Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Take Me Out Of The Ballgame

Once or twice a summer, my husband and I head up to Pfitzner Stadium in Prince William County to check out a minor league baseball game. Last night’s game pitted the home team Potomac Nationals, the farm team for the Washington Nationals, against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Personally, I’m not a big sports fan, but I am a reasonable fan of the sports event. So while my husband watches the game, I amuse myself by watching the crowd, eating stadium food and drinking beer, enjoying the goofy between-innings entertainment (The Dizzy Bat Race! The Hooters Chicken Leg Toss!), and keeping tabs on Uncle Slam, the team’s mascot.

Uncle Slam is what my kids called a “people puppet” when they were little—people who dress up in costumes with giant heads. They never talk—I guess that would destroy the mystique. Uncle Slam is a particularly good example. He (or she?) works the crowd, hugging and high-fiving the kids, and dancing to the snippets of rock music playing between batters and innings. Why do I find him so mesmerizing? Is it the funky dance moves? The way he manages to express himself so well with just a nod of his giant head or wave of his furry, um...paws? The way he tries to engage the adults in the crowd, usually without success? I could watch him all night, and last night, I did, because the game wasn’t too exciting (we lost, 7-3), the turnout was slim (I'm being kind), and I should have brought a book.

One more thing—what kind of a team name is the Blue Rocks? Apparently, it was the winning entry in a name-the-team contest, and was taken from the blue granite found along the Brandywine River. Their mascots are Rocky Bluewinkle (cheating! that has nothing to do with a rock, regardless of what the moose's name is!), and Rubble (much better). Now if only Rubble had been there last night, and had taken on Uncle Slam. Hmm, who would win in that battle, an uncle or a rock? That could go either way.

As it turns out, a blue rock makes for some pretty decent merch. Cool hat, no?

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