Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 16. Joliet Slammers; Joliet, IL. In Which Our Heroes Commit Crimes, Go to Jail, and Discover a True American Treasure of the Encased Meats Variety.

Our final day in Chicago began innocently enough, as we rousted ourselves after a night of playing Halo and drinking 'til 3am for a trip to a true Chicago institution, Hot Doug's. If you've never been and live in Chicago, shame on you. The owner - Doug, of course - is a master of the art of the encased meat. He's the Emperor of Encasings, the Sultan of Sausage, the Baron of Bratwurst, the Archduke of Andouille, the a Guru of Gourmet Hot Dogs.

How gourmet can hot dogs get, you ask? Well, highlights of our trip included the duck sausage dog with foie gras, the rattlesnake sausage, and a turducken sausage with brie and bleu cheeses on top. Oh, and the fries cooked in duck fat. My hot dogs have a new first name, and it's D-O-U-G Doug.

Of course, we had to wait in line for 90 minutes to get them. In 90-degree heat. With no water. Or at least until an enterprising ice cream truck operator just planted himself outside the line. Brilliant, and most welcome! I had a Mega Missile pop, the only correct popsicle to eat this time of year.

Oh, did I mention our whole meal was free courtesy of Megan's bravery? She has gotten the Hot Doug's logo tattooed on her body. Like, for reals, guys. Which means she and her friends eat free for life. Doug, you're my hero once again.

After this, we picked up my friends Evelyn, Fix, and Loranne and all 6 of us packed into my Corolla for the hourlong trip to Joliet. I'm sure it felt longer for those in the back, but if it's any consolation, guys, I was really entertained. Really should've done some donuts in the Wal Mart parking lot, though.

Post-game we headed back to Chicago to watch our favorite scenes from the greatest movie of all time while drinking copious amounts of appropriate Irish and Mexican beverages. It was glorious, but it's making the grind out I-80 for Toledo today just a bit less pleasant.

Anyway, to the game!


1.) Joliet's team is called the Slammers. And not because they hit lots of homers. They're named after the federal prison in town. Awesome.

2.) And their mascot is a genuinely angry looking "Jailbird."

3.) And their napkin holders say: Slammers Baseball, Get Convicted. Uh, why isn't this on a T-shirt yet?
OK, napkin holders, good start...but how about a T-shirt?

4.) Speaking of T-shirts, AWESOME orange and green color scheme. I just wish they had it in my size, but I had to settle for a green one with the prison-stadium logo on it. Evelyn got the orange, though.
Stupid popular T-shirt designs not being in my size...

5.) Where in the World IS Carmen Pignatiello, the Slammers pitching coach? Apparently hiding behind Player No. 2 on the Jumbotron. Good guess, girl who won that promotion.

6.) A sumo on-field contest we weren't in. Consequently, it was much weaker. Seriously, these guys could barely be bothered to butt shoulders.
WEEEEEAK sauce. The contest was as flat as this guy.

7.) Our second consecutive night of fireworks! Totally worth the extra 10 minutes we had to wait after the game.

8.) Beer cheese bacon burgers? *Drools* It's like a bacon cheeseburger but with a pub cheese-type spread. Anyway, I'm sure you can imagine how tasty it was. Now double it. That's how tasty it ACTUALLY was.

9.) Free cotton candy after the game! Guess that stuff doesn't keep real well overnight, huh? See kids: good things come to those who wait. Like free sugar.

10.) Best video montage of the trip: a string of clips from, like, 10 or 12 different inspirational movie speeches and scenes. Really super badass. Would've been a perfect lead-in to the fireworks, but for some bizzarre reason they just played it while we were waiting, then followed it up with some other weird, less-appropriate montages.

11.) Real live FANS OF THE VISITORS. At a Frontier League game! Awesome, awesome job, 3 guys in Normal Cornbelters jerseys.

12.) Ben and Megan tell me their scorecard is very big and awesome and detailed. NERDS.

13.) Tailgating in front of the local high school. Hey, a win is a win is a win, no matter how sketchy it is.

14.) Although it was sponsored by Bud, there was a place to sit in the outfield on beach chairs. On actual sand. So you can pretend you're at the beach. At a ball game. In Joliet. I can only assume crowd surfing beach balls is OK here?

15.) Umpire heckling seats.
Does knowing you're right on ball/strike calls make heckling more or less entertaining?

Regularly Scheduled Metrics:

Price of Beer
5.6 pts: $5.50 for 20 oz of the bad stuff. Another stadium with price differentials for good beer, too. Guess this isn't as uncommon as we thought.

Most Caloric Concession Item
5 pts: I can still feel that beer cheese bacon burger making its way through my left ventricle. God help my right atrium.

Minor League Personalities
5 pts: Families Out for a Nice Night Together galore, as well as Teens on Dates. No local celebrities or Minor League Groupies, unfortunately, but plenty of Major League Fans with Cubs AND Sox gear. I'll give the old man decked out in Slammers gear the Minor League Diehard point. And Drunkards? Well, we were at the game, too. We totally count.

Willingness to Give Random Bloggers Free Seats

1 pt: 1 point to ourselves for tailgating in front of the local high school. It's where the parking lot was, guys! Drug free school zones aren't in effect during summer, right?

Funniest Roster Name
4 pts: Ben Ferrell, mostly because Ben thought they were calling HIS name. Honorable Mention to Brandon Leeper, whose name on the lineup card read B.LEEPER.

Promotion Quality
4 pts: We heard rumors of free baseball cards but didn't get any. Still, I always give some points for things that explode, so the fireworks carry the day here.

0 pts: The stadium did kinda resemble a country club prison, I guess...

Men's Room
5 pts: They even had dividers between the urinals. Faaaaaaaaancy.

Bonus Points

+5 for making the team theme a PRISON, +2 for the Jailbird mascot, +1 for "Get Convicted", +2 for the sweet orange and green T-shirt designs, +1 for the awesome scorecards, +4 for legit fans of the visitors, +2 for free cotton candy, +1 for Where in the World, +3 for the ultra-mega-super-awesome video montage, +2 for being able to watch the game from beach chairs

Total: 52.6.

Not bad, Joliet, but MAN it's hard to hold a candle to St. Paul. The more you can build out the prison theme, the better. It's seriously awesome and unique. You kept 6 people entertained, 1 of whom cared nothing about baseball. And for that, the Scrappy Journeymen and their entourage thank you. If I ever get arrested I'm asking to go to prison in Joliet. 6.5/10.

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