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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hockey vs. Baseball and Other Rants

A few weeks ago, TV Stevie and I attended the home opener for the local "minor league" hockey franchise. Like the Syracuse Chiefs, the Syracuse Crunch play in a county-owned facility. There was a sell-out crowd, capacity a bit over 6,000 fans. And it was loud. They had "cheerleaders" (Ice Girls), none of whom looked a day over 16.

But what struck me was the scoreboard and other lighting effects around the rink.

There are around 38 home games in the team's season. That's about half as many home games as the Chiefs play. Sellout capacity, too, is roughly half of what Alliance Bank Stadium holds. Have I mentioned that the War Memorial and Alliance Bank Stadium are both county-owned facilities?

Then what's wrong with this picture?

Let's take another, closer look at the Crunch's scoreboard:

Figured it out yet?

Okay, here are two more hints.
Frontier Field, Rochester

PNC Field, Scranton (which is being rehabbed this coming season)
I'm sure you see my point by now.

Speaking of Rochester's Frontier Field:

To all the people out there who thought the stadium should have been built in downtown Syracuse, come to a game sometime, then go to an event in downtown.Which location is easier to get to? Easier to locate parking? Easier to leave?

Syracuse isn't like Rochester, with all those huge, open Kodak parking lots near the stadium. I mean, think about parking at the Carrier Dome. Think about all the money the city of Syracuse has to spend on street closures, traffic cops, etc. because of the dearth of parking (altho' I understand that the University is now contributing payment to those costs). Granted, a stadium that holds around 12,000 people isn't going to generate the traffic a facility holding 60,000 will generate, but stuck in traffic is still stuck in traffic. Downtown Syracuse isn't built to handle massive influxes of traffic.

TV Stevie and I went to the Lion King last month. Finding parking was a nightmare. We ended up on the top level of the ONCenter garage. After the show, we sat for half an hour before TV even started the car. (It wasn't wasted time. We listened to a Washington Nationals game on TV's iPhone.)

I like Alliance Bank Stadium right where they built it. Now if only the county would do something about the scoreboard.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Classic Sale, or How My Living Room Ended Up Looking Like Superman's Closet

I got to spend some time at the stadium yesterday.

Like last year, the Fall Classic Sale was held on a cold, overcast day. 
At least it wasn't blustery and rainy.
The field and stands looked a little sad. Lonely.

It didn't seem like there was as much "game worn" merchandise as there was last year. 

 Somebody bought the pink breast cancer awareness cleats
 before I had a chance to try them on. . . . 
or even get a picture.

Lot's of Michael Aubrey hats, 
but only numbers in the rest, 
and no one whose number 
I either remembered or wanted.

 Distance markers? Scoreboard numbers? Not sure.

TV Stevie and I arrived at 9:15AM for the 9AM start, 
and I learned that someone had already purchased Jason Botts' locker name plate. 
I was devastated when Josh told me that.
Lots of names I recognized, 
but only Gregor Blanco from this year's team. 
If they're selling his locker name plate, 
does that mean he won't be back in 2012?
I should have bought Joel Peralta's for Sandee.

But it wasn't a complete bust for me this year. Not at all.

You see, there was a rack of red and blue Starter jackets -- with the old Skychiefs logo on them. They still had their tags. They still had tissue stuffed inside them. Rumor had it that they were only $15. Turned out to be true. They were all size LARGE. I tried one on. It was big. I decided to buy it. TV Stevie saw how large it was on me, so tried one on. It fit him. He bought it. Another man heard they were only $15 each, so he grabbed one, not caring if it fit or not.

As we were heading back to our car, TV said, "You know, Anthony would love one of these." So I snapped a photo with my phone, texted it to Sandee with a message, then called her (she was teaching a class and couldn't make the sale). "Yes!" she said. "One for each of us!" 

In the meantime, TV tried calling XG-Man and got voice mail. He left a message. I went back up to the sale. There were five jackets left. I grabbed three. Another shopper asked me how much they were, and I (foolishly, according to TV) told him. He grabbed the last two. We debated whether or not to buy one for XG-Man (that's why I had three), and I said, let's just do it. So I did. While I was inside paying for them, XG called TV and said, "Yes!" I probably should have grabbed one for his wife, but wasn't quick enough.

General Manager John Simone walked by and saw me with an armful of jackets and asked, "Do you have a team?" I said, "No, this is for Row One of Section 207." He laughed and said, "The whole section."

We are going to look so sharp on opening day. Sandee e-mailed later last night, "Who would have thought we could get even more cool than we already are??" 

As we were driving home, TV commented that with five of these jackets, our house was going to look like Superman's Closet. I had no idea what he was talking about, so he explained. It was an episode of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN (the B&W version starring George Reeves upon which TV & I grew up) where a mobster broke into Clark Kent's apartment and found a secret closet, filled with Superman's uniforms. The episode is actually called The Stolen Costume and is considered by some to be the best episode in the series. I don't remember it at all.

Then TV observed that only Maven didn't have a new jacket, but that he wouldn't want one anyway, because he refuses to wear anything with SKYCHIEFS on it. His loss.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where Are They Now?

What are our favorite players doing in the off-season?

Here's what I know:
Jhonatan Solano and Chris Marrero are playing on the same team in the Dominican Winter League.

The Venezuelian Winter League is rife with Syracuse Chiefs (although not all on the same teams). The list includes:

  • Ryan Tatusko
  • Jesus Flores
  • Seth Bynum
  • Gregor Blanco
  • Josh "You Rock" Wilkie
  • Carlos Maldonado

Makes me wish I had the time and dime to head south for a few months.

Don't forget the Fall Classic Sale on Saturday, 10/22 9AM-12NN. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jealousy, Memorabilia, & Scathingly Brilliant Bloggers

The Chiefs will be holding their annual Fall Classic Merchandise and Memorabilia Sale on October 22.

I'm looking forward to it if for no other reason than I get to go back to the stadium for a little while.

Last year's sale was held on a cold, blustery, rainy October day (not unlike opening day 6 months later). I bought a batting practice t-shirt, which is my favorite shirt to wear to games. It had been J-Botts number in 2010. Imagine my delight when it was Carlos Maldonado's number in 2011. A two-fer.

Love looking through all the stuff, finding my favorite players' game-worn items.

Also got to see Sandee & Anthony there, which I hope will happen again this year.

In other news, the First Ladies of Baseball are blogging about a lot of post-season happenings in DC, the most recent of which is that because they are considered an "online media outlet" they get to participate in all sorts of surveys through the DC chapter of the Internet Baseball Writers Association.


But then I read the criteria for membership, which includes: "Content should steer away from personal attack, publication of potentially damaging unfounded or unsubstantiated rumor or innuendo, and gratuitous vulgarity," and I wonder if that means I can't post any more limericks. Okay, I posted only one, and players aren't required to acknowledge fans, but still . . .

Anyway, in the most recent survey, the First Ladies listed Marrero, Bixler, and Brown among players who won't be on the Nats' roster in 2012. In response to my comment in defense of  Marrero, Maggie said she could see him in Syracuse, it's just that the Nats have a logjam at 1st. Okay, I'll buy that.

Other items of note from the Ladies:

  • They voted for Stephen Strasburg as Come Back Player of the Year (Jordan Zimmermann got the nod). They are right. Strasburg's comeback from Tommy John surgery was astounding.
  • They thought Steve Lombardozzi should have gotten Minor League Player of the Year instead of Bryce Harper. I agree. Lom-bo! Lom-bo!
  • Their 2nd choice for Minor League Player of the Year was Brad Peacock. These women are brilliant. Scathingly brilliant.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Let the Post Season Begin!

Ten or eleven former Chiefs will be playing in MLB's post-season this week: Michael Martinez , Roy Halladay, Pete Orr (is he up with Philly now?), Chris Carpenter, Corey Patterson, Shaun Marcum, Marco Estrada, Aaron Hill, Ryan Roberts, AJ Burnett, Joel Peralta.

Not a bad showing

And the Nats finished 50-51, thanks to their late-season infusion of Chiefs. Or so I'd like to think. 

In other news, as previously mentioned here, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees will be playing several "home" games at Alliance Bank Stadium next season. One source says 10 games, TV Stevie tells me one print repors claim 8 games. 

Only 186 days until opening day!