So I’m at Game 1 of the National League Division Series, to watch the Dodgers duke it out with the Cardinals for the right to go on to the National League Championship Series and be embarrassed by the Phillies and their illustrious collection of such former Dodger legends as Shane Victorino, Jason Werth and the immortal Chan "2 Grand Slams In One Inning to Fernando Tatis" Park. I’m camped out near the Dodger dugout before the game with my trusty Canon 40D, when I notice the nice looking fellow loitering near the railing. "Hey!" thinks I, "isn’t that the carpenter guy from Home and Garden Television?" (Okay, so once in awhile I watch something other than sports ).
I snap off several shots of what I believe is the tv tool belt model, whom I later google to identify as Eric Stromer.
Only in later comparing my photos to those on Google Images, I’m not sure it’s Stromer after all. Kind of looks like him, kind of doesn’t.
Then TMZ, hot on the trail of the Fightin’ McCourts, runs these shots of Jaime McCourt and her alleged new love interest. For those of you not following this fracas, the McCourts own the Dodgers. Or at least Jaime McCourt says they do (despite the fact she allegedly signed an agreement saying the team is 100% her husband Frank's). Frank McCourt says he’s the sole owner of the team (despite miles and miles of film and tape over the last several years in which he proclaims Jaime co-owner of the team). Anyway, there’s a major power play going on for ownership and control of the Dodgers, with Frank firing Jaime for among other things, what he alleges was "inappropriate behavior with a subordinate". For those of us who don’t speak corporate that means "boinking the help".
I don’t know if Jaime did or did not do what Frank is accusing her of, and in her defense, the only one in the Dodger organization who was not subordinate to her was Frank, whom apparently she no longer wished to engage in that kind of behavior with, appropriate or otherwise.
Anyway, Dodger fans rightfully fear that the acrimonious dissolution proceeding between the McCourts may leave their beloved team in ruins. Which raises another question. Is Jaime’s new love interest destined to become the Dodgers’ Bartman?
Who is Bartman? As usual I direct your attention to Wikipedia: "In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3-0 and holding a 3 games to 2 lead in the best of 7 series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins' second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans, Steve Bartman, touched the ball once it crossed into the stands, disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning, and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning the National League pennant. Instead, the Cubs relinquished the lead that inning and then lost the game. When they were eliminated in the seventh game the next day, the "Steve Bartman incident" was seen as the turning point of the series...
"Bartman had to be led away from the park under security escort for his own safety as Cubs fans shouted profanities towards him and others threw debris onto the field and towards the exit tunnel from the field. News footage of the game showed him surrounded by security as passersby pelted him with drinks and other debris. Bartman's name, as well as personal information about him, appeared on Major League Baseball's online message boards minutes after the game ended. As many as six police cars gathered outside his home to protect Bartman and his family following the incident. Afterwards, then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich suggested that Bartman join a witness protection program, while then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered Bartman asylum."
As previously stated, I only know what I read in the papers. I don’t know for a fact if Jaime McCourt does or does not have a love interest. If she does, I don’t know if the relationship developed before or after she and Frank separated. Even if it was before, she may be rich, she may be very smart, but she’s human. She'd be no different than the endless sea of others who have given in to temptation while technically pledged to another.
But If the McCourt dissolution does in fact wreck the Dodgers, is it possible that Dodger fans may come to view the source of that temptation as the west coast version of Bartman?
So of course I was very curious to see the guy that allegedly came between the McCourts. And when I took a look at the photos on TMZ, it occurred to me that he also resembled the guy that I had photographed standing near the Dodgers dugout. If it wasn’t Eric Stromer, could it be Jaime’s guy?
I went back to my photos for another look. It does look like the guy I photographed could be the same guy seen in the TMZ photos. Or maybe it is Eric Stromer. Or someone else entirely. I need forensics I don’t have to make a definitive call.
These pictures were taken before the separation became public, but if it turns out that this nice looking fellow is in fact Jaime’s new squeeze, then you have to marvel at the balls the two of them had to both be parading around together a few feet from the owner’s box that Jaime shares with Frank during the first game of the National League Division Series. And if the alleged romance does lead to dark days in Dodgerland, is Jaime's squeeze - whomever he might be - our very own Bartman?