Drawing a Blank
by Ken Arneson
2004-04-17 17:25

I (Ken) went to San Diego this week. Thursday evening, I went to a game at Petco Park. I’ll assemble my thoughts on Petco later, but here’s a quick story:

I was wandering along the main concourse at Petco, when I realized I was walking shoulder-to-shoulder with someone. I turned to look at the guy, and I recognized him.

I searched my brain for a name to match the face, but I drew a blank. Where did I know him from? School? Work? TV?

Nothing. I couldn’t think of a name, or where I had seen this man before. He turned to look at me, and we made eye contact.

If I hadn’t recognized him, I could have just smiled or nodded and moved on. But what if it was an old friend or something? I didn’t want to be rude. I had to say something. So I entered into chit-chat mode.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi,” said the man.

I recalled once running into Paul Molitor this same way, walking along a concourse. Is this guy an ex-player? A scout? A GM? Maybe he works for the Padres, I thought. I decided to say something about Petco.

“Nice ballpark,” I said.

“It is a nice ballpark,” he agreed.

Then he turned to enter his seating section, and we parted. An instant later, the name came to me: Frank McCourt.

I had just been chatting with the owner of the Dodgers, and the only thing I managed to say to him was how nice the Padres’ home ballpark is. D’oh!

I’ve been suffering from a major case of l’esprit d’escalier ever since. If you have the chance to say one sentence to Frank McCourt, what should you say?

This is Ken Arneson's blog about baseball, brains, art, science, technology, philosophy, poetry, politics and whatever else Ken Arneson feels like writing about
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