Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Melvin and I had a full day, Saturday. We started at the (John H.) Glenn Research Center, where NASA opened up its Zero Gravity Research Facility to visitors. The ‘zero-g’ chamber is a 510-foot cylinder in the ground where NASA drops stuff that after 5.18 seconds of near weightlessness, lands in a pool of polyethylene pellets. Nobody dropped nothing while we visited, so we saw an orange tube with no discernible (at least to my auto-focus) bottom. “There is always gravity,” we were told several times. Indeed, levity is far harder to come by.

While we were out by the airport, we checked out a graveyard in a shopping center parking lot. With all the interpretive plaques, it wasn’t a forlorn as the Indian cemetery we saw on the edge of a shopping strip in Oklahoma (above). But at five feet above the elevation of the parking lot, it was easy to imagine that the developer had scoured the site except for the box of dirt around the boxes of the dead. We drove back downtown on the Valley Parkway, through Rocky River Reservation, part of the Cleveland Metroparks. Downtown, we checked out “The Politician: A Toy,” public art on the campus of Cleveland State University and Playhouse Square, a collection of restored theaters constructed in 1921 and 1922.

We wanted to have lunch at Slyman’s, renowned for its corned beef sandwiches, but it’s closed on weekends. Instead, we ate at Bier Markt, across the street from the West Side Market. Well, mostly we drank. We both had a pint of the Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale Ale. Mel also had the Petrus Aged Pale and the Southern Tier double IPA, which came in smaller and smaller glasses as the alcohol by volume increased. I had whatever pilsner replaced the keg that kicked and a pint of the Dogfish Head Festina Peche. All were delicious. The solid portion of lunch was an arugula pizza for Melvin and scallops and a salad for me.

After lunch, we headed to League Park, the second of which opened in 1910. I had read in “Roadside Baseball,” which has a handful of leads padded heavily with trivial information, that the former ticket booth was all that remained, although the field is now a public park. When Melvin and I got there, the field was the site of a community barbecue and all of the windows were missing from the two-story building at East 66th Street and Lexington Avenue. But there was an unexpected portion of the brick grandstand wall along the first base line and a sign proclaiming the city’s intention to restore the field and ticket house. It’s not much, but pretty cool nonetheless, especially when compared with stadiums long gone entirely.

The day ended at Classic Park, the Eastlake, Ohio ballpark where the Lake County Captains play their home games. The stadium is big budget for a Single-A club, with numerous suites but not much character. We could have seen the Captains Friday but went on Saturday to see the Peoria Chiefs and the ‘Korean Cubs of tomorrow,’ Hak-Ju Lee and Jae-Hoon Ha. (Countryman Su-Min Jung also plays for the team.) Melvin and I saw Lee in Boise last year and Ha’s home run in this year’s Road to Wrigley got Mel’s attention. Lee and six other Chiefs got singles, but only once did a player get into scoring position and then he didn’t. The Captains scored two in the fourth when Adam Abraham hit the ball out of the park, to the frustration of the foul ball chasing contingent. Kyle Smith got a single in the eight and a single, sac’ bunt and a wild pitch later we were at the final score of 3-0.

MiLB Reports: Game Recap Box Score

Although several people told me the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was a must-see on any trip to Cleveland, Melvin and I did not go there.

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