I had a good time at the Trop yesterday. Tampa Bay Rays Rookie Chris Archer threw the game of his career, a five-hit shutout (the complete game means that with the four-game All-Star break, Rays' bullpen will have five-days rest -- they may have to be re-trained). Rays beat the Astros 5-0 and thereby take nine of the 10-game home stand.
Not so enjoyable was the constant noise and clamor, especially before the game started. Some really terrible music at decibel levels OSHA would never allow in a work place, and stupid diversions based on the assumption that baseball fans' imaginations are too poverty-stricken for them to be satisfied for even a few seconds with their own thoughts, or be diverted by conversation with the people they came with. This disease has spread to almost all sports venues.
If the noise doesn't get you, all the flashing lights will. And beware of the comely and energetic teen-age girl who, when you least expect it, will shoot a tee-shirt at you out of one of those plastic rocket-launcher things which makes a sound something like PHFFUTTT! The whole business is about as dignified as dinner-time at the dog pound.
After the game there was a concert at the Trop featuring a young woman named Carly Rae Jepsen (of course I'd never heard of her. Thanks to folks sticking around for the tunes, I was able to get out of the Trop parking lot after the game more easily than I can usually get out of the Publix parking lot after picking up a prescription and a bottle of middling cabernet.
Young Carly (she's cute and looked 16 to me but doubtless is older) was tasked to throw out the first pitch. A bad choice, as on the evidence it would appear that yesterday was the first time she had ever held a baseball, let alone tried to throw one. After some coaching on where pitches come from, she bestrode the mound. Her half-way credible windup, was followed by a "throw" that barely made the grass. Carly's first pitch was even more pathetic than Obama's at the 2010 season opener at Nationals Park in Washington. At least Carly has the excuse that she's a real girl.
But none of this discouraged our Carly. She seemed delighted with the experience, hopped about with a huge smile on her face, and seemed mainly interested in hugging Mat Moore, a good left-handed pitcher and a handsome young dog who had drawn the short straw and was, by this stroke of ill-luck, Carly's duty catcher.
After all this silliness, there was a baseball game, which was most pleasing. Rays don't play again until Friday. With any luck I won't have full-blown withdrawal symptoms by then.
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