (“Too damn liberal, come on!” he’d squawk), smoked (back when you could smoke indoors) behind the bar and offered anyone and everyone ciggies, had ample ashtrays to toss under you if you were partaking, and he made great drinks, quickly.

Well Scooter had a theory. “This applies to any sport,” he said. “Baseball, Football, basketball, hockey, college, maybe even little league.” His theory was simple and he stated it with the serious intensity that only a true believer carries. “When a team has gotten its ass kicked on the road bad, swept or lost the last two and humiliated, remember this,” he’d say, the smoke from his extended ciggy billowing up past his brylcreemed hair, the crows feet on each side of his eyeballs growing deeper as he squinted before he said it, “Never bet against the hometown dogs.”

What the hell did that mean? I guess I was buzzed or stupid or both enough to ask.

“Athletes will find a way to maintain their dignity and when that has been taken away form them on the road, they will come home like sick, dirty dogs with their diseased tails between their legs. But a night in their own beds, a romp with the wife, the bacon they bought at the grocery store in their bellies, those hometown dogs are suddenly killers, they’re dobermans, pit bulls, German shepherds, they tear whoever came to visit from limb to limb!” He was animated. He’d had as many cocktails as anyone at the bar and had a few more hours to kill. He was gonna tell it like it is, or was, or would be, depending on this team or that team and their recent road record. “So get in the action, get with your bookie, put the rent down on the hometown dogs,” he said with the certainty of a sage, or maybe just Johnnie Walker, “In fact if your bookie is smart, if he’s been around the block, he won’t take no action on the hometown dogs, he knows, he’s lost money paying out bets on guys who have their own bacon their plates.”

Well, I never took Scooter’s advice so much that I won or lost big on the hometown dogs and years later when I would scour the scores and stats online with ease I never had to crunch the numbers myself to know that basic statistical research would reveal that teams continued and broke losing streaks in their first home game back from a road trip at pretty much the same record they had at anywhere or at any time. But before last night’s game I thought about Scooter, prayed his theory would be correct and had to chuckle a sad, resigned chuckle upon that final out in Monday’s game, Mike Trout left in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth, the team tying its all-time season record twelfth consecutive loss in front of the hometown crowd peppered with Chowds, these dogs didn’t do it last night.

I’m sure that Scooter has long departed this earth and with him any hope that the hometown dogs would always be a sure bet. Maybe he revised his theory about the hometown dogs, maybe his bookie stopped taking his bets when he learned that the hometown dogs never lose the second game of the return homestand, that their Albertson’s bacon had to digest all the way. Maybe that’s it Scooter, whispering into my ear from beyond the grave, yeah, maybe those hometown dogs begin their triumphant march to a pennant on the second game home, their regular pillow a little more deeply worn, yeah, that’s the ticket, let’s buy a round for this whole place, smok if you got ‘em and root for the hometown dogs finally waking up to what Scooter saw all along, their dignity, as athletes and as winners.

You got a better theory? You don’t have a better drink than Scooter would make you so you don’t have a better theory on the hometown dogs, now do you?

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Angels2020Champs
Legend
1 year ago

Always nice to hear from Rev, don’t know how this got so few comments!

RexFregosi
Super Member
2 years ago

Ok when is the next time the boys are the hometowns? This weekend?

Angels2020Champs
Legend
2 years ago

Fun read, thanks!

Jim Atkins
Super Member
2 years ago

Maddon fired JUST NOW! Nevin takes over as interim manager.

Jeff Joiner
Editor
Legend
2 years ago

A colorful character at a neighborhood bar is a great part of life. I think we’ve all had a Scooter of sorts we’ve known at one time or another.

You’ve done a great job of sharing Scooter with us.

halofansince1978
Super Member
2 years ago

Back when I made the rounds I knew that bartender and I’m reminded of a joint in San Dimas.

angelslogic
Super Member
2 years ago

Arte needs to announce the sale of the stadium is back on, even if that is a lie. It’s the only thing that will break this curse.

gitchogritchoffmypettis
Legend
Reply to  angelslogic

I think it’s undeniably certain and extremely clear that you are right.

DowningDude
Legend
2 years ago

My non-scientific observation says that the Angels have a 0.150 win percentage when “the boys are back in town” plays over the stadium sound system.

Fansince1971
Legend
2 years ago

Mmmmm relying too much on advice from a degenerate gambler is not necessarily a good strategy. It’s like going to the horse races and listening to the guys with a theory or scheme or supposed edge. But the drinks sound proper!

Last edited 2 years ago by Fansince1971