Since 1929, the Flower City's professional nine has consistently been known as the Red Wings- originally a homage to their St. Louis Cardinal owners, through the transitions to community ownership and a generation of Orioles affiliation, and now as the top farm team of the Minnesota Twins. No branding with the parent club's name, or the goofiness of Muckdogs or Rumble Ponies. Tra-dish-SHUN! Until Thursday night, when the emphasis got placed on the DISH and those almost 90 years of history were shunned for the first time.
"Plates" is short for the "garbage plate," which is to the Rochester culinary world what barbecue is to Memphis and wings are to Buffalo. Begun 100 years ago by the Tahou family that still owns the "garbage" name, it was originally named something like "hots and potatoes" when customers would just get a burger or dog with some side carbs and hot sauce. Legend has it a bunch of drunk college kids requested a plate "with all the garbage on it," and the term stuck. As does the grease, which can permeate steel, much less the paper plate it, by law, should be served on:
So to celebrate the centennial of the Tahou tradition, the ballteam rebranded themselves for one night- and friends got tickets. First came the merch- they'd been sold out for weeks, but the T's and caps and (thinking ahead here) hoodies were well stocked by the time we went in:
Our seats were four rows from the first base foul line, giving us a perfect view of the custom uni's for the evening:
Virtually every stand had its own variation on the GP. I'd sworn not to give in- I've had one Nick's original and a few knockoffs over the years, but they're too hot and greasy for my no-longer-cast-iron stomach- but when I got to the Black Angus stand expecting something respectable, there it was. Buffalo chicken with bleu cheese along with the mac, fries and diced onions.
All in all, not that far off from Pilot Field poutine, a staple of their Blue Jay shotgun marriage of the past few years. It tasted great; it wasn't less filling; and the distress waited a night, but it finally got me by the time of the next night's dinner at home.
The grandson of the founding Tahou threw out the first pitch (and presumably the first drunk). Speaking of such, we wondered whether legendary local beer vendor Conehead would be here or at the meaningless Bills pre-season opener. Wonder no longer:
I stuck with the relatively short cash-only line at the Genny stand, which had a few of their locally brewed craft variations. And in the eighth inning, as always, there was ice cream, but my first-ever garbage sundae:
As for the on-field product, well, there was plenty of garbage there, as well. The Plates blew 2-0 and 4-2 leads, had a 4-3 advantage going into the top of the ninth, lost it, then had at least two opportunities for a walk-off win between the 9th and 11th innings that they failed to cash in on. One of Scott's friends announced he was leaving in the top of the 12th, and he offered me a ride back to my car at our host's house. The ride was great (the result, less so- Norfolk scored 2 top twelve and the Plates lost 6-4), but I realized as soon as I got to my car that I did not have the phone which had taken all those pictures.
Fortunately, I did have my car keys, so I just headed back that way. Everyone was kind in helping me get parked, get in, and get back to my seat. By this point it was close to an hour after last out, and the grounds crew was busy getting the field straightened out after over four hours of play. I'd never been in a ballpark this late, so with the phone safely found, I got to take this little video of what it looks like. Note the guy at home plate in the final seconds, taking batting swings with his broom:
After all that, I got to the kids' place close to midnight, was up just past seven and out before eight, and had a full day of appointments including one of the two postponed ones from Thursday. Eleanor had had her own very busy night and day, and we learned yesterday why she wasn't feeling so great: a Saturday trip to the local Doc-in-a-Box confirmed possible pneumonia again, so she's back on multiple antibiotics and off from work for three days.
Me? Just got my hair cut and picked up the office mail, which included this bling from the previous weekend's visits:
The 31 on the left is Mike Piazza's recently retired number, joining the other four I had on a previous version of the shirt. And speaking of previous, those are my once-lost-but-now-am-found glasses which Emily rescued for me when I broke the newer pair last week.
Now to watch the Orphan Black finale and clean up the likely head explosions from that and the weekend's news.