Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Sheltering Sky

This is part six of the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip.

Thursday, June 17

It's a short drive to Cincinnati for a day game versus Texas. I'm wearing my Soriano Yankees shirt, but I'm most excited about Griffey, obviously. I chat with the parking attendant about the shift towards a more team-oriented approach in building teams. An example is the improvement of teams like the Mariners and Rangers after their stars left town. He gives me directions to I-71 for after the game.

One of the Mariners' former stars is the headline attraction at this game, but somehow I have a feeling that's not who we were really talking about, especially considering I was wearing a Yankees shirt.

I think that's Griffey under the 499 sign.

Great American Ball Park is nice, but all the new parks are starting to look alike at this point.

I think what I really meant to say is that it's getting harder to tell the difference between a good new stadium and a great one. But, I'm sure I'll have more to say on this subject at my next stop.

Griffey doesn't hit his 500th. In fact, he fans feebly in his final at bat versus Texas lefty specialist, Brian Shouse. The Reds stage a nice little late rally to come from behind and win. That makes three out of four home teams who have accomplished that on the trip so far.

I'm pretty sure that's Griffey at bat. I'm positive that it's future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin leading off third base. Well, positive that it's Larkin, that is...not necessarily positive that he'll eventually get his due.

After the game, I drive from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh and pick up Brian at the airport just before midnight. By the time we get to the hotel and get checked in, it's a little after 1am. Much to our delight, the clerk at the front desk tells us that bars are open until 2, so we head to an Oakland neighborhood bar called Panther Hollow Inn and down three Iron Cities each before last call.

What is the plural of Iron City, when you're referring to the actual product? It just doesn't look right to refer to them as "Iron Cities." I guess technically I should have just gone with "Iron City beers" or "bottles of Iron City," but I'm sticking with Iron Cities.

On Deck: Pittsburgh Town

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Long Cut

This is part five of the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip.

Tuesday, June 15 (Cont'd)

This game is just as exciting as Saturday night in Cleveland. Neither Morris nor Zito is on: Zito lasts only five innings, giving up three runs (two earned), while allowing seven hits and five walks. His pitch count must have been over 100. Morris starts off shaky, giving up two-run homers to Damian Miller in the 2nd and Mark Kotsay in the 3rd, but then cruises through four strong innings for the win (7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 SO, 4 ER). St. Louis scores five in the 7th off of Oakland's bullpen—Chad Bradford, Ricardo Rincon and Justin Duchscherer—coming back from 4-3 to win 8-4.

Busch Stadium

I end up at the Fireside again after the game, chatting it up with Angela (the bartender) and her sister—who once lived in Boston—while drinking two more Buds to add to the two beers I had at Pitcher's pre-game and two 32 oz. drafts at the park.

I didn't write it down, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the two drafts I consumed at the ballpark were Anheuser Busch products.

Wednesday, June 16
I drive from Troy, IL to Middletown, OH (about a half hour north of Cincinnati). I'm on fire trivia-wise, listening to sports radio on the AM dial:
  • "He's a rock 'n' roll star whose father is a sportswriter." (Neil Young)
  • During broadcast of Reds-Rangers game: "Name the four Rangers who've won the AL MVP." (Jeff Burroughs, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez)
  • "The only player, other than Texas's Eric Young to steal six bases in a game." (Otis Nixon)
I have to admit that the last one was multiple choice.

I watch the end of the Reds game from a sports bar called Bullie's in Middletown. I'm still rooting for Griffey to not hit home run number 500 tonight. The score is 3-3 in the middle of the 8th. I'm pulling for the Reds to score in the bottom of the inning, but for Junior to not get to the plate, then they can finish it out in the top of the 9th.

In fact, Cincinnati scores four. Griffey comes to bat, gets a couple good pitches to hit, but ends up grounding into a double play. I'm relieved...and excited. The Reds are up 7-3, should hold on to win, and I get to see him go for number 500 tomorrow.

I have a good feeling...

On Deck: The Sheltering Sky

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brouthers Field: The Sequel

In June of last year, I wrote about a day that I spent paying tribute to the two baseball Hall of Famers from the county I grew up in. One of them was 19th century star, Dan Brouthers. I discovered that day that a monument to Brouthers that was erected at a local Little League field was gone, as was the field.

After I notified him of this, my good friend and fellow baseball history buff, Joe, emailed the mayor of the Village of Wappingers Falls, where the field is located, to inquire about what happened to the monument. He never heard back, but I recently came across the photos I took when I initially showed Joe this field almost 20 years ago. So, I thought I'd share one of those with you.

Brouthers Field Monument

It's unfortunate that I don't have more information on where the monument currently resides. It could be at the Sports Museum of Dutchess County, but I've yet to visit. I assure you, though, that I haven't given up and am still determined to eventually track down its whereabouts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis

This is part four of the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip.

Monday, June 14

I drive from Lima, Ohio to Troy, Illinois (20 miles from St. Louis). It's been a fairly uneventful day so far. I'm definitely not going to get anything besides a Bud or Bud Light in this town.

Tomorrow's game will be the first ever regular season meeting between the Cardinals and the Athletics. It's a nice pitching match-up as well: Matt Morris vs. Barry Zito. Neither has pitched particularly well this year, but I still consider it to be compelling. I predict one of them will throw a gem.

I spend the evening in Maryville, at a sports bar called the Fireside Inn, after eating a tremendous country style dinner—roasted pork w/ stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad and bread—for $6.90 (tax included) at a family restaurant called the Red Apple. I drink six Budweisers, for $1.75 each, at the bar, and chat with a nice, attractive bartender about Yankees-Red Sox, Cubs-Cardinals, rents in Boston compared to St. Louis, etc. She gives me directions to the nearest MetroLink station—“it’s like the T,” she tells me—so I think I'll go that route tomorrow, rather than drive to St. Louis.

I believe I decided on this trip, just as I did four years later, that St. Louis has the best looking women of all the mid-western cities I've visited.

Tuesday, June 15
I receive three phone calls from the front desk this morning...yes, I'm staying another night. Yes, I understand that you left the charges open yesterday! Yes, today I will pay for both nights!! This is the cheapest rate of the trip so far, at $38.85 per night, including tax.

I also recently unearthed the journal I kept during the cross-country trip that two of my college buddies and I took after graduation. Had I been writing this entry then—or had the 22-year old version of me been on this trip—I probably would have written something offensive about the people running this motel. But, this is 15 years later, and I had matured quite a bit.

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel...this place seems a bit overrated. The food is pretty good, but not a great value.

There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on value for my money on this trip.

I take the MetroLink into St. Louis. The bartender's directions are perfect. Only eight stops and I'm right outside Busch Stadium. I check out the area, take pictures of the arch, but don't go up—been there, done that—and stop for a couple beers at a bar called Pitcher's, where I talk to a Syracuse native who's a lifelong Cardinals fan. One of the beers I drink is a St. Louis brewed Schlafly Pale Ale: "A rich, amber-colored, medium-bodied, British-style ale with a smooth, mild hop character."

I'm not sure if that quote was written on the bottle, or if I later looked it up on their web site, but I certainly didn't write it myself, because here's what comes next:

Note to self: when ordering microbrews from towns not known for good beer, go for IPAs because if they're not good, at least they'll be strong and hoppy. Standard pale ales tend to be lame.

Interestingly enough, Schlafly's was one of the breweries briefly mentioned in the Beer Wars movie. This was the only time I've had any of their beers, and apparently I wasn't impressed. Note also that I referred to St. Louis as a town not known for good beer. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone.

I enter Busch Stadium in time for batting practice, and end up talking to a couple who are A's fans. I take their picture, and they take mine. They're really nice people, and we find a connection in that we're all previous residents of upstate New York. She once lived in Watertown, and he's from Schenectady.

Charles Simone at Busch Stadium

On deck: The Long Cut

Friday, February 19, 2010

Beer Wars

About once a year it seems, I do a post about a movie, and this year a documentary about one of my favorite subjects earns the honor.

Beer Wars offers the viewer an inside look at the American beer industry, particularly from the perspective of two small-time brewers, Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione and Moonshot's Rhonda Kallman. These two are quite the contrast in terms of success, though, as Dogfish has thrived in its underdog role, while the film portrays Moonshot as on the verge of ultimate failure.

Not that I really needed any incentive to stay away from the products of Anheuser Busch and MillerCoors, but the film takes my dislike for the U.S.'s largest brewer to another level. At the risk of echoing every other bleeding liberal—which I'm really not, because I do believe in the free market system—who advocates for the little guy versus the evil of big business, this movie has me truly considering a boycott of Anheuser Busch and all of its brand names. That list includes Monster Energy, a company guilty of its own transgressions against Vermont's Rock Art Brewery.

Here's a little clip from the movie, in which Calagione discusses Anheuser Busch's frivolous lawsuit versus Dogfish. A spoiler alert isn't really necessary, because this is a documentary, after all, but this is one of the film's better examples of the corporate giant's anti-competitive practices.

The narrator refers to Anheuser Busch as a monopoly, which I don't think is technically true. Although approximately one of every two beers sold in the United States is one of their products, MillerCoors also has a market share of about 28%, so I think the characterization of Anheuser Busch as a monopoly is a bit of an exaggeration.

Also of interest is that both Anheuser Busch and Monster Energy have been unsuccessful in their lawsuits versus these smaller brewers. I'm not sure what came of the former's case, but I do know that Monster dropped their suit against Rock Art as a result of public backlash.

As far as I'm concerned, they can use advertising to pull the wool over the eyes of all the non-discriminating beer consumers they want, but when a company with 50% of an industry's market share tries to bring down a "competitor" with 0.002%, over something as trivial as how generic the names of their beers are, that's a slap in the face of capitalism. I also have no problem with the fact that Anheuser Busch makes terrible beer. It's their prerogative to do so, just as it's mine to not drink it, and their popularity is more than enough justification that their swill-producing business model is a successful one.

I'm sure it could be argued that all corporate giants are guilty of anti-competitive tactics, at least to some extent. But a major difference between Anheuser Busch and Coca-Cola, for instance, is the latter doesn't have to resort to such measures because, although there are folks who prefer Pepsi, Coke's products are actually good. There is no Dogfish Head of the soda industry, and the reason there isn't is because there's no niche for the little guy to make a superior product to the big guy.

But, we're not talking about soda here. We're talking about an industry that means a great deal to me, so it's one that has me considering taking a stand, which is harder than you would think. But, I'm not going to get into that right now. What I am going to do is recommend you check out Beer Wars: rent it, Netflix it, order it on demand. Or, if you're one of those people lucky enough to live near one of these locales, check out a screening:
While we're on the subject, and since it is Friday, promise me that you'll enjoy a craft beer or two...or three...this weekend.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Frequent Spins (2010.1)

    This year I thought I'd try something new with Frequent Spins. Since this is really about recommending new music and hoping that you'll take the time to check out some of my suggestions for yourselves, I've decided that I'm going to provide links to where you can preview each of the albums I'm highlighting. Lala will most likely be my fall-back source, but since that site only allows you to listen to each song once before making some kind of purchase, I'll be favoring links to places that don't have such restrictions.

    Either way, I may be writing a little less and just letting you focus on the music. With that in mind, I'll be trying to direct you to the best current alternative for checking out the new releases that I'm enjoying most.

    - End Times
    I thought that Two Gallants' self-titled release in 2007 was the ultimate breakup album, until Mark Oliver Everett's latest—which apparently draws on his own recent experience—came along. It's also proof that I can still enjoy this type of music despite being happy with my own love life.

    Laura Veirs - July Flame
    I guess I would call this the least frequently spun of this group, but it's been well-received by critics and fans alike. So, although it hasn't grabbed me as hard as the others on this list, it's definitely worth spending a little time to decide for yourself.

    Midlake - The Courage of Others
    Although I really like it, I would have to consider this album a bit of a disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but that's what happens when a band makes an almost perfect record, as The Trials of Van Occupanther was to me. Still, I will say that The Courage of Others seems to be growing on me with each subsequent listen, so I may eventually change my tune.

    Sell music itunes

    Spoon - Transference
    Whether you like this album or not may depend on which version of Spoon you're a fan of: the stripped down outfit that produced their earlier work, or the bigger, slightly more polished sound of their last two records, Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. To me, Transference seems like a bit of a return to those earlier days, and an impressive one at that.

    Vampire Weekend - Contra
    Sometimes I just have a feeling that a band is going to be a "one shot deal" in terms of my interest in them. When it comes to Vampire Weekend, that's what I thought, but it appears I was wrong, as this one is even better—perhaps significantly so—than their debut.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Detroit Rock City

    This is part three of the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip.

    Sunday, June 13

    The morning drive from Cleveland to Detroit is fairly easy. The musical highlight is Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne, listened to between Cleveland and Toledo.

    At Comerica Park, I give $20 to the parking attendant and drive away, forgetting my change. He points this out to me, and gives me back $10 a few minutes later. I then interact with a bitchy Subway worker who's wearing a Celtics jacket.

    Subway, in this case, is in reference to the fast food restaurant and not an underground train.

    At the park...the stadium has impressive monuments to Tigers legends: Willie Horton, Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser, Al Kaline. Willie Horton?

    It's Spiderman day at the ballpark.

    I have no idea what Spiderman day was all about, and I'm pretty sure the brevity of my note was intended to mean that there really was nothing at all to say about it.

    Comerica Park

    I like the out-of-town scoreboard here better than at the Jake. It's more old school, but you get to see all the scores at once, rather than a rotating three at a time. They do a good job at updating the pitchers' numbers as well.

    One of my highlights here is scoreboard watching of the Yankees game, as they score two in the 9th to erase a 2-0 deficit. The score is 2-2 in the 10th when the Tigers-Marlins game ends, so I have to wait until later to find out that the Padres score three in the top of 12th, but the Yankees counter with four in the bottom for a 6-5 win. Due to good updating of pitchers' numbers, I know that David Wells pitches seven, Otsuka the 8th and Hoffman the 9th for San Diego. For the Yankees, it's Vazquez for eight, with Tom Gordon pitching at least the 9th.

    There's an abundance of beer stands here, but no microbrews. I do find 32 oz. drafts for $8.50, so I order a Labatt's.

    I'm impressed that the crowd doesn't yell "balk" when Dontrelle Willis turns and fakes a pickoff throw to second. The supposedly smarter fans in Boston would have. Of course, it's possible that the Detroit fans aren't actually paying attention.

    I think Esteban Yan is following me. How many teams have I seen him pitch for in the past two years? As he warms up, the P.A. blares, "I've been working real hard and I'm tryin' to find a job, but it just keeps getting tougher every day," from Steve Miller's "Rock 'n Me." It's quite fitting.

    From 2002-2004, Yan played for four different teams (Tampa Bay, Texas, St. Louis, Detroit). I'm sure I had previously seen him pitch for Tampa Bay, and probably either or both of Texas and St. Louis prior to this. Still, I have a slight tendency to exaggerate.

    Detroit sports talk radio seems to think the Pistons have the NBA Finals locked up, even though they're only leading the series 2-1.

    They turned out to be right.

    There's an unbelievable storm as I'm driving south from Toledo towards Dayton...rain so hard I can't see, brutal winds, lightning. I pull over on an exit ramp to wait it out and watch the lightning. I wish I could enjoy the show, but I'm a little nervous, not knowing what to do. Maybe I'll just get a room, as it's 7:30 already, and I don't have to get to St. Louis until Tuesday night. I guess I should have stayed in Detroit and tried to get tickets for game four of the NBA Finals.

    Pre-storm Ohio sky
    I spend the night in Lima, Ohio. I try to buy some beer to drink in my room and watch the Red Sox-Dodgers game and the NBA Finals, but there are no Sunday beer sales in Ohio. I go to a local dive bar called Sportscaster, but the cable is out, and eventually the power goes out too. I drink cans of Rolling Rock, for $1.75 each, and witness two drunk, fat, local women call each other "bitch" for about a half hour. The guy sitting next to me, who is missing a few visible teeth, including one of his front two, says this is the nightly entertainment in this place.

    Sunday, February 07, 2010

    Anders Parker @ Club Passim

    This past fall marked ten years for me living in Cambridge and Somerville, yet last night was only the second or third time I've visited Club Passim. That's probably at least in part due to the fact that, up until about a year ago when they started serving local offerings from Cambridge Brewing Company, it was a dry venue.

    The occasion of my return to Passim wasn't the addition of craft beer to their menu, but instead was Anders Parker's debut at the small Harvard Square music venue. Anders was opening for popular New England singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, who happens to be married to Kris Delmhorst, an even more recognizable name in the Boston folk scene. So, most of the capacity crowd of 100+ fans—present company excluded—were not necessarily there to see Anders, but he was extremely well received.

    The thing that impressed me the most about last night's crowd was that they actually listened quietly and attentively to each and every song played by both artists. I honestly thought I would never again experience such a phenomenon. In fact, it was just this past December, when KJ and I attended the Boston Pops' holiday performance, that I was dismayed by the fact that not even that crowd was capable of shutting up and listening.

    Anders' set was excellent, with the highlights being an acoustic version of "Song," from his former band Varnaline's swan song, Songs in a Northern Key, and a stirring rendition of "Horses Running Over the Hills," from his latest, Skyscraper Crow. I couldn't help but feel that the rest of the crowd was equally moved by the latter performance.

    This, of course, reminds me that I'm way overdue in putting together my 2009 compilation. Be patient, though, as there is good reason for its delay, as many of you are well aware. I'm targeting late March for its completion and distribution, in fact.

    Last night's show also made me realize that playing to the clientele and type of venue that Club Passim has to offer is a great career move for Anders. During a backstage conversation I had with Jeff, he told me that Anders was looking to get away from the dingy indie rock club scene when the two met. So, in that respect, it seems that meeting Foucault a few years ago in Newcastle, England has been a significant boon to Parker's career. Hopefully, an upcoming collaboration with Son Volt's Jay Farrar, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, and Centro-Matic's Will Johnson, will help him to continue to increase his profile.

    Friday, February 05, 2010

    Cleveland Rocks

    This is part two of the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip.

    Saturday, June 12 (Cont'd)

    The beer selection here includes mostly the standard choices, with the exception of one concession stand called "Beers of the World," which pretty much consists of the same old domestic crap plus Heineken and three Great Lakes offerings.

    Honestly, the concept doesn't excite me anyway, as I prefer microbrewed American beer. But, I still think it's lame when one run-of-the-mill imported beer and a few obscure local brews add up to something called "Beers of the World."

    My overall impression of Jacobs Field is that it's a nice park, but doesn't quite compare to the atmosphere of Pac-Bell or the retro feel of Camden Yards.

    Later on the trip, I would visit a park that would join the ranks of my favorites.

    Griffey has a rough night. He strikes out twice and goes 0-for-4 with an intentional walk. Maybe I'll have a shot at seeing his 500th in Cincinnati on Thursday. Otherwise, the game is exciting. Todd Van Poppel's three-inning perfect game is broken up by a Matt Lawton leadoff homer in the 4th. The Reds build a 5-1 lead, but Cleveland comes from behind, scoring two in the 7th and four in the 8th, the latter rally keyed by Coco Crisp's three-run double.

    Jacobs Field

    Down 8-5, Cincinnati scores two in the 9th, but Jose Jimenez is finally able to close it out. Some shaky defense by the Reds in the 8th contributes to their downfall: Griffey fails to call D'Angelo Jimenez off on a shallow fly to center; Jimenez tries to get a force out at second when he should have made the play to first, although the replay shows the runner was out. I was actually surprised at the time that there was no argument.

    Yes, there were two Jimenez's who played critical roles in this game.
    Indians fans seem genuinely excited about the team. The excitement appears to be warranted. They have a lot of good young position players (although not much power), and a few good young arms. But, they have a terrible bullpen, despite getting the job done tonight. Another observation about the fans is that they actually wait until the end of the national anthem before they start clapping.

    For some reason, it's always been a pet peeve of mine that fans start clapping before the song is actually over, although I've sometimes wondered if it's "the land of the free" that they're applauding.

    The Jake's out-of-town scoreboard gives the inning (top or bottom), runners on base, and batter up, but not the number of outs, and only shows three games at once. I'm not impressed.

    It was on this trip that I developed my fascination for out-of-town scoreboards, probably because the technology had reached the point where we could expect a lot more than score and inning updates. The new Busch Stadium is the gold standard in this category, as far as I'm concerned.

    On Deck: Detroit Rock City

    Tuesday, February 02, 2010

    Look Out Cleveland

    This begins the Summer of '04 series, chronicling my first serious baseball road trip. The italicized passages are notes that I've added after the fact. The rest is taken word-for-word, or paraphrased from, the journal I kept on this trip.

    Friday, June 11

    Today is the day...the beginning of my five-ballparks-in-seven-days tour of the Midwest. Unfortunately, I suffered a slight setback Wednesday night when I sprained my right foot sliding into third base during a softball game. Right now, I'm on crutches, but I've healed so quickly thus far that I doubt I'll need them for long.

    Interestingly enough, when I hurt my foot/ankle during the game, I walked it off and remained in the game, playing the outfield, in fact. Later that night, after a few post-game drinks at the bar, I was limping a little, but that paled in comparison to when I woke up in the middle of the night writhing in pain.

    The following morning, I called SMB, my teammate, co-worker, neighbor, and closest member of my urban family, who then drove me to the hospital. Later, when I informed the emergency room doctor of the trip I had planned, he essentially said to me that he probably should tell me not to go, but that if he were me, he'd still make the trip.

    My first game is tomorrow night in Cleveland. They're playing Cincinnati, and Ken Griffey Jr. is two home runs shy of 500 for his career. Today, my goal is to drive across Massachusetts and upstate New York and spend the night near Rochester.

    Later...after a productive day of driving (almost 400 miles), I make it to the vicinity of Rochester and find a motel room near Victor, New York. While driving, I was thinking about the possibility of adding a sixth game to my schedule. Unfortunately, there are no games in Milwaukee or Chicago on Monday—my open day between Detroit and St. Louis—so Philadelphia next Saturday appears to be my only real option.

    Today's musical highlight was Matthew Ryan's Mayday. I haven't listened to this one in a while, but I still love it, and it's an excellent selection for a rural road trip. I watch SportsCenter from my motel room, but fall asleep while the Reds game is in extra innings, with Griffey still stuck on 498.

    Saturday, June 12
    I'm on the road from Victor to Cleveland for tonight's Reds-Indians game. I'm torn between rooting for Junior to hit two home runs or none, since I'll be seeing him again in Cincinnati next Thursday.

    I make great time on Saturday, and arrive at my motel in the western suburbs of Cleveland—giving me a bit of a head start on tomorrow's driving—about five hours before game time. It's also worth noting that, by this point, I'd abandoned the use of the crutches. Although that's in part due to quick healing, it's also because getting in and out of the car while hopping on one foot is a royal pain in the ass.

    Also of interest, although not necessarily in a good way, is that I ran the New York City Marathon twice in the four years prior to the injury. I don't think I've run any longer than five miles at one time since. On the upside (sort of), as I've felt my knees deteriorate in recent years, I realize that being forced to curtail, and eventually give up, running was probably my body's built-in defense mechanism.

    I arrive at Jacobs Field a few hours early, so I head to a nearby sports bar called Alice Cooper'stown. I try the Eliot Ness from Great Lakes Brewing Company. I'm told it's a pale ale, but it seems more like a Killian's clone. For my next beer, I check out Alice's Poison Amber, which may or may not be brewed on the premises. It sucks also, reminding me of a poor man's Sam Adams, which is barely an upgrade over Killian's.

    Honestly, I'm not sure why I was under the impression that I was going to discover good local brews in the Midwest. But, while I was quite critical of the beer selection, I was pleased with the fact that Cleveland is a city whose baseball stadium resides in the midst of a fairly happening downtown atmosphere. Most other cities I've visited on my two major ballpark trips can't make this claim, with Pittsburgh being the one exception that comes to mind.

    Vizquel/Concepcion Bobblehead
    There are lots of Reds fans in and around the park, which I guess isn't much of a surprise. It turns out that tonight is Omar Vizquel & Dave Concepcion Bobblehead Night. Concepcion is present to honor Vizquel during a pre-game tribute celebrating the fact that he's recently reached two significant milestones. Vizquel accumulated his 2,000th hit and played in his 2,000th game this year, and he's quite pleased that Concepcion, his boyhood idol and fellow Venezuelan, is on hand to take part in the ceremony.

    On Deck: Cleveland Rocks