Thursday, February 21, 2013

Zach Powers Hits Two Grand Slams in front of God and Everybody

On Sunday at McKethan Stadium – Perry Field, the beautiful weather was not so much sent to us by the heavens as much as it was bestowed upon us for appearing at communion.  The high reached 54° F, the winds were occasional, and the sky was 100% clear.  The smiling sun radiated warmth onto our grateful faces and we were gladdened by it and we forgave it of its summer sins.  Ospreys soared toward their nests atop light poles and Spanish moss curved gently in the distance. Why did Don Shula fight off the Conquistadors at the Battle of Little Havana in 1970?  It was so we might enjoy days like this.  Even outposts have altars.  Even savages need worship.

Once again placing a visual obstruction between himself and his subject, the official BBB photographer snapped the photo shown above – the only photo he was to take that day - in the bottom of the seventh inning, mere moments before Zach Powers hit a grand slam over the right field wall.  Then, greedily, Mr. Powers hit another grand slam in the bottom of the eighth.  Coincidence?  The official BBB photographer is prideful and thinks not.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Loggionisti and the Belfry Buffo

Any Italian opera devotee, which clearly you are if you’re here at the BBB, knows the loggionisti, sitting high in the galleries of Italian opera houses, will voice their displeasure by loudly booing any performance they deem unworthy. They are fanatical, listening to recorded operas three or four times before arriving at the opera house so as to more fully appreciate every note during the live performance. They are demanding of the performers and they spare no one. Both Luciano Pavarotti and Maria Callas have felt their wrath. Sometimes the loggionisti throw bouquets, not of roses, but of radishes and turnips.

Contrast that lofty group with the rattle-and-clang clan of partisan supporters perched within Tropicana Field’s upper-deck sections 300 and 302, also known as The Belfry:

Any visiting batsman who strikes out will be escorted back to the dugout by the chorus of the Belfry:  “Left, right, left, right, left, right … Sit down!”  The man’s sign reads “LEFT”, the woman’s sign reads “RIGHT”, and the boy's sign reads "SIT DOWN".  He is struggling to open it before the batter finishes walking back to the dugout.  Much like the loggionisti, the denizens of the Belfry obviously care deeply about the event they attend, perhaps too deeply.  The video just above, taken by the official BBB videographer, is set in the ninth inning with the score 12 to 1 in favor of the Rays.  It appears there is no dimmer on the Belfry's passion switch.

Although the loggionisti vocalize their displeasure at performers who fail to meet their expectations of excellence, the inhabitants of the Belfry appear to shout for an altogether different reason. They seem motivated to shame or humiliate the men striking out. They are not cheering for their team as much as they are cheering against the opponent. The loggionisti protest failure, but the Belfry highlights it with glee.

You're probably wondering, "Who are these people and why do they behave this way?"  The answer is clear, patrons.  These are the Defenders of Excellence we were promised.  These are the heroic heldentenors come to bath us in the salubrious blood of dragons.  Failure has a new foe and he wears durable cotton cargo khakis.