Off to the races

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A few days ago, Anand sent me a link to this article about an addition to the Milwaukee Brewers’ sausage races — El Picante the Chorizo. While many other stadiums have “races” such as the Great Tire Race at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and the Dunkin Donuts race in Detroit (not my picture, by the way), they’re just animated simulations up on the jumbotron. (Fenway, being the symbol of old school baseball purism that it is, has no such race. So for the Boston fans, the way these things work is that there are four characters each representing different sections (usually lower deck infield, lower deck outfield, upper deck infield, and upper deck outfield) and if the character representing your section wins, you get a dollar off at a local fast food eatery or something similar.)
I had previously thought that Milwaukee was the only stadium in which there was an actual physical race. But upon my recent travels out east for Jenn’s wedding, I was proven wrong not once, but twice.
The first game I attended was at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA, where the Pirates played host to the Colorado Rockies and won 6-5. They had this little animated pirate captain who would occassionally come on the jumbotron and say things in pirate-speak. (“Yarr, put down yer grog — it be time for the seventh inning stretch.”) He was mildly amusing at first, but after about the third inning, I really just wanted him to go away and never come back. But given his presence, I naturally would have assumed that if they were going to have a race it would be little animated pirate ships or some such. But no — they had pierogies! And not even animated — actual people in pierogie costumes running down the first base line. This seemed an obvious nod to the sausage race to me, but little did I know, a few days later I would see another such race.
Jenn, having the good sense to recognize that wedding rehearsal dinners are more fun when they are tailgate parties, treated the wedding party to a Washington Nationals game in RFK, where they hosted (and beat 7-6) the groom’s team of choice, the Chicago Cubs. (In hindsight, I kind of have to wonder… did they pick the wedding date around the baseball schedule?) While I managed to successfully keep score, I must admit that it was a little tricky, given that I was surrounded by good friends that I rarely see who were more interested in throwing peanut shells at lalopez and me than actually watching the game (hi, jrandall, dalexand, and adorai!). Thus, I almost missed my opportunity to photograph their race — the Rushmore presidents! Washington won, which seemed oddly appropriate given that we were in his city (and it looked pretty rigged to me as Roosevelt seemed to have an unbeatable jump out of the gate).
So these things turn out to be more common than I thought… at least in the National League. Next Tuesday I have plans to return the AL when the Twins come to Detroit for a three game series, so I will have to settle for those animated donuts instead.
(Yeah, I could blog about the games themselves, but I’m pretty sure none of you care, and at this point, I don’t really care either. Actually, they were both pretty good games.)

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