Play Ball

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and Roy Williams just had his annual sobfest at the NCAA Basketball Tournament, which can only mean one thing: Spring is officially here. This of course, means that NCAA Basketball has come to a close, and it is time for baseball. Regardless of television ratings or popularity, baseball is America's game. It has a beauty and history other sports lack, and it is my favorite professional sport.

The arrival of the Lexington Legends last year plopped great times right here in our own town. The impending excitement of the season has reminded me of all the things I loved last year at Applebee's Field, as well as a few things that I did not care for so much. Inspired by fellow writer and sports enthusiast Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity, I have come up with a few Top 5 lists about the Lexington Legends. (OK, let's take a step back from the column for a moment. I just referred to Nick Hornby as 'a fellow writer.' Like what he does and what I do is anywhere close to being on the same plane. That is really, really funny. That is like a church league softball player referring to Sammy Sosa as 'a fellow baseball player.' Anyways, back to the column.)

Top Five Games I Attended:

Opening Night. Last season on Opening Night, I was sitting at home preparing to watch the game on television. I was excited, but I did not have a ticket for the Grand Opening. Then the phone rang. My friend The Saint had an extra ticket; his girlfriend didn't want to go, and I was in! We dashed down there, barely missing anything, and had a great time. I also had the honor of being hit by a foul ball that caromed off a rail. It gave me a slight fat lip, but it was worth it.

The Day Game. The Legends played one day game last year. My more organized friend, The Captain, thought ahead and purchased tickets a few months in advance. I skipped out early on my day job and we headed to the park. Sunshine, baseball, and a few cold beers. Life is good. After looking over the 2002 schedule, I noticed the Legends have a handful of day games this year. I recommend you go.

The Game We All Won. I do not even remember who won this game. All I know is my friends and I won prizes. All night. Our section won the lotto ball race. Our side cheered the loudest. And in the season-long personal highlight, yours truly correctly answered a trivia question, with an assist from The Captain, and won a Donato's pizza. I even remember the question, "Who is the oldest Legend?" There I was on the big screen, winning a pizza and high-fiving my boys. A week later I ran into a couple I used to work with and they told me they were at the game, and were going crazy when they saw me in full living color on the big scoreboard. Ahhh, validation.

The Playoff Game. On the way to winning the SAL League title, the Legends hosted a few playoff games. I was fortunate enough to be at the clinching game for one of the earlier rounds. Tension and excitement filled the park, and that was probably the loudest I cheered all year. I only hope it is the first of many postseason games I attend in Lexington.

The Diamond Dig Game. I went to a game with the whole Fam Damily on the same night they had buried a diamond ring in the infield. After the game, all the ladies were going to come down to the field to find it. I spent the whole game wondering, What if a ground ball hits where they buried it? What if somebody slid and brought the box out of the ground? Of course none of this happened, and even though we stayed the whole game, neither my mom nor my sister found the ring. Still, standing on the field watching all those women digging up the infield, was hilarious.

Top Five Things I Did NOT Like:

Myron Noodleman. This guy is terrible. I do not find him funny, only extremely annoying. I would rather watch an In the Bedroom marathon than see this guy at the game. When he wandered through the stands, doing his schtick, I knew if he came toward me, there would be a problem. I am not a violent person. I do not wish to inflict harm on others. Some people, however, just need a swift kick. Myron Noodleman is one of them.

The Dugout Dancers, now the Gold's Gym Lady Legends. These girls danced on the dugouts between innings; that is great. They only dance one or maybe two nights a week, that is bad. I think they need to be at every game. I also think they need to wear less clothing.

More Stuff. This is not really the Legends fault, but I wish there were more restaurants or bars around the park. It seems that every other part of Lexington has been developed, except the North Side. A really good sports bar in that shopping center would be great. Hopefully, the success of the Legends will show people that businesses there will flourish.

"The YMCA." Like most things I do not like, I blame this on Northerners. It was a few years ago the New York Yankees' grounds crew started doing this dance when they dragged the field. Unfortunately, other grounds crews picked up on this. Please stop. I beg you. If you want to do something "funny" during this time, at least come up with a new song. Do the line dance to the "Achy Breaky Heart" song, that would be funny. Or go all the way and simply dress like the Village People.

Hmmmm. I am stumped. I really do not know if there is anything else I do not like. I guess I can use this extra space to mention my favorite part of the baseball game. This is the Dizzy Bat game they play. You have two teams of two people. One person spins around, and then attempts to hit water balloons thrown by their partner. Much like Army of Darkness, no matter how many times I watch this I laugh. It is so, so funny. My goal this year is to be a participant.

There you have it. The lists are done. I have so much more stuff I could mention that I like about the Legends. Birdzerk, the inflatable cartoon mascots, Joe B's pizza, the "Dirtiest Car" contest, and Ramon German's intro music are all great parts of the baseball experience, there's just not enough room to talk about them all. The only thing to do now, is go to the game. The home opener is April 11th, so get a ticket and get to the ball park.

And if you see me in the Dizzy Bat race, try not to laugh.