The Great American Bro'd Trip Day 5
Obnoxious Red Sox fans, $1 dogs, Midwest hospitality and a colonic: Just anotherday in baseball
After several frozen cocktails at Under the Volcano on empty stomachs, converted Houstonians Jeremy C. Little (a publicist) and Colin “Dabbo” Dabbs (a junior high history teacher) finally decided to do it. Eight days, 10 Major League ballparks, the Budweiser brewery, and enough fried food to give Carlos Lee the gout. It’s the Great American Bro'd Trip and this is the account of day five.
Day 5: South Bend, Ind.–Mars, Penn.: 359 miles
Strapping on the feed bag
Immediately following our swan song at Yankee Stadium, I pledge to eat nothing but salad for a week. Middle America, I love you, but at this rate I’m going to wind up diabetic and missing a foot before I hit 40.
I always make an effort to support mom & pop shop dining establishments, but after a solid week of patty melts, fried cheese sticks and French fries, I’m in dire need of a shower and a colonic. Case in point: We found a fantastic little place in Edon, Ohio called The Feed Mill. It was the sort of lunch counter that you can still find throughout West Texas: Uncomplicated, greasy, and delicious. Now somebody find me some sweatpants.
Dollar dogs, booty shorts and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
For all of Wrigley’s charm and U.S. Cellular’s functionality, Chicago’s neighbor to the east boasts the finest stadium experience we’ve yet to encounter on this trip. Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field) is an incredible mix of accessibility, affordability ($5 parking, $10 seats), and classic-meets-modern design
Throw in $1 dollar hot dogs, perfect baseball weather, and a visit by the Boston Red Sox, and you’ve got all the makings of a perfect evening (at least until Sox skipper Terry Francona turned to temporary closer Daniel Bard in the ninth).
The crowd was made up of rowdy Red Sox fans, a smattering of mostly-friendly Cleveland supporters, and a ton of jail bait. I’m not sure when it became acceptable to wear booty shorts to a baseball game, but here’s to progress.
Our section was packed with teenagers, almost none of whom were actually watching the game. If I’m every blessed with children, they’re going to boarding school so I don’t have to look at them from the ages of 15 through 22. No, you’re not cool and that girl to your left will never, ever touch you, you pubescent freak. Sit down, shut up, and get out my way so I can get back to whipping batteries at the left fielder.
By the top of the first inning, nearly 10,000 $1 dollar hot dogs had already been purchased, most of them by Dabbo. I texted Doogie back in Houston to let him know he was missing out on dollar dog night which lead to the following exchange:
ME: Dollar hot dog night at The Jake. If I don’t make it, please keep this out of my obituary.
DOOGIE: He died happy, with a wiener in his mouth.
That’s what happens when you toss Doogie a slow pitch over the plate. Touch ‘em all, Doogie.
The game itself saw the Sox blow a 5-0 lead in the middle innings (no surprises there). They then earned a one run advantage thanks to Adrian Beltre’s two-run blast to left in the top of the ninth, only to watch closer Daniel Bard walk the Indians leadoff hitter in the bottom of the ninth on four pitches, then load the bases with no outs. Bard recorded two outs, the first via strikeout and the second a pop out to the catcher.
Journeyman Russell Branyan delivered the groin punch with a two-run single into shallow right over a leaping Dustin Pedroia giving the Tribe and 8-7 walk off victory. These are the Red Sox I know and loathe.
Douche/not a douche: Red Sox Nation (That's us!)
Yes, for this round of “Douche / Not a Douche” we’re taking a long, hard look in the mirror. The former sad sacks of fandom, Red Sox backers — thanks to two World Championships in six years — have reached a new plateau of obnoxiousness using a paradoxical combination of hubris and historic pessimism.
The evidence: We descend on your stadium, make ourselves at home, jack up the ticket prices, curse in front of your kids, drink like Norwegian longshoremen, boo our own players, and use the word “wicked” to describe everything. We were insufferable when we were cursed, and we’re even worse following title parades in 2004 and 2007.
In our defense: Have you ever been to New England in winter? C’mon people, this is all we’ve got.
The verdict: Individually, we’re solid, salt of earth folks who genuinely love our team and the game. Collectively, we’re a whole big pile of unrepentant douche. Sorry, we can’t help it.
Off to our nation’s capital . . .