Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 2, Charleston Riverdogs (Charleston, SC): In Which Our Heroes Drive Another 7.5 Hours, Grab a Piece of History, and Mistake the Meaning of the Phrase “Pickle Dog”

We begin our day at more or less the crack of dawn, when Ben and I both roused ourselves, without much difficulty, from the rocky terrain on which we'd eventually succumbed to something a man more scrupulous than your average Senator wouldn't be able to refer to with a straight face as a reasonable facsimile of “sleep.” No matter. A 7.5 hour drive ahead of us to Charleston, SC. Plenty of time for sleep then.

So, we hit the road (briefly) before stopping for breakfast at our old friend the Pink Cadillac diner. We hit this up last year, and it was a reasonable enough source of foodstuffs that we decided to stop in and pay another visit to my cousin, King.

The King stay the King.

After that we hit I-81 south to I-77 and finally I-26. On the way, though, there was more fun with numbers. Eventually the fuel light came on, nagging us to put gas in the car. So we stopped. But the prices sucked, so I only put in 2 gallons. Then this happened.

Nice omen.

Later we stopped for more gas, but there was also Chick-Fil-A involved. Woo!

Finally we made it to Charleston. After striking out with two hotels (one didn't take the coupon we found, the other was too sketchy even for us) we relented and booked another campsite for the night. We rushed over, pitched the tent and it was off to the Charleston Riverdogs for a 7:05 start!

We rushed over to get there at 5:30 because the whole reason we drove 7.5 hours was for their promotion. The first 1,000 fans got this snazzy Negro League jersey! There were also several former Negro League players there selling gear from such teams as the Black Yankees and Atlanta Black Crackers. Ah, memories.

Caption: As a white guy, I feel a little strange wearing this out of the context of the ballpark. But why only do what you're comfortable with in life?


This was a pretty impressive stop, actually. But what do you expect from a team with Bill Murray as a part-owner? It was the same deal with the Saints last year.

1.) The promotion. Negro League jersey? How awesomely creative and historical.
2.) This was a game between the Yankees and Red Sox affiliates. It didn't have quite the same heated hatred as its Major League equivalent, and the game lasted just 2h47m (the shortest Yankees-Red Sox game in history, for the uninitiated), but still...Yankees-Red Sox, right?
3.) Speaking of Yankees-Red Sox, when they were scanning the crowd for baseball look-alikes they finally settled on a guy who looked like Braves catcher Brian McCann. I mean, I guess this is Braves country, but still. Awesome.
4.) Rotating 8-barrelled T-shirt cannon. Jason F., the gauntlet has been thrown. Get on that.
5.) Sure it was only on the not-so-Jumbotron and not in real life, but they had the Taco Bell Cheese Race. This is the first race I've seen that included obstacles! Genetically mutated rats, slicers, and a set of toaster ovens sought to stop the cheese from reaching its goal, but we all know nothing can stop Pepperjack!
6.) The passive-aggressive announcer. After a particularly spirited between-inning activity that the crowd had a lackluster response to: “C'mon, really? No applause?” The crowd then obliged.
7.) Ralph, our main man usher who directed us to, among many delicious ballpark eats, a secret $1 beer stand.
8.) Speaking of which, $1 “beers”. Er, $1 Busch lights.
9.) Speaking of food, a build-your-own hotdog stand with 17 different toppings. Your choice. Nice. Points for creativity.
10.) The Homewrecker, a footlong version of the above. There was a mural of Adam Richman with his favorite one at the concession stand. 'Nuff said.
11.) Duck, Venison, and Alligator sausage all available. Again with the creativity, Charleston!
12.) Ben and I saw them spraypainting the spot for Home Plate. We hadn't seen this done before, or at least often.
13.) Oh sure, any old schmuck can have a beer garden. But a WINE Garden? That takes chutzpah.
I'll call it the Gene Weingarten.

14.) The view from the back of the stadium. Pretty much doesn't get more Charleston than the tidal marshes.

Before the game (the Citadel is in the background)...
7th inning. The moon is awesome, guys. So is physics. Learn more of it.

15.) Not one, but TWO Miami Dolphins fans in attendance. Not together!
16.) The Chipolte Chicken Nachos. No, that's not a typo on the menu. Why do you aks?
17.) The Carolina League Hall of Fame inductees posted on the stadium walls included this guy:
Chipper, we love you more than that Hooters waitress!

And this...erm...guy? God? Jackass?
Thou shalt sharpen thy spikes and the meek shall inherit Nothing of the game of Base-Ball (Cobb 1:2).

18.) Back to food for a moment. The delectable River Dog: Carolina mustard-based BBQ sauce, sweet cole slaw and pickled okra. YUM.
19.) Oh, and the Pig-on-a-Stick. It's just a footlong corn dog wrapped in bacon, you guys. What's the big deal? Wait, did I mention it's a FOOT LONG f***ing CORN DOG wrapped in BACON?
20.) Actual video intros for the players. Very fancy. Not common in the minors. I blame the Yankees.
21.) We saw our first balk of the trip!
22.) And our first muffed fly ball.
23.) And our first mascot injury! The main mascot (a dog) was often accompanied by a Tree (har har), but the tree's costume deflated or he hurt himself or something, and after falling down a few times to the crowd's amusement he tumbled down the stairs to the dugout. That's when Ben and I figured out something was wrong. Of course, we kept laughing. But still. Shout out for our main man who refused to take off the broken costume and instead TOOK A TUMBLE DOWN THE FREAKING STAIRS for professionalism. Somebody hire this man.
24.) After all this talk of food, I should tell you I forsook the Homewrecker for something called a Pickle Dog, which I foolishly assumed was a seasoned pickle on a bun. Oh, silly me. The pickle is the bun.

This is, quite possibly, the only vegetable you will see Zach eat all trip.

Carefully Recalibrated And Peer-reviewed (CRAP) Metrics:

Beer: Price-wise, they beat Lynchburg ($1/8 oz of Busch Light → $2/pint vs. $2.75/pint for local microbrews), but they don't come close in quality or variety. But this was mitigated somewhat by the impressive array of wine and liquor. The fact that there were dollar beers on SATURDAY didn't hurt. 6/10 pts.

Most Caloric Concession Item: The Homewrecker really depends on what you put on it, but I saw one guy with chili, cheese, and what looked like more cheese. That was definitely 1,000 calores. There were also the Kitchen Sink nachos for 2, but Ben wouldn't order them with me so we can't judge them. Blame him if you don't like this ruling. 5/10 pts.

Crowd: Very diverse crowd, actually! Maybe because it was a diversity weekend kinda thing, but the crowd was about 50/50. Great to see. The crowd's spirit was decent, but it's hard to get behind Yankees or Red Sox fans. 6/10 pts.

Funniest Name: Keury de la Cruz (pronounced: “Cool-Ray”). 4/10 pts.

Men's Room: It's only a 15-year old park. 8 urinals → 2/10 pts.

Mascots: In our first match-up of the trip, we have Day 1 vs. Day 2. Hillcat vs. Riverdog. Southpaw vs. Charles! You guys saw Southpaw in the last post. Ben and I both agree he could whupp the Riverdog's rear, but we don't like either of them in a fight, really. Still, Southpaw advances. But bonus points for mascot professionalism (SEE highlights, mascot injury). 7/10 pts.

You don't honestly think he could beat whatever a Hillcat is, do you?

Promotions: Negro League jersey night? Yeah, we'd drive 7.5 hours for that. Why wouldn't you? What's wrong with you? Racist. 8.5/10 pts.

Random Bonus Points:
+4 for EIGHT-barreled rotating T-shirt cannon, +1 for Brian McCann look-alike, +2 for a Cheese Race with obstacles, +2 for Thirsty not-Thursday, +1 for a mural of Adam Richman, +2 for passive-aggressive announcer, +1 for Gene Weingarten, +3 for Chipper and Ty Cobb on the same placard, +1 for a Dolphins fan signing, +1 for video intros, and +3 for I don't care that it's already kind of a category (Mascot professionalism)

Total: 59.5 points.

Overall: Really Charleston did a surprisingly good job, particularly for a Yankees club. They get their Big Boy Badge. Good for them. 7.5/10 whatevers.

1 comment:

  1. Have to prevent the barrels from overheating and melting.