SKIN IN THE GAME

Free-spir­ited ‘Rally Granny’ who pulled up her shirt at Dodger Sta­dium is prov­ing to be no flash in the pan

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - BILL PLASCHKE

For nearly half a cen­tury, Mark and Betty True would cel­e­brate the day’s first cock­tail with a kiss and a toast. They would clink glasses, pro­fess their love, and vow to squeeze ev­ery ounce out of their lives.

It was a prom­ise kept. They took this toast to bal­conies in Brazil, cafes in Nige­ria, beaches in the Ca­nary Is­lands, and to the roil­ing hot tub out­side their mo­bile home in the Ari­zona desert. They par­tied around the world, this trav­el­ing en­gi­neer and his best friend, un­til seven years ago when Mark died of lung can­cer at age 83. Betty was sud­denly alone af­ter 47 years of one of the great­est mar­riages on Earth.

Ex­cept she de­cided she would never be alone. She would carry Mark’s le­gacy with her. She would con­tinue laugh­ing and par­ty­ing and liv­ing an out­ra­geously full life in his mem­ory.

So it was that, on the sec­ond Satur­day in July, stand­ing in front of her seat in the loge sec­tion of Dodger Sta­dium, 85-year-old Betty True saw her­self danc­ing on the video board, heard the crowd roar­ing, put her hands on the bot­tom of her blue T-shirt and de­cided, what the hell.

Amid thou­sands of gasps, a toast was hon­ored.

In a flash of a white brassiere, the Rally Granny was born.

“I tell ev­ery­body that I sup­ple­ment my So­cial Se­cu­rity with pole danc­ing,” she said.

You’ve surely seen what has be­come a vi­ral video. It lasts only 16 sec­onds, but cap­tures the un­pre­dictable crazi­ness of this Dodgers sea­son.

It was in the sev­enth in­ning of the Dodgers’ July 8 game against the Kansas City Roy­als. It fea­tures an older wo­man, with a shock of white hair curl­ing out from a Dodgers vi­sor. She is stand­ing and boo­gieing.

“At first when I saw I my­self on the big screen, I was wav­ing my arms and I thought, oh no, that’s go­ing to show my un­der­arm dan­gle,” Betty re­called. “So then I went into my cruis­ing moves, and they kept the cam­eras on me, and I thought, well, they’re ask­ing for it now.”

So, she gave it to them. She pulled up her blue shirt, briefly flashed her white bra, pulled the shirt back down, then calmly turned to find her seat.

“I don’t why it was such a big deal,” she said. “I was just show­ing off my Dodger col­ors.”

Oh, it was a big deal. The an­nounced crowd of 45,225 re­acted ini­tially with stunned shock, then huge cheers. The video was im­me­di­ately tweeted into mak­ing na­tional news. She was swarmed in the con­course after­ward by fans snap­ping self­ies and ask­ing for more flashes.

Her sons Bill and Jim Conville, who brought her to the game with friends and busi­ness as­so­ci­ates, know­ingly shook their heads.

“Hav­ing known my mother 66 years, very few things she does would sur­prise me,” Bill said. “But, yeah, it was a bit of a sur­prise.”

On the field, the Dodgers came back from a 4-3 deficit to beat the Roy­als 5-4 in 10 in­nings on a bases-loaded walk to Cody Bellinger.

In the club­house, Bellinger ref­er­enced the video and im­me­di­ately dubbed her “The Rally Granny.”

En­ter­ing Tues­day’s game at Ari­zona, the Dodgers had gone 20-3 since she pulled up her shirt.

Rally Granny shirts, adorned with a draw­ing de­pict­ing her pulling up her shirt, are be­ing sold, giv­ing her only one con­cern.

“Can they put an im­age of me on there without my per­mis­sion?” she asked, paus­ing. “Oh well. It’s a neat lit­tle shirt.”

And hers is a neat lit­tle story, one that mir­rors her fa­vorite team.

Like some of the Dodgers, she seem­ingly showed up out of nowhere. Although she was a life­long Dodgers fan who spent some of her youth in the San Fer­nando Val­ley, she trav­eled around so much that July 8 was the first time she had ac­tu­ally seen the Dodgers play at Dodger Sta­dium. The Dodgers vi­sor she wore was more than 30 years old. She was around town only be­cause she is the process of mov­ing from Fort Mo­have, Ariz., to live close to her two sons near Fresno.

Also like some of the more dar­ing Dodgers, she plays on the edge. Dur­ing that July 8 game, she fu­eled her flash with a beer, a Dodger Dog, and then a “mar­garita for dessert.”

Fi­nally, like this en­tire team, the Rally Granny is on a mis­sion. Be­fore she drank that first beer that Satur­day night, she looked to the sky and of­fered the usual toast in the mem­ory of her hus­band.

He didn’t want his death to slow her down. He wanted her to keep push­ing as if he was push­ing along­side her. He didn’t want the party to end. She is de­ter­mined it will not.

“He was a party boy, he en­cour­aged me to party, we just had a ball, an ab­so­lute ball, I miss him so much,” she said. “I’m just try­ing to live up to our rep­u­ta­tion.”

The fun might not be over. The Dodgers love the Rally Granny, and have asked her to let them know when she is in the sta­dium so the cam­eras can cap­ture her. She was driv­ing through town last Satur­day, stopped by for a game against the San Fran­cisco Giants, and danced and flashed again, only this time she pulled up a Rally Granny T-shirt to re­veal a Dodgers shirt.

“The only other thing I could have done is moon, but moon­ing is a dif­fer­ent story,” she said. “I don’t moon any­more.” Any­more? “Well, I once did a Christ­mas Eve moon over the town square from a bal­cony in Brazil,” she said. “No big deal.”

For the record, the Rally Granny ac­tu­ally is a granny, with four grand­chil­dren. She also has three great­grand­chil­dren, but Rally Great Granny just doesn’t have the same ring.

“We’re glad peo­ple re­acted to her pos­i­tively,” said Lon Rosen, Dodgers’ chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer. “We en­joyed hav­ing her and her spirit in the sta­dium, and we’re cer­tainly go­ing to stay in touch with her.”

Could that mean more fre­quent ap­pear­ances in the sea­son’s fi­nal months? It has to in­clude at least one play­off ap­pear­ance, right? Her son Bill said he would be happy to drive with her down to an Oc­to­ber game if the tim­ing is right and they can find a way to buy tick­ets. Dodgers fans would love to see her there, but not nearly as much as she would love see­ing them.

“This is so much fun, I’m just get­ting such a kick out of mak­ing peo­ple laugh, mak­ing them happy,” she said. “I’m car­ry­ing on.”

Gina Fer­azzi Los An­ge­les Times

VI­RAL SEN­SA­TION and 85-year-old Dodgers fan Betty True, f lanked by friends in her home­town of Fort Mo­have, Ariz., made na­tional news, and in­spired a T-shirt, on July 8 when she f lashed a crowd of 45,225 at a Dodgers game. She had a mar­garita that day, too.

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