Tuesday, March 31, 2009
TBG's Desert Travel Diary - Part IV
Part I – Part II – Part III
Friday, March 13
12:55 PM - Indians Hall of Fame pitcher and cantankerous curmudgeon Bob Feller is signing for free on the concourse. I wasn't interested, but later I'd hear from people sitting around us how he allegedly told two kids to turn their hats around before he'd sign and another to address him as "Mr. Feller". If we go back next year and Feller's signing again, you can bet I'm baiting him for the blog. "'Sup, Bob?"
1:05 PM - At first pitch, the announced game time temperature is 80°. For the uninitiated, 80° represented the "walking around temperature". It's what you feel when you cross the street or otherwise are out and about. What's not factored in is the "ballpark index" – or BPI. It's a complex formula of weighted averages including, but not limited to, the stadium's intimate seating; the acrid stench of 6,000 people simultaneously applying sun block; an abject lack of shade and VORP. The BPI is 180°. Easily.
1:15 PM - A's starter Dana Eveland is having a little trouble finding the strike zone. Spring Training games don't usually get this arduous until the sixth or seventh inning, but Eveland appears determined to get a look at every Indians hitter by the end of the first inning. I offer to get Mrs. Bootleg a ballpark snack and, like always, she opts for nachos.
1:25 PM - I've walked the entire concourse and not ONE stand is selling nachos. Well, there is a "Super Nachos" kiosk down the right field line that offers chips, shredded cheddar cheese, choice of meat, choice of beans, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream and black olives – a mountain of Mexican heaven for $6.99. But, when it comes to baseball nachos, Mrs. Bootleg is a purist: chips, day-glo "cheese" goo and soggy jalapeños. Hey, she's from Utah. That's considered ethnic cuisine out there.
1:30 PM - Mrs. Bootleg settles for a hot dog, while I order something called a "Cleveland Dog".
1:35 PM - GLORIOUS~! I've just finished a quarter-pound wiener topped with honey-chipotle barbecue sauce, two strips of fatty bacon and a fistful of diced onions. If this hot dog is indeed representative of all Ohio cuisine, then I'm proud to welcome our Buckeye friends into the pantheon of states, commonwealths and provinces that I officially recognize. Current list: California, New York and British Columbia.
2:15 PM - Mrs. Bootleg places her dessert order, "Vanilla – soft serve". During my recent 10K walk back and forth along the concourse, I only noticed hand-scooped stands, but the wife swears that she saw a soft serve kiosk on our way in. Do you think she remembered where it was? Of course not.
2:25 PM - I return with a scoop of chocolate for the boy and a scoop of vanilla for the wife. Mrs. Bootleg gives me some of that patented Black woman "you KNOW I prefer soft serve" attitude, which went on for the entirety of the three licks and one great big bite it took her to finish an ice cream ball as big as my head.
3:00 PM - I'd promised Jalen that we'd return to the "kids diamond" before we left. By now, it's packed with nearly a dozen kids – pre-teen and older – who seem not to realize that (1) there's still a REAL game going on and (2) this diamond – and its plastic bats and balls – was meant for a much younger demographic. Knowing the snotty and disrespectful teenage generation of today, I explain to Jalen that he won't likely get to play.
3:30 PM - As I suspected, the older kids welcomed Jalen with open arms. No, seriously, they did. They shoehorned him into their batting order, let him chase after fly balls and taught him a convoluted high-five/fist bump celebratory gesture. Pretty sure the Jack Cust autograph just slipped into second place on the list of Jalen's favorite moments from the afternoon.
Next: A "guy's night out" while on a family vacation! Or not.