Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pants Party! (Part 1)

Geoff:  On Friday (and well into Saturday), Craig and I represented the Michigan blogging community at the Deadspin Midwest Pants Party in Chicago. What follows is a horrifying tale of baseball and karaoke and goblins. OK, fine. Not goblins. Or "horrifying". Rather the opposite of that, in fact. But the other two stand.

Ducking out a little early from work, I managed to get to the traffic jams of the Dan Ryan by 4:30 CDT and I even made it to our pre-game destination, Schaller's Pump, by 5:00. I was ready to join the pants partiers inside, when...they all literally walked out the door as soon as I opened it. It was just like high school pep band when our director would finally cue up a song just in time for play to resume. Everyone fell into place for the obligatory group photo, and I snuck into the back row.

This is what people from the internet look like.

At least I was in time for the walk over to US Cellular Field, just a few blocks away. Lady Andrea (of Ladies... and DeadOn), because she is a sweet and nice person, noticed that I was not someone she'd met, so she came over to talk to me. Let me tell you, it's really weird introducing yourself by your internet pseudonym, especially when it relates in no way to your real name. "Hi, I'm Geoff, or 'The Bad One'" doesn't sound like anything normal people say. PS – Believe the hype:

Look! A girl!
Lady Andrea and yours truly

Our intrepid organizer, PeteJayhawk (who deserves massive, massive thanks for all of this) led us over to our gate. We had patio tickets, so in this big cafeteria-like space under the right field bleachers we had all the beer, wine, and food we could eat and/or drink, which meant I had more beer spilled on me than any time since I was an undergrad, but it was all good. Across the table from me, Tuffy and JB* kept finding orphaned beers, so we gave them good homes.

Eventually Craig (aka Yostal) showed up, released from the clutches of the AP test, and started making the rounds. The crowd at the table started thinning out, so the two of us figured everyone had gone up to our seats. We were a little surprised, then, to find our section almost completely empty on into the third inning. Silly us for focusing on the game when free beer was still at hand. Even when everyone showed up, we were kind of far away from a lot of the regular commentariat, but that gave us a chance to meet some other fine folks, like Rany Jazayerli of Baseball Prospectus and a Michigan State fan in a Tigers cap whose name may or may not be Joe. One of the benefits, though, of showing up early was that we saw our shout-out on the scoreboard (The message? "DEADSPIN").

The game itself wasn't bad (it ended 2-1, Sox), but it wasn't that exciting without a dog in the fight. A home run ball landed as close to me as any I've had in baseball – it came down about a section away from us – and we mocked the Royals for their two errors. Craig was heckled for his Tigers cap, and it was nice to be able to respond with "SCOREBOARD! SCOREBOARD!" to that. Craig would me like to mention, though, that the "LET'S GO BUCKEYES!" directed at me was out of line, since we were at a baseball game, after all.

After the game let out, the police seemed determined that I not go the way I wanted, and so I wound my way through the South Side up to our hotel at McCormick Place, where we dumped our bags and caught a cab. We'd been given a vague location for the bar we'd be post-gaming at of "Damen and Milwaukee" and the address of "1540", which we gave to our cabbie, a shriveled old white guy. He asked where we were from. To Craig's "Outside of Detroit," he replied, "Detroit? Hellhole." Your service industry employees, ladies and gentlemen! Even better? He dropped us NINE BLOCKS from Damen and Milwaukee, and left us with no idea where to go once we realized that. We did find it, but we took the looooooong way around.

The Greatest Generation makes for lousy cabbies
The route we actually walked

It was all worth it, though, when we found everyone at the Pontiac Cafe on the corner of Pierce and Damen, arriving just in time to watch Lady Andrea rock Scandal's "Goodbye to You" for live band karaoke. I recommend you just go over to Ladies... for her write-up and pictures, because there's no way I can do any better. I'll wait...

...Finished? Good.

I'd like to commend Craig for his performance of U2's "Desire", which was an inspired change from Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me." I signed up for the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K.", but was skipped by the head karaoke dude, which is a terrible injustice, as my version was going to be PHENOMENAL**. We stayed at the Pontiac Cafe long enough to close the joint down. Some Deadspinners were in favor of finding a 4AM bar, but Craig and I had to be up and out of our hotel before 10:00, so we caught a cab back to our hotel (much better, though even this guy told us that Detroit was "full of gangs").

In the end, it was all over too soon, I barely got to talk to half the people I met, and I can't wait for the next edition. Deadspin commenters are remarkably cool people, and I hope to hang out with them more in the future.

* The "*" in "JB*" is part of his screenname
** By which I mean "somewhere between terrible and adequate"

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