Your papers, please

In Boston, we’ll be taking the Green Line from our hotel to Fenway Park for the game. Therefore, this item is of particular interest: they are soon going to start random ID checks of transit passengers in Boston.

If this is still going on in August, as much as I’d love to protest against it, I think becoming a test case would ruin the rest of the trip. So I’ll grudgingly present my ID if necessary, although the real problem may be convincing the officer that the digital camera I’m carrying is for the purpose of taking pictures in and around Fenway Park, since some transit authorities are being a little touchy about photography of their property.

Original comments…

thatbob: Too bad the MBTA will be checking the *identity* of people riding their trains, instead of the *bomb-carrying status* of people riding their trains. I guess they just want to make sure that, in case of a bombing, all of the corpses can be identified?

Anyway, if I were you two, I wouldn’t set foot in an unfamiliar train. Very, very dangerous things, trains. Very dangerous.

Historically unsound.

Levi: Now, does Jim have high enough celebrity status among railfans that the ID check is going to hold us up because of the ensuing autographs, or is he just objecting on grounds of privacy, civil liberties, and silliness?

Jim: I’m certainly no Mike Schafer!

Doug Pappas, RIP

I just learned from King Kaufman’s Salon column that SABR member Doug Pappas died last week at age 43 of heat prostration while hiking.

Doug Pappas wasn’t well known outside the SABR community, but he was a hell of a baseball fan. He was a Manhattan lawyer who seemed to spend all his free time researching and writing on the business side of baseball. He did amazing research, wrote clearly, and, because of the nature of Bud Selig’s administration, he spent a lot of his time calling Bud Selig a liar, then backing it up. Just about any time in the last four years that you’ve heard me railing about Selig, it’s been Doug Pappas’s research I’ve been spouting. In my dream where I told off Selig for an hour in my kitchen, I might as well have had Pappas on my shoulder as my little good angel, feeding my lines.

As King Kaufmann points out, another of Pappas’s regular targets was that silly Team Fan Cost Index thing that gets ginned up and sent to the media every spring, proving that it costs something like $36,250 to take a family of four to a game. Pappas would always do what Major League Baseball, if it were able to see beyond the next labor battle, should have done: he’d point out that this silly figure is based on a family buying four mid-range tickets, two ball caps, two beers, four sodas, four hot dogs, some pretzels, etc., but is passed off as the “average” cost for a family to attend a game. You might as well throw the cost of their SUV and parking ticket into the mix. The Team Fan Cost Index tells you very little about what a family might be able to go to a game for; all it does is (I assume) scare off a few middle class families every year when they see the story in their paper with the $36,250 figure in the first sentence. Every year, Pappas reminded anyone he could what useless junk that number is.

His site gives an idea of what he was up to. I loved his work, if only because I was glad that someone was so dedicated to the game. I love baseball, but I will always spend too much time on other areas to be truly knowledgeable, so I greatly appreciate those who are willing to spend their time helping me to better understand the game. Doug Pappas somehow made the time, and he made good use of it.

King Kaufman describes well what we’ve lost: “Those of us who love baseball had a watchdog in Pappas, someone to let us know about the damage being done to the game by those running it. I hope someone with anything like his smarts, insight and writing ability can take over that role, but that’s asking a lot. He’ll be sorely missed.”

Original comments:

Steve: Levi,

Sometimes I think I am being a gadfly on this site but apart from that I just wanted you and Jim to know that I enjoy this blog immensely.

So, to this average ticket price thing. The average price just gives someone a “ballpark” figure of what it costs to go to the game. Below I’ve compiled the “low-cost” index for the Chicago teams but more on that later. First, I think it’s telling that they do use the average. I think the point of this exercise is that team X is “family friendly” compared to team Y. An individual or a family can certainly go to the park more cheaply than the average but of course the average implies that a cheaper as well as a more expensive possibility exists. There is a social construction in this figure whether you, as a childless man, want to buy into that or not. In short, this figure is inclusive of families and the middle class. If you did a cheap index you would have to keep reducing it to its bare essentials. You would end up with one person, eating no food, sitting in the worst seats in the house. The index is not trying to figure out the cost to a single, stogie chomping scorecard keeping retiree, it’s the cost of a family going to the game instead of going to Blockbuster, the movie theater or Chuck E Cheese.

Based on my informal research, you see a hell of a lot more families at Comiskey (if you see people there) than you do at Wrigley because its more family friendly but also more affordable. I see in one of your other posts that you are bemoaning the fact that Wrigley is a meat-market. The ticket charge there is essentially a cover charge. I will admit that a lot of bad parenting goes on but when you take the kids out of the house to a game who wants to be a taskmaster? So, if you buy one kid a program you have to buy the other one a program. When kids (and adults) go to the park they want souvenirs. Obviously you don’t have to buy your kids jack squat at the park but I think most people would like to think that they would buy their kids something besides food. If not a hat then a pennant or a “thunder-stick” or some other BS. If you’re middle class you probably aren’t taking the kids on the el so you have to drive and so on and so on. The point of this is that costs a lot to go to the park whether you do it on the cheap or not. If you want to determine how much it costs to take a family to the park it would be silly to simply take the cost of the four cheapest tickets, no food, etc. People consume things at the ballpark and that needs to be taken into consideration. Still as an informal study I’ve tried to mirror the average for Chicago teams by following the same rubric but with more reasonable expenses.


Ticket Price $14 each (but you can only go to three day games in Aug or any game in Sept or Oct — another reason the average is telling)
Four Sodas (no beer) $2.50 each
Four Hot dogs: $2.75 each
No program
Two moderate souvenirs: $12 each
Public transport $1.75 x eight (four round trips)
Total cost $115


Ticket price $6each (but must attend one of 17 half price dates on a mon or tue)
Four Soda: $2.25
Four Hot Dogs: $2.75
No program
Two moderate souvenirs: $12 each
Public transport $1.75 x eight (four round trips)
Total: $82 (that’s good value)

You could bring food from home and do this more cheaply but if someone is doing that you are either a cheap ass or a fat ass because you need more food than you can afford at the park. Good luck sitting though nine innings without buying anything at the park. As to ticket prices, if you want to take your kids to fireworks night or a weekend or a game during the summer at Wrigley this is blown out of the water. Again, this makes the average more telling than the baseline.

What about the “Baseball-related” itinerary? I would be very interested the average cost of this trip. What if you multiply your ballpark individual expense by four?

Levi: I think your analysis is correct, Steve, but you’ll notice that without truly skimping–i.e., the kids won’t be leaving the ballpark unhappy, because they’ve been fed and they’ve gotten some souvenirs–you’ve gotten a cost for the family drastically lower than our friends at Team Marketing Report. Their cost for the Cubs? $194.31. For the Sox? $160.23. All you did was do what any family on a budget would do: you looked for cheap seats. Period. TMR’s use of the average ticket price is wrong because 1) the most expensive tickets both aren’t available to the average budget-conscious family in the first place (They’re held by season-ticket holders or scalpers, for the most part.) _and_ they’re not of interest to the average budget-conscious family. A better plan would be to use the cost of the cheapest non-bleacher seat, because that’s really what the family that has to count dollars will look at. You can even scrap the idea of looking for budget dates–although at Comiskey that would be silly, since _everybody_ looks at the two budget days*–and you’d still end up with a price much lower than TMR’s.

Second, a casual fan doesn’t buy a scorecard or program. Period.

Third, and this is my main complaint about this index: MLB should every year loudly refute this shit. Sure, they don’t want to encourage people to bring their own food, and they don’t want to mention that souvenirs are expensive, but there is absolutely no reason for them not to, every time this report comes out, mount a PR offensive about how cheap the cheap seats are, how great the views are in these new stadiums even from the cheap seats, what a great time kids have at the ballpark, and how goddamn expensive the movies are, let alone the NBA and NFL. The idea is to convince people that they can afford to get in the door. MLB knows that once they’re there, they’ll buy stuff, because that’s what people do, and that’s good for MLB. MLB sure as hell shouldn’t let some outside group determine what people think it wil cost them to go to a ballgame. Yet every year, they not only let this story get out, but they almost encourage it, because they’re always looking at any chance they can to say that players make too much money. And that’s because the people who run MLB are shortsighted liars, for the most part.

The idea of keeping a running total of ballpark expenses for the trip is a fun one. I’ll confer with Jim.

*The Sox tickets are way overpriced on non-budget days because the lease on Comiskey Park calls for the Sox to pay rent only in years in which they sell more than (I’m going to make up a number here, but that’s not really important to the story) 1.5 million full-priced tickets. If I remember right, they’ve only paid rent once, in 2001 (?), primarily because they sell so many tickets at half price or through group sales or at a discount of some sort. And that’s why they set their prices so high, because the marginal gain they would get from lowering them appears, to them, to be less than the gain from not paying rent. It’s a silly, shortsighted strategy, of course, because getting a fan in the door is worth almost any cost in the long term. But again, they’re MLB owners, so expecting the long view is just about futile.

Jim: Yes, I am definitely going to keep careful track of expenditures on the trip, if for no other reason than to make sure that Levi and the hangers-on pay their fair share for the hotel rooms and the rental car. So far, the only expenditure is that we’ve bought tickets for both the Red Sox and the Phillies. Both were $20, which is the second-cheapest seat you can get at Fenway Park (they have a very small amount of $12 seats), and the third-cheapest seat at Citizens Bank Park (they also have $15 and $18 seats). Actually, I’ve also paid for my plane ticket to Chicago already, but that’s not relevant to this discussion.

To compare Chicago prices to southern California: both the Angels and Dodgers have a “family pack” for Wednesday and Sunday games, which includes four upper-deck seats, four hot dogs, and four sodas. The Dodgers’ deal is $48 and also includes parking, and the Angels’ deal is $39 without parking. Adding $24 in souvenirs to use Steve’s matrix, they both come out to a little over $70. Not bad. (Actually, what the Angels’ deal does include is $8 in game tokens for the pitching machines/hitting machines/whatever it is they have in the “interactive baseball-style game” area at Angel Stadium. So if that will pacify the kids enough that they don’t need souvenirs, that really cuts the cost down.)

Steve: Okay, I think we can agree to agree. MLB should do a lot more to make themselves family friendly. Alas, it is clear they have given this terrain over to the minor leagues and are instead concerned with luxury suites and leather vibrating chairs right behind home plate. I think that probably gets to the core of why they don’t try to squash the “average ticket” thing. They don’t want to do anything to alter the perceived value of their sport. If they advertise how cheap or inexpensive their games can be, perhaps they fear that people will think of them as a lesser product. I think it’s interesting the Red Sox and the Cubs are the two highest priced teams while the Expos are the lowest. Right there you see the difference between the Mercedes and the Kia. If a Mercedes cost as much as a Kia it would lose a lot of its luster, no? Baseball makes a hell of a lot more money off the luxury suites than the upper deck reserved so why do anything to advertise how cheap a game when you risk alienating people who are paying a far higher premium to see it?

thatbob: I can’t help but notice that Levi’s argument reflects upon his larger crusade against the abuse of the arithmetical average in describing American culture and economics.

Lost weekend

Well, as you might have suspected, it was a sad weekend at the old ballpark for me, though not for 120,000 Cubs fans, puffed up with the arrogance that two playoff appearances in five years can bring.

Somehow, the Cardinals and Cubs managed to play three games in three days with no rain delays, despite strong thunderstorms and heavy rain all weekend. And somehow, the Cardinals managed to turn Glendon Rusch into the pitcher who pitched pretty well for the Mets in 2000, rather than the pitcher who was cut from the Brewers earlier this year. And the Cardinals managed three runs on only three hits against the remarkably good Matt Clement. Impressive, but it wasn’t enough. So despair reigns, at least for a few days.

But there was one fully redeeming moment for me–a moment that was a huge highlight even for my Clement-fan wife and for Cubs-fan Luke–in Sunday night’s game. The Cardinals were down 4-1, and with Albert Pujols at the plate, a chant arose. It began oddly–almost as if it had been planned in advance–with what seemed a whole section above and behind us shouting “Pujols sucks!” without any of the slow build that such chants usually require.

So as the first pitch comes in as a ball, the chant grows until most of the stadium is into it. “Pujols sucks! Pujols sucks! Pujols sucks!” The next pitch came in, and then it went out. And it kept going out, onto Waveland, or maybe Irving Park Road. The crowd fell silent, except for those of us who were giggling.

Wendell Berry
, in a story I read Saturday, described a driver showing “the extended middle finger that contradicts all contradiction.” It’s hard to imagine a way in which Pujols could have more clearly demonstrated that he manifestly does not suck. Maybe if he had hit that home run, then taken the mound the next inning and set down the Cubs in order with three strikeouts on nine pitches. But that’s asking a lot even of Pujols.

Original comments…

Luke: Who you calling arrogant? I should point out, Levi, that I cheered Pujols’ home run almost as much as you did. It was more than worth giving up the run to see him shut the fans up.

Every time I get to Wrigley I’m more dismayed by the boorishness of the fans. I don’t know whether I’m getting older and crankier or they’re getting more boorish, or both. My money is on “both.”

Levi: No, no, Luke. I’m not calling you out on that–in fact, I mentioned that you seemed to enjoy the moment. I know your fandom doesn’t allow for absurd slander.

And I’m not saying Cardinals fans are perfect. I’m sure plenty of them are complete tools. But I haven’t ever heard a chant like that one at Busch Stadium, and I’m not used to hearing the regular booing that the opposing team’s best player has frequently been getting at Wrigley Field lately.

Jim: Glendon Rusch was already turned into a good pitcher by the Padres a week ago Sunday. Opposing pitcher David Wells was so distraught about the situation that he went home, threw a bottle against the wall, and ended up cutting himself on the broken glass (or at least that’s what I assume happened).

Does Barry Bonds get booed at Busch?

Levi: I haven’t seen Bonds play at Busch, so I don’t know. I don’t think he does, but I could be wrong.

And the Wells story was great because the story in the San Diego paper about his injury actually included, in the subhead, “Padres GM believes Wells’s account.” Imagine being viewed as so untrustworthy that your believablity merits mention in a headline.

Luke, hanger-on: Sorry, Levi, I scanned past that. Didn’t mean to slanderously accuse you of slanderously accusing me of absurdly slandering Pujols, the second-best player in baseball. (Though, admittedly, I have in the past slandered his funny name, stonethrowing-in-a-glass-house notwithstanding.)

sandor: I tuned in for a little of the game (it was one of those rare times when my cable company decided to give me free ESPN), though I missed the impressive first inning rally. But how about that weather system? That must have been impressive to see from the stadium. When they came back from a commercial break early on, the cameraman was pulling pack to show the bizarrely shaped cloud formations out in the distance. It was so striking that Sarah and I felt compelled to take a walk around the neighborhood and witness it ourselves. I figured I’d the be the only person intrigued enough in clouds to notice, but no, everyone we passed was looking up in amazement.

thatbob: Re: strange clouds and weather systems. I haven’t even told you all about the ghost boat.

Levi: According to people who watched the game at home, Pujols made a shushing motion sometime after the home run. I’m unclear on whether it was during the trot or after crossing the plate. It’s the sort of thing that would ordinarily get you knocked on your ass the next time up, but in this case, I think even the opposing pitcher would understand.

What a gal!

The folks at Redbird Nation, the best Cardinals site on the internet, noticed that in an interview with Esquire this month, Emmylou Harris had this to say:

“During those long summer tours, there’s nothing on television that doesn’t rot your brain except for baseball. And I love the game. I love the history of the game. I love that fact that anything can happen but probably won’t. But sometimes does. I love that you don’t have to be a perfect human specimen to be a good player; you can be overweight, you can be too short, too skinny. Let’s just say I’m a National League girl, because I don’t belive in the designated hitter. And you can quote me on that.”

Original comments:

sandor: In the documentary Down from the Mountain — the film of the concert of the music of the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” — one of the most smile-inducing moments is when they show Emmylou Harris in her dressing room, being rushed out to the stage, furiously digging through her purse to find her wireless baseball score receiver so she can check on the status of the day’s games.

thatbob: The days games. Plural. That’s heartening. I was afraid that, as a southerner, she might just be some kind of Braves fan.

Jason: Basbeall? What’s that?

Jim: There is no such thing as basbeall. There was never a typo in Levi’s post. We have always been at war with Oceania.

Oh, say can you see?

As Jim and I are always saying to each other, here at Baseball-Related Program Activites 2004, we’re nothing if not a family site. We’re like those sportswriters who are always lamenting about ballplayers not signing autographs or building childrens’ hospitals or fighting crime. We want the whole family involved in the game. We’re even thinking of making our site play the Baha Men.

So when my friend Jon Solomon sent me a photo of Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Dodger Stadium last week, his wife and son by his side, I thought, “This little bit of Lima Time is perfect for Baseball-Related Program Activities 2004! A patriotic family photo!”

Then I looked at the photo. And I have to admit that it took me a moment to focus on Francis Scott Key’s view of the battle for Fort McHenry. After a few minutes, I decided that the people who run the site the photo was located on weren’t including it because of Jose’s singing or their love of country. Nor was that the case on another site, on which there’s even a rude poll relating to one aspect (two aspects?) of the photo.

But I want you all to be clear that, as we are a family site, I bring this photo to your attention for the same reason that I’m sure Jon brought it to mine: we think it’s pretty cool that Jose Lima got to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Here at Baseball-Related Program Activities 2004, we–we take the road less traveled by. For the kids.

Original comments…

Levi: Oh, and last night, the woman who sang the National Anthem at Wrigley Field sang “For the ramparts we watched.” I guess that’s the opium-addled version, where the ramparts are streaming.

Jim: I’m not sure if Pax TV deserves to be the link for “a family site.” Their Tampa affiliate is the broadcast home of the Devil Rays. (Yes, the Devil Rays really are bad enough that independent station “More TV 32” — the equivalent of Channel 26, “The U,” in Chicago — which broadcast their games for the first few years didn’t want to renew the broadcast rights, and apparently, nobody else wanted them either.)

toby: Just more proof–as I once discussed with Levi a long time ago–that EVERY single pro baseball player has a gorgeous wife. Do you remember Zane Smith of the Expos/Braves/Pirates.. Even he had a hot wife.

Levi: Jim reports that the phrase “Jose Lima’s wife” has now passed “Johnny Damon’s hair and beard” as the most common Google search that has led people to our site. I should have seen that coming.

Anonymous: Jim is correct

What’s that song by the Who about going mobile?

To follow up on the post from a few days ago, I now have a cell phone. As promised, it’s a pay-as-you-go plan with no free minutes, so the number will only be given out on a need-to-know basis. As also promised, it’s not Nextel, it’s Virgin Mobile, and I’m only slightly worried about the fact that everyone pictured on their web site and in their printed literature seems to be 10 years younger and 10 times more hip than me.

I promise never to be seen on camera at a baseball game talking into the phone, but I can’t promise I won’t be playing Tetris during a rain delay.

The Big Unit

Last night was one of those rare occasions when I was glad The Superstation exists, because when the Cubs’ announcers mentioned that the Unit had a perfect game through 8, we were able to switch over and watch the 9th.

The Unit was throwing as well as I’ve ever seen. He looked a little sweaty, but not tired.

With one out to go, he stepped off the mound and kind of composed himself, and Skip Carey said, “Johnson holds a little team meeting with himself.”

With two outs to go, the Braves home crowd stood, cheering for Johnson to get the last out. But Stacey noticed at least one guy wearing a rally cap. Her thought: only a Braves fan would attempt to root for both a perfect game against his team and a rally for his team at the same time.

Then Johnson struck out the last hitter, and his catcher, Robby Hammock, leaped into the air, high, several times while the Unit smiled. That was the best part, I think, seeing the Unit smile. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that.

And seeing his teammates touch his hair. I know I’ve never seen that.

So congratulations to the Big Unit, one of my very favorite players. Couldn’t have done it to a better team.

Original comments…

Jon Solomon: Thankfully they made similar mention during the NBA playoffs (or was it the Mets game on MSG?) that Johnson was perfect through seven, so my Dad and I were able to switch over and watch it together.

sandor: My friend Jason was at the Yankee/Red Sox game a few years ago when Mike Mussina pitched 8 2/3 innings of perfect ball, only to have it ruined with a hit by ugly ducking Carl Everett. He said the entire Fenway crowd was on its feet, as Atlanta’s was here, but not to cheer on the pitcher about to make history; he said they were still rooting for their Sox to break it up. Even with Everett, who pretty much everyone in Boston hated, at the plate. Which I guess makes sense, if you’re the Red Sox and you’re about to be put in the history books for the wrong reason, thanks to those bastard Yankees.

I tried to console him (Jason, not Mussina) by explaining he probably witnessed a rarer feat: “Sure, a perfect game is rare, but isn’t a pitcher going perfect for only 8 2/3 innings only to have it broken up on the last out is even rarer!” (I don’t actually know if this is true, but I imagine so.) Anyway, he wasn’t consoled.

Levi: I will go to my grave believing that the reason Jim and I didn’t see Frank Castillo throw a no-hitter against the Cardinals on September 25, 1995 is that, with two outs in the 9th, I cheered for Castillo to retire Bernard Gilkey.

The god repaid my breaking faith with the Cardinals by allowing Gilkey to hit a triple into the right-field corner.

Never again will I root against the Cardinals for any reason in any situation. Sorry about that, Jim.

thatbob: The Unit isn’t as fat as I’d like, but he sure is ugly! And I’m a big fan of anything that strikes out Braves. Go Big Unit!

Levi: Re: my post above. That should read “The gods.” I’m nothing if not a polytheist. Well, except for an athiest, that is.

Jim: Well, “the god” is probably appropriate if you’re a polytheist, because there is probably one specific god of Punishing Levi for Rooting Against the Cardinals. Obviously, he doesn’t have as many responsibilities as, say, Zeus, so when he gets a chance to do his thing, he’s going to take it.

Jason: PLRAC? (pronounced pul-rak)

Levi: My coworker, Jim, says, “Maybe touching the Unit’s hair is like touching a snake’s skin. You know, you expect it to be all slimy, but it’s really cool and dry.”

Secho: I was in the pressbox at Shea Stadium scoring the Mets-Cards game during the perfect game hubbub. I happen to sit right in the middle of several members of the Japanese media, who were unfazed by reports of the Unit’s perfection through 8, but outraged when Colin Porter was sent to pinch hit for So Taguchi in the top of the 9th. Taguchi had entered the game in a double-switch in the bottom of the 8th, an inning after 74-year-old Ray Lankford butchered a can of corn in left.

Anyway, the point: Longtime Met and Yankee official scorer Bill Shannon was sitting nearby, recounting every no-hitter he remembered in New York, and recalling who the official scorer was for each off the top of his head. It was unbelievable, hearing him talk about Larsen’s game in ’56. He noted there were 3 official scorers that day, as there are in World Series games, and tossed their names off as if he’d seen them yesterday, and then talked about a couple of pitches Larsen got away with in that game: “He threw a 2-2 hanging slider, but it was fouled back.” How does he remember this stuff? I don’t even remember most of Game 7 of the NLCS last year.

Levi: My memories of last year’s NLCS game 7 are clouded with despair.

I think that’s how you know the Cubs are only my backup team. If they were my real team, the despair would only bring the events into ever-clearer focus. Leading to more despair.

toby: Do I detect a bit of Braves-hating in that entry, Leviticus? I hope so.
A loyal Pirate fan

Francisco Cabrerra is the devil.

Anonymous: It could be worse, you could be a red sox fan

We’re not watching our own network

Several times during tonight’s hockey game on ESPN2, play-by-play announcer Gary Thorne promoted tomorrow night’s baseball coverage by saying, “Barry Bonds and the Giants travel to Wrigley Field to take on Sosa and the Cubs.”

Problem is, the ESPN2 “Bottom Line” ticker was repeating “Cubs OF Sammy Sosa (back) to be put on DL Wednesday.”

And then there was some actual breaking news on the Bottom Line: congratulations to Randy Johnson on the perfect game. Couldn’t have happened to a scarier-looking guy! I’m still going to refer to him as The Big Eunuch, but not when he’s within earshot.

Original comments…

Jason: I thought I was the only one in the Western United States watching this game.

Actually, I only watched the replay at midnight, but I still tuned in. Let’s hear it for a Tampa Bay-Calgary Stanley Cup Final!

A thought on ballpark food

On Tuesday at Tropicana Field, I had a grouper sandwich; on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, I had a Dodger Dog (included with the “family pack” ticket package); on Sunday at Petco Park, I had fish tacos. I think on the trip I’m going to try some local specialty at most of the ballparks, because even though my digestive system is used to me putting a lot of items consisting of meat and meat by-products down the hatch, I’m not sure it can handle a hot dog a day for 10 days. I’m also not sure what Levi’s going to eat on the trip, other than Tim Horton’s doughnuts while we’re in Canada, if he’s still practicing vegetarianism.

Original comments…

Levi: “Practicing”? I think I’ve got this vegetarian thing down by now.

And surely there will be enough to eat. Ballpark pizza is one of the worst foods in the world, but in St. Louis, for example, they’ve got a stand that sells veggie burgers and another that sells reasonably good burritos.

maura: i guess that seals the identity of the person who’s going to try the schmitter at citizens bank park, then….

Jon Solomon: There are GREAT veggie dogs to be had in Toronto at SkyDome. They’ve got a whole vegetarian stand down on the first level, in fact.

Steve: My long list of reasons why baseball should be contracted just got longer. Veggie dogs? inside domes? in Canada?!? Great American pastime indeed. There’s plenty of things vegetarians can eat at the ballpark–french fries, nachos, pretzels, peanuts, pizza, sunflower seeds, beer, big league chew, ice cream (if you aren’t vegan) lemon freeze (if you are vegan) free diced onions at wrigley….

Jim: A cheese steak on a Kaiser roll with fried salami, fried onions, tomato, and secret sauce?! There is nothing about that I don’t like, except that if it’s $5.25 at the actual McNally’s, I shudder to think how much they’re charging at Citizens Bank Park.

Levi: Let’s all give a moment of appreciation to Jim Bouton for inventing Big League Chew. That’s almost as great an achievement as writing Ball Four.

thatbob: My only quibble: I wish it had been called Big League Chaw. (God, it sucks to be me. I really can’t enjoy *anything*.)

thatbob: Re: veggie dogs inside domes in Canada. You know what Yogi Berra would say to that: “Only in America.”

Jason: You could always eat before the game…if you’re a COMMUNIST!

sarah: jon’s post brought back some very scary and sad memories of the near-deserted vegetarian food stand at the expos game we went to in montreal. the echo of fans banging empty seats followed me into the dark back alleys of the food court. the whole adventure took me close to an hour, since i believe they had to actually form the tofu into veggie-dog shapes by hand. plus, a mishap involving a foul ball spilled our whole dinner onto my shirt anyway.

good times. good times.

Don’t go to the supermarket hungry

This box of delight was on sale at Ralphs today. (Marked at $3.79, rang up at $2.50.) The official Hostess site doesn’t seem to acknowledge its existence, so I had to take my own picture. I think it should be the Official Snack Cake of this trip.

You know, if it turns out that real baseballs have a vanilla cream center these days, it might explain a lot of things.

Original comments…

Jason: There’s a Hostess thrift store not too far away in Burbank. (Well, it’s probably too far away for the Chicago folks.) I should see if I can find some Baseballs there. Last time I went, I brought home a box of Chocodiles.

Levi: Wow, Hug. I hadn’t thought about Chocodiles in years.

Jim, this is like when Maggie found a stash of John Kruk folders at a dollar store: Your duty is to buy all the boxes of these that you can, then pack them in your luggage.

Steve: Levi, in case you haven’t noticed the girth of your fellow midwesterners, its not like these are hard to find.

I vote that Jim packs nothing but Hostess in his luggage and if he wants a change of clothes must go to the local thrift store for an outfit featuring the logo of home team in the town you are currently visiting. And thanks for mentioning John Kruk.

Jim: Official TSA policy: “Avoid packing food and drink items in checked baggage.” Sorry.

thatbob: Nonsense, Jim. You can (1) “avoid” packing the Hostess Baseballs in your checked luggage all day – all weekend, even! – and then, at the last minute, pack them anyway. (This is what I would do). Or you can (2) pack the maximum limit of carry-on with Hostess Baseballs, and not check any luggage. (This is what you should do.)

No excuses! No regrets!

Jason: Or, you could ship a case or 2 to Levi, and then pick them up from him and carry them in your rental car.

Steve: I think we are distilling this down to its essential meaning…

Jim is not allowed to pack any luggage for this trip unless it is filled with hostess baseballs and his diet for the entire trip must consist entirely of hostess baseballs. Now that would be a cool documentary!!

Levi: And _I’ve_ distilled Steve’s post to its essence: Steve loves to see people barf out car windows.