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The offbeat side of the news

Buffalo fan on the ball

The guy who dropped Albert Pujols’ 500th home run this week at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.?

He’s from Buffalo.

And he’s also an admirably good sport.

Chris Gordon, 45, won some instant celebrity when he ran toward the ball, which bounced off his stomach and into the hands of longtime Los Angeles Angels fan Tom Sherrill.

Video of the event shows Gordon diving to get the ball and then getting up to hug Sherrill after the catch. The two even exchanged phone numbers afterward.

Sherrill returned the ball to Pujols, which Gordon said “shows that there are good people in the world,” according to the Washington Post.

Acknowledging Sherrill is an Angels fan, Gordon said, “The right person ended up with the ball.”

Gordon works at the National Institutes of Health and said he was a Montreal Expos fan when he was growing up in Buffalo.

Though Gordon didn’t catch the ball, he does have quite a souvenir from that night: a photo of his two sons, Pujols and himself, while he wears a gray T-shirt with a print of a New York license plate that reads “BFLO BORN.”

The trio also left the park with three baseballs signed by Pujols.

County inks a deal

Maybe it’s the frustration of having to leave work to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, the stress of closing on a house or the tediousness of filing papers to start a new business.

Whatever the reason, people seem to walk off with a lot of pens – 10,000! – provided by the taxpayers of Erie County when they visit the County Clerk’s Office.

Always looking for revenue – does anyone ever visit the Clerk’s Office and not leave without paying some kind of fee? – County Clerk Chris Jacobs decided to make the most of the theft of pens that goes on every day in his office.

Instead of paying for the pens, Jacobs last year turned to local businesses who were looking to advertise.

“These businesses actually want folks to take their pens, so we thought it was a perfect solution,” Jacobs said.

The county received 13,000 pens from local businesses in the last year, and didn’t have to buy any.

They’re taking new donations now.

Alibi didn’t hold water

A man from Boston, Mass., was convicted last week in Erie County Court of breaking into a home on Lincoln Parkway, after a jury rejected what prosecutors described as the “tinkle defense.”

Winston Pendarvis entered the home surreptitiously Aug. 15 after he had been deported from Canada and ended up in our fair city, but he fled the home when he realized the residents were there, according to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

Minutes later, police responding to the residents’ 911 call caught Pendarvis several blocks away. He denied ever being in the house and said he was just out for a walk.

But during the weeklong trial prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Seth Molisani and Sydney Probst, his defense attorney suggested to the jury that Pendarvis had entered the home merely to use the bathroom.

Jurors deliberated for less than an hour before convicting the 38-year-old defendant of second-degree burglary.

He faces at least 3½ years in prison and at most 15 years when he is sentenced June 10 by Judge Sheila A. DiTullio.

Dyngus Day in the news

First, CNN’s Anderson Cooper laughed hysterically at Buffalo’s Dyngus Day festivities on national television.

This year, the Wall Street Journal covered Buffalo’s pussy willow shortage.

But the Journal’s more serious approach didn’t stop readers from getting a glimpse into the traditions that make this holiday – ahem – unique.

“We get a lot of single women calling and asking us for pussy willows,” Orlando Diaz, creative director at Bloom Floristry told the Journal. “We literally spend all day wrapping up pussy willows for women.”

Written by Jill Terreri, with a contribution from James Staas. email: