Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Madness

image of "ice baseball" from

Finally.  They've stopped playing hockey for the season.  I grew up with hockey all around me...was living at the right latitude, spent the majority of my youth in a town with the league attitude, could get broadcasts of CBC Hockey Night in Canada--which fans enjoyed with gratitude.  The chops and sheuusshs of skates on ice, the clacks of the wood sticks, the drone of the announcer in the background that was always shaped around the words "blue line," the odd way the game came into your ears.  (What IS it about the acoustics of an arena where the center portion is frozen water and the fans are quiet/loud in a way not equalled in other sports...when they are quiet, you can hear everything moving down there except for the puck.  When they are loud, it comes at you from every angle, including your gut, and each point of entry is also somehow a sounding board.)

I went to a couple of pro games at a place known as The Barn.  Where if you were up in the third tier nosebleeds, the rake was so steep I was convinced that one wrong step would put you in the seats just behind the ice, if not on the glass.  There were some seats, in fact, where I'm pretty sure you'd end up on the ice, as floppy and lifeless as the octopi that occasionally dotted it.

Seasons are so long these days.  I know, that's an old whine.  Regardless, when you grow up not being able to overlap ice hockey with baseball because if you are playing them outdoors, the required conditions for one negate the ability to play the other, the idea of co-mingling them is preposterous.  Hockey in Phoenix?  Seriously???  That's laughable.  Okay, L.A. is laughable, too...maybe more so under the old franchise name ("The Mighty Ducks," one of the worst cross-marketing ploys known to sports fans--though recent college bowl names are pretty awful, too).  I lean toward Phoenix, the hottest city in America, surrounded by desert, being the more ridiculous.  Maybe it should be L.A., also a desert, but even though they import their water from another state, there's something about it being next to an ocean that makes needing ice to play a little less heinous.

A little.

I breathe, though.  The Cup has been placed in the hands of this year's winners, the streets of a certain downtown became arteries for approximately 2 million platelets fans, appropriately dressed in red jerseys.  We're back to being bruised black and blue (black on the south side, blue on the north), with green grass dominating the area under the players' feet.

Hey, riddle me this, Batman:  What is up with terminology in these two sports?  I mean, you play hockey on ICE, right?  But cross those blue lines the wrong way, and the zebras start tweeting their whistles and you get called for icing.  But take some baseball players, put them on the FIELD, and they get praised for their good fielding.

Sports can be messed up.

Anyway, I pay a little attention to baseball.  Once upon a time, I paid a lot more.  But I still know that if you hear the sound of wood in a baseball game, it will be when it cracks against the ball, and that if that happens, even if you weren't looking, it's eyes up to see what's going on.  (In hockey, the sticks are always clacking about.  Plus, now that "old time hockey" is pretty much the norm for all modern teams, there's plenty of sounds of bodies crashing against the boards, if you want to include that sound of wood.)  There's all kinds of down time, not much in the way of sound coming from the field, but a kind of hum from the crowd.

The announcers talk to each other a lot more in baseball.  That's part of the rhythm of the game in the background, too.  They have to, given the spaces in time to fill in terms of playable "action."  Fans at the game know to look around at all sorts of things that are going on, even when "nothing is happening"--check to see if there's action in the bullpen, watch how the baserunner is behaving, observe the interaction between pitcher and catcher.  Heck, one fabulous summer, you could watch the pitcher groom the mound.  A lot.  And talk to the ball, too.

Baseball and hockey have never been in the center of my attention.  But they have at times been an important part of my peripheral landscape, whether conscious or not.  I usually think I arrange a calendar by academic year, and break it down into meteorological seasons, punctuated by holidays.  But, truth be told, I retain an awareness of the movement of the sports season.  Baseball, hockey, basketball.

I refuse to name the sport that lends the irony to the day on which I have chosen to post this musing.

If you do, I'm going to go all wide-eyed, and say my team is Cote d'Ivoire.

Contained in the embedded video within a recent post on Katie Puckrick's blog, Katie mentions that her frequent correspondent in perfume Dan Rollieri likes to wear Chinatown to the ballpark.  Uff-da.  That's a swing and a miss if I'm up to bat in that one.  (I wrote about my experience with Chinatown here.)  I've been to more minor league games than majors in the past ten years, but I spent the last third of one personally notable game at Wrigley under the grandstand, trying to recover from a bit of heatstroke.  Yeah, I know, heatstroke is serious.  Pale, clammy, woozy, nearly fainted in the stands...I know what it's about.  Seeing as Chinatown nearly put me there in the temperature-controlled quiet of my own home, I can't imagine what it would do mid-summer at the ballgame.  And I don't want to.

However...I can imagine vendors walking up and down the stands, hawking colognes and floral waters and such: "4711!! Getcher refresh here!!"  "Sage and lemongrass essence in neroli!  Straight from the 'fridge!"  Or, how about just "Ice cold water, with lemon slices, in a glass and on a cold compress, just for you!!!"

It don't ring like "red hots," do it, now?


La Bonne Vivante said...

Well, I know nothing about sports, I'm afraid, but I do love the idea of perfume hawkers!

That said, I am pretty excited for the Brazil/North Korea Game today, as is my Brazilian sister-in-law. WE
re off to watch it at a bar somewhere in Detroit!

Yours, LBV

p.s. I haven't forgotten the Orientalism roundtable. Just tweaking the invite a bit...

ScentScelf said...

Bonne Vivante,

Well, then, you know a little less than I do. ;) As for perfume hawkers, the old crowd would pour beer on my head for even raising the idea as a joke. But some noodges in suits up in corporate might be cocking their heads to one side and thinking. "We could start with the skyboxes..."

Heck, it would be full circle for baseball. Instead of Bill Veeck putting a little person up to bat, Tom Ford could throw out the first pitch, then bring his chesty-v of a pseudo-button down to a featured concession stand. I fear his scent would Man Wool or some sort...musky cotton candy...

ScentScelf said...

BTW, as for Orientalism, you might want to go back to the Art post from the other day...Lucy stopped by and made a comment about the exotic which prompted me to refer to your discussion...

Olfacta said...

Seasons, you say? Try basketball! My DH is a lifelong L.A. Lakers fan and they are always in the playoffs and often the finals. Their season runs from (roughly) exhibition games in August to the playoffs/finals in May/June. Every year. We had to record this week's opening episode of "True Blood" because there was a Lakers/Celtics game on. I think there's one tonight too. Arrrrgh!

Basketball is actually my favorite pro sport, but enough is enough.

Mals86 said...

I managed to avoid witnessing a baseball game until I was 24 - in fact, the first game I ever saw live was at Fenway. In obstructed view seats, a'course. On my honeymoon.

My dad only followed football. (He watched auto racing, too, but it seemed to me that it was really just an excuse to get a good nap. Common Sunday-afternoon occurrence at my house: Dad would be asleep in his recliner, snoring gently, with the zzrrrrmmm of NASCAR on the TV, and my sister or I would decide to flip around to see if we could get Animal Kingdom instead. The instant the dial went "click," he'd wake up and protest, "I was watching that!")

The CEO has taken (dragged) me to more live baseball games than I care to shake a stick at, but I'll admit I enjoy going to a game far more than just watching it on TV. We have ticket packs for the closest minor league team. It's Carolina League, actually - remember Bull Durham? So we attend maybe 10-12 games every summer. Also, there are my boys' rec league games (dull, because a good 10-year-old pitcher is rare). Plus I can look at whatever I like, instead of looking where the camera guy aims. I can watch fans. Or the sunset. Or, um, the catcher...

Now I know enough to wear perfume to these things. I'm not much of a cologne fan, but I sure would take a spray of trashy fun, sold by a vendor with a tray. (Dear God, they'd probably offer Angel as well as 4711...)

ScentScelf said...


Of all the major pro sports, basketball was the only one I actually played. (Title IX, thank you.) I remember being very frustrated the first time I watched a pro game--but that's travelling! I yelled, and my dad schooled me in aspects of the pro game. Which is an aside to say that, strangely, it is my least favorite to watch. You're right; that is one loooooong season.

My own spouse didn't truck much with sports when we got married. Now, I'm an NFL widow. Who knew? Missing a favorite drama, though? I'd say that earns TiVo a spot on the Marriage Saver list, along with ice maker and dishwasher. ;)

ScentScelf said...


Some rampant vestiges of fandom wish to yell something about an obstructed seat being a *good* one in Fenway ;) . Naw, not really. I love Fenway, actually; the Green Monster looms large in my imagination. Have never been there. But any old time park is a happy thing for me, especially in the AL.

I didn't look when they tore down Tiger Stadium. I had already moved, and I didn't want to know. In a touch of irony, I lived around the corner from an overnight storefront shop that sold old seats from Wrigley when they remodeled it. Climbed onto the roof of my apartment (not one of the ones ringing the stadium) to take a shot of the lights at the first night game.

Minor league is a lot of fun, and I don't mean because of all the gimmicky stuff they do. It's fun to be close to the players, and know that a big percentage of the fans are fans, and not just there for the experience. I remember Bull Durham quite well, BTW. :)

LOL at the thought of a spritz of trashy perfume vendor...even if the thought of Angel wafting is something I'd like to inflict on the visitors' dugout.

Radu Prisacaru - UK Internet Marketer said...

Great article. Really thank you! Cool.