Tag Archives: Baseball

Super Sam Fuld Cape Day @ Tropicana Field

The Chop is not the type of baseball fan who needs a bunch of cheap gimmicks to get us in the gate. Cheap beer would be nice, but cheap gimmicks are totally unnecessary. Sure, we’ve got more than our share of Orioles T-shirts, and we might be more likely to show up if we know its bobblehead night or Miller Light Floppy Hat Day, which is pretty much a municipal holiday here in Charm City, but by and large we aren’t impressed by baseball swag.

With that said, we really kinda wish we could attend Super Sam Fuld Cape Day at the Trop.

Wearing a cape is a true fashion statement. It either says 'I'm a superhero,' 'I'm retarded,' or 'I'm drunk.' Guess which one we are.

The Rays might just be the Major League champions of promotional giveaways in 2011. We haven’t looked over the schedules for every team, but they’re definitely on to something with this whole ‘buy a ticket to the ballgame and stay for a concert’ deal, which they’re doing several times this year featuring artists who, while we’re not into them, are at least legitimately famous. They’re also giving away a variety of t-shirts and a few different bobbleheads, as well as a Joe Maddon coin bank which looks more like Phil Rizzuto and an Evan Longoria cereal bowl and spoon set. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve slurped down the last dregs of milk and been frustrated and disappointed not to see a big league 3rd baseman staring back at us. We’re definitely going to be eBay-ing that one.

But the Super Sam Fuld cape absolutely takes the cake. Sure, Fuld is having a great year, but ultimately we’re not sure he’ll ever be more than the answer to an obscure trivia question many years down the road. To us this may be something on the order of the Rollie Fingers wax mustache or the Dustin Pedroia temp-tramp-stamp tattoo. (Okay, we made both of those up, but they could be true.) To our mind, this is absolutely the greatest giveaway since last year’s vuvuzela night in Miami.

The only downside to this awesome, incredible giveaway? It’s only for kids 14 and under. Those little punks have all the fun.

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It Could Be Worse: Out of Town Fans Invade Camden Yards Part III

On the occasion of back-to-back homestands with the Yankees and Red Sox last month, we imagined what it would be like if the unbalanced schedule were set up differently. With a few rule changes and a little business savvy, it’s possible that any team in the majors could bombard us with bandwagon fans in the future.

The first part of this series focused on the Tigers, Diamondbacks, and Giants. the second post was devoted entirely to the Phillies and their terrible, terrible fans. Tonight the Yankees are back in town, and here at the Chophouse we’re counting our blessings. It could be so much worse…

When the Blue Jays fans arrive en masse, it'll be death by snu-snu for all of us. (Click for larger.)

The Toronto Blue Jays. It’s true, we’ve already got an unbalanced schedule against the division-rival Blue Jays, but as it it now they don’t bring very many fans with them. Sure, it’s annoying as hell having to stand through O Canada right here in the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, but that’s a mere two minute trifle. The Jays aren’t currently good enough to attract any fans to Rogers Center, let alone Baltimore.

A few Ontarians did come through Baltimore recently, and they weren’t afraid to admit that they were having a damned hard time holding their liquor. This was funny to us, as the reason was that Canadian bartenders pour on the metric system. Unfortunately, it also seems to be a trend among Jays fans. The last thing we need in this city is a bunch of hapless lush Canadians blundering up and down the streets drunk on that godawful Canadian Club, looking in vain for the nearest Tim Horton’s and muttering ‘sorry aboooot that’ in their stupor.

They’d make great targets of opportunity for us Baltimoreans, who are always on the lookout for nonplussed crime victims, except that they don’t carry real money, just coins with loons on them. The Chop was already stuck with too much English money, and the last thing we need is a night in Central Booking with nothing more than a few more pictures of the Queen to show for it.

Ultimately though, it wouldn’t be the threat of robbery or assault that would quell any Torontonian invasion, but pure, old fashioned butt-hurt. If you should find yourself down at Cross Street Market or Pratt Street Ale House listening to someone from TO boast in that familiar New York way about High Finance, Multiculturalism, Free Healthcare, or the Maple Leafs, all you’ve really got to do to shut them up is look them dead in the eye and say “What’s that? I wasn’t listening because I’m an American and I could care less about your dumb city.”

A wave of Hogtowners wouldn’t be all bad though. After all, we wouldn’t mind seeing a parade of several thousand sluts marching up Eutaw Street in Stilettos and red lipstick slutting it up and defending their right to be slutty. If the internet is anything to go by, Toronto is full of beautiful women whose priorities include sex toys and bikini waxing. The old rule still stands, right? Any slutting you do while you’re out of the country doesn’t really count, eh? We don’t mind if they’re rooting for the BJ’s, as long as they’re giving them out after the game as well.

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All kidding aside, Slutwalk Toronto is a great event and a cause that we’re fully on board with. Please take a second to check out their website, http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/

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It Could Be Worse: Out of Town Fans Invade Camden Yards Part II

The last time the Red Sox were in town, we pointed out in a post that while having our city and our stadium flooded with Massholes and Jersey Mooks is certainly unpleasant, it could indeed be very much worse. This week, although their fans are safely back at home, the O’s are in Boston for a two game set, and that means it’s time for another edition of It Could Be Worse!

If, hypothetically, there were to be a shakeup in the league, we could be seeing the O’s play an unbalanced schedule against any team in the MLB, and between Southwest’s cheap flights, chartered trips for groups, and bandwagon fans, we could be facing invasions of a much different character.

You can feel free to tase a Philly fan. They're all too drunk to really feel it anyway.

The Philadelphia Phillies. Thank the little Baby Jesus that it’s DC who has to deal with these douchebags and not us. Phillies fans were recently named the worst in all of sports by GQ, and with good reason. In Baltimore, we don’t tailgate baseball. We have our drinks in a nearby bar, like gentlemen should. If we played the Phillies we’d be overrun by an epidemic of public drunkenness. There’d not be a single lot or garage downtown that didn’t reek of piss and skunked Yuengling, strewn with empty cases and crushed green glass. You see, you’ve got to drink a lot if you’re going to intentionally use vomit as a weapon against an 11 year old girl.

As you can see from the picture in that link, Philly fans are wont to soak up all that booze with some of the worst food on the planet. To them, the four food groups are chopped steak, fried onions, greasy rolls, and Cheese Whiz. The cheesesteaks are just the appetizers though. Over the course of a 9 inning game, these slobs will pile in Italian cold cuts, soft pretzels, a ton of Tastykakes, macaroni, stromboli, and whatever else they can get their greasy hands on. Whole sections of Camden Yards would need to close for repairs after each series, as the seats just aren’t designed to hold that much weight.

Perhaps the worst part of playing the Phillies though would be having to put up with the ESPN broadcasts. Philly is right up there with Boston and New York in being ESPN darlings, and they’ve hosted two Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts in the last three weeks, as well as Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball this week. Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine are all annoying blowhards who are more interested in hearing themselves chatter than actually calling plays in the game. Last Sunday’s broadcast was unwatchable, with cutaway shots after every pitch, heaps of praise on superstar players whether they perform or not, and footage of the fucking mascot while there’s a hitter in the box. They even missed showing a home run on the first pitch of an inning, because they were too busy talking about John Kruk stuffing his fat face with a cheesesteak or something equally dumb and unimportant. If they ever try to bring that shit to Baltimore, we say let’s turn them away at the city line.

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The Chop’s Unlikely New Hobby

We’re not supposed to like golf. Historically, we’ve always thought the game was as dull as dishwater to watch and fit somewhere on the scale of elitist snobbery between polo and croquet. It was a great game for retirees, trust funders, and people in advertising sales, but not up our alley.

The first time we played we certainly felt like a fish out of water. It was a good thing we weren’t keeping score, because scorecards just don’t go that high. That course beat us up pretty good, and we were just glad that not many people were watching. And much like a middle-school bully, the game came back picking another fight sooner than later. A funny thing happened though; just like fighting a bully, we got our ass kicked, but we realized that it didn’t hurt that bad after all. We even got in a few nice shots, and it felt pretty good. We’re at the point now where we’re ready to start keeping our lunch money in our pocket when we walk to school.

Of course, as Sam Snead illustrates, golf is also an excellent excuse to stay well-dressed.

In a lot of ways, golf is a pretty good fit for us. We’ve got plenty of leisure time to spare, on weekday mornings and whatnot, and have long been searching for some form of exercise that didn’t feel so goddamn much like working out. After all, recreation isn’t supposed to be work. We used our incredible thrifting skills to acquire a decent full set of irons, some woods that are actually made of wood, and a few other clubs to cobble together into a pretty nice bag for just under $40. With this last barrier to entry broken, we’re ready to get hacking at the driving ranges and city parks.

Now that we’re actually playing, we’re surprised to learn that the things we like about playing golf are many of the same things we like about watching baseball. We’d never realized before how much of an escape a round of golf provides. Just like entering a baseball stadium, to step onto a golf course is to enter a sharply defined environ, which is exclusive of everything outside the fence. It should matter little to the baseball fan whether he finds himself in the bleachers at Wrigley or at the Yard. We’ve always felt that once you’re inside a baseball stadium, the city outside is irrelevant. It may as well cease to exist. So it is with a golf course. We suspect it matters little whether you’re at the beaches in South Carolina or the Hills of Arizona, or even right here in Baltimore staring out at the downtown skyline. It still comes down to you and your ball and grass and trees.

Another part of that escape is the commitment of time required to play a round. We’ve always loved that baseball is the only major sport not played on a clock. It’s right and fitting that we should play our games until they’re finished, and not until some clock tells us to stop. With golf, as with a trip to the ballpark, you’ve got to block out a good chunk of time. You say “This is what I’m doing now. This and nothing else but this. Everything else will wait.” As soon as you begin, you can feel free to take off your watch. You won’t be needing it.

And a funny thing can happen when you go without your watch like that. After a while, the games blend together. Each ballgame we watch is not so much an individual game, as a part of the one big game we’ve been watching since we were a kid. We could care less how many hits Brian Roberts can rack up in nine innings; we’re watching his career. Every day at the ballpark is merely a continuation of the last. It’s impossible to make a trip to Camden Yards, or to any other ballpark for that matter, without thinking of all the other games we’ve seen, and all the people we’ve seen them with.

So it is with golf, and the idea of the ‘replay.’ The round only ends if you want it to. If you finish 18 and want to go around again, you do. All the rounds you’ve played before are carried with you, right there in your bag, and you’re never really finished unless and until you ultimately find the game so frustrating that you throw your clubs into the sea, walk off the course and take up bowling instead.

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The Chop is in the Loss Column

We wrote a blog post for you to read today, but you can’t read it here because it’s not on this site. Instead, it’s over The Loss Column.

The Loss Column and the Chop: two of your hometown heroes, together at last.

We’re very pleased to announce that this is the first in a series of occasional contributions we’ll make to The Loss Column as part or their brave new evolution.

Today’s post is all about seat-jumping at baseball games and its relationship to social mobility in American Life. Please take a moment to click over and check it out.

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It Could Be Worse: Out of Town Fans Invade Camden Yards

The Orioles are about to wrap up a three game homestand tonight against division rivals the Boston Red Sox. These games have come right on the heels of a rain-shortened weekend series against the Yankees, and at this point in the eyes of most Baltimoreans, the scoreboard is almost irrelevant; we’re just happy to have all of these assholes clearing out of our city.

We’ve long been fatigued these many losing seasons by fans from Boston and New York trotting out the worst of their stereotypes in downtown Baltimore. The New Yorkers really are all arrogant douchebags with pepperoni breath and an undeserved superiority complex, fit for the Jersey Shore. The Bostonians are actually, to a man, a bunch of dumb, racist, fake-Irish loudmouth drunks. (It’s not their fault though, they were all molested by priests as children.)

But stop and think for a moment… it could be worse! With BWI being a hub for Southwest Airlines, fans from all over the country can fly here cheaply. Now that that dumbfuck of a commissioner is talking about expanding the playoffs, we could be only a few short years away from a league-wide schedule shakeup. In the modern game, geography matters little, and profit margins matter much. Imagine if we had some new divisional rivals with whom to contend…

Tiger fans give the phrase 'Dem Bums' a whole new meaning.

The Detroit Tigers. In the future, the Tigers will continue to exist, but only as the gypsies of baseball. The city of Detroit can’t support them much longer, and it’s only a matter of time before the MLB schedules them for 162 road games and 0 home games. It’s just as well, since the millions of people who used to live in Eastern Michigan are now scattered across the nation. They used to all camp in the Silverdome, until it was sold for about the same price as an inner harbor waterfront condo. Of course, none of them have jobs, so if we were divisioned with the Tigers, downtown Baltimore would become a functioning hobo camp every time they came to town. Parking wouldn’t be a problem, since they’d all arrive on boxcars, but going to and from the game would find each intersection crowded with innumerable Orange and Navy “squeegee men” and unkempt former Detroiters with signs that read “Will build Buicks for food.”

Hide ya kids, Hide ya wife. Diamondbacks fans are coming to town.

The Arizona Diamondbacks. Fans from other states on the east coast may be annoying, but at the end of the day they’re all sensible Democrats. There’s some common ground there. Arizonans on the other hand, are craaa-zzzy. They’re the worst kind of crazy, the armed and dangerous right wing kind. You wouldn’t be able to get past Fell’s Point without some racist vigilante stopping you on Eastern Avenue and saying “Papers Please.” Jowly old men will raise their arms no more than halfway up when home run balls “clear the danged fence.” And of course, there’s always the possibility of some lunatic being denied an autograph and going on a shooting spree at City Hall Plaza mumbling about how the Orioles are a ‘genocide ballclub.’

The Giants have the most fashionable fans in baseball. This is all official MLB merchandise.

The San Francisco Giants. An unbalanced home schedule against the Giants would be a decidedly mixed blessing. On the downside, all Baltimore could potentially turn into a classic South Park episode with a citywide smug alert. The JFX would be bumper to bumper with Priuses, and AT&T’s data network would suffer serious disruptions with that many fans staring at Brian Wilson’s dumb beard on their iPhones and iPads simultaneously instead of actually watching the game. What’s more, those hippies would do more digging through our trash than the Tiger fans, except that they’d be looking for compostables and recyclables instead of, you know, dinner.

On the bright side, all those gays would make Baltimore much more fabulous. Pink Giants caps are an entirely different fashion statement than pink Sox caps. Instead of Jeter and A-Rod gear, the vendors on Pratt Street would start hawking hats from Alexander McQueen and jerseys by Tom Ford. Lady Gaga would sing the national anthem before the game, and in the top of the third inning there would be a mad dash up Eutaw Street for the curtain call at the Hippodrome. Plus, Luke Scott would probably hate it. That’s always a plus in our book.

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Orioles vs. Twins @ Camden Yards Tonight

Tonight is the first Tuesday bargain night of the season, so we’re going to be watching tonight’s game as God intended- in the stands with the die hards. Now that the ball club sucks again, we happily predict that the fairweather types and the school aged kids will be staying home.

A trip to the Yard is always a good time, but honestly, we’ve had more fun watching this last road trip from the upper deck. That is to say… the upper deck of our house. The Chophouse features two decks off the back of it, with an exterior door and a window in the rear bedroom. We couldn’t say what’s taken us so long, but we’ve recently discovered that we can easily move our little office flatscreen to the desk and face it out the window, enabling us to sit on the deck and watch the game in the warm weather with our feet up on the windowsill. Land of Pleasant Living indeed!

And while we’re out there, we’ve been indulging in our favorite summertime old-man drinking snack: pickled eggs.

Pickled eggs... the Chop's favorite baseball snack.

Time was, pickled eggs were as popular a drinking snack as wings and fries are today. No tavern was complete without an egg jar, and pickled eggs were thought to complement beer as well as pretzels or peanuts. Times have changed, and beer has changed (much for the better), but when the weather gets hot and we’re looking toward a light, simple lager or pilsner, we’re also looking toward the egg jar.

When most people think of pickled eggs, they immediately imagine purple ones with a ton of beets thrown in. In fact, there are dozens upon dozens of different recipes to use for pickling eggs. Here’s the one that we favor at home:

The Chop’s Pickled Egg Recipe

  • 12 boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbls minced garlic
  • 1 tbls salt
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp dried onion or onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Combine everything except the eggs and stir well. Heat brine if desired. Place the eggs in a jar with a tight sealing lid and pour the brine over them. Wait 4-5 days.

    You may be scratching your head or turning up your nose now, but bookmark this post anyway. A week from now when you’ve got a few dozen leftover Easter eggs cluttering up your fridge, it just might come in handy.

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