On the Road: Battling, Blasting and Bouncing in Kane County

To see all of my posts from this May 23, 2015 visit to the Kane County Cougars (this is Part Two) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my May 2015 trip through the Midwest, click HERE. To see all of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.

When Part One of this Kane County content compendium concluded, the game had just begun and I was preparing to engage in something that I had never before engaged in.

Battle Balls.

Battle Balls 2

That’s me on the left and my opponent, Logan, on the right.

Fight!

I would like to dedicate my victory to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers dugout, whose denizens offered words of support throughout my battle with Logan.

Next up on the evening’s ever-evolving aganeda was a visit to the new “Strike Zone” seating area. This is where I would meet the evening’s designated eaters.

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We’ll meet those designated eaters soon enough (in the next post, specifically). As the food was being consumed, we had the pleasure of witnessing a classic Zooperstars! routine. The Zooperstars! follow me around. They were in Jacksonville (the last stop of my last trip), and now here they were in Kane County (the first stop of my next trip).

Once the designated eating was complete, and all underwear-wearing men had skedaddled off of the field, I introduced myself to usher “Wild Bill” Bowers.

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Wild Bill — wow, what an interesting guy to talk to. He’s 91-years-old and has a great life perspective. I wrote an article about him for MiLB.com, which can be found HERE.

Upon concluding my conversation with Bill, Cougars director of public relations Shawn Touney and I commenced to wandering. My first groundbreaking and subversive ballpark joke of the road trip soon followed.

A beautiful day was fast evolving into a beautiful evening.

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Shawn and I then worked our way behind the outfield fence, so that I could visit an old acquaintance.

073That’s Jack “Mr. Kaboom” Phelan, who I wrote an article about in the wake of my 2010 Kane County visit.  Man, this feels like a long time ago:

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2010 Ben’s Biz Blog file photo

 

As his nickname would imply, Mr. Kaboom’s job is to set off in-game fireworks (such as when a Cougars player hits a home run). Click HERE to see a quick Instagram video of him in action.

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He’s still using the Delcor MP-20 as his preferred pyrotechnic-launching device.

076Mr. Kaboom’s perch provides a nice view of the ballgame.

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The @TimberRattlers outfield kinda sorta does the hokey pokey https://t.co/J9qmdpnLRT

— Benjamin Hill (@bensbiz) May 24, 2015

After bidding adieu to Kaboom, Shawn and I just kept walking. From behind the outfield fence…

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…and past a father and daughter having a catch…

083…until, finally, we reached the Cougars Craft Beer Cave.

086There’s plenty to choose from. Beers are $6, which are opened and poured into a plastic cup upon purchase.

084 The Cougars fans, led by emcee Derek, believed that they would win.

They were wrong, as the visiting Wisconsin Timber Rattlers slithered away with a 5-3 victory.

IMG_1192 There was still plenty of entertainment left this evening, however. First up was a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers, a Chicago-based acrobatic troupe founded in 1959 by — you guessed it — Jesse White. (White, for those keeping score at home, currently serves as Illinois secretary of state.)  IMG_1193I did my best to document the tumblers in action. But, literally and figuratively, it was kind of a blur.  IMG_1209That’s Mr. White himself, wearing the red cap and white pants.

In this Vine video, White assists directly with one of the routines. (And credit to the girl being held up, who perseveres after taking a rolling somersault kick to the thigh.)

More tumblin’

I’m not exactly sure how it all happened, but at Shawn’s suggestion Mr. White went ahead and inserted me into the final routine.  TumblersShowtime!

The Tumblers were done, but the post-game entertainment was not. It was just one of those nights.

First, tennis balls were thrown onto the field with reckless abandon. 090Next up: fireworks.

Never have I ever taken a good photo of a fireworks display.

IMG_1212These fireworks had a “popular music” theme. As an avid chronicler of the zeitgeist, I made a point to write down the songs that played during the show:

“Uptown Funk” — Mick Ronson and Bruno Mars

“Shower” — Becky G

“You Make Me Feel” — “Weird Al” Yankovic  Cobra Starship

“Blank Space” — Taylor Swift

“What Makes You Beautiful” — One Direction

“Lips are Movin’ — Megan Trainor

“Ugly Heart” — G.R.L.

“All Alone on the Grass” — Ben’s Biz

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If you thought the night was over now — THINK AGAIN.

It was now time for thousands — literally, thousands — of people to run the bases.

IMG_1215At 10:26, the last base-runners rounded third and crossed the plate.

IMG_1219But if you thought the night was over now — THINK AGAIN AGAIN!

The scouts, not yet ready to retire to their tents, were now readying to watch a screening of Big Hero 6 on the videoboard.

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But I wasn’t about to take part in that particular Geneva convention. I had had enough. Thank you and good night from Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, where, apparently, the fun never ends.

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And when visiting Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, please remember:

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

instagram.com/thebensbiz

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