Normally, by this time in June I’ve spent several happy hours at Simmons Field, cheering for the Kenosha Kingfish with a few thousand of my closest friends.
But this has been no normal summer. Or, should I say, “pre-summer.”
It’s technically not summer until Friday, but who are we kidding? When the calendar says June, it’s supposed to be summer.
With our local team back in action tonight after a string of road games, it’s a great time to check in on the new season:
Frozen fish! As I said at the top of this column, the weather has felt more like late-autumn football game days than sunny baseball season. I suggest the Kingfish add hot cocoa to their drink offerings and sell King Elvis-endorsed hand warmers. How bad has it been? In my game day bag, I’ve had to add hats and mittens, and the Opening Day stadium blanket giveaway was literally a lifesaver.
Ouch! The weather hasn’t been the only thing that’s been rotten so far this season. Our team is currently in last place, and the Kingfish bats have been ice cold....
At least SOMETHING’S cold! The soda woes continue in the pre-game buffet for Seven-Game season ticket holders. Bonus: To make up for the warm soda, the team has young kids bringing us cups of ice. Thanks, I appreciate the service.
All the right moves. Kingfish catcher Brian Nance (No. 48) has become something of an online sensation after a video of him dancing to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” during a delay in a game at Kokomo went viral. Since the video was posted June 14, it has garnered more than 6 million views. Look for Nance on “So You Think You Can Dance” if this whole baseball thing doesn’t work out.
Pumped up. Elvis, the Kingfish mascot, has been showing off some moves of his own this season, climbing around the stands and perching over the dugouts. Have you been working out in the off-season, Elvis? This is exciting for me, a well-known mascot groupie.
Game on! How do you know it’s game day at Simmons Field? The “Game On” sign is perched on the sidewalk and the smell of funnel cakes wafts down Sheridan Road. And how do you know it’s a game day in Kenosha? The people in your section spend the game debating the best (and worst) roads in our city.
Food fight? Season ticket holders who enjoy the pre-game buffet have noticed a few changes this season: Gone are the burgers (my favorite), the salads and the potato chips. In their place are baked potatoes with toppings. While I still miss my game day cheeseburger, I am enjoying the bratwurst. But you know what goes well with a hot dog or a brat … CHIPS! The team’s general manager, Doug Gole, said the cheeseburgers are served on a rotating basis, adding that “in the off-season, everyone told me they wanted variety.” I hope tonight is a burger night.
Crafty. The craft beer offerings now include Kings and Convicts’ Hougomont Pilsner, made by the brewery coming soon to Pleasant Prairie.
South of the border. New food items include the Cantina Del Rey area, with nachos, churros and walking tacos.
I scream, you scream … The ice cream sundae offers are now down to just one: the classic brownie sundae. New this year: Root beer floats (for $6, with Point Root Beer).
Try this. New food items this season include a Chicken and Waffle Cone for $7 (in maple or Buffalo flavors) and roasted corn on the cob ($3). Sampling both? Bring some Tums to the game.
Shop ‘til you drop. Can’t get enough of that Kingfish gear? A merchandise outpost is now in the Kids Zone, near the giant Elvis Bounce House. That’s dangerous for those of us with a weakness for Kingfish sweatshirts.
A lovefest. Why, you ask, would we sit outside on a cold, drizzly night, braving a cold Lake Michigan wind? For the love of our Kingfish, of course!
Hang in there, Doug. Gole, in his first season as general manager, is still smiling even as he works to keep track of the million little details that come with a baseball season that features only a few “off” days once it gets rolling.
“There are a lot of things you need to stay on,” he said. “There are a lot of people you are trying to please.”
Though he worked to prepare for the season, you can’t anticipate everything.
“It’s tough to simulate what happens when the gates open and it’s opening day,” he said. “Suddenly, there are 2,000 people here. You can try to be prepared, but you can’t prepare for everything.
“I think we have gotten better and better each game. Now if only the weather would cooperate.”
Have a comment? Email Liz at email@example.com or call her at 262-656-6271.