Well, it's been a crazy month, and it's about to get even crazier, as I'm about to leave for the airport and the quick little 36-hour jaunt over to Taiwan. I'll be there for a week. But I couldn't go without first sharing the Miller Park Sausage Race love. The game I saw went 13 innings and, to the crowd's unfettered joy, included a second race after the 12th.
There is much to be said in praise of Brewers fans, but this in particular impressed me: at almost every sporting event I've been to in the last few years, fans react with more passion, cheering and general enthusiasm to the free t-shirts shot into the crowd than they do to almost anything that happens during the actual game. It was true at Madison Square Garden, it was true at Shea, and I don't kid myself that it wouldn't also be the case at Yankee Stadium, if they started the tradition. It was not true, however, at Miller Park: there, the crowd engaged more fully with the racing sausages -- hot dog, bratwurst, Polish sausage, chorizo, and Italian sausage -- than with anything else. Which is, I feel, exactly how it should be.
I should point out that these things, according to Wikipedia, have names, though they quite wisely don't advertise these at the ballpark: Frankie Furter, Brett Wurst, Stosh (I have a friend named Stosh and now will always associate him with a man in a large plush sausage outfit wearing sunglasses... I have mixed feelings about that), Cinqo, and... wait for it... Guido. Yes, they did.
Much has been happening:
-Alex Rodriguez nailed his much-anticipated 500th home run. Nice moment, though really, if he doesn't get to at least 600 it'll have to be because he lost a limb. However, I do find it slightly disturbing that he and Barry Bonds have such a supportive friendship. First they schmooze it up at the All-Star Game, now both of them go out of their way to praise the other in their post-milestone pressers today... I could have sworn I heard ominous strings in the background. I mean, I'm just not well-equipped to handle a world in which Jose Conseco is not full of shit.
-The Kansas City Royals continue to suck. Chien-Ming Wang continues to be awesome. Phil Hughes should be too, shortly, but wasn't quite today.
-The Pittsburgh Pirates are still run by a madman. As Jayson Stark writes,
For the next two hours, after people around baseball learned of this deal, they couldn't stop calling, e-mailing and texting reactions that could probably be summed up with three succinct words: WHAT THE BX!GRZFDQ!!!!!-The Yankees are just 2 games out of the Wild Card lead.
-The Mets seem to have stabilized, and they'll try to take 2 of 3 from the Cubs today; over/under on the number of times the ESPN cameras cut to Lou Piniella looking grumpy after a cubs pitcher allows a hit or a walk: 23. Also, good luck to Tom Glavine as he goes for #300 a second time -- he got robbed by the bullpen in Milwaukee. One can only hope that Frankie Furter's 12th inning triumph was some consolation to him.
-Barry Bonds finally hit another home run tonight to blah blah blah. Does anybody still care? I took this photo just outside Miller Park:
Will there ever be a Barry Bonds statue in San Fran? It's hard to imagine, isn't it? For one thing, it would be an engineering challenge to get the head large enough, yet still keep the thing structurally sound... lawsuit just waiting to happen.
Okay, off to Taiwan. I believe I'll have internet access, in which case I'll be sure to post -- though I can't be sure, as all I really know about my hotel is that, per its official web page, it boasts "luxuriously decorated corridor poles." What more could anybody ask?
In any case: any Taiwanese fans reading this, who have any tips, advice, or the desire to watch a Yankees game this coming week in Taipei, please do drop me an email -- ekspan @ gmail.com.