Minor league baseball teams and their mascots aim to please

As Aaron wrote in a post today, baseball season has officially started. I was reminded of this also while listening to an NPR story on minor league teams and how they got their their names and mascots. The Albuquerque Isotopes was one of the teams featured. The Simpson’s cartoon show is responsible for the Isotopes name after Homer said something about the baseball team being called the Isotopes during an episode. Fans named it.

I went to an Isotopes game when I visited friends a few years back. Even though the stadium has been gussied up since I lived in Albuquerque and favored the Dukes, there’s still that minor league team feel. I am a minor league fan, particularly because I go to games to watch crowds. There’s much more interaction between the game and the crowd in minor league teams. One gets the feeling that the players and the fans belong together. Plus, there are the cheap hot dog nights, the free bobble head nights and the free tickets that get passed out through local parks and recreation centers for kids. My son is always getting tickets to the Columbus Clippers from somewhere. Minor league teams seem to want to build a relationship with fans.

To me, major league teams aren’t about building relationships with a city and its people. Their games are just not as much fun. They aren’t a yawn, but crowd pleasing is more difficult when some fans are several benches up from the action. That’s my impression anyway. I do admit, I love Jacobs Field where the Cleveland Indians play, even though, the ball park is not called that anymore. There is some other corporate sponsor name that I can’t recall. The view of Cleveland is still terrific from the top bleachers. I like how you can see the seagulls from there.

Cleveland’s Fame on NBC’s 30 Rock

Okay, so Cleveland was poked fun at a bit on this Thursday’s 30 Rock episode, but what great Cleveland footage.

The Cleveland premise was this: Alec Baldwin’s character and his new fiancé went to Paris for a wonderful romantic trip away, so as a parallel story, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and her new boyfriend went to Cleveland for their own romantic get-a-way. This ought to bring a boost to Cleveland tourism since the footage did show Cleveland from a variety of flattering angles, even though Clevelanders’ weight was used to get laughs. The idea being that anyone living in the Midwest is overweight. Harumph! Other than that, and Liz ‘s and her boyfriend ‘s comments on the smell of the air, as if the Cuyahoga River is still polluted–it’s not– the show did an admirable overview of Cleveland’s landmarks.

Here’s what would be on a 30s Rock Tour according to what I saw on the show:

  • First stop, Terminal Tower, a gorgeous building with Art Deco designs, and once, the second tallest building in the world.
  • Jacobs Field, home of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. There’s no better view of Cleveland than perched high up in the cheap seats.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame– Worth several hours. I still haven’t seen it all since I always get caught up in the section where you can put on headphones and listen to tunes from each decade.
  • Good Time III – a boat cruise up the Cuyahoga River that winds under several of Cleveland’s bridges. Each bridge moves in a different way to allow large boats to pass through.
  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument– Cleveland’s.tribute to war veterans. Look for the display about the similarities between the death of Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

I don’t know where Lisa and her fiancé were eating, possibly a restaurant in the Warehouse District, now a hot spot dining location. I’ve never eaten in the Warehouse District since our favorite eatery is The Flat Iron, a what was once an Irish neighborhood hotel /cafe in The Flats. Try the pierogies. Of course, since they are dumplings of sorts filled with mashed potatoes and cheese then sauteed in butter, they aren’t exactly diet food.

The 30 Rock website has a Guide to Cleveland with an interactive map.