Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Day Last: Tennessee Smokies defeat Jackson Generals 5-4. The only Ten I See is Legos.

This was supposed to be the longest and worst day of the trip, what with having to drive from Bluefield to Knoxville, then watch a whole game, then drive from there back to Atlanta to our exhausted beds.  But bad weather worked in our favor by giving us an earlier start time in Knoxville due to it being a make-up game from an earlier rainout.  Plus it was a double header, so we got to watch the entire 7 inning game before heading home. 

The only problem was that they were a Cubs affiliate and boy did they ever look like one.

LAZY Metrics:  0/10.  Cubs.

Ok, fine it was an entertaining enough game.  But one of the hazards of coming home after one of these trips (seriously, don’t come home) is that you have to do laundry.  And when you have a roller full of rank clothes that you just toss in the washing machine, sometimes sheets of paper with crucial notes about the game accidently remain in pockets.  Nevertheless, here are the highlights as we can remember in our ever-encroaching senility.

1.  Lego Day at the park.  This was a whole thing, evidently sponsored by Lego, as the entire right field concourse was covered with life-sized Lego statues, walls of Lego art, and stations for kids to play with Legos.  Every player, both visiting and home, had a Lego figure on the Jumbotron instead of his real face. 

This guy knows Everything is Awesome.

2.  Even better was the fact that this section of the park was a magnet for foul balls.  Several landed in the berm before it and one even hit a display wall flush, resulting in Lego art begin scattered to the winds.  This was visible even from our 3rd base seats!

3.  The Jackson Generals are affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Smokies, as you know, are the Cubs.  This means two National League teams and Real™ Baseball.  We got to see the pitchers take at bats, including a real live hit by Trevor Clifton, the starter for the Smokies. 

4.  Zach almost got into a fight with a cranky Vietnam vet who took issue with Zach’s hat remaining on his head during the National Anthem.  Despite asking Zach if he had a reason and Zach calmly replying “Yes, would you like to know what it is?”, this gentleman was disinclined to engage in conversation apart from angry grumblings.

5.  As the game was in the Smoky Mountains, it makes sense that there would be moonshine.  There was trendy flavored moonshine around the park, but Pat was drawn to the refillable mason jar of Old Style.  The krauzening process Old Style is famous for only became more pronounced when drunk 3 times from a plastic mason jar.

It has that authentic Chicago flavor of northeast Tennessee

6.  There were also some pretty tasty lemonades with various flavors.  This was particularly good for those of us who had to drive to Atlanta after the game, because, in addition to being a Cubs park, this is also a Pepsi park.  The food seemed to be standard ballpark fare, but after a week of this sort of dining, nothing in particular stood out to us.

7.  This life sized bobblehead of Kris Bryant. 


8.  Some fun names:  Charcer Burks, Yasiel Balaguert, Galli Cribs, and the enigmatic Stewart Ijames. 

9.  The Jumbotron was one of the slowest to update that we’ve ever seen.  It was actually difficult to keep track of the balls and strikes, as they wouldn’t show up on the board until the next pitch was on the way.  This led to a couple of instances of “Did he just strike out on two pitches?”  or Zach’s favorite threat to eat the hitter’s family on a 3-0 count becoming moot as the scoreboard was wrong.

10.  Even more ridiculous was when the board changed from batter to batter.  Some statistics would hold over from the first guy for a moment, so we once looked at the scoreboard to see a remarkable line of 14 Home Runs, 14 RBI, 14 Stolen Bases.

11.  The only batter to not get Lego-ified on the Tron was the Krispy Kreme Donut Batter.  If he struck out, we would all get some donuts, but alas he never did.  We’ve seen Beer Batters and Pancake Batters before, but we think this is the first time it’s been donuts.

12.  Even though it was a 7-inning game, there was no Stretch of any sort, which is odd.  Usually shortened games will have a 5th inning stretch at least.  Hell, when we saw the Texas Airhogs, we got to see two or three.

13.  The game was supposed to be nice and quick to let us get on the road and home.  But no, as soon as we decided to stand for the top of the 7th, so as to make a timely exit after the last out, the Generals decided to be competent and squeeze out two runs to tie the game.  And then we had to watch the Cubs Smokies win on a walk-off wild pitch.  Kind of fitting to close the trip like this, though, considering the way the Chattanooga game ended.

It's a nice view for the game.  If you're not begging for it to end.

Real LAZY Metrics:  7/10.  The Journeymen may have made a mistake in letting Ben write this entry, but if one of the Cubs fans in the group had wanted to write it, they had their chance.  This is a nice park and the Lego promotion was a lot of fun.  But the lack of really interesting food, the somewhat clunky presentation, and the fact that most of the fan enthusiasm seemed to be Cubs related lands this as a merely average experience.  

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