Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 18. Lake Erie Crushers; Avon, OH. What do IHOP Waiters, Baseball Players, and Fireworks Techs All Have in Common?

Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
An' you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
'Cos we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

-Toby Keith, Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue

These were the words that were (regrettably? awesomely?) stuck in my head when I woke up this morning. By which I mean they were the words I was belting out in the shower this morning. And that I had on the radio in the car as we drove from Toledo to the (not-so-)little town of Elyria 25 miles west of Cleveland, where my friend Tricky and his family awaited us with a generous offering of shelter.

Before taking advantage of that, though, we had to take advantage of another great American tradition: IHOP. Only because there was no Waffle House, of course. But still. Thanks for working the holidays, guys! I'd hope you got double-time for that, but I know there's no use.

Anyway, we headed on to Elyria, where I immediately set to work re-paying Tricky's family with my (in?)famous Binney Burgers, an ancient family recipe handed down for generations from our first American ancestors in Boston in the 1600s.

By which I mean I accidentally stumbled on the recipe while drinking heavily at my friend's lakehouse in 2006. Tomato, tomahto. Regardless, I grilled up a batch (well, if you can call propane "grilling"...but the sign of a great chef, and indeed a great man, is to work with what you have) and I believe his family agreed they were tasty. I was just happy to take advantage of any chance to play with fire on the 4th. Shout out to Tricky's sister, Marin, for some delicious patriotic cupcakes after the game (strawberries, whipped cream, and blueberries!) and his mom, Sheila, for some superb potato salad and beans.

After dinner 7 of us piled in his family's van for the short drive out to the Lake Erie Crushers game. So, without further ado...


1.) Our first game on real turf! And by real turf, I totally mean Astroturf. Nice!
The best part? Have you ever seen dudes slide on turf? Priceless.

2.) Shout out to Tricky's dad for putting in a PA announcement for "Ben and Zach, here all the way from Atlanta, GA"! It was another thrilling landmark for our trip, in addition to getting free tickets and getting on the field for sumo wrestling.

3.) Sweet fireworks spectacular, but they used an edited version of Toby Keith's great anthem that didn't include the line "We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way!" Minus points for including Proud to be an American, too. Bonus points for ending on The Stars and Stripes Forever. Good old Sousa!
Happy Innuhpenants Day, everyone!

4.) The decidedly PG-13 Bear mascot with a...how do I put this politely...robust gonadal containment vessel that he delighted in jauntily shaking at the crowd?
They were bear nuts. And they figured prominently in his dance moves.

5.) Keggsylvania, behind left field.
What they really meant by the land of milk and honey: milk stouts and honey lagers.

6.) The Crushers were playing...the River City Rascals! And we were two rows behind the Rascals dugout! Several players - and many fans - were surprised to see a loud and boisterous Rascals duo cheering their team on over a thousand miles away from home. I like to think they were touched, or at least bizzarrely amused. I don't know if I got Chris McLendon's attention, but I tried to thank him several times for signing my hat in O'Fallon. Rascals, know this: when you win me as a fan, you win me for life. For better or for worse.

Chris, we're your #1 fans! In as non-stalkerish a way as possible!

7.) Our first truly close game through 9 innings. A 1-0 finish, and thrilling to the end, with a runner on 3rd.

8.) At least 20 times during the game, they announced details of their "NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN FOR EXITING THE PARKING LOTS." I'm...guessing you guys have had some problems with that in the past, huh? Never thought I'd have to hear so much begging for Midwesterners to be nice.

9.) It's not our first such contest, but I love the "buy a ball and hurl it onto the field at some point for a chance to win fabulous prizes" promotions. In this case sweet Nike sunglasses. Dudes, interactive promotions are the best promotions.

10.) Handing out all the leftover concessions for free after the fireworks. Classy - and eco-conscious - move. Communists.

Regularly Scheduled Metrics:

Price of Beer
5.25 pts: $4.75 for a pint of Labatt? Could be worse. It's my favorite of the crappy beers, admittedly, and it's as cheap as Bud once you approach America's hat.

Most Caloric Concession Item
6 pts: Pierogie Bratwurst. No no no, it's not what you're thinking. Not grilled pierogies with peppers and onions. What would make you think that? This is Frontier League baseball. It's a bratwurst topped with onions, peppers, sauerkraut, AND buttered pierogies.

Minor League Personalities
7 pts: Our closest completion to date! Teenagers on a Date and Drunkards? Yup. Simultaneously, too! Bonus points for one girl belting out to her friend, obviously tipsy, "Nuh uh! I'm 16 and a half!" Family out for a Nice Night Together? Bonus points because they were sheltering us. Minor League Diehards? Oh, plenty! Major League Fans? Do you know how close we are to Cleveland? Local celebrity? The VP of marketing for some firm that introduced the fireworks (blissfully quickly!) totally counts. Little League Team? Happy 4th, guys! Still no Minor League Groupies, though.

Willingness to Give Random Bloggers Free Seats

2 pts: Gravel lot -> not a ton of action. But we'll give a couple points to getting to grill beforehand at Tricky's house. Some stadiums would require parking that far away...

Funniest Roster Name
5 pts: To be fair, they were handicapped because we've already seen the Rascals. So only one team to draw from. Kyle Boe is respectable, as I thought they were originally talking about this guy. Honorable mention to Hall of Famer Jason Taylor.

Promotion Quality
7 pts: Chuck tennis balls onto the field for free sunglasses, a raffle for a jersey signed by the whole team, AND huge fireworks spectacular? Not bad, Lake Erie.

0 pts: This did used to be Sundown Town territory.

Men's Room
2 pts: Although small, it's still a pretty modern park. On a near-sellout this 4th of July, though...I'm admittedly thankful for their restroom design. Still, I can't budge on our rubric. We can't risk degrading the integrity of such a robust and sensitive study.

Bonus Points
+5 for AstroTurf, +1 for players (including our boy Chris) sliding on it, +3 for the creepy bear, +5 for our names on the PA, +5 for the fireworks, +1 for JP Sousa, -1 for edited Toby Keith, -1 for Proud to be an American, +3 for Keggsylvania, +2 for the free concessions, +4 for our first truly close game (I was kinda hoping for extra innings but also really wanted the fireworks), +2 for the comically frequent mentioning of new traffic patterns, +1 for 16 and a half, +1 for the family sheltering us

Total: 65. Good for tops in Ohio! Hey, 1 of 1 is still first.

Final Take: Not a ton of highlights here, you could say, but they were all awesome ones. A great way to spend the 4th of July: Binney burgers, baseball (with one of our favorite teams, daaaaaaa Rascals!), and badass pyrotechnics. Frankly, I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier. Another solid Frontier League performance! 7/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment