As I had mentioned, on Friday evening I took the kids to their first ever baseball game. Indianapolis Indians vs. the Columbus Clippers at the shiny new Huntington Park in adequate downtown Columbus, Ohio.
Fun was had by all, though I’m pretty sure the kids had no idea what to make of it. They liked the hot dogs, the popcorn, the lemonade, and the cotton candy (yeah, I’m a pushover). Neither they nor I were big fans of the constant barrage of hard rock and heavy metal played over the sound system before the first pitch. It was comically overdone. I mean, fine, every team has blared “Machinehead” prior to the announcement of the starting lineups, but that garbage began at least a half hour before the game and really never let up. And yes, it was much much worse than “Machinehead.” Note to the Clippers: try some nice organ music or, if you must go with a tape, mix in some oldies or lighter pop or something. Old lame people like me and young people like my kids make up a distinct majority of your audience, so cater to us, dammit. Music aside, the park is a dream. Open, accessible, attractive, and simply well-thought out. Just a really easy and pleasant baseball going experience that made a AAA game about as close to a Major League experience as possible without importing as much of the excess and expense.
As for the actual baseball, I’m not sure what the kids thought. Matt LaPorta hit a long home run, which was cool. Best moment: when a pitch to the first batter was fouled off, my son turned to me and excitedly said “Daddy! I heard the bat crack! It cracked!” I’m almost positive I’ve never used any variation of the term “crack of the bat” in his presence. He just got it like it was instinct or something. Which maybe it is.
On Saturday it was time for the big boys: Braves vs. Reds in Cincinnati. My buddy Mark and I left Columbus early, filled up at the always pleasant Waffle House, and made the game in time to get a complimentary Reds’ fleece throw. Great day for warm, synthetic fibers, too: 85 degrees and sunny. That’s OK, though, because we had cold beer. And at least I had the pleasure of watching my team win, as the Braves beat up on Bronson Arroyo and took the game 10-2. Mark is a Reds fan, so he wasn’t as pleased. I had to be cool about it, though, because Mark was my ride home. And it was a fun ride. Bored, half-drunk and feeling mischievous, I called into the WLW post-game show and pretended to be a redneck Reds fan. I actually made it on the air too! I ranted about the Redlegs just not playing the game “the right way” and not having any passion, and how can they not run out ground balls and we the fans pay their salaries to play a kids’ game, etc. etc. It was such a hacky rant that I was surprised that I wasn’t cut off. I was cut off after I asked why, if the Reds were going to allow Chris Dickerson to strike out for times and make multiple bonehead plays in left field, didn’t they just keep Adam Dunn around? I didn’t get a good answer for that.
Oh, one other thing. While at the Reds game I met up briefly with tHeMARksMiTh, longtime ShysterBall reader and proprietor of the most excellent Way Back and Gone. He’s a Braves fan who lives in Kentucky so, not surprisingly, he wanted to catch the Bravos as well.
I had planned on putting up a boatload of pictures of these games, but the THT photo publisher is not the most user friendly thing in the world so I gave up. You’ll have to make do with a link to my Flickr page. The Reds game pics are first, and the Clippers game comes on page 2. Beyond that and you’re entering Calcaterra Family Picture Land. Feel free to hang around and gawk at my family, but don’t come crying to me when you’re bored to tears.