To everyone’s shock and surprise, yours truly was apparently persuasive enough to wrangle a few media credentials recently for a AAA game on a hot, sticky Saturday night in Round Rock, Texas. My baseball buddy (the female version, not the one that looks like Cheech) had a good laugh at this and was comparing me to the baseball writing equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson.
“They’re going to be wondering, who the hell is this guy affiliated with?” she said with a snicker, glaring at my cut-off jean shorts and general casual appearance that bordered on “depraved homeless guy” entangled with a little “divorced dad who stopped giving a shit” vibe–the only thing missing was the cigarette holder and flask of vodka in the breast pocket.
I assured her that this wasn’t the old-school baseball writing world of cigar-chomping old guys wearing Hawaiian shirts with an Olivetti typewriter tucked beneath their arm. No, my friend, these weren’t newspaper and media hacks who didn’t use nuance or subtext and who hadn’t read anything remotely literary since the ink on a copy of The Old Man and the Sea was fresh. These were modern, good ‘ol All American tech-savvy baseball promoters with hipster haircuts, toothy smiles and finely trimmed beards looking to climb the ladder in a billion-dollar industry by foisting fake opinions for clicks and sponsors.
“Wow, now you look even worse.”
All the internal hype was for naught. (This was, alas, the minor leagues) I was asked, indeed, what outfit I was with, but the overall Press Box atmosphere seemed sort of relaxed and lethargic as I put on an authoritative and seasoned air meant to mirror professionalism. A nice man, Leonard, answered a few questions, told us we couldn’t go into the TV room, and gave us some tickets for free tacos. There was a snack spread and we took a few bags of chips and soda and decided to go down and find a few empty seats on the first baseline with the rest of the fans: we needed that feeling of symbiosis that had been missing since our weakened empire unequivocally turned divisive politically, went mentally unhinged and rehearsed a zombie apocalypse drill. I was also told that under no circumstances could someone media affiliated receive the Nolan Ryan bobblehead giveaway that night. Well, shit.
Overall, it was a humid, syrupy, sweat-inducing pleasant time. The atmosphere was lively (the crowd sang “Deep In The Heart Of Texas” during the 7th inning stretch) and my new favorite player, Curtis Terry aka “Scary Terry” hit 2 massive dingers while my baseball buddy made a sugary mess eating a funnel cake. A major highlight was the hilarious stampede for dollar hot dogs when the “Hot Dog Batter” struck out in the bottom half of the 7th–a kindly older gentleman felt the need to wildly instruct everyone in our section of this fact while other fans returned triumphantly with ghastly amounts of their pink, mustard-laden prize…I love minor league baseball.
Final: Isotopes 8 Express 6
the hunter s. thompson of minor league media. love it.
Not my words! I think it was meant as a diss more than anything. Haha.
There was much to love in this post … but this was spectacular: “my cut-off jean shorts and general casual appearance that bordered on ‘depraved homeless guy’ entangled with a little ‘divorced dad who stopped giving a shit’ vibe”
Haha….thanks. The sentence might have come off better than the “look.” 🙂
I love minor league ball parks. Surprised they didn’t do “dirtiest car in the parking lot.”
I have seen that before, and it was in Stockton, Ca. in a game between the Stockton Ports and some team I forgot. I think it was a promotion for a local carwash. Thanks for the comment. 🙂
I never wondered where Round Rock was…you solved that mystery…I’ve seen them play the Nashville Sounds a few times…
Awesome post man.
First time I had heard of Round Rock was a game in Sacramento against the River Cats. Had no clue where it was. Thanks for the comment Max.
I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!!! “..bordered on “depraved homeless guy” entangled with a little “divorced dad who stopped giving a shit” vibe” – oh my gosh that made me laugh, hard! 😂
Thanks Samantha. Today I’m wearing a vintage Penguin shirt, so I’m keeping the depravity and the divorced to a minimum.
I definitely agree that there is nothing quite like a Minor League Ballpark. I did the Isotopes go to Round Rock pilgrimage a few years back and had a blast. Your prose has inspired me to make the four hour drive once more.
Thanks, Ryan. Next on my list is the Sugar Land Skeeters as you had so excellently wrote about on your blog.
The Skeeters are definitely a great experience. I just hope the new owners from the “Bang the Trashcan Slowly for a breaking ball” club up the road don’t ruin the experience.
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