Tagged: Chuck Bednarik

On the Road: Hogging the Spotlight in Lehigh Valley

LVASG_bank.JPGThe entirety of Major League Baseball had the day off on Wednesday, resulting in a dearth of Selig-approved action.

But the National Pastime never rests. The Triple-A All-Star Game confidently lept into the void, in the process becoming the day’s premier baseball event. The contest, which pits the International and Pacific Coast Leagues against one another, was held at Coca-Cola Park in Lehigh Valley.

Unwilling to settle for the MLB Network telecast, I hopped into “my” car and drove a heroic distance (upwards of 35 miles) in order to witness the event live and in person.

Everything looked copacetic when I got there. Just another day at the ballpark:



But upon entering the stadium, it was a different story. The game sold out in advance, and this wasn’t one of those winking in-name-only sellouts you may have been privy to at some point in your baseball fan existence.

Like a baseball that needs to go on a diet, Coca-Cola Park was bursting at the seams:






If Coca-Cola Park was an NYC subway line, on Wednesday it would have been the 6 train at 42nd St. at 8:15 a.m. on a weekday.

But being a baseball writer, I only travel by gilded carriage, yacht, or rickshaw. Eager to partake in the aristocratic indulgences that befit one of this standing, I beat a retreat to my private suite in order to enjoy soul-affirming dessert fondue.

(by “private suite” I of course mean “league gathering that I wasn’t technically invited to.”)


While upstairs, I watched American Idol contestant Tyler Grady sing an exceedingly histrionic rendition of the National Anthem.


Grady later signed autographs on the concourse, as did Philadelphia Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik (who had thrown out the first pitch). These two should team up and hit the road together, singing and tackling their away across the American landscape:



For maximum Coca-Cola Park Pleasure, one should grab an ear of corn at Aw Shucks:


A turkey leg at the Jaindl Smoke House: 


And then enjoy a some double-fisted food action while lazing on the berm:


Those with a propensity for pig puns are in hog heaven at Coca-Cola Park, as the club has done a swine job of coming up with double-bacon entendres. Here are two of many such signs that can be seen around the ballpark:



Such silliness definitely extends to the between-innings entertainment. As mentioned in a blog post earlier today, the evening featured a performance by TWO dancing grounds crews.

The Visitors were the Fresno Grizzlies’ “Drag Kings”, who performed to “Beat It.”


While the home team “Dirt Dudes” did a clothes-shedding performance of “I’m Too Sexy.”


Of a more avant-garde nature was this spaghetti-eating contest:


And the “Whack An Intern” game:


The scoreboard was put to its best use with this, the “Can You Match This Face” contest:




But soon these face-contorting scoreboard exhibitionists gave way to the resumption of baseball action. And soon after that, the International League pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Pacific Coast League.

The crowd, most of which can be seen here, were happy with the outcome. The place was pulsating with positive vibes:


But the inexorable passage of time, combined with the completion of the post-game pyrotechnics, resulted in a rapid-emptying of the jam-packed park. Soon, I was left alone with onlythe lingering scent of spent fireworks and my thoughts to accompany me.


The only thing more spent than those fireworks is me. I’ve got to be at a mascot camp in five hours.

That’s the first time I’ve ever written that sentence.