We have been to the ballpark in Cincinnati a few times and it is a prime example of the recent trend in baseball park construction to make it part Sports Venue, and part Disney World. Such efforts usually result in a facility that effectively achieves neither goal.
In Cincinnati the builders attempted to call upon the history of the city, reviving the era when steamboats travelled the Ohio River. How romantic.
The park sits on the banks of the river and the engineers incorporated a faux steamboat into the outfield wall. Twin “smokestacks” soar above the crowd in the bleacher seats like the set from a road company production of “Showboat.” Whenever the Reds hits a home run, or do something spectacular, large eruptions of flames spew from the “smokestacks” to the delight of the crowd below.
Until Friday night.
On Friday the fans began to notice that there were flames and smoke coming from the stacks for no apparent reason. The usually white smoke was decidedly dark and the people sitting underneath the stacks were evacuating the area.
Flames. No Flames. Black smoke. White smoke. No announcement about a new Papal election. At least the game was not interrupted by all of this. Some things are more important than stadium fires, evacuations or calls to the Cincinnati Fire Department.
The Giants were “En Fuego!”
The fact that it was also “Star Wars Night” at the ballpark I doubt had anything to do with the fire. But you never know.
When Cincinnati’s Finest arrived they extended ladders up to the tops of the suddenly all too real smokestacks and poured in what looked like the foam they put on airport runways when there is a plane in trouble.
I’m assuming that the usual fire displays are done with gas jets so dumping water on the fire wouldn’t do much except make it all look like something from The Strip in Las Vegas.
Once the fire was extinguished the entire evening became somewhat dull – if you were a Reds fan. If you were a Giants fan the excitement never stopped. It was the first game this year when the Giants scored 10 runs and merriment and interpretive dancing ensued at our home in Terre Haute (That’s French for “Everybody was Hot, Hot, Hot!), Indiana.
One advantage to having the Giants on a road trip to the Eastern Time Zone is that I can get to bed before the kid delivers the morning newspaper.
When the Giants are at home in San Francisco the games don’t start until after 10 PM our time. Playing in Cincinnati allows the games to begin just after 7 PM and I get to bed by 11. I’m old and I need my beauty sleep.
Unfortunately, after Cincinnati our beloved Giants fly to LA and Denver, so it is back to being bleary-eyed and semiconscious until they head East again. Sadly, most people can’t tell the difference in my behavior.
It is going to be hard to top the “fireworks” at that Reds game.
A couple of years ago in Phoenix they had an actual fireworks show after the game and ended up setting fire to the building across the street from the ballpark.
In Washington they have a “Dead Presidents Foot Race” at every game. Milwaukee does one better by having an “International Smoked Sausage Foot Race.” There is nowhere to go with that.
I can’t think of anything that the Giants could do during games in San Francisco that would not violate any number of laws and the boundaries of good taste. But you never know.
I will keep you informed.