Saturday, June 16, 2012

An Evening At The Ballpark

I realize I haven't blogged in almost 3 months. I've been meaning to do so, but I kept finding something else to do, or someone was standing around me right about the time I thought I would start. I can't write with people watching me, or at least that's the excuse I've used. Anyways, a few weeks back, I bought my boys their very first baseball gloves. At the ages of 13 and 8, I know that was LONG overdue, but we've enjoyed them a few times now. Last night I took them to their first baseball game. Des Moines is home to the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A Minor League farm team to the more well known Chicago Cubs.

Now I will admit it was free to attend, as it was Dahl's Night, and we got the free tickets from a local Dahl's (an area grocery store chain), but the food definitely cost more than a few pennies to make up for it. So I'd say it was cheap way to entertain the boys and spend some time together, but again, the food damn near bankrupted me. We had to get the big collector cups for drinks, and Josh got the souvenir popcorn container too... and then Corwyn wanted a GIANT pickle after having finished off his nachos. Later he would tell me all that stuff was snacks and he still needed supper... I'm cheap, but I had to oblige on this one occasion.

It was definitely a good night for baseball. We had had rain the day before and earlier in the day, but it cleared off a couple hours ahead of time. We get to our seats, and of course they're still a little wet, and therefore, so were our butts. During warm ups, one of the stadium staff handed Corwyn one of the balls that got a little scuffed up to have as a nice little souvenir. He was quite pleased with that, although later he would tell me how he had never caught a foul ball during the game and his ball was just one from the practice. Sometimes kids just can't be 100% pleased I guess, but he is still proud of his baseball. Shortly after the start of the game, another staffer approached us and offered us a free upgrade to better seats. We ended up 5 rows up from the visiting dugout along the first base side. The sun was less of an issue, and the placement was great. Late in the game, Josh barely missed catching his own foul ball, as it glanced off his thumb, bounced off the seats right behind him and into its cup holder, where someone grabbed the ball for their grandkid. I have a feeling he'll be insisting on more games just for the opportunity to grab a foul ball.

The name of the ballpark the Iowa Cubs play in is known as Principal Park, after the big insurer who sponsored the remodeling of the park. It used to be known as Sec Taylor Stadium, named after an old player. But this is the age of corporate sponsorship, and as you can see here, if any company gave money towards the ballpark, they WILL have their names plastered on whatever space they can get. I don't think this ballpark has a single square inch of flat space that doesn't have some company banner or sign covering it. It seems to be that the game is more about money and less about heart... kind of like a corporation. And that is how the Iowa Cubs played this evening- without any heart. They gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in the first inning. Like their Big League team, affectionately known as the Cubbies, they are choke artists. But they are the home team, and you can't help but root for the underdog bastards to win one.

Here we see Corwyn. It is surmised by one person that he is bored. I think he's just frustrated by the Cubbies' performance... as you'll see in the picture below, it's 7-1 at the start of the 4th inning...and the Albuquerque Isotopes are just having fun at this point, at our expense. Even their first base coach is taunting us. He constantly looking over in our general direction flashing a big stupid grin. Secretly I'm convinced he's eyeballing us specifically, rubbing in the fact that his team isn't even trying and still whipping us handily. Yes, He knows exactly who the Mook is, and how to rub him the wrong way. I would've had him assassinated by my squad of commandos, but I figure that unless it's a game that I'm physically competing in (which would've guaranteed victory for us!), that I really can't justify the sanctioned killing.

The one nice thing about the local games is that they always have a lot of little competitions in between innings. Here we see mascots for local convenience store chain Kum&Go racing from the first base line, around the infield to the third base line. The bag of chips had no chance, as the hot dog and big gulp toyed with him before giving him a playful football block to the ground before they finished together. Things like this kept Corwyn from losing interest while waiting on the ball players to get started with the inning. During the middle of the 8th inning, a lot of people had either left or were in the process of leaving. I don't know if they were leaving to get a jump on traffic or if they had lost interest in the very lopsided game. Corwyn decided to move up to the empty seats in the first row. However, his interest having already waned, decided he would be the night's entertainment for this couple sitting in row 2. They were quite amused by him, and he and the man had quite a conversation going on. I couldn't hear what was being said, but both were highly animated in their interactions. And of course, to make sure they lady was impressed with him, he made sure to show her the ways he can contort his thumbs about. Because he is Corwyn, he needs to maintain his connection to the man to show he is a full spectrum entertainer, but ultimately he's really targeting the pretty women who find themselves his very own captive audience.

The game ended after a little over 3 hours of play, with the final score being 9-1 in favor of Albuquerque. Corwyn didn't seem so interested in the outcome of the game. He was too busy amusing himself by entertaining whoever would he had his giant pickle and gotten his own officially-used baseball. Josh seemed more interested in the outcome and had hoped for more home runs by the Cubs, and maybe a win. All in all, it was a great time. Some free seats and perks, some over-priced stadium food, and some baseball on a summer evening, spent with my boys and my girlfriend, who took these pictures for us.

My next article will follow in the next few days hopefully on my big huge landscaping project that I've almost finished with... unless I find some more excuses to keep from writing about it.