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The Chicago Cubs Charge $38 For This "Beer Bat" And That's Stupid Because I Would've Gladly Paid $50

I'm making Stadium Reviews this year and starting with the Cactus League. Simple format with some heavy baseball themes that should trigger some kind of relatable connection.  

That said I'm not going to be a complete sell out with the video. It needs a blog for depth and context. I can make that commitment. 

The basic premise is exactly that. Basic. 

People like going to stadiums to watch a sport that many consider boring. People like the smell of the grilled onions and day drinking in the sun. Others like keeping score and following the action closely. There's a little something for everyone, most of which centers around the core function of Distracting You From Life, a fundamental principal that's rooted in the history of the game. 

Ken Burns will tell you that late 19th century physicians promoted the game to patients as a valid exercise in several respects: pulmonary, adrenaline, spirit. It was a time doctors played things fast and loose, and people ran right into their advice. They actually swore by it. Crazy as this sounds, by no means was it uncommon to say that baseball materially improved the healthy and quality of your life during those times. 

That was before radio. 

You had to go to the ballpark to follow a team. You had to physically commit the time, effort and money to watch consume their play. So of course going to the park was a huge fuckin deal and got the juices flowing with the boys. 

Imagine it's 1906 and you're training with the boys from Philadelphia to New York in early May. Jimmy Dygert's taking the ball against the New York Highlanders in his first start of what turns into a breakout season. Harry Davis is in the midst of his 3rd of 4 straight seasons leading the majors in HR's (10-8-12-8, lol). You and a couple of the fellas are ditching the factor on Friday to train in Thursday and raise hell. Yankee Stadium won't be opened for another 17 years. 

Deep in there, you can understand just how big of a deal it was back then to walk into a ballpark. 40 fuckin thousand strong. Those fans were probably closer to the Romans than you and me from an entertainment perspective. 

And now over 100+ years later, of all the arguing and bullshit and IM RIGHT YOUR WRONG isms. There's one incontrovertible fact that has survived, will survive, and likely never come under the crossfire of sports debate. And that's the pure joy you get from going to a new stadium. 

Men - many of us - man of us not even baseball fans - measure a portion of their general sports fandom based on the number of baseball parks they've attended. No other sport or league gets equivalent treatment in this respect. You don't work with a guy that's traveling the country next year with his distant father to visit every NBA arena. Football fans don't appreciate each other's majesty

THE COWBOYS SCREEN IS JUST TOO FUCKIN BIG FOR ME\

Baseball's different. At least that's what I'm willing to tell myself as I get into this. 

Enough with the sentiment. 

My point is that it's in our bones as sports fans to seek out new baseball stadiums. I'd like to document some of these places in the process and contribute to the journey. 

Today it starts with Sloan Park, home of the Chicago Cubs. 

As I said long before I got longwinded, we're on the scouting scale and we're keeping things very simple: 

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Categories are soft and hard enough to work the objective and the subjective. The quant vs qualitative. You need to be balanced. That's what we get with Location, VIbes, Bathroom, Hot Dog and Intangibles. You can miss some areas and make up in others. Same goes with the 5 tools in baseball. 

The scouting scale is a little trickier because I still don't understand it despite 20+ years of active exposure to it. I know that 50 is average, but average is very good. That's MLB average. So if it were a scale for "every baseball player you ever knew" then the 50's are actually 80's, and you might think you're on the scale. 

You're not. 

A group of pro scouts ran us through this process every fall and it was remarkable how few of 35 division-1 baseball players actually registered grades. Most of us POTENTIALLY graded out as complete minor league failures. 

In other words, it's a relative scale and that scale is relative to the best players in the World. So don't take grading too hard here. 

We're inbetween 20-80 in increments of 5. You usually see those increments on display the higher you go up the scale. 

Experts almost never award an 80. That's Clemente's arm and Billy Hamilton's speed and Ozzie Smith's defense and Barry Bonds power and Tony Gwynn's bat. And even then, some would say those are just 70 or 75 because a true 80 doesn't really exist. 

65 will get you into a Hall of Fame debate. 60 will get you there if you do it for 15+ years and win over the fans. 

Most live in the 45-55 range with good days and bad. That's a reality. 

Enough background for fucksake. Location at sloan: 

We like it a lot guys

Central is good. Especially when you zoom in on the popular areas in Maricopa: 

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That Old Town Scottsdale area is where all the bachelor parties exist. It's the hotels and the young people and bars and restaurants. Most of the players want to live in the area. Except the super rich ones. They live in North Scottsdale with all the other super rich people. 

But for the most part, that carve out on top of the map up there is critical to the experience, and Sloan is just a short drive. And when you get there, ample parking. 

It's off 2 major highways. It's all done to get you in and out quick. Very very well done and deserving of a 60 grade.

There's so many people at Sloan 

That's 15,000 people at a spring training game. They absolutely SMASH attendance which is cool everyone shows up. 

But same time it's like they're hawking the Once In A Lifetime Experience to a group of people that survived on the Once In A Lifetime Experience of going to Wrigley for over a century. Like that's all we could hang our hat on forever. At least we have Wrigley… 

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So when the hot dogs are $10 and the Wrigley bathrooms are crowded and it's inconvenient, we stomach it. We have no choice. That's the cost of doing business. 

But spring training? I want relaxation and intimacy. Sloan misses on that so hard. 

But ultimately it's a new year. New hope. Stadium's just opening up for action and a lot of you are coming down this weekend to watch the Cubs/Sox. FYI it's going to be absolute chaos, but I think you'll enjoy it if you're prepared. Final grade 55 which is slightly above average. Vibes could be better with less but I can't complain too hard. 

Spacious. Plenty of them. Not horrible lines because it's too early in the day to be unloading a bunch of sloppy pisses. One sink for every urinal is a little heavy and I want to see more than 4 stalls. But there's a good amount of these bathrooms located throughout the park. So it's convenient in steps. 

But there's nothing special that makes me think they're taking the bathrooms serious. Clean enough but not the cleanest. Somebody had a bad pulled pork sandwich pregame and unloaded a bomb when I walked in. Can't fault the Cubs for that. But it happened and I'm talking about it. 

Overall just average. Solid. Fine. The bathroom can play every day. Final Grade 50

I'll post the full review to my social. It's exporting, or something like that. 

Maybe I shouldn't show you guys though. 

I got a standard run of the mill dog from a standard run of the mill concession stand, and I still haven't slept right since. I felt like I was eating Tom Ricketts. Honestly the skin was not a good texture. The bun was so soft and moist that I want to say the word moist again. Nightmare dog experience at a high price point. No me gusta final grade 35

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Go watch the video so I don't have to screen shot any more pictures and chew up the bandwith. You'll get a perfect sense here. 

That's just a repost of the original video but it's from Tik Tok. Throw me a bone here guys I'm fuckin trying. 

To me, the intangibles are simple and baked a lot into the vibes. Sloan doesn't really do anything special. The dimensions are similar to Wrigley. The architecture is underwhelming. It's engineered backwards from the player experience to maximize their time on site. 

From a fan perspective, the Cubs have hit the equilibrium point. They want us having a good time. They emphasize that we should be having a good time. All that is very obvious. But it's also obvious this is a big money maker. Someone calling the shots definitely gets a bonus for the profit margins on the club's time in Arizona. That's my primary takeaway as an aware diehard. It's a fine park, but they ignored infrastructure to pump dollars. There's lines everywhere. I'm mortified thinking about the merch line again. 

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What are we doing guys? Seriously what are we doing with this line? I don't know who to be mad at. The Cubs for selling fire merch and having a massive fanbase? The fans for not shopping online? The fact I can't conveniently get a nice commemorable  pin or souvenir for the family? Whatever the reason, I don't like it. 

I also don't like that we have so many people in the fanbase willing to wait in that line. I know we don't exactly have the best reputation as Cubs fans. But we gotta draw a more important line somewhere and I would at least hope that line exists many (neh, several) degrees north of whatever the fuck we're calling that disaster. 

Line people are the first to go in most hypothetical zombie simulations. A lot of them are out there right now waiting on another beer bat with me: 

That picture is to scale. 

That beer is delicious.

I am Sammy Sosa. 

$38 after tip & tax. Not shabby if we're keeping it real and we are this deep into the blog I'll tell you that much. Anyone still hanging around reading this gets a free jar of peppers this weekend just come and find me. 

Anyways, this was my way of saying the Beer Bat saved the day. But otherwise the intangibles just aren't there. Final Grade 45

Again that 45 has a spot in the Major Leagues and for context, the Beer Bat would be the power. It's like a young Matt Stairs. Think about it like that. 

Overall not too shitty. Honestly kinda hard to give us anything when we're working off of Wrigley 81 games a year for the last however many hundred something years. Maybe most appealing is just how easy they make it for people to get in and out. Same rule applies to those 81 Wrigley games. Fuckin nightmare if you're not in the neighborhood. 

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Games are back in a couple weeks. I have more reviews coming and if this works then will be recurring throughout the season. I think the categories play at almost every level from little league to men's league. At this point I think you know I'll review just about anything.