It’s been a whole three weeks since I’ve been to a Diablos game. Doesn’t sound like much, but I was kinda used to seeing at least two or three games a fortnight. Nice to be back there. I’ve had an underlying bad mood for a the last couple of weeks, and while I’m not blaming a lack of live baseball (which would mean my winters would be awful), the lack of baseball, that lack of emptying my mind of its daily crap, well, I don’t think it helped. But, hangover intact, sunglasses on, steaming hot subway journey to the park, and it was free New Era mini cap day.
As you can see from the flyer that they put up on Facebook, there’s a wee bit of misdirection going on. They do say it’s a New Era mini cap, but the photo of the Diablos caps made me assume I’d be getting a mini Diablos cap. Sadly not. It was just a New Era cap. Still, it’s a new one for the tiny collection of mini caps. Here is a photograph of that collection.
And here’s a photo of my flatmate’s cat clearly signalling that she is a Rockies fan.
The weird thing about it being a New Era promotion day was there was very little stuff going on. Some minor league between innings games for children a couple of times was about it. The strangest thing was the lack of caps for sale in the store. They had no official on-field caps. None. All they were selling was the fashion-y caps, which, as we all know, are wrong.
Because I’m rather twitchy about these giveaways when they are limited in number, I got there 90 minutes before first pitch; in time to see the visitors taking batting practice. I rarely get to the park early enough for that sort of thing. Sitting there, drinking a hair of the dog Corona, it occurred to me that batting practice has a very similar dynamic to one of those silly, world record achieving, gang bang porn films: lots of dudes stood around swinging their bats impatiently waiting their turn to bang away in the cage.
The DJ, if that’s the right word, at the ballpark seems to have found some new records. He played a song by Muse. I’ve not really heard a Muse song all the way through for about ten years. I was genuinely a wee bit flummoxed at how ridiculous they sound. I wonder if they realise. I wonder if they do that music as a kind of huge money-making joke. And the DJ played that awful “Umbrella” song by the Baseballs. I see what you did there, Señor DJ. And still on the topic of music, the cheerleaders were dancing to the Rihanna song “Only Girl in the World.” I got to imagining what that would be like if a woman was in fact, the only girl in the world. I imagine it’d be quite a stressful situation, to say the least.
I was very self-conscious at the game for some reason. Actually, I know exactly why I was feeling self-conscious: I’d been watching a guy while batting practice was going on. He was probably in his mid-forties, wearing a Diablos cap, a Diablos jersey, which was tucked into his knee-length black shorts, and calf-high white socks. Generally, a pretty dorky look. And he was stood with his back to the field near the top of the seating area, throwing a baseball against a seat a few rows higher and catching it in his glove. I watched him for a few minutes. All the time, he had no idea I was watching and planning to blog about him later. That made me self-conscious. I noticed that I have a habit of setting my beer down on the floor, and re-setting it two or three times. Just moving a few millimetres, not much, but it was unnerving to notice it. I also got bored of score-keeping in the second inning and wanted to stop, but because a guy who was sat a few seats away had taken a lingering look at what I was doing on a couple of occasions, I was too embarrassed to just put the cap on my biro and relax.
As with games in the other two-thirds of North America, the vendors try to drum up trade as they walk around the park. Lots of stuff to buy: buy, soft drinks, popcorn, nuts, ice cream, iced coffee, esquites, and tacos de cochinita. The taco de cochinita vendors were wearing new tabards. At least, I think they were new; I’d not noticed them before. Someone had cleverly noticed that the name of this particular snack has the same initials as appear in the cap logo of a major league team. And, well, it seems like they’ve ripped off the Minnesota Twins’ logo completely.
While we’re talking about vendors and logos: the souvenir guy was selling small plastic batting helmets. Not just Diablos helmets, but Yankees helmets too. And interestingly – well, maybe not – it seems like the logo on these mini helmets is the jersey logo, not the logo that normally appear in the helmet or cap. Topic already addressed here.
There was, though, one vendor who caught my eye. He wasn’t shouting about his wares. He didn’t walk up and down the steps touting his goods. He just walked slowly, looking hopefully up at the spectators, holding a large hardback book in his hand. I watched him for a while. He didn’t seem to have any takers. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo, and I have no idea what the book was.
The Saraperos, last season’s champs, aren’t doing so great so far this season. Heading into the game they were 26-37, second from bottom in the Zona Norte division. The Diablos, though, were 37-26, half a game out of first place. The Diablos wore their red alt jerseys, Saraperos wore their turquoise. It was a bit softball, but quite a nice colour combination, I think.
After taking the lead off a Carlos Valencia home run in the bottom of the first, the heart of the Saraperos order crushed it in the second and third, taking a 5-1 lead. But coming off the back of six straight wins, the Diablos chipped away, gave up a couple more, and eventually prevailed, off of two solo homers in the seventh. 8-7 final score. Seven straight wins. Huzzah. (And they won today, too.)