Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 6, Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Myrt. Beach, SC): In Which Ben Excels in Strokes, Our Heroes Nearly Die of Another Stroke, and the Supervillains Unveil Their World Domination Plot at a Minor League Ballgame

We began our day as we everyday, Pinkie: by waking up. Not sure why I keep repeating that. Unless we are dead. In which case, OOOOOOOO we'll haunt you good.

We sped forth eastward, seeking what we thought was our ultimate destination of Myrtle Beach, SC and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans' Supervillain Night on Dark Knight Release Eve. Our secondary objective: mini-golf, and lots of it!

Myrtle Beach is world famous for its golf, but what many people may not know is it also excels at its smaller-scale stepchild. Real golfers and our wallets didn't want us anywhere near a real course, so Putt Putt it was.

Our first course of the day was Hawaiian Rumble, which you all might recall as the site of the Mini Golf Masters every year. It's a standard but challenging 18-hole course, and the winner averaged a 31 over 12 rounds. That would be an average of 5 holes-in-one and par 2 on every other hole. Needless to say, we were nowhere near that.

Well-designed and challenging course. The holes had Hawaiian names reflecting their design, and the volcano went off ever 30 minutes. Also, Hawaiian luau music the whole way!

Your $9 admission included the cheapest lei in Myrt. Beach.

Did I mention challenging? Hole 17. Hit it too soft? F*ck you. Hit it too hard? F*ck you again.

Ben shot a 43 and I shot a 44, setting the tone for the rest of the day where Ben roughed me up on 4 of 5 courses to take the season series 4 games to 3. The only course I won: our second stop at Molten Mountain, which was coincidentally indoors and air conditioned. I guess I just don't have the conditioning to play outdoors in the South Carolina afternoon heat.

This is the only course I won on the day. Consequently, it's he greatest in Myrt. Beach.

We elected to avoid any of the other stores or restaurants (i.e. tourist traps) on Myrt. Beach, although we were tempted by Ben's Original Seafood Buffet. It was probably more expensive than the dollar hot dogs at the night's game, anyway.

So after all that mini-golf we headed down to the Myrtle Beach Krusty's KOA Kampground to try to find a primitive tent site for the night. We found one, but it was $47 + tax. This is approximately double any other KOA in the entire region. The employee's explanation? Peak tourist season. OK, but I have to believe you're not at the optimal price point here on the S/D curve. Who comes to Myrtle Beach looking to tent camp? And how many of them would pay $50 for the privilege? You still could've jacked it up to ~$35/night and Ben and I would have paid it. Instead, we drove 1.5 hours after the game to Florence, SC for a Howard Johnson for less. With 4 walls, a roof, 2 soft beds, free breakfast, and gorram air conditioning!

Anyway, rant over. Game time!


1.) Parking was free. Which is pretty much the only thing in Myrt. Beach under $8.
2.) Dollar hot dog night again! Second time in three nights, though this one didn't include any chili, slaw, or cheese. But they were Hebrew Nationals. It's a wash.
3.) Field is, we both agree, by far the most ridiculous stadium name we've encountered to date. Not only is it long and unwieldy, but I'm not sure I'd want my stadium (or my service, for that matter...) associated with the phrase “Ticket return.
4.) Whoa, am I at the circus or a ballgame? They had a guy on stilts and a juggler walking around the stadium. Haven't seen that elsewhere.
5.) Our confusion was not helped by several acrobatic catches in right field by the Pelicans and a couple at SS from both sides.
6.) This used to be a Braves affiliate, so their (gigantic) Wall of Fame was chock full of Braves players who made it to the majors. Many of them were great players, but I just can't bring myself to use the word “Greats” in a group that includes Scott Thor...BWAHAHAHA, sorry, I can't even get through saying his name with a straight face.

"Wall of Fame" and "Scott Thorman" are not two phrases I ever expected to utter together.

7.) It was a damn hot day, and we were in the first row above the dugout on the 3rd base side. While spraying down the field, after a few requests the groundscrew obliged us with a little hose-based relief. Classy!
8.) It was Supervillain Night (tomorrow we go to Dark Knight Night in Hickory, NC), and they took the theme pretty far. Our ushers wore cat ears like Catwoman, and the interns/field entertainment crew were dressed up as the Riddler, Dr. Evil, and Joker (by far the best costume). No Bane, tragically.
9.) They also put Supervillains up on the Jumbotron for visiting players. We spotted Darth Vader, Voldemort (that's right, I can say it), and Heath Ledger's Joker. No respect for Jack's Joker, sadly.
10.) A legitimate John Rocker, No. 49 jersey on a fan! Nice job, boss. Beats our “K. F. Powers, 49” jerseys in the chutzpah department.
11.) Two mascots in Myrt. Beach: Splash the Pelican and, our favorite, THE RALLY SHARK. That's gonna be tough to beat. I include them up here because of Supervillain Night: they were dressed as Spiderman and Venom, respectively. Nice.
12.) The Pelican was damn athletic, leaping over railings and doing somersaults in a pretty bulky costume. Major props.
13.) Instead of the typical Dragnet or Law & Order themes for the umpires walking out, Myrt. Beach elected to use AC/DCs Back in Black. I can respek that.
14.) After getting one of the typical pre-game autographs, a kid was hit by a thrown ball as he was jogging back off the field. Awesome. We hate kids.
15.) They had a digital scoreboard and Jumbotron, but also a guy keeping manual score outside the Pelicans' bullpen. Very nice.
16.) “Bye Bye Bye” for opposing outs. That takes me a place I never wanted to go.
17.) Like Greensboro, Myrt. Beach has a ball-dog to bring fresh balls to the umpire. But this dog gave us a unique insight into its thought process when it dropped the bucket, spilled the balls, and picked the bucket back up to bring it to the ump. It has not made the connection that “the umpire needs the balls, not this bucket for two seconds.” Hilarious.
18.) The Pelicans sell, at their team store, Myrt. Beach Mermen gear, one of the fictional teams Kenny Powers plays on in Eastbound & Down. Major, major props.
19.) A bunt single. Our first of the trip! We've seen surprisingly few bunting successes in the Minors.
20.) There was a distinct Eau de Crap at our seats, we believe from a sewer grate below. It was very unpleasant. Oh well, at least it must've been bothering the visiting team, too, as we were right behind their dugout. Actually, maybe it was coming from the dugout. You guys do not want to know how they go to the bathroom in the Minors.
21.) Heinous cheating at one of the on-field promotions. Two grown men were rolling giant dice for a gift card or something. First roll: 1B 3, 3B 6. The guy on 1B then picks the die up, and sets down a 6. The promotion girl inexplicably lets this stand. Even more inexplicable, the 3B guy actually throws his second die. Roll 1, 1B wins. You, sir, are the official Scrappy Journeymen Horrible Human of the Trip (TM). HORRIBLE HUMAN.
22.) This was Supervillain Night, and as it turns out they did have a world-domination device: a FULLY AUTOMATIC 12-barrel rotating T-shirt cannon mounted on the back of a groundscrew ATV. By far the coolest f*cking T-shirt dispersal device I have ever seen in my life. I want to build this. I will pay any amount for their schematics. I mean, just...awesomesauce.

Jason, I love you, but you're gettin' your ass beat on this trip.

Action shot! They used a fire-extinguisher-sized CO2 canister to provide continuous propulsion. It fired in three-round bursts, guys, and it looked like it could've gone full auto.

23.) It was a great game, by the way. Thrilling go-ahead run by the Pelicans in the bottom of the 8th.
24.) Not only did they only sell Pepsi, the advertising was pervasive. Including the cupholders in our seats. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Carefully Recalibrated And Peer-reviewed (CRAP) Metrics:

Beer: Price- and selection-wise, nothing to jump up and down about. Probably the worst we've seen on the trip, actually. Neither of us drank. $7/24 oz → 5.3 pts.

Most Caloric Concession Item: Again, neither Ben nor I ate much, but it looked like they had some pretty big novelty ice cream items that would tip the scales. 5/10 pts.

Crowd: Impressive crowd for a Wednesday, over 3,500 that nearly filled the park. They were pretty rowdy, too. We even had some bone fide fans of the visiting Wilmington Blue Rocks next to us. 7.5/10 pts.

Funniest Name: Brooks Pounders, and he looked like it, too. Honorable Mention for Odubel Herrera, mostly because they had mis-spelled his name on the Jumbotron as Doubel Herrera, which is just a great name for a ballplayer. 6/10 pts.

Men's Room: 9 urinals. Too modern of a park to expect any less. 1/10 pts.

Mascots: As noted last night, Augusta provided us no mascot, so they have been eliminated from competition. Thus Day 6 will now face off in the first round against Day 7. Myrt. Beach fields a strong combo of the athletic Pelican and the Rally Shark. The Shark could be fiercer looking, but...he is a shark. 8/10 pts.

Let's just ignore the fact that Sharks can't walk and realize he's named the Rally Shark.

Couldn't get a good action shot, but trust us: this guy would be tougher than he looks.

Promotions: Dollar dogs were middlin', but Supervillain Night was fairly well-executed. Still, they could've come up with more varied Villains for the opposing players. And I'm really disappointed they didn't dress the umpires up like villains – or maybe heroes? Either way, can't give it full points. 7/10 pts.

Random Bonus Points:
-1 for ridiculous stadium name, +2 for circus performers, +2 for Braves Wall of Fame, +1 for the groundscrew relief, +3 for real John Rocker jersey guy, +2 for Back in Black umps, +2 for kid getting hit by ball, +1 for manual and digital scoreboards, +3 for ball-dog's insight into the Mind of Dog, +5 for fully automatic T-shirt Gatling cannon, +2 for selling Mermen gear, -2 for allowing blatant cheating by a grown man, -1 for Eau de Crap, -1 for pervasive Pepsi advertising

Total: 57.8 points.

Overall: With all the negative points we felt it necessary to give above, this is a really respectable total. I mean, I hate the town of Myrt. Beach, but the Pelicans put on a good show for the tourists and presumably 10 or so people who actually live there. It was a great all-around game-day experience with a Major League-aspiring feel. But it suffers from being in Myrt. Beach. 7/10 pts.

1 comment:

  1. Making it to the majors is a big achievement. Also, I am thoroughly shamed by that gigantic air cannon. Though mine was only $70. On a larger budget, I think something bigger and better could be arrabnged. Final comment - making the majors is a big's a long hard road for a professional ballplayer. Even the Baddest Ass Ty Cobb had to send in fake newspaper clippings/reports to get noticed. But you're probably right...Thorman and "great" don't really seem to mesh well.