Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Day 2, Bowling Green Hot Rods: The case of the Stolen Home

Day 2 started off much earlier than any us could truly appreciate due to an unexpected early first pitch.  The Hot Rods had a few games rain out recently, and today was a double header to try and recapture those lost games.

We almost had Ben convinced to trade his hybrid for this baby!

With a quick exit from Chattanooga the Scrappy Journeymen made a brunch stop in Nashville.  Pat had found a highly reviewed brunch spot right in downtown Nashville called The Southern Steak & Oyster.  We opted to forgo valet parking (yes it was that fancy), bypassed the $20 parking garage, and found a lot across the street.  Once we discovered the open lot was charging $14 an hour, we decided Steak & Oyster just wasn’t in the cards for us.  Apparently no one told Nashville about the recession.
As we drove around aimlessly, Pat came through in the clutch and directed us to Pinewood Social and their free parking.  As we walked in to the nondescript building we quickly realized this was hipster central in Nashville.  The space was a renovated factory with exposed bricks and ceilings, the music playlist was curated by Wonder Woman (we didn’t see her but we suspected she worked in the back somewhere), and what hipster brunch spot wouldn’t be complete without a bowling alley.  Zach was pleasantly surprised at its existence, but made it clear that had we come here to bowl and discovered it was also a restaurant, it would not be okay.  They even had an outdoor pool with “Dive-in” movies like The Never Ending Story and The Goonies.  Zach got a coffee/soda hybrid and everyone except Ray got the Chicken and biscuits (he’s new to the Journeymen, he’ll learn).  The food was delicious enough to make Ray slightly regret all the pot-shots he took at Hipster culture.

Even though we had a tight window, we stopped over for some mini-golf on the way.  It was a Purists’ course, no frill, just geometry and skill.  Again stakes were high, as the loser had to buy the winner 2 rounds, and to make it interesting for everyone, third place had to buy second place a round as well.  It was a very tight game with good shots all around and plenty of hole in one’s, but ultimately Ray and Pat prevailed on the last hole to the dismay of Zach and Ben.

We pulled into Bowling Green with minutes to spare, found some free parking made our way to the ticket office.  As deliberation raged as to which tickets to go with, Ray happened across a Family Fun Package that got us 4 tickets, a free program that has a pretty good scorecard, and $20 stadium “cash” to spend.  The teller paused for an instance, likely debating if we really were family, but who’s to say we are not all brothers (I mean obviously Ray would be adopted), but he thought better and we procured our tickets.

Bowling Green Hot Rods vs Fort Wayne Tincaps:

We started off with a tour of the park, as is custom, and found there was ample access to heckle both bullpens and an antique train off in the not too far distance.  The stadium had a plenty of features and a second level for seats.  The uncommon netting setup reduced the danger (see fun) factor by not only going straight up but also connecting to the overhang reducing the chance to retrieve a foul ball.  While passing the carousel, Zach mused at when the park was built and if the carousel attendant was to be believed, he guessed only a few years before its 2009 date. 

So close to the bullpen you could literally hurl insults directly at them.

Game 1 Highlights
1.  The cheap beer wasn’t too bad at $6.00, but the “Craft” Beer Cave was the place to go if you have refined palates such as ours.  Beers there were $8 and were served by a fairly inept bartender who at one point exclaimed “I don’t really know anything about beer.”

2.  Most ballparks have gotten more socially conscious over the years and will have signs throughout the park and mens’ rooms discouraging drunk driving.  Not Bowling Green!  The flyers over the urinals were all for a lawyer that specializes in DUI defense.  And the tone of the ad was very clear: he was not trying to find justice for the unjustly accused, he was offering amnesty to people guilty as sin.  For a nominal fee, of course.

3.  The area overlooking centerfield had multiple cornhole sets.  Zach and Pat challenged Ben and Ray, but after some rough first rounds all around, Ben and Ray came out victorious 21 – 7.

4.  Zach tried his luck spinning a prize wheel only to land on an Ump receiving a 2nd program with an MSRP of $2!  With a 100% return on investment, we expect Zach to quit his day job and start trading on Wall Street.

5.  Snarky music trolled opposition batters as they approached the plate.  While nothing was specific to the player, we heard such classics as No Scrubs and Beauty and the Beast, with one poor soul even getting Rick Rolled.  On more than one occasion SpongeBob and Pokémon came out over the sound system inspiring many a kid to sing along.  Zach’s favorite song Sweet Caroline was also heard at one point.

6.  One particular promotion was a… jumping competition?  It seemed to be designed as two people jump for a period of time while wearing a Fitbit with a prize going to the winner.  Only one of the twins chosen to participate actually went through with it, so we awkwardly watched a 4 year-old jump up and down for 40 seconds.

7.  Some of the more interesting player names in the running for best name included Lucius Fox (taking a break from helping Batman to play ball), Miles Mastrobuoni (although technically he is out of the running because his favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter), Jesus Sanchez, and Brock Burke.

8.  We witness the rare stolen home base.  The catcher was throwing rainbows back to the pitcher most of the game and one industrial Tincap took advantage with a fake back to third only to turn and steal home almost before the pitcher even had the ball back.  The catcher tightened up his return throws immediately.

9.  Concessions were on their game with a lot of potential delectable items. From the Big Decker Burger (pulled pork on top of a hot dog on top of a cheese burger), to pimento jalapeno burgers and Chicken and “Waffles” to frozen bananas (there’s always money in the banana stand).

10.  Bowling Green had 2 mascots, Rosco the money and Axel the jungle cat.  Axel was pretty scarce but Rosco made the rounds and even stared in a disturbing commercial for the frozen banana stand.

11.  At one point the Fort Wayne Tincaps had eight runs in an inning from grand slam, a couple of walks, and the aforementioned steal of home.  The visitors’ grand slam was met with crickets, as the park grew silent and the PA began chirping.  The final score was Tincaps 8, Hot Rods 2, even too much for our rally caps to overcome.

Game 2 Highlights

1.  With the players and umps in fresh new uniforms, game 2 started a brief 40 minutes after the end of game one.  Zach and Ray enjoyed a brief game of “What do you think the umps are saying” while we waited.

2.  Since Ray was the only one in close toed shoes, he was selected from the group to participate in a T-Rex dance off at the top of the 5th.  With the rest of the Scrappy Journeymen pumping up the crowd and some sweet dance moves, Ray easily crushed the little kid who was his competition, earning him a shiny new BG baseball cap (his first piece of minor league paraphernalia).

Ray showing off those sweet dance moves that made him so popular in high school.

3.  Zach, Pat, and Ben also got to participate in a between innings promotion.  While waiting, a foul ball made its way to the sparsely populated area the event would take place.  Zach, high off getting his first ball last year took off like a man on a mission to retrieve it but didn’t play the hop right and it went past him.  The rest of Journeymen, confident in his abilities, failed to back him up, and the ball was lost to the leader of the promo team, who cowardly pocketed it.

4.  The promotion consisted of sling-shotting plush balls toward a “home plate” out on the field.  The closest ball won, and with a controversial call by the announcer, Zach took home the prize.  While many might say Ben was closer in distance and spirit, ultimately, you can’t not listen to a man in a propeller beanie (even if his explanation of the call was “it was hot and I wanted to get off the field”).

Pat giving it a valiant effort but coming up short... but hey it still sorta of made it to the field.

5.  The Hot Rods did not fare any better in game 2 as the lost yet again to the TinCaps 6 to 2. But we did get to see an ejection of a Tincap, who proceeded to grab his bat and wonder around the field, trying to find his way out, all to a serenade of Hit the Road Jack.

6. Hot Rod ticket stubs gave the bonus of half off a second specialty pizza at Mellow Mushroom, which we took advantage of before calling it a night.


7.5/10: With a solid showing, Bowling Green Ballpark and the Hot Rods did little to make us not like them.  They had creative food options, good heckling opportunities, and they let us participate in some between innings shenanigans.  Overall, nothing to make us want to go out of our way to come back, but at a seven and a half out of ten, we wouldn’t mind hitting up another Hot Rods game if we were passing through.  We would just make sure to check the promotions beforehand as they had some respectable nights we missed out on like bootleg flask night and dueling pianos.


  1. Did you guys know you were taking a cornhole, mini-golf, and T-rex dance off shark on your journey?

  2. Did you visit the memorial to the Bowling Green massacre?

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