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Some of the Cubs even make conscious efforts to spread their cheer into the stands. Cardenal, a longtime crowd pleaser, is hitting .336 and endearing himself to left-field bleacherites by such antics as holding out his cap and pretending to drink from it, in order to persuade the umpires to call a rainy game. Backup Third Baseman Ron Dunn—who like Summers and former Twin George Mitterwald has hit with authority when he has played—puts on a little show for the fans just before each game in Wrigley. The organist plays The Entertainer and Dunn, using two bats and a catcher's mitt as props, stands out by the bullpen and simulates playing a flute, a trombone, a tuba, a banjo and bagpipes.
"Daffy" is what the Cubs call Dunn. "I got to know Ron in Midland, Texas," says Peter LaCock Jr., who was, in Stone's phrase, "a spare part" when the season opened but stepped in effectively at first base when Andy Thornton got hurt. LaCock looks like Peter Marshall, the host of TV's Hollywood Squares, which makes sense because LaCock is the son of Marshall, who changed his name for Hollywood. LaCock attracted public notice last year in the minors by apparently throwing a baseball at the governor of Colorado, who was sitting in the stands. LaCock says he wasn't really throwing at the governor—he didn't even know the governor was there—but at the official scorer, with whom he had a disagreement. And he wasn't really trying to hit the official scorer, just trying to scare him.
Anyway, LaCock and Dunn got to know each other as teammates in Midland. "Once we got grasshoppered out," says LaCock. "The grasshoppers were so thick in the air that after each pitch there would be a long line of dead grasshoppers between the mound and the plate. Dunn ate a grasshopper."
Dunn is called over. "Did you really eat a grasshopper?" he is asked.
"Well...for money," he answers. "First I ate the wings, to build the betting up. Then I swallowed the rest all at once."
"Didn't it wiggle in your mouth?"
"No, it didn't have room. I had a chew of tobacco in there."
LaCock, a choosier eater, enjoys being a Cub. "We like each other," he says.
Which calls to mind Stone's poem, Friend, which goes in part:
To define our friendship would be ludicrous, but the intangible feeling is everpresent.