Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 5, Augusta Greenjackets (Augusta, GA): Big Things that Should Be Small, Small Things that Should Be Big, and Two Two Hour Two Run Games.

We grew suspicious of the Best Western in High Point, NC as soon as its scale told Zach that he had actually lost weight during this trip.  Has it not been reading this blog?  We have a category specifically designed to fatten us up!

So we left.  In a similar manner to Day 4’s Burlington trip, we decided to stop briefly in Charlotte to take in the stadium for the Knights, even though we won’t get the chance to see a game there.  So we headed straight for Fort Mill, South Carolina (you know, that state that Charlotte is totally in, too) and found the winner of our Stadium Most Likely to be Invaded by Saxons award.  It looked pretty cool with a carousel inside and what looked like different colored seats.  We weren’t able to get in and poke around, but it was a neat drive around.

Think "Executives of the Round Table"

Even more grand, however, was the baseball water tower opposite the parking lot.  It just looked like something a 5-year-old Paul Bunyan would love.

And even he would do more damage to the tee than the ball.

We ate at a nearby Bojangles (pronounced Bo-yan-glaze we think) which was actually pretty tasty.  Augusta was beckoning, but we needed one more stop in Ridgeway, SC to see the world’s smallest police station.  It was in use from 1940-1990 and is about the size of a handicap restroom stall. The new station is next door and about twice as big.  It even had a working pay phone to the side in case someone in need found the station unoccupied.  We also saw a very elderly local woman driving an Escalade.  Priorities.

You can see about as much of the  station as we could.

Zach at his most Brobdingnagian

Not actually much bigger or any less useful than Ben's actual phone.

At long last we made it back into our home state of Georgia and the home of the Augusta Masters.  Not being interested in golf that doesn’t hand out orange balls for holes in one, we headed to the baseball park.  Apparantly, Monday’s game got rained out, so they played a double header for us, starting the first one 2 hours early at 5.


1. The first game of the double header was as empty as… well, as a game that starts two hours earlier than advertised. We’re lucky we checked the website that afternoon. I counted 96 people in the seats at the start of the 3rd inning, so there couldn’t have been more than 150 fans in the park at that point.
Here's where we make the joke about this only being friends and family of the players.   Except even they didn't show up.

2. The second game maybe tripled the attendance, but still may compete for the lowest attendance of any park. We could easily hear the home plate umpire call balls and we were all the way down the first base line. The players and umpires could hear about anything said in the crowd.

3.  Speaking of which, the field ump really heard it from the first base fans. He blew several calls, including ending one player’s streak of 30 some stolen bases without getting caught. After that inning, he went into right field for a bit instead of repositioning himself at first due to the caustic criticisms coming from the crowd.

4.  The primary hecklers were true Greenjackets fans, with season tickets, stat sheets for both teams, the ability to distinguish one masked catcher profile from another from 120 feet, and they had a cowbell. The on-field promoter gave a tour around the field to some kids in between the games and these folks were a stop on said tour. Love the dedication.

5.  Like Danville, there was no tron, Jumbo or otherwise. There was a barely readable scrolling marquee in center. This makes the fan club near us that much more impressive.

6.  Since it was a double header, both games lasted just 7 innings. Both games ended 2-0 and lasted under 2 hours, so we were done by 9. None of them would have gotten under 2 hours in 9 innings, but getting 2 games done in 4 hours is still impressive.

7.  The closest we’ve gotten to realizing Zach’s dream of “Netless Wednesdays” promotions. Nets covered only the 3 sections directly behind home plate and were not very high. Anyone sitting more than 30 feet down a basepath was in danger if they didn’t pay attention.

8.  Well not quite anyone. The playground in left field had nets. Boo.

9.  At least 3 balls went exactly where we had walked carrying our beer to our seats. This could have been a tragedy if not for our good timing.

10.  At the 366 mark on the left-center wall was a sign .366 – Ty Cobb. That’s his career batting average. When we start our own league, we will do the same thing for Mario Mendoza. We’ll let you readers figure out how that will work.

11.  Another heckler called the 3rd baseman “Dorn” after an error. Funny to make a Major League reference in the Minors, but it was appropriate.

12.  As the Greenjackets tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th 7th of game 2, the park played “Don’t Stop Believin’”. Cue 20 minute argument between Zach and Ben about whether liking the song because of the Sopranos is reason enough to hate someone. I’d recap it, but I don’t think either of us remembers which side we were arguing for.

13.  Not much in the way of on-field promotions. Some small games, including one called “Junk in the Trunk” involving shaking balls out of a box on your back.

CRAP Metrics
Beer Prices:  Wow.  We didn’t think anything could top Lynchburg, but it was a Two-fer-Tuesday so we got 2 32 ounce beers for 8 dollars.  That brings the cheapest 16 ounce to $2.  8 points

Most Caloric Concession Item:  Nothing remarkable.  Probably the beer.  3 points.

Most Amusing Name:  Zack von Rosenberg, Kelby Tomlinson, manager Lipso Nava get Honorable Mention.  Jose Cuevas gets the prize, mostly because Zach thought it was Jose Cuervo.  5 points.

Crowd:  While we took points away from Greensboro for having a small, quiet crowd, the size and chillness of this crowd was actually a plus.  Knowledgeable fans and good hecklers help a lot too.  And they got excited when stuff actually happened.  7 points

Men’s Restroom:  9 urinals.  1 point.

Mascot:  No sign of one.  It’s a shame since the logo could be somewhat fearsome.  Forfeit and no points.

Promotions:  Two games for the price of one.  Two beers for the price of one.  I’m inclined to give this 2 points for symmetry, but let’s bump it up to 5 points.

Random Bonus Points:  Umpire incompetence -1 point.  Fans setting him straight 5 points.  Netlessness 4 points.    Ty Cobb recognition 4 points.

Total 42 points.

Really pretty unremarkable, though mitigated by cool weather and beer.  Bear in mind, again, that our system really penalizes for a preponderance of urinals and lack of furries.  Wait, that came out wrong.  5.5/10

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