I owned a bar once. If you ever get the urge to do the same, I’ll do my best to talk you out of it.
Anyway, with the Yankees and playoff baseball underway, it’s that time of year for me to celebrate another year of Los Angeles Dodgers heartbreak. The LA Dodgers haven’t won the World Series in almost three decades, despite being an odds-makers’ favorite several times.
They can have the best pitching and hit the most homeruns but they can’t get by the hex, the whammy, the evil eye, the curse of The Brooklyn Dodger—which, was my doing.
And there’s proof. It’s on tape.
A million years ago, my brother and I were trying to run a gin mill in Brooklyn. Which was a handful enough. We had a couple of coke heads for employees, who were different than a couple of committed thieves on staff. You’d never know what calamity awaited. Like the time the toilet got backed up. Oh, that was a regular thing but not the time we had to fish a full set of teeth out of the toilet in the ladies’ room. (No one ever claimed them). We ran out of beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Another time we were in danger of having the place dismantled by the crowd when a faulty TV connection almost didn’t air a Mike Tyson fight. The usual bar stuff.
And then, on a windy day, our 25-foot sign blew right off the front of the building and sailed half a block down Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. We chased it down, this flying carpet with royal blue lettering, people on the sidewalk laughing the whole time. What a couple of maroons, we were.
And just as the sign company finished putting the damn thing back on the storefront, the process server arrived with a Cease and Desist order. Some law firm was telling us we couldn’t use the name on our sign: THE BROOKLYN DODGER.
We had done trademark searches and believed we were fully within our rights to use the name, especially since the Dodgers baseball team had abandoned Brooklyn in 1957. That didn’t stop Major League Baseball and the team in Los Angeles from flexing their muscles and telling us we had to change the name of our bar. Change the name in a week or we’re suing.
We were either too young, too dumb, or had the kind of Brooklyn cajones that makes you say Up Yours before you have time to think, because we didn’t cave. We went to the media and politicians. We got great support (except from that rat Mario Cuomo, who, guess what — went to work for the law firm that sued us).
We were crushing them on the public relations side but they were taking their swings at us with fat wallets and more lawyers than a baseball roster. They hired investigators to find dirt on us; they sued us personally. The best we could do was put up an attorney who called us out of the blue to work pro bono (that’s free).
We refused to cave and the case went to trial. It was a complete mismatch. Ron Russo, our guy, kicked their ass.
The trial ended after four days with a thud, though. The judge said she'd render a verdict when she felt like it. We had to wait eleven months. But, it was for good news.
Without any sign or hint, on one fine day in April 1993, we got the verdict: WE WON. We could keep the name, The Brooklyn Dodger. And then we celebrated. We drank, we laughed, we cried. We did interviews.
Late in the day, I was handed a phone to do an interview with Howie Rose on WFAN radio. I don't know what came over me.... maybe it was that they had sued us personally, that they had abandoned Brooklyn, that their arrogance was colossal to the end... but for that one moment with Howie Rose, I came across as a sore winner. I had to take one more shot.
I cast my curse on the airwaves: I'm putting a curse on them. The Dodgers will never win the World Series again!
Howie Rose exulted: "It's on tape!"
Post script: The Brooklyn Dodger Sports Bar has gone the way of Ebbets Field. Ron Russo is still practicing law and remains a great friend. And the Los Angeles Dodgers play under a curse. Oh, and I’ll lift it. But it’ll come at a price. Until then, up yours, LA.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS