Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 1: Lynchburg Hillcats Redux (Lynchburg, VA): Congressional Debates, 2 Types of Pitchers, and a Temporal Disproportion

Edit: Pictures up!

Pictures forthcoming after we get out of the Charleston KOA's version of wireless Internet. 

To start our current pilgrimage, we raced from home base in Atlanta to the point furthest from.  Lynchburg, Virginia, where our trip began in earnest last year.  Zach had not had lava flavored chicken wings the night before, so he was in a better humor than the last time we sojourned to southwest Virginia.
We gained insight into the local politics of one Chatham, Virginia by noting the campaign flyers for some congressional candidates alongside the road.  In addition to the usual name and office on a background of red, white, and blue, these posters functioned as a complete debate over one of the pressing issues of the day. The posters read as follows:




The trip was otherwise unremarkable aside from its length.  We left Atlanta at 11:30 AM shooting for the 7:05 game in Lynchburg.  Google Maps approximated the trip at 7 hours and 30 minutes, so we didn’t have a moment to spare.  Despite minor rainstorms and a flaming tractor trailer on the opposite side of 85 in Charlotte, we landed in the Lynchburg parking hill at precisely 7:05 and so after getting tickets and beer, we only missed the first couple of pitches… What’s that?  We missed the whole first inning?  There’s no way the game could be moving that qui… top of the 3rd?  

Yes, readers, this was a lighting fast game.  Surprising, seeing as the Hillcats were playing the Red Sox and the Red Sox are notorious for the length of their games.  In fact, the 9th inning began, with Lynchburg up 1-0 and only 6 hits for the two teams combined, at 8:50.  Excited at the prospect of seeing our first sub-2 hour game, we journeymen cheered with every strike call, cringed at a one out double, and rejoiced as the final out was recorded at exactly 9:05!  Our joy at this largely inconsequential athletic feat was palpable, only to be shattered as the loudspeaker announced that the official time of game was 2 hours… and 3 minutes.  As tempting as we find it to embellish the story and stretch the truth a bit, we are dedicated to truthiness and must report that we have NOT yet seen a game come in under 2 hours yet.

1.) One catcher throwing error and two dropped 3rd strikes, one of which led to the hitter reaching first base.  Not quite the “3 passed balls in an inning” that we saw last time in Lynchburg, but it still had that High A Ball charm.

2.) We got our pitcher refilled.  Wild Wolf, a smoky scotch microbrew, was our drink of choice this time.  11 dollars for a pitcher of microbrew is a hard deal to beat.  We even had the same guy who gave us the pitcher last year.

Ladies, if you're looking for a man with priorities, look no further. We drove 7.5 hours for this. Imagine what he'd do for more.

3.) Trivia question from the loudspeaker:  What Giants pitcher got blown off the mound in the 1962 World Series?  Their answer:  Stu Miller.  Our answer:  No one, because Stu Miller got blown off the mound in the 1961 All Star game.

4.) The clown who made balloon animals for the kids.  He should probably learn not to inflate the long balloons from his midsection.  Immature people might find something amusing about that.

5.) The umpire had the most aesthetically satisfying strike call we’ve seen.  It was clear, crisp, and concise.  He squared himself from the plate perfect, and stared down his right arm as it made one hammer-like gesture.  His strikeout call was just as smooth with a slide step back and two-arm thrust (think one iteration of The Lawnmower) all in one motion.  Disco Stu would have trouble duplicating this kind of perfection.

6.) This conversation:
Kid: (to mother) Why are they called Red Sox?
Mother: (to kid) I’m not sure.
Zach: (to both) Actually it began with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who used it to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Kid:  Wow
Zach:  You should watch Ken Burns’s Baseball.
Kid:  I like TV.  I like video games more.
Ben:  Then you should play Ken Griffey Jr. on Super Nintendo.
Kid:  I hate to read.
Zach:  Then you should learn to like it and then read Cobb, a biography of one of baseball’s most colorful players.  (to mom) When he’s older and knows his own place in the world.  We’re not talking about a role model here.

7.) A friendly local man who, when we said we drove 7 hours from Atlanta mentioned that he drove 7 hours to Atlanta on his honeymoon to see Dale Murphy play.  We agreed that was a prize of a wife who would let him do that.  We saw him again after the game to celebrate the real Braves (tenuous) 5 run lead over the Stupid Mets.  During this conversation, amid wild gesticulations, something fell from his pocket.  As he looked about for it, he gave us the greatest of all parting remarks:  “I Shit my Damn...”

Guys, this is our new "Train" from last year. There's no way you could understand because you weren't there, but we swear this is the funniest thing ever. "I shit my damn" is our new Catchphrase O' the Road Trip (TM).

8.) Friday the 13th on-field promotions involved a lawnmower race past a black cat and an open umbrella and under a ladder.  (Announcer:  Well you both sort of cheated there at the end, so I’ll say the person who crossed the finish line first anyway is the winner.)  Also a salt spilling race.  (Announcer:  I’ve never run a salt spilling contest before, so I’m not sure how to comment on what’s going on here.)  Also, they dressed up 2 7 year olds in cow suits for the More Cowbell noise competition.

Carefully Re-calibrated And Peer-reviewed (CRAP Metrics):  We’ve consolidated some of the old metrics and added some new friends as well, but it all works out just as well.

Beer Prices:  6.5 points.  Still probably the best we’ll see, but the pitcher refill has inflated to 11 dollars from last year’s 10.

Most Caloric Item:  No change.  3 points.

Crowd:  They love their Hillcats and cheer them on to the end.  And they’re a friendly bunch.  8 points.

Funniest Name:  Heiker Menenses and Adelberto Ibarra get honorable mention, but the prize has to go to the Salem starting pitcher, Yeiper Castillo (pronounced...we're not sure, but we refuse to believe it's anything besides YEE-purr).  4 points

Men’s Restroom:  1 point

Mascots: 5 points. As a new feature for the blog, we're starting a "Who Would Win in a Fight?" bracket for all the mascots we see. Day 1 vs. Day 2, Day 3 vs. Day 4, and so on. Tonight's was Southpaw, a large Hillcat with shadowed eyes. As a natural predator, he should have an advantage in any scuffle, and the left-handedness implicit in his nickname could be a game changer if the opponent is caught off guard. More on this next time as we get a chance to assess the mascot in Charleston.

That's one fierce, uh...chipmunk? What the hell is a Hillcat, anyway?

Promotions: 5 points. No Father's Day balls this year, tragically. But hey, what more do you want than Braves baseball? And that pitcher refill?

Random Bonus Points:  Academically interesting length of game, 1 point. 
Friday the 13th fun:  13 points?  Nah, just 3.
Trivia Questions:  2 points
Clown with balloon erection:  .5 points
Catcher shenanigans:  1 point
Nostalgia:  5 points
Disco Stumpire:  3 points (3 strikes.  Get it?)
Arodys Vizcaino and Andrelton Simmons as alumni who have made the bigs:  4 points because we’re still Braves fans
Cody Martin throwing a complete game, 2 hit, 14 K shutout. 5 points
Our new friend shitting his damn.  5 points

Total:  63 points.

Overall: We love Lynchburg and hope to refill our pitcher again at the 10 year Scrappy Journeymen Reunion Tour.  You know, after our inevitable heartbreaking split and various unsuccessful solo projects. 8/10 points.

1 comment:

  1. I unwillingly spent a night in Lynchburg, 36 years ago. Stayed in the creepiest motel there. It reminded me of the Bates Motel. The shower was in the room, and all night, I stayed awake, waiting for Norman to appear in the shower.