Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Day of Fun, Pt. 2: Baseball in Brooklyn
Before I go on, a word about that Georgian bread. Yvonne underplayed it a little. (There's cheese inside the bread!) You see how tiny the store is, but what you can't see is how tiny the kitchen is. There's basically enough room for one old Georgian dude, drenched in sweat working over a clay oven that fills the whole place with the smell of dreams. We read that they only make this stuff fresh; indeed the khachapuri he pulled out for us was almost too hot to hold. We carried it about four steps from the front door, then ate half of it under the shade of a sidewalk tree, pulling off pieces of warm cheesy goodness until we remembered we still had the rest of the Russian 'hood to conquer.
But you've read all about Brighton Beach.
As for Coney Island, suffice it to say that the Cyclone is one of the last great simple joys of New York. Also, rougher than I remember.
Anyways, how did we end up at a baseball game? Well, at the end of the day, Yvonne was like, "I don't really want to go home. I want to sit outside, with people." You know what's good for that? A baseball game. And the single-A Brooklyn Cyclones' stadium was right next door. It didn't even take any convincing or arm-twisting or anything. What a wife!
The timing was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that we got there nice and early -- and one of the Cyclones' cheerleaders (that's the minor leagues, for ya) asked if I wanted to take part in an on-field promotion. Do I!?
So, at the end of the 3rd inning, I went down to the front row and the promotions guy ran down how it would work. This old Brooklynite who looks like a member of the Sopranos and I would be competing in a Price Is Right style game: They'd show us a home stereo system and the MSRP, and we'd have to guess how much a local electronics wholesaler sells it for -- having been advised that the discounts are usually 20-50%. Whoever gets closest to the price without going over "wins" (we were playing for a hat, and for all the fans in our section to be able to enter to win a 40-inch HD TV, with about 1 in 300 odds of winning, which actually aren't bad.)
(WARNING: You're about to be exposed to the thought processes and over-thinking that guide most every decision, great and small, that I make each day. If this is too much for you, I won't blame you for skipping to the pictures.)
We were told before taking the field that the MSRP on the stereo system was $299. I had half an inning to strategize. I'm thinking with my luck, I'm going to be in the disadvantaged role of guessing first, where the other guy can just go, "One dollar." Remember, it's Price Is Right rules. I'm also thinking how much could this local store be knocking off the price? Hell, they have to keep money around to pay for sponsorship in the Cyclones game! So I start doing some math in my head; 20% would be $240; 50% would be $150. I wanna be somewhere in the middle. 33%? Nah, $199 seems too obvious. $219 has a nice ring to it though. Yeah, $219.
We get down on the field and, first of all, I thought I looked really fat on the scoreboard. Almost threw me off my game, but I stuck to the plan -- $219.
Sure enough, I have to go first. I give my answer over the mic, and the emcee is like, "Ooh, two nine-teen" as though that's a verrry interesting answer.
Bobby Bacala on my left says $129 and I'm thinking, "That's more than 50% off. I got this!"
The emcee reveals the price: $159. Ugh.
Now here comes the cascade of obvious flaws in my logic. It hits before I even step off the field.
1.) It's a wholesaler. They've gotta sell everything for at least 30-40% off MSRP.
2.) The sponsor wants to look like they've got great deals. $219 instead of $299 impresses no one.
3.) It's Price Is Right rules. You gotta go LOW! Fool!
Totally fun anyway, but still, disappointing not to win. (And, this is gonna sound more pitiful than I intend it, but I feel like I have this awful habit of always taking second, always coming up just short. I don't know if it's a lack of a killer instinct, or if my perception on this is wrong [I don't think it is], but it's like I never really expect to come through in the clutch and don't. Self-fulfilling prophecy?)
But what about the game, you say? Well, Nick Tropeano of the Tri-City ValleyCats (what a terrible name) threw a gem: a no-hitter thru 5 IP, with 9 Ks. But since a no-hitter is meaningless in the minors, Tropeano got pulled -- and his replacement threw 2 more no-hit innings before one of the Cyclones singled up the middle for the home team's only base hit. But they did manage to strike out 16 times. Yikes.
For the California readers, Danny Muno, fresh out of Fresno State and one of the league's leading hitters, went 0-for-4 with 3 Ks and a little nifty defense.
Great ballpark. Great game. Great night.
Yvonne has a moment with Sandy the Seagull.
How I'll remember the night.