The Grand Old Game? Not so much
Not sure if was the bikini-clad women – plants by the franchise, obviously – prancing around or the costumed dancers up on the stage or the body-painting going on for the almost the duration of the game or the swimming pool but I saw baseball like I’ve never seen baseball before last night and you can have it.
We – a trio of grunts with time on our hands – to take in the game from The Clevelander, an off-shoot of the legendary South Beach bar, in left field; a good idea at time because it looked like fun and the original Clevelander is a classic place to hang out.
Look, I’m all for having fun at the ball yard, it should be leisurely night or day out, a game unfolding at a certain pace and a far more relaxing time than you’ll have at any other sporting event.
But, and this hit me about the second inning a delightful 5-2 game decided on a dramatic three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, if I want to watch a game in a bar, I’ll go to a bar.
It was surreal and if this is the way baseball stadiums are going, I’m going to spend an awful lot of time in front of a TV.
It’s a little, cement-floored enclave just beyond the left field fence with four rows of comfortable seats and a standing-room area that could be any bar in almost any city anywhere in the world.
There was a DJ spinning THE ENTIRE GAME and since you know how I feel about loud, incomprehensible music pounding during the playing of the game, you can imagine how I felt about that.
The women, and I said “plants” rather than “implants” but I probably could have used either word, were there to, um, spice up the night and since they seemed to attract almost everyone’s attention all night, I guess they did their job.
It was, frankly, a party more than it was a ball game, a night out to hang in a bar with the fact a professional baseball game was going on about 20 feet away seemed to be little more than an inconvenience.
It was, frankly, as far removed from baseball as you can imagine and I am old and a bit cranky and a bit of a traditionalist so if this is the new wave of the baseball stadium “experience” in order to attract fans, you can have it.
It was kind of cool to do one time but it would have been far better, in hindsight, to leave after an inning or so, find a seat in the stands and watch the game unfold in a traditional way.
Baseball is not a game to be viewed through the prism of some faux South Beach party bar; it is a game to sit and ponder, to try and predict strategy, to tell stories.
It is not, and never will be, a raucous event with bikinis and shooters and blaring music and swimming pools filled with young ladies who are only there as eye-candy.
The kids can have it; the grown-ups should know better than to think it’d be fun.
I do now.
You know me and The Band, right?
How much does it suck that word’s out that Levon Helm is, sadly, in the last stages of a fight with cancer?
Yeah, it sucks a lot.
Guess we need to start the plea for the mail, right?
It was Ozzie Guillen’s return last night from a five-game suspension and outside of a shockingly large police presence around the stadium there was no outward sign of discontent.
Close as we got to a political statement was some leatherlung behind me screaming, “That’s your boy, Ozzie” when Chicago’s Starlin Castro made his first plate appearance.
So, what of the HOTH?
Not a whole lot going on and maybe it’s just the people I get to listen to but there seems to be an overwhelming sense of “let’s get this season over with” out there among the people.
But not necessarily in a bad way.
Sure, there are those who are disappointed with the way things have turned out and are a bit mad about it but mostly it seems people want the games to end so the real work can begin.
Look, 22-40 is not good any way you slice it but – and this truly is an odd statement – it’s a “good” 22-40. We’ll touch on this a lot more next week when things end officially but most of the games has been competitive, there has been growth in a lot of tangible defensive ways and there is a bit of a foundation.
Now, it’s going to be a huge summer for Bryan and The Henchmen, no question about it, and this abomination of a condensed season (no practice time, too many games coming too quickly, too many odd scheduling quirks that kind of dictated results) has been a mishmash but, overall, it’s been better than some thought and there’s been more good than bad.
And, of course, they’ve stretched the final four out just to make it even stranger: Tonight, not ‘til Sunday, a back-to-back on Monday and then not until Thursday.
So, Super Son is traipsing off around Vienna and Salzburg (where apparently they don’t have the interwebs since we haven’t heard from him) and Super Dog’s going in the hospital today for (crazily expensive) knee surgeries tomorrow and I’m here and, yes, things are odd around Casa Doug.
This’ll be the first pet surgery rehab I’ve gone through and since Super Dog will be living with some knee issues and spends most of her life nestled a coach or a chair or a bed, I’m seeing a lot of lifting and placing in our lives over the next six weeks or so.
Guess that’s okay; it’s not like we’re going to be able to afford to leave the house or anything.
I’m thinking Super Son might want to investigate veterinary medicine as a career; seems a tad lucrative to me.