Eliazar Marin dropped his most precious jewel into a tiny vat of nacho cheese.
Abraham Marcos almost missed his defining moment because he was standing in line buying beer and pretzels.
Delia Holguin began her most romantic interlude by exclaiming, “What are you doing?’’
Diana Narvaez nearly spent the most momentous afternoon of her life in a Yasiel Puig jersey.
They are the few, the proud, the absolutely crazy, and we use this Valentine’s Day to honor their love while standing in awe of their moxie.
They are the couples who get publicly engaged at Dodger Stadium during baseball games.
Some think it’s sweet. Others find it horrifying. Some wish they had thought of it. Others tell their partners, don’t you dare even think about it, mister.
It happens in stadiums and arenas all over the country, always in the same sentimental or sappy way, depending on your perception.
There is a break in the action. There is a pause in the music. Suddenly the giant video board shows some nervous guy in an oversized jersey falling to his knees on peanut-shell-strewn concrete in front of a woman who has just finished a bite of a hot dog. He pops open a little box. He pulls out a ring. She wipes the mustard off her lip and starts crying. The scoreboard pops the question. The fans scream a variety of thoughtful and sentimental answers.
“Say no!’’ … “He’s a bum!’’… “Get a pre-nup!!’’
Of course she almost always says yes. The place goes crazy if she doesn’t say yes. It makes national news if she doesn’t say yes.
“I would have said yes anyway but, still, when you think about it, you really can’t say no in that situation, can you?’’ said Holguin, who was engaged to Marin last summer at Dodger Stadium, one of three couples to engage in that public ceremony at Chavez Ravine.
Holguin and Marin, longtime Dodger fans who live in Las Vegas and work in the gaming business, did not come to Dodger Stadium because they wanted the glitz of a scoreboard video. They came because it was the team of their childhood and a place that has always felt like home.
“To us, it’s a more romantic place than Hawaii, and we’re happier with a Dodger Dog than some super steak,’’ said Marin, who grew up in East Los Angeles. “It was like getting engaged in front of one big family.’’
Their feelings were echoed by another of last summer’s couples, Marcos and Narvaez, whose first date was at Dodger Stadium two years ago.
“Since I was a little girl, I’ve seen proposals at Dodger Stadium and wished that was me,’’ Narvaez said. “After it happened, all my friends were like, ‘Oh my gosh, your dream came true.’’’
But as both couples can attest, even dreams can include messy cheese or beer lines. If you want to pull out a diamond at the local baseball diamond, there are unwritten rules you must follow.
Rule No. 1: Make your reservation early.
There is a reason the Dodgers hosted only three proposals last year. Every ballpark-engaged couple walks the fine line between cool and gaudy, and the Dodgers don’t want the scene to ever feel tired or routine.
“We want to keep the moments special for all fans in attendance,’’ said Erik Braverman, vice president of marketing and broadcasting.
But the Dodgers understand the attraction, and embrace it.
“For fans who consider this the perfect place to propose, we love it,’’ Braverman said. “We appreciate that Dodger baseball and Dodger Stadium holds such a special place in our fan’s hearts.’’
Rule No. 2: Ride with Kershaw.
Neither Marcos or Marin had any idea that Clayton Kershaw would be on the mound during their engagement games last summer, but he started and won both, adding to their magic.
How’s this for analytics? In proposal games last year, Kershaw gave up no runs in 15 innings with one walk and 18 strikeouts.
Rule No. 3: Start saving now.
To book your big moment, which includes the airing of the proposal on DodgerVision, you must to make a $2,500 donation to the L.A. Dodgers Foundation.
‘’When you add that to tickets for you and your family members, it’s an expensive day,’’ said Marcos, who owns California Heat AC & Heating in the San Fernando Valley. “That’s why you want to make sure you get the right woman, and I got the right woman.’’
Rule No. 4: Stay in your seat.
When the camera crew first approached Marcos’ section for the big moment, he was — what else? — standing in line buying beer. He had to chase them down and pop the question an inning later.
Rule No. 5: Watch out for the nachos.
When Marin fell to his knees, he wasn’t preparing for the proposal. He was searching for the ring that he had nervously dropped.
“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, the ring is in the nachos,’’’ he said. “Delia is saying, ‘Get up, what are you doing?’ She had no idea.’’
Both men eventually placed the ring on the finger of their surprised girlfriends, who became their fiancees as quickly as the couples became ballpark celebrities.
“I was going back to the restroom,” Marin said, “and everyone is coming up to me, strangers, hugging me, buying me beer, saying, ‘Dude, you did it!’’’
Rule No. 6: Don’t listen to the cynics.
It’s easy to grimace at these ballpark proposals — how could someone make such an intimate moment so public? — but the Dodger Stadium couples have a memory much bigger than just the two of them.
“I cried the whole time it was happening, and even today, watching the video together still brings back tears,’’ said Narvaez, who is thankful she is wearing a new Dodger T-shirt instead of her worn Puig jersey in those videos.
So what’s next?
Marcos and Narvaez, who were engaged on the second anniversary of their first date, are scheduled to be married Aug. 12.
Marin and Holguin, who have two children and have been together 14 years, are still working on their date.
Maybe they should check with Kershaw.
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