81. The constant fan

Blue is the color of true love, to twist a lyric sung by Donovan and Joan Baez. Dodger blue, in this particular instance. And no, I'm a not a fan. But I'm a friend of fans. And they know another fan of heroic proportions. He's a fan of the Dodgers "? a big fan "? from Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, etc., etc.

I've been to Belfast, been to neatly gridded neighborhoods of semi-detached villas where Dodger fans today are as rare and unlikely as Catholic householders once were in those neighborhoods, Belfast being Belfast. And Irish hearts there beat fast for Manchester United football and the red and the black. Dodger blue doesn't figure in at all.

But Conor Caldwell of Belfast bleeds the truest blue of City Terrance, Boyle Heights, East L.A., El Monte, Maywood, Bell, Rosemead, and everywhere that the voice of Vin Scully reaches the mind's ear and conjures some essential part of what means to be of our wonderful and terrible place. Vin via the Internet and cable TV wings over the world to cool and rainy Belfast even.

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Conor Caldwell is a musician, a traditional fiddle player, a teacher of the art, and pending an advanced degree in music. He's also a first rate Gaelic football player "? a game that combines the physicality of soccer, rugby, and (I'm told) basketball. Conor's team is St. Agnes.

But this week, his team "? his home team "? is the Dodgers. Still jet-lagged from his discount flight, he'll join my friends on Thursday and Friday at the opening games of the Dodgers/Phillies playoff series. He'll have come 5,100 miles to see a baseball game that he could watch, I suppose, at some unholy hour of the morning in the comforts of Belfast. But it wouldn't be the same for a true Dodger fan.

Welcome, Conor Caldwell of Belfast, to Dodgertown. Paint it blue.

The photo on this page is courtesy of Conor Caldwell.

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