Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 13: Quad City River Bandits; Davenport, IA. In Which Our Heroes Disprove Linear Time, Find Jesus Twice Simultaneously, and Gamble Away Their Gas Money

There are two main things we learned today. First, Minnesota has nothing in it except awesome independent baseball.

Second, Iowa is on the way to everywhere. We have now officially entered and/or exited Iowa six times, at least once from each cardinal direction. We tried not to stop here, but since gambling is legal Zach forced us to.

On a related note, we're pretty fried. Over the past three days there has been a lot of driving: over 24 hours' worth. Ben finished rereading Suetonius’s biographies of the Julio-Claudians and the Flavian dynasty of Roman Emperors. Zach napped. That's why we're so glad to be hitting the road for just 3 hours today before spending 3 glorious days in my adopted hometown of Chicago. Let us know if you're in the area!

Now, as a result of all this driving, we did get to see some awesome things. For example, we got to see the world’s largest frying pan. It is exactly what it is. A big frying pan. Worth seeing but not describing.
There. Worth seeing.

Unfortunately, we're just a bit early for the event of the summer there in Brandon.

We also saw the Czechiest diner ever when we stopped for breakfast in New Prague, Minnesota. Just check our their SWEET jukebox.
Czech out that sweet polka collection. Beat that, any other bar or restaurant or bowling alley in the world. And the best part? It's ALL FREE!

Much more awesomely, we got to see the future birthplace of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. If you don’t believe the recent-ish movie, you probably know that the captain of the Enterprise (or in this case, the Riverside, due to small Iowa towns not wanting to pay royalties to Paramount) will be born in Riverside, Iowa in 2233. There is a model of the Enterprise (excuse me, U.S.S. RIVERSIDE), a plaque behind a barbershop that's supposed to become the actual birthstone, and a Kum ‘n Go at which we got much needed gasoline. We can only hope a woman in Riverside actually has a kid and names him James Tiberius Kirk in 2233.
Guys, it's not the Enterprise. That would've cost $40,000.

Screw linear time. Linear time killed my family way back in 2027.

We continued on via some fun state and county roads to Davenport, Iowa. There, the ballgame happened. After St. Paul, the rest of the world of MiLB just seems a little...duller, though, frankly, a little warmer. Minnesota camp sites are chilly even in late June.

After the game, I (Zach) decided to gamble away the trip's gas money. Fortunately, thanks to a video poker full house that won $50 and 10 or 11 (I lost count) straight dealer busts at the Blackjack table, I was up a hundred bucks. Which I promptly spent on alcohol and front row seats for the Georgia Force arena football league team. Man, I love gambling.

Anyway, back to the deadliest game of all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 12. St. Paul Saints; St. Paul, MN. Train, Karaoke With a Real Japanese Guy, and Justin Bieboar Combine for the Best Overall Fan Experience Yet

We drove from Lincoln, NE to St. Paul, MN today, our longest pure burn of the trip. For those of you from the Midwest, you know this pretty much took up the entire early part of the day. But that's totally OK, because this will still be our longest post of the trip courtesy of the greatest all-around fan experience to date.

I should note, though, that we stopped at a Culver's for lunch. This was Ben and my first time at one of these establishments, which it turns out is, according to Ben, a low-rent Friendly's. I call it the illegitimate lovechild of a Hardee's and Dairy Queen, but either way it's pretty epic.

Also, Iowa has the best rest stops ever. Free wireless, a clean energy theme for some reason (oh right...ethanol and wind, 'cause if it's one thing Iowa has its corn and empty spaces), and vending machines that function as an oasis after three verdammten states of PepsiCo.

Coke Cherry Zero? And I don't even have to get off the highway? Iowa, I'd drive through you to get to my real destination that's not in Iowa any day. 

I will also say this for Minnesota: there are a lot of lakes. And even in June, the weather feels bizarrely pleasant, like October in Atlanta. So that's been a nice break.

Also, huge ups to my friend Sarah, her stepbrother Dan, and especially his colleague Chelsea (as well as the entire Saints organization) for hooking us up with an amazing night neither Ben nor I will forget for awhile. Many of the tidbits under the highlights section were courtesy of Chelsea's guided tour.

Day 11.2. Lincoln Saltdogs; Lincoln, NE. WOOOOOOOOO! Indeed, and Never Call Nebraska Conventional.

After our first game of day 11 in Omaha, Ben and I decided to take U.S. 6 instead of I-80 back to the hotel in Lincoln for a rest before the second part of our doubleheader. Now, we took U.S. 6 because there's something up there that has no earthly business in a Maine hayfield. By which I mean, no earthly business anywhere in Nebraska. Which is more than a thousand miles from any meaningful water source requiring this entity's presence.

I'm pretty sure Nebraska isn't any Native American dialect's word for “land with any non-river water source whatsoever.”

But it provided some amusement and a good photo-op, so I'll allow it. We then headed back to our hotel for an uneventful three hours until the Lincoln Saltdogs and Gary Railcats that night. And man am I glad we rested up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 11.1: Omaha Storm Chasers, Omaha, NE. In Which the Storms Are Chased, and the Fat Lady Sings.

Like the scrappy journeymen we are, we made up for yesterday by taking in two games in different Nebraska cities today. At least I think it was two different cities. I dunno, Nebraska pretty much looks the exact same for 400 miles. What follows is an account of the first, and a later post will recap our night in Lincoln.

There's not a ton to talk about aside from the game, as we pretty much woke up and jetted off to Omaha for a 1205p start. But in case of any of you were wondering why the game didn't happen yesterday, this would be why:

Tornado watch.
Baseball watch.

Oh, and for any of you wondering, don't worry. The levels of radiation from that flooded nuclear plant north of Omaha are only enough to give us superpowers, not cancer.

Anyway, to the game!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 10. Omaha, Nebraska, sorta: Rain Ruins Everything and We Get Some Sleep.

Up at 6 to make the 6 hour drive to Omaha. Normally a 3 hour drive, but apparently I-29 is flooded and will be for some time. I can’t imagine what would happen if they up and said “You can’t use 85 between Atlanta and Greenville until mid-July”. But everyone in the (Mid)West has been really friendly so far, so I imagine they’re pretty chill about this as well.

Anyway, we make the 2 o’clock start for the Omaha Stormchasers with plenty of time to spare and found our seats with a beer and sandwich apiece. Then we got back up and took cover in the concourse as a rain delay started. The club was nice enough to broadcast the Royals game on the Less-Than-Jumbotron, so we at least got some entertainment. We kept checking the weather on Zach’s Futurebox and kept seeing the archipelago of storm cells draw out and linger and never really go away. Anyone who knows Zach’s penchant for adverbs can probably imagine his commentary on the proceedings.

After an hour and 20 minutes or so, they called the game and rescheduled it for noon tomorrow. We exchanged our tickets for then and moved on to Lincoln for the night. Foresight did us straight and we now sit in a comfy motel room, rather than a KOA campground, as thunderstorms and tornado watches swarm around.

We’ll have a more thorough review tomorrow (weather permitting), but here are some quick highlights from the Stormchasers non-game.

I (Ben) got to hi-five the mascot that wasn’t a tornado. He was kinda fuzzy.

Zach saw a Dolphins fan and a Braves fan. We’re now giving points to fans for each 1000 miles away from their home team.

Turns out Omaha’s first season was in 1969. Their first manager was Jack McKeon. The same Jack McKeon who has just been named interim manager of the Florida Marlins.

Saw a Sarah Palin t-shirt. Not to get political, but here was our discussion after the sighting.
Ben: Is being a Palin supporter like being a fan of the Yankees if they were unpopular?
Zach: Maybe kind of like having Melky Cabrera as your favorite player? Can’t be the Yankees because they win anyway.
Ben: The Mets then.
Zach: Not evil enough.
Ben: Like hell they’re not evil enough.
Zach: They’re bad guys, but not evil. They’re incompetent. They’re like Dr. Evil.
Ben: Remind me why Sarah Palin is evil.
Zach: She steals millions of dollars from her supporters who buy into her bullshit.
Ben: And the Mets…
Zach: … steal millions of dollars from their supporters who buy into their bullshit.

And, uh, the stadium kept us dry for the most part? Not really that much more to say about today. Double Header tomorrow in Omaha and then back in Lincoln.

Day 9. Kansas City T-Bones; Kansas City, KS. In Which the Gang Comes Un-Henged, and Kansas Demostrates the Dictionary Definition of Juxtaposition

 I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but before this morning Ben and I had not yet stopped by a Waffle House during our journey. This morning, after breaking down our rain- and mud-soaked tent (again) – and, relatedly, making the call that tonight we'll stay at a hotel – I am happy to report we rectified that.

Then we drove an hour up north of Kansas City to a little town called Smithville and its local park for what was encouragingly termed “Woodhenge.” After getting to the park where it supposedly was and asking the gate attendant and a park ranger where it was, we took 15 minutes to finally stumble across the sign indicating its presence. Excitedly, we marched along the path.

Alack and Alas, what it amounted to was a bunch of stakes in the ground, possibly due to it being a historical sight under rehabilitation. BOOOOOOOOO.
Worst. Henge. Ever.

Fortunately, the day got much, much better very quickly. We sped off for Topeka, where an hour later we saw both Truckhenge and Boathenge. Both are creations of a – I won't call him a hero, but sometimes there's a man – named Ron Lessman. As he describes it, Truckhenge came about after the county came knocking on his door for having dilapidated trucks on his property. When they asked him to pick them up, his response was:
Ron: They told me to pick 'em up, so I *insert rude gesture* picked 'em up!

We were both thrilled with the result, and Boathenge was no slouch, either!

Ron is much more than just Truckhenge, though. The guy's an artist and museum curator rolled into one. Take, for example, his “Boxcar Full of Bones,” or his many sculptures of beer bottles:
The Beergloo. Now that's a living arrangement I can get used to.

And he's painted the entire floor of his house, as well as many blankets.

And the man's sense of humor is top-notch. Take, for example, the world's largest ball of Christmas lights:
Me: That's the world's largest ball of Christmas lights?
Ron: You know of another one?
Me: *Blank stare* Fair enough.

Ron also keeps 3 dogs and an indeterminate number of peacocks on his property. He kindly let us have a feather and a piece of petrified wood. In return, I bought a Truckhenge T-shirt and left a pair of old hiking/work boots up in one his trees for his latest installation, the Tree of Lost Soles.

Musicians, take note: Ron loves to hold heavy metal concerts at Truckhenge, and they tend to come with 100-yard long bonfires. You guys want the most bad-ass venue you'll ever play? I don't know how you could top this.

University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt Judges, take note: WHY THE HELL DID WE NOT GO HERE DURING THE 2007 KANSAS ROADTRIP? I have lost whatever shred of faith I may have had left in you. Ron would love to host us one year, so please, get some teams down to Topeka, k?

As if Ron had not given us a clear enough example of the state's renowned niceness, on our way back down the Kansas Turnpike KDOT decided to thank us for our patience in construction zones with slogans on overpass billboards such as “We Know It's a Pain to Travel in Just One Lane” and (I'm paraphrasing) "We're Really Sorry, but This Road Just Has to be Re-Paved." Oh, Kansas. We love you, too.

After Truckhenge, we hurried back to Kansas City for some Arthur Bryant's BBQ (thanks, Scav Judges!) and Kansas City T-Bones baseball!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 8: Kansas City Royals, Kansas City, MO. In Which Our Heroes are Irradiated, Detoured by Flooding, Almost Crushed by Rob Riggle, and Nigh Immolated by Post-Game Fireworks

Ben and I would like to hereby lodge our official petition to have Missouri re-named the Out-To-Get-Me State. It's been a lot of fun, really, but this state has been full of borderline toxic situations. To wit, day 8.

We began by bidding a fond sod off to our host of the past 3 nights, Jason. We then hit the road west and, a half hour later, stopped off at the Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project (known by the smooth-flowing acronym WSSRAP or its name on Roadside America, the Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail). This is, in a nutshell, a site where the army took over and dismantled 3 towns during WWII, displacing its residents and putting in their place an explosives manufacturing plant (primarily DNT and TNT).

Then in the '50s and '60s the DOE repurposed the site to refine the ever-loving shit out of thousands of tons of uranium ore.  In 'Nam it was almost used for Agent Orange manufacturing. Then in the mid-80s someone was like, whoa, maybe we should Superfund that ho?

From the early 90s til 2001, they basically tore everything down and folded thousands upon thousands of tons of contaminated soil, water, and sludge into a giant "containment cell" which looks like a huge mountain of rocks (but is actually spectacularly engineered).

Anyway, for some incomprehensible reason, you can totally climb all over the containment cell. For reasons even less comprehensible, we totally did. It was...well...

Zach surveys the New World Order from atop The Cell

So as if that wasn't dangerous enough, we then went to Jack in the Box for lunch. Then, baseball.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 7: River City Rascals, O'Fallon Missouri. Yes yes yes yes yes yes! Ben and Zach Scratch an Item Off Their Bucket List

Much like Xenu (I'm guessing?), we began our seventh day with a nice long rest. We figured we deserved a sabbath after spending the previous 6 days building a universe. By which I mean spending an extended period of time the night before drinking and gambling into the wee hours of the morning. To be fair, though, the game had many amusing moments, like this deal (completely unstaged) of 7-card stud.

We also had a nice Texas flop of 6-6-6. Good omens just abound on this trip.

Anyway, we finally got rolling around 1p and grabbed some lunch at Panera (or for you old-schoolers, as it's still known around here, the St. Louis Bread Company). We then hit the road to St. Clair, MO to see the town's two famous water towers. Yes, two. Why two, you ask?

Well, obviously.

We then proceeded down Missouri Hwy 30 to the little town of Dittmer, MO, where it turns out another one of my cousins resides in discarded auto parts form. Unfortunately, his metal ass is decidedly tarnished rather than shiny. Also, he's apparently a hippy?

Check out my shoulder for some sweet farmer's tan action and proof of my love for Futurama. All Glory to the Hypnotoad.

After Dittmer we zoomed back across St. Louis to the town of Alton, IL for a pit stop at the World Famous Fast Eddie's Bon Air, whose claim to fame is not changing their food prices since the mid-80s. Ben had some 29-cent shrimp, and I went for the 12 (admittedly small) cajun wings on a skewer for a meager $2.99. Delicious.

But as usual, the day was stolen by our baseball experience. Tonight's stop was another independent professional Frontier League team, the Gateway Grizzlies' crosstown rivals the River City Rascals.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 6: Gateway Grizzlies, Sauget, IL. Consuming Doughnut Burgers, Hitting the Hippie, and Ghost Riding the Whip

We got a late start to the day thanks to Ben's job interview and - more to the point - my supreme laziness after sitting up drinking and chatting with J until 3am. But we started it off with a bang, hitting up Pappy's Smokehouse BBQ here in St. Louis for lunch. It was sublimely delicious, and we received BBQ recommendations for Memphis (where we'll likely be later). Highlight aside from the food was a picture of Willie Nelson holding up one of the restaurant's shirts that said "Yeah...We Smoke."

Then we went to the City Museum. For any of you who don't know about the City Museum, it's essentially what a bunch of mad artists and engineers decided to do with all the crap left over after you build a city. Result: a giant adult playland.

But tonight's game blew all that out of the water.

Day 5. St. Louis: More Bourbon, Rescuing Maggie, and Watching the Cardinals Plummet

This one’s a bit short, due to the notable absence of Minor League Baseball. But, whatever.

Woke up, spent 9 minutes at the Jim Beam distillery to get our passports stamped, and then took the best of the free tours at Heaven Hill. Not quite as fun as Turkey, but the price was right and we got bourbon liquor and bourbon balls at the end.

Then Zach wanted to play mini-golf. He'd discovered an old orange Putt-Putt in Louisville randomly as he was traveling back from Chicago a couple months ago, and we proceeded to wait behind a group of 3 girls between the ages of 2 and 8 and their polite and tired mother as we played their toughest course (the ominously named No. 3). Nevertheless, we got in our 18 holes with an approximate score of Zach +20 to Ben +985.

 Zach’s giddiness did not end there, however, as we discovered a Simpsons Arcade game in the lobby. Neither one of us had played this game in about 10 years, but it quickly came back to us. 5 bucks worth of tokens and two sticky joysticks later (get your mind out of the gutter!), we beat the final form of Mr. Burns and rescued Maggie.

We decided to celebrate by getting in the car and driving 5 hours across 2 states to get to St. Louis. In the rain. Again.

After stashing our stuff at Zach's friend Jason's house, we made for Busch Stadium, which is, it turns out, a very large baseball stadium. Also, it has a Hardee's. And a ton of military hardware, including an Osprey, hanging out front. Thank you, Marine Week.

We got the pitching duel we expected from Roy Halladay and the incomparable Kyle McLellan (batting 8th! Thanks, Tony). Of course, then the bullpen happened. With a 1-run lead, St. Louis gift wrapped the game to the Phillies in the 8th. Lineout, Single, Walk, HBP, HBP, Strikeout, Single, Walk, Walk, Single, Single, Single, Flyout. Suddenly it’s a blowout and we’re in the parking garage coasting down a ramp tighter than the rings on a barber pole.

On the bright side, Jason Motte became just the 10th pitcher in MLB history to hit the only two batters he faced in a game…

The evening concluded with frozen custard and learning recipes from the cashier at Target. Recipes that she was sharing with the people in front of us. Instead of ringing them up and letting us check out.

No scores for today. Hard to judge big league parks with the same standards as minor leagues. And I’m sure you can find other reviews of Busch Stadium elsewhere.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 4. Louisville Bats; Louisville, KY. Zach Reinflates, Our Heroes Drink Delicious Bourbon, and We are Reminded This is a Minor League Roadtrip.

Well, I'm alive and writing the bulk of my first blog post since Day 1 (Ben and I collaborate on the post, but usually one of us takes the lead in writing it up). I no longer fear death, so if anyone's up for some skydiving or bear-baiting or whatever when we get back to Atlanta, let me know.

Also, before I open up this blog post, huge props to Tim Hudson of the Major League Braves for single-handedly laying down an ass-whuppin' on the Toronto Blue Jays. 8 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball with only 1 walk, 8 Ks, and he drove in the game's only 2 runs on a homer. Now that's a well-rounded player. Take your curtain call, Tim. In fact, take two. Bra-freakin'-vo.

Anyway, back to us: we began our day innocently enough with breakfast at the Pink Cadillac Diner at 8am after breaking down our soaked and muddy tent and rain fly. There we were, minding our own business as always, when suddenly...we were attacked by some sort of giant ape, possible a royal member of the Kong family. All was well when Zach recognized him as just another one of his cousins, though. We hope to run into many more of Zach's cousins (read: giant ape statues) on this trip.

Breakfast was delicious. The 5.5 hour drive down I-64 to Lexington, KY less so. Mostly because of one of the top 5 rainstorms I've ever had the pleasure of driving through. We finally decided to give up and ride it out in the shoulder after we saw a Kentucky State Trooper who decided it was too dangerous and did the same. But we live to almost die another day.

We quickly sped to our first main stop of the day: the Four Roses Distillery along the Bourbon Trail. We pretty much stopped long enough to get our passports stamped (if you get all 6 distilleries, you get a T-shirt! We're now 4 down, only 2 to go). We'll have them done tomorrow.

Then we hit up our main stop for the afternoon: the Wild Turkey Distillery. As many of you may know, Wild Turkey is my poison of choice. I tried to buy a T-shirt that encouraged people to “Shoot the Bird” but was thwarted by it not being in my size. After a tasting following our tour, I decided to buy myself a consolation gift of some Wild Turkey rare breed, a 108.2 proof mix of 6, 8, and 12 year-aged bourbon. No words. Should've sent...a poet. Anyone who gives us a place to crash can have a taste!

Ah, right, the ostensible purpose of this blog: baseball.

Day 3. Lynchburg Hillcats: Pitchers of Balls, Pitchers of Beer, and Neofoamic Druids

After staying in the UVA Presidential Mansion's Guest Cottages (thanks, John!) for the evening and seeing much Thomas Jefferson memorabilia (including his Wii), we scuttled from Charlottesville to Lynchburg amidst scattered precipitation. The Lynchburg Hillcats, High A affiliate of your Atlanta Braves, play at Calvin Falwell Field. Since we had just disembarked from Jerry Falwell Highway, we were curious as to the character of the ballpark's patron.

Any concerns we had were quickly assuaged by easily the best ballpark experience we've had thus far.

After the game, we made sure to stop by Foamhenge in Natural Bridge. Built in 6 weeks by Marc Cline and “4-5 Mexicans,” it is a full scale replica of Stonehenge made out of foam. It looks fantastic and even has a life-sized Merlin atop one of the megaliths. Zach and I used to the opportunity to play catch with our new Father's Day balls, though without gloves. This is fun because Zach's hands still burned from being Stupid the evening before.

As for the game...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 2: Richmond Flying Squirrels. Zach Pops, Jimmy Buffet, and Parker the Rally Pig.

Upon leaving Hampton Roads, we made a quick stop to visit the Beach Dude Gorilla Statue near the Virginia Aquarium. This would be the first excuse of the day for Zach to get out his Hawaiian T-Shirt.

Zach visits his cousin on the way out of town:

In Newport News, we discovered the Virginia War Museum. Not wanting to spend the money to walk around in air conditioned comfort, we trotted around the the outside examining tanks, mortars, torpedoes, and atomic cannons. Yes, cannons that shoot nukes. Really really far. Like, far enough that they won't kill the artillery crew. Cool.

Conveniently, the War Museum's tanks were positioned right next to a playground for an easy start to our New World Order.

The heat played havoc with our attempts at shenanigans, as Zach attempted a reenactment of Slim Pickens crowning moment from Dr Strangelove. Torpedoes which sit out in the sun all day tend to be rather warm to the touch and Zach was only just able to straddle it for a picture. This would be the first excuse of the day for Zach to burn himself for a really childish reason.

We arrived at Richmond around 5 and meet John at a place called Caliente for the Man Vs Food Stupid Wings Challenge. Rules were laid out: Zach must eat 8 Stupid Wings in 30 minutes with 1 napkin, no other food or drink until he finished them, and must not puke for the duration of the stay. We had two radically different perspectives on the events that transpired there, so we each give our accounts.

Ben: I have the utmost confidence in Zach as he signs the legal waiver after ordering. He is all smiles and excitement and grins when they put a bubbling plate of lava colored lumps in front of him. After one wing he is breathing heavily, tears in his eyes. After a couple more, the shakes start, his fingers and mouth are covered in sauce, and his sole focus seems to be on exhaling. He finishes the plate about 10 minutes into the time, at which time he consumes 4 glasses of water and begins the first of his four cartons of milk. His whole chin is dyed red from the sauce. Syllables come from his mouth, but are never more than “Milk” or “Water”. His whole face is red as a beet and we had to remove his hat for him. I make trips to the restroom to wet paper towels and put them on his face. His eyes are glazed and teary, his shakes come and go with consistency and we know there are no words we can offer to ease the searing pain he is enduring. The waitress is nonchalant, as she's seen this many times. The woman behind the bar keeps throwing milk at me when I ask. Snot trickles in streams from Zach's nose, but his focus seems entirely on respiration and keeping a constant stream of cooling liquid down his throat. We offer encouragements of “Champ” and “Big Guy” and “Badass”, but we see only glimmers of comprehension in his responses.

Zach: I can say with confidence – and no hyperbole – that I no longer fear death. This was pain unlike any I've ever experienced, including when I snapped my leg in half when I was 9. The physiological response to the spice was unprecedented: I actually went into shock. I lost feeling in the tips of my fingers. I couldn't speak, my eyes couldn't focus, and it was impossible for me to eat the wings any faster than I did. My body would not allow it. It was terrifying. I'm glad I did it; that said, I will never ever attempt anything like that ever again.

Now, baseball.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 1: Norfolk Tides; Norfolk, VA. Racing Wine Bottles, Fried Snickers, and our First Usher Encounter

Well that was a fun 3.5 hour drive that turned into a 5.5 hour drive. For those of you that didn't already know, northern Virginia is the nexus of Traffic Satan.

But there was the proverbial pot of gold at the end of this trafficular rainbow: my co-pilot Ben and our first Minor League stop, the Norfolk Tides in Norfolk, VA.

We began our evening with the finest dining experience Virginia Beach has to offer. Oh yes, boys and girls, I'm talking about the International Super Buffet Dynasty With Mongolian B-B-Q!

Now, it was every bit as delicious as you might expect, but...well, let me just show you a picture of my first plate of food and beverage. 10 blog points to the first person that can tell me what's horribly wrong here. 

Baseball review after the jump.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

MiLB Stadium Metrics: Judge Not Lest...Wait, No. We're Totally Judging.

My friends Ben, JC, Joe, and I have put together a preliminary list of metrics by which we will be judging all the Minor League parks Ben and I visit. If you have additional metric ideas, please post them in comments. If you want to criticize any of the existing metrics, please post your comments here.

Because I can't figure out how to post a good table here, I've placed our grading sheets in a public Google doc available here. This table will also constantly be updated with our thoughts on each individual park. The metrics themselves are as follows:

Price of Beer
0-10 points: 1 point per $1 below $10. All prices adjusted for least expensive 16 fl oz

Most Caloric Concession Item
0-10 points: 1 point per 200 calories (if I can get my full DVA in one food item, that's 10 points). Estimates based on ballpark staff or our own best guesses.

Minor League Personalities
0-10 points: 1 point per personality spotted; 2 bonus points for all 8. The Personalities are linked to in the first blog post.

Willingness to Give Random Bloggers Free Seats
0-10 points: 1 point per 10% discount we receive.

0-10 points: Largely (read: entirely) subjective based on sophistication of tailgating activities and locals' baseball knowledge.

Funniest Roster Name
0-10 points: John Smith? That's 0. Dick Wood? I'd say that's a 7. Rusty Venture? Yeah, there's your 10.

Promotion Quality
0-10 points: Entirely subjective, but points will be given for value of promotion, cleverness, and vitriol.

0-10 points: 1 point per 10% of the crowd that is non-white

Men's Room
0-10 points: 1 point for every urinal under 10. I wanna pee in a trough!

Random Bonus Points!
At Our Discretion

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Get The Hell Out of My Office

Welcome to Scrappy Journeymen With Heart Who Blog the Right Way, the chronicle of Ben and Zach's epic month long southeastern roadtrip of June and July 2011. This roadtrip will center around 4 main themes, each more awesome than the last.

Wait, no, the first one is most awesome. Then number 3, then 4, then probably 2. But you get the idea.

1.) Minor League Baseball! The primary focus of the trip, and the main determinant of our route, which is still naturally TBD. We'll be gunning for at least 20 games over the course of the trip, and will of course be ranking each park and team on key metrics such as price of beer, most calories available in one concession item (I really hope more teams have adopted - or dare I wish, outdone? The Luther Vandross Burger), ability to win Minor League Bingo, and willingness to give random bloggers free seats.

2.) Roadside Americana. How many different materials can you make Stonehenge out of? Foam and cars for starters, but we know this country can do better. So follow the blog to find out!

3.) Minigolf. Sure, we know we'll see plenty of dinosaur and pirate-themed courses, but will Zach finally achieve his longest-standing desire: playing a NINJA-themed minigolf course?

4.) Man vs. Food locations and challenges. Why bother determining good restaurants for yourself, when Adam Richman can do it for you? Thanks, buddy! Put your trust in God; your ass (and every upstream digestive organ) belongs to Adam.

Since we'll be driving a lot, expect daily updates (replete with photos and videos where warranted) pending WiFi access. The roadtrip runs from June 17th to July 10th.

We'll be camping in remote areas some nights, so there's a possibility you might have to wait. But just sign on to follow the blog, and you'll get your fix as soon as it's available. Be cool, honeybunnies, and we'll see you on the road.

Zach and Ben