ANAHEIM - Sometime Friday, before umpire Doug Eddings faces the fury of Los Angeles Angels fans from his post along the right-field line, his cell phone will ring.
On the other end will be someone who can relate to Eddings' ordeal of the last two days better than anybody, a fellow man in blue who also alienated a city and its baseball fans one October night by making a split-second call that lingers still, 20 years later.
Don Denkinger does not know exactly what he will say to Eddings; only that he wants the 37-year-old to hear it.
"I just need to call Doug, and maybe it would lift his spirits," said Denkinger, the umpire whose blown call at first base on a Jorge Orta grounder in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series receives credit for the Kansas City Royals rallying to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I can tell him what he has to look forward to and maybe how this will affect the rest of his career," said Denkinger, 69. "It's not going to be easy, but he can get through it."
Denkinger went on to say that the benefits of being in the Douche club are great.
Besides all of the road tail that comes along with being an infamous Douche, there is $1 million death and dismemberment insurance, lasik surgery to actually worsen your eyesight, and the sinking feeling in your gut that only your dead mother still loves you "from up there in the clouds".