Bruce returns to the Aces

The Aces had just retired the side in the top of the 7th, which set the stage for one of baseball’s longest held traditions—the 7th inning stretch. How do you participate in this ritual that fans have observed for lo these many decades? Pretty simple. You stand up, stretch your back, then raise your arms, then suddenly remember that you’ve got a warm beer in one hand, so then you apologize to your neighbors for slopping a few suds on them, and then sit down. (These days, one wonders which team in the baseball universe will be the first to seize the opportunity to turn the 7th inning stretch into some kind of yoga promotion).

But that night in Aces ballpark, something more was going on. Fans were suddenly rising in unison, in anticipation of some kind of event. “Oh God,” I groaned to myself, instantly guessing that we were about to be flogged with an act that many teams have seized upon ever since 9-11, which is the singing of “America the Beautiful.” (Call me a communist if you must. But I’m still solidly in the camp that says one patriotic anthem per baseball game is just fine, thank you).

But no, it wasn’t going to be another song. Instead, everybody was looking out to center field, to the big black wall of speakers above that fence. That’s when the first notes of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” could be heard. “Aha!” I thought. Of course. We’ll steal a classic from the Cubs, whose fans in Wrigley Field have for years sung this hoary old love song to baseball during The Stretch. That’s when “It” began to appear. It being … what? I couldn’t figure it out at first, only noting that something was slowly emerging from behind the speaker screen, something weird, something large, something … moonlike? What the …?

In a few seconds, it was up. The Huge Baseball Head. The Huge Baseball Head with a dreamy, dopey expression on its face and a big floppy mouth, a mouth that was lazily and somewhat accurately lip-synching to the song, leading the fans to its conclusion. It must be stressed that it was a really big head, just kind of looming out there in center field, lolling back and forth to the music.

Creepiest damn thing I’ve seen in quite some time.

As a place to stuff your face, the ballpark does have its temptations. The brisket sandwich wasn’t half bad, and those garlic parmesan fries are tasty. Haven’t had the chance to sample the sausage and pepper sandwich, but it’s on my list for next time. There’s a beer selection that can take care of every taste, which is crucial. And don’t worry if those $7 suds begin to take a toll by the 4th inning. This modern ballpark does indeed have ATMs throughout.