Enrico Pallazzo

I'm not really much of a baseball guy. Never played as a kid, didn't grow up around it -- just never really been my thing. I can appreciate the game, but my interest in it is passing at best. Drinking yourself stupid, on the other hand is something I can completely get behind. So when I got a call from Uncle Ralph the other day looking to see if I wanted to head out to the Baseball Grounds to watch the local minor league team you'd probably think I'd take a pass on it.
But you'd be wrong.
Because the game in question was scheduled on a Thursday, which in this town means one thing: Dollar Beer Night.

The team has recently decided to change the name of this now infamous local event and call it "Thursday Throwdown," but you'll never get anyone else to say that -- because the locals all know it by it's original name:
Thirsty Thursday
I guess the team is trying to figure out ways to clean up the image of the thing, which started out as a desperate attempt to get people out to the yard on a weeknight but has slowly mutated into being an all-out boozefest that apparently has a baseball game going on somewhere in the middle of it -- but it's not like they don't really know what's happening in the stands, or enjoy banking all the money that comes in from it.

Of course, being the south -- you can't really have an open invitation to drink cheap beer without some lugnut eventually deciding what the seventh inning stretch really needs to make it memorable is a fistfight, which is probably why the Sherriff's office was out in total force when we rolled up on the yard. Apparently over the last few years the cops have had to drag all sorts of degenerates out of there on a weekly basis (making it sort of a continual footnote on the evening newscasts), but despite all of this bad press it's not like the owners of the team have any desire to kill off their big cash cow just because one night a week it's not the best place to bring the kids.

So instead of maybe, oh I don't know -- cutting back on the liquor sales a bit, maybe putting a time limit on sales where they cut people off after the seventh inning, or some form of cautionary control over the thing, the suits behind the Jacksonville Suns simply decided to change the name of the thing -- possibly in the hopes that the people who didn't care about the traditions of baseball and only wanted to swill watered-down Budweiser would get confused and stop coming out.
Wait, It's not Thirsty Thursday anymore? Damn, I wanted to get arrested.
Guess it's back to the Mardi Gras room at Bourbon Street Station for me.
In reality the whole thing is all sort of a smokescreen, because from where I was standing it looked like there were more liquor booths and beer tents set up than ever, which was probably a good thing because the word apparently got out to the colleges -- meaning basically every beer hungry undergrad in town descended on the place at once.

The crowds were thick, the lines were insane, and it was basically impossible to move two steps without bumping into someone else. Add to this the fact that the majority of the people there were from the tramp-stamped-heiress-wannabe/khaki-shorts-and-popped-collar-polo-shirt-with-baseball-cap-turned-at-some-specific-angle-to-the-left set, and you've got an instant recipe for people-watching fun.

And not for nothing, but if I can just talk to the guys in the crowd for a moment -- what the hell is up with the designer name supermodel sunglasses trend? Who told you that was a good look? Seriously, if you're a dude trying to pull off that whole Abercrombie and Fitch thing and you decide that it's a good idea to top it all off with an oversized pair of Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses, I've got three words for you: Clang, Clang, Clang goes the trolley.

Look, I don't care who your dad is or how much money you've got -- you're a guy. And no self-respecting dude should ever buy anything that could possibly match a purse.
You know what it says on the side of my sunglasses?
Walgreens, motherfucker.
Of course when you're in a crowd of thousands and it seems like half the guys there are sporting that same look you might think that would make it okay, but then you'd be wrong again. And apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so, either -- because in the middle of the 5th inning, somewhere around purchasing my third or fourth double-fisted round just as I was getting back to the spot where the crew were all standing the visiting team's cleanup man cranked a shot up towards the center field bleachers, which seemed to hang in the air forever until it finally decided to fall back down to earth --
Where it bounced clean off the head of some frat boy who was standing about fifty feet away from us.
Knocked his overpriced shades to the floor, and put his ass down for the count. Funniest thing I saw all night.
Or at least it was until we all decided it would be a
good idea to ride the mechanical bull at Mavericks.
[Listening to:  Sevendust"Broken Down" ]