Static: Wednesday, May 30, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Good Kitties

The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the lack of pampered millionaires on the field — all in all, a damn good home opener as the Fort Worth Cats played once again at the old team’s newly built and not-quite-finished LaGrave Field last Thursday.

That’s not to suggest that things were perfect. The smell of fresh asphalt was stronger than the tang of fresh-cut grass. A scratchy sound system played “Cat Scratch Fever,” fans did silly stunts between innings, and concessionaires did silly stunts to keep people standing in the not-so-hot-hotdog lines for an hour. The bathrooms were portable potties. Tickets didn’t get printed and delivered until the night before. Beer hawkers couldn’t keep up with thirsty patrons.

The old-fashioned hand-operated scoreboard was a nice touch, even if the young woman putting up the numbers didn’t seem to know much about baseball (it’s not a hit if the batter doesn’t actually get on base). And stilt walkers dressed in red-white-and-blue Uncle Sam costumes were tall enough to overlook some of the poor sight-lines presented to regular fans.

Nonetheless, it was a fun — even magical — evening between the Trinity River levee and North Main Street, with the Fort Worth skyline twinkling in the background and the pollution at the adjoining Cats-related site fortunately not glowing in the foreground. The “knot hole gang,” named after kids who once watched games by peering through knot holes in wooden fences, was replaced by the horseback gang — kids on horses watching from atop the Trinity River levee behind the outfield fence. And with the top tickets going at a bargain basement $9, the Cats may yet prove that one can go home again.

The weather was cool and breezy, the night clear, and the home team came from behind to win. July and August, however, may be a different ballgame, pun intended. Except for a “homerun porch” area, the old-fashioned, hometown stadium offers no shade. We suggest that for their next souvenir offering, the team owners buy the fans some fans.

Other marketing possibilities include souvenir binoculars called Cat-scans, and a team mascot named Hep Cat, who wears Wayfarer sunglasses, reads Flaubert and Kerouac, plays bongos, and explores the doors of perception between innings. Also, the team could forgo souvenir bats and instead offer spades (Cats, spayed, get it)? Static never knew marketing and public relations could be so much fun.

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