Monday, July 14, 2014

Not Our First Monkey Rodeo...Wait, Yes It Was

When we signed up for our annual minor-league baseball outing, we were excited to try to get tickets to a fireworks game. When we found out later that it was also Monkey Rodeo night, we dropped everything we were doing. Get the tickets now!

Not that we were rabid fans of monkeys riding on dogs, or even fans of monkeys riding on rabid dogs, but because we really just wanted to see fireworks, and anything involving monkeys stands to draw a crowd. Even the Wilmington Blue Rocks, class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Sorry, ADVANCED Class A.

Despite our attempts to downplay it, the kids still had a sense of expectation that monkeys on dogs was going to be somewhere between awesome and private-dinner-with-the-Swedish-Chef awesome, and so the worst thing we could do to them is miss it. Because of the bad traffic situation in Delaware, we left our house 4 hours early, barely giving us a chance to get something to eat, get to the park, and watch the two-year-old throw his ticket in a puddle of water, then get his nuts crushed by the turnstile.

It must have been Attention Deficit Disorder night at the ballpark. Before we got to our seats, we were nearly run over by a mascot I didn't recognize (later identified as Coastee - another monkey - late for his appointment at the RightCoastPro Wrestling booth. Nobody told me they'd be here too!!!)

Then before the game started the Delaware State Police gave a demonstration where two of their dogs tried to rip the Michelin Man to shreds. It was actually quite impressive, and the poor chap tasked to play the criminal was glad he was dressed as he was in the 90-degree heat, else the dogs would have killed him if the heat didn't get him first.

Here's the painful truth: One you've seen police dogs in action, monkeys on dogs herding goats is not all that interesting. Twice between innings during the game you had goats in the outfield. Then you had dogs chasing them. And you had tiny monkeys on the dogs. So tiny that unless you were the monkeys themselves, it just seemed like dogs chasing really stupid goats. I started yearning for the days of the gun that shoots hot dogs into the stands and the Jumbotron shell game. The crowd roared its approval anyway.

Throughout the game you had the spin-around-with-your-nose-on-the-bat-handle-then-try-to-run-in-a-straight-line contest. You had the frozen t-shirt contest. You had the throw-a-ball-into-the-sun-roof-of-a-moving-mid-sized-SUV-for-prizes contest. You had the never popular kids-racing-in-a-straight-line contest. You had the put-a-beach-ball-at-either-end-of-the-stadium-and-see-which-fans-can-bat-their-ball-toward-home-plate-faster contest. You had clueless fans not paying attention to the rules, batting the beach ball the wrong way and getting just eviscerated by uber-competitive 13-year-old boys. Did I mention you had monkeys on dogs? You had dogs chasing goats. You had dogs attacking bad guys. You had a bouncy house, which my kids never saw and seemed even more ancillary than ever. Who needed a bouncy house?

You had a two-year-old spend innings 3 through 6 narrowly missing spitting on, kicking, and negligently pulling the hair of the young woman in front of him. You had that same two-year-old drink his siblings' drinks before passing out in a pool of his own sweat on his mother's chest in inning 8. Then after the game, but before the fireworks, which came before the throw-a-tennis-ball-from-the-stands-into-hula-hoops-strewn-across-the-field-for-prizes contest, you had one more go round of, you guessed it, cowboy monkey rodeo. This time, for the grand finale, they herded the goats INTO A SQUARE MADE OF FENCING. Then you had fireworks.

You also had a baseball game. A three-hour, seven-minute baseball game that ended 2-1, mercifully in nine innings. You had a home team with one player in the lineup batting above .236 (hint to non-baseball fans: that's historically awful. I hope for Kansas City's sake, they have other minor league teams to pull from.) Because when you have three-hour games that end up 2-1, you need all those hyphenated, between-innings events just to keep kids' attention in this day and age. At least that's what I hear. Come on baseball, speed yourself up.

But in the end, you showed the kids a good time. And you know you'll be back next year.

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