Baseball season is back, so cue the usual grumblings about how the Maritime Park and the stadium are “unwanted boondoggles.” For some reason, there are folks in these parts who act anti-progressive and don’t want the trappings of modern city life.
We’ve heard the arguments. It’s too expensive, no one likes baseball, what do they use the stadium for when it’s not baseball season… Well, flip the coin over and see the accolades, the job creation and the attention of well-known sports figures native to our neck of the beach. Oh, and the fans in the stands. There’s that, too.
As the beer-enjoying type that I am, it’s been wonderful to see a strong craft presence at the Blue Wahoos games. Where else can you catch a ballgame while drinking Belgian pale ale while trying to decide between freshly-shucked oysters, sushi or seafood nachos with seared scallops and shrimp? Or grab a locally-brewed McGuire’s Irish Red to wash down that ¼ lb hotdog. Best of all; take in that beautiful view of the bay.
It felt good seeing the massive turnout last Friday night, only the second game of the season. No one likes baseball, indeed! If there’s any quibbling to be made about the stadium, it’s the frequency of rain to cancel out the game and that’s nobody’s fault but Mother Nature’s. Unfortunately, that’s what happened. A warning shot of drizzle fell and it was this way to the egress.
To be fair to those who left, Pensacola was trailing 7-1 at the time, but I think Yogi Berra had thoughts on that situation once. And for full disclosure, once the wind went from warm breeze to cold downdrafts, I figured my umbrella-less self should probably mosey along, too. But that was two innings later. Had the weather remained light sprinkle, I would’ve kept sipping Woodchuck Hopsation Cider and cheered for the rally.
Hopsation, like baseball in Pensacola, is something that “shouldn’t” work but it totally does. Not sure why this marriage of hops and cider hasn’t happened until recently, but I was very happy to see it on tap in the newly-minted Bubba Watson’s Sand Trap bar. Full of cascade hops, this crisp, dry cider is floral on the nose with the perfect amount of bitterness to even out the juicy apple flavor. And lest anyone think that a cider can’t have flavor other than apple, the hops add notes of mint, pine, lemon and cedar for a complexity that’ll stick in your craw while you realize that this is simply good, good, good stuff!
Now that Woodchuck is making Hopsation year-round, much like our Blue Wahoos it’s here to stay and it’s a threat to the stodgy status quo. Out with the old, in with the new! Another cider, please. Oh, and… Play ball!