It. Was. Hot. In Adelaide.
The box score says it was 42 degrees at first pitch, but I know the RealFeel had it under-40. My potential co-attendees did a lap of the garden while getting the laundry in during the late-afternoon to decide if they could handle the heat and came in with the verdict of ‘madness’. And so I wandered off to the baseball on my lonesome, as is so often my wont.
I actually loved Coopers Stadium/Norwood Oval. It looks a little homemade, with the foul poles tied to the edge of the stadium seating and the shade-structures-for-dugouts, but it definitely has its own brand of charm. And the crowd really were fantastic. Supportive and cheerful and friendly and loud. The night I went, we had a lot of Cyndi Lauper over the PA. And people actually did the BA-BA-BA for ‘Sweet Caroline’, but I was all on my own for ‘SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!’
It’s a baseball field overlaid onto an old Australian Rules Football oval / cricket ground. The seats are a long way from the action, but the traditional footy standing-room tiers and the benches are pretty much breathing down the players’ necks – who are sitting on lined-up plastic chairs under a shade shelter, because there is no dugout. Positives – it’s really easy to feel connected to the teams. Negatives – if a player spends the entire game using their drink bottle to pretend to ejaculate, you can’t help but notice.
I made a security guard rather anxious with my being alone, wandering around and taking photos habit, so it was almost like having company – the kind that quietly looms. The Adelaide Bite staff were excellent and very thoughtful. They managed to find me a clapper-banner as a keepsake – I’m fairly sure it came from the collection of clapper-banners for the Saturday games. I’m so grateful they managed to find something, I would have been v. sad to break the ‘every home team’ collection.
Small merchandise suitable for the budget/weight/space-conscious traveller seem to be lacking in the ABL. But the teams’ staff have been awesome at somehow finding me something small as a keepsake. Across the ABL so far I have a beer-cooler (with Perth Heat membership), a set of Adelaide Bite clappers and a Melbourne Aces pin. I know key-rings are kind of naff but they are an easy small/light thing to collect. From 4 countries,I now have 13 pins, 1 pen, 13 key-rings, 1 clapper, 1 beer can cooler, 1 novelty baseball, 1 real baseball and 2 headbands (and I have only got multiple items from 2 teams) – I’m just trying to imagine what else I could fit in my luggage if hats had been the smallest thing I could acquire.*
I would have also gone for bottle-openers if they were available, because nothing says Australia to me like the means to open a beer or wine bottle.
The game itself was really, really enjoyable (Box score – Game Recap) . Both teams played hard and fought it out to the end. In terms of ‘the list’, we had a home-run bonanza, with 6 (!!) this evening. Sydney managed to get in front at the top of the ninth and Adelaide just couldn’t find a way to get another hit off van Steensel, let alone another run.
Boris (Twitter – @borisABLbuzz) and I had plans to meet up and shirt-swap at the game. I had acquired a Hanwha Eagles shirt at my last game in Korea in preparation and dragged it along to Taiwan and New Zealand with me, and then driven it over to Adelaide. Due to suddenly acquired personal commitments on Boris’ end and my travel scheduling to catch both Adelaide and Melbourne during the same series, it looked for a while like we weren’t going to catch up with each other.
My first Australian ‘Twitter-friend-meet-up’ happened in my friend’s living room as Boris commuted from one part of Adelaide to another. As expected, it was lovely to meet him. I am now the proud possessor of an ABL Buzz t-shirt and Boris’ is prepped to become a Hanwha fan. First thing to remember is to always remain calm because Hanwha are lovably terrible. And this isn’t a blog post in which I tell you all the ways in which Hanwha are Definitely Going To Be Better This Year, so… stopping now.
*Don’t be ridiculous, Kirsten. 33 baseball caps and a sarong is a complete wardrobe. Trinny and Susannah be damned.