These two games were the planned end of the ABL Roadtrip. 5500km of driving to reach six stadiums in 3.5 weeks. My completist urges had been stymied by Sydney’s bad weather, but the driving and camping had happened exactly as anticipated.
I do not recommend that you rely on Google Maps GPS for finding your way around Brisbane. At one point, spiralling up out of a tunnel the whole thing struck me as massively funny. I know I’m supposed to be over there and there is a road that goes directly over there and here I am, navigating toll-road luge lanes over here. I actually like driving luge lanes – my favourite piece of road that I’ve driven is the swoopy single-lane bridge on the I-93 exit to Storrow Drive in Boston.*
On the second day, when I told the GPS ‘no toll roads’, it worked perfectly, except that it didn’t know that all of the bits of the M3 are all still the same road, even if did bend a little to the left just there.
Coming into the Bandits carpark is an exercise in entertainment, as it is very definitely designed to be a suburban venue. After doglegging into a little street, you follow the ‘Bandits parking’ signs down… down… down… until you get to a carpark. You can then either attempt to go cross-country past the Italian club’s soccer field (which I did) or follow the roads back around to the ticket office and gate. If you go around the back way, there are a heap of kids outside the outfield fence roaming around and hoping for long balls from batting practice. Brave little tackers, ‘cos you’re not going to know one is coming until it lands on you.
The field has a very welcoming aspect, with a little dip from the ticket office and gate down toward the stadium and playing area, so you get a lovely overview of the area as you walk in. I roamed around the field and decided on a third-base side stadium and promptly found Rob and Jess one row back and on the outside edge. The following day I spooked Kate by introducing myself, but sadly, Tiny Trims was obviously too tired for stranger-cuddles and on my second swing through the stiflingly-hot dugout lounge area, he was crashed out asleep, so no cuddling the baby (AND giving him back) for me.
I also spotted Kate Dobie by the gate and stopped to say ‘Hi’ and ‘Thanks for being awesome’, but didn’t manage to catch up with her properly. @klattsy remains a mysterious shadowy figure of mystery. Klattsy – I’m actually nice in person, I promise. I swore off eating souls in my early 20’s.
Jess made the huge call that Short Back’s pulled pork is better than Whitto’s pizza and is willing to stand by that in public. So here it is again folks – Jess says the Brisbane pulled pork is better than Whittos pizza. I disagree. I think it might be ham hocks at 30 paces to sort this out. *spits ‘baccy juice in the dirt*
Both games were great fun to watch. My left-over enthusiasm for the U21 team displayed itself with some rather loud and excited cheering for Aaron Sookee’s 3Ks in the 7th of the Friday night game despite my stated policy of supporting the home team (unless they’re playing Perth). When he’s on, he’s really, really on. He smashed through the Brisbane line up with 7Ks in 3 innings.
The Saturday night game was, if anything, even busier, with a huge crowd cheering enthusiastically, despite Brisbane letting 4 runs through in the 1st inning. The end of the Satuday night game once again saw all the fans once again out on the field. I had caught up with Helen and her hubby who freakishly sat in the row just in front of me and thoroughly enjoyed overhearing the previous GM’s chat with his guest about baseball-he-has-known. I didn’t manage to catch up with Grace, despite both of us missing phone calls to each other.
Once again, most people I met assumed I was related to a player and were variously either excited that I wasn’t or slightly weirded out about the idea of going to games on your own if you’re NOT a family member. We really have to make it less unusual for people to actually WANT to go to baseball games.
*First Dog on the Moon’s version of Brisbane’s freeways in the second panel of this cartoon.