Another place I had never heard of, but I couldn’t be bothered driving all the way from St. Louis to Wisconsin overnight so I thought I would see what the Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball team had to offer. Sad, I know! Anyway, Peoria is a couple of hundred miles south-west of Chicago. According to guide books it was a whisky town a century ago, but there didn’t really seem to be much going on there. Their web site gave useful information about how to get to the ground, as well as a strange section that said you can park at the stadium for $5 or you can park in the surrounding streets for free. It’s not like them to encourage people not to give them money, but I thought I would give it a try. After finding local street parking very easily and looking around, I made the executive decision to get straight back into the Dream Machine, counting the remaining number of wheels on it before driving off, and rummaged around in the glove compartment for $5 to pay the man at the stadium gate. Maybe their instructions should have been a bit more specific – you can park in the surrounding streets for free if you don’t mind coming back to a burned-out wreck three hours later.
The hometown Chiefs were playing the Lansing Lugnuts, an excellent name for a team (although the players forced to wear their uniforms may not agree). I expected the Chiefs mascot to be some kind of Red Indian (yeah, one of those Native American Red Indian chappies), running around in a headdress tomahawking palefaces with a large chopper (!). Instead, it was a dog dressed up in fireman’s gear. Oh, THAT kind of chief. Boooo! And another ‘Boooo’ for the fact that by the time I made it into the stadium they had run out of the evening’s free giveaways of a Mr. Potato Head “Darth Tater”!
The game itself was regularly interrupted for the youngsters employed by the team to ‘entertain’ the crows to make complete idiots of themselves. There were water balloon races, hot dog eating competitions, and renditions of both the Birdie Song and YMCA. But they couldn’t compete with the woman that sang the National Anthem. Possibly the worst rendition ever, she changed keys almost every other note, singing the first bit like the Bee Gees, the last bit like Barry White, and everything in-between like Jimmy Saville. It was only the fact that the temperature at the start of the game was 94 degrees that made it too hot to get up and boo.