Let there be fireworks!
The official kickoff to summer is here and as the nation heads to the parks and riverfronts to watch red, white and blue fireworks boom through the balmy night sky, let’s not forget the reason for the season. So, stoke the coals, crack open a tasty Louisiana beer, take a look around and appreciate all of the women and men we see and value the community that we have created with them.
Now, as you’re soaking in those sweet summer vibes, try to figure out what in the heck a sports-loving New Orleanian is to do now, because I’m at a loss. As the last crack of the bat on LSU’s season faded with the Tigers loss to Florida in the College World Series a bitter reality descended upon the Crescent City. Now what? We’ve officially entered the dead zone of sport.
Much like trying to figure out why all of those restaurants just love to close over July 4th weekend, maybe it’s best not to think about it all that much. But I’ve got you, New Orleans. We can make it through this. Now let’s get them dogs and burgers poppin’, get that shrimp in the boil and go check out some summertime faves.
There’s still baseball
Sure, the season has ended for Tulane University and the University of New Orleans. Sure, you watched (even if you hate them) LSU fall in the College World Series and, sure, college baseball is way more exciting than professional ball. I get it. But, there’s still the Babycakes, who currently reside in the cellar of the Pacific Coast League at 29-50.
It’s not always about the standings, New Orleans. The Shrine on Airline has a lot of good times in store for the everyday Joe who just wants to go the ballpark. For instance, tonight there will be Fourth of July fireworks after the Babycakes take on the Omaha Storm Chasers at 6 p.m. Even though they don’t have Wayward Owl or Bayou Teche at the ballpark, you’re still most likely to catch yours truly on a “Thirsty Thursday” where the fans get $2 domestics, which is a killer deal in these days of $9 beers at some, ahem, Superdomes.
Some nights at the Shrine, the Babycakes have “Run the Bases Night” where the fans can get out on the field and do their best Rickey Henderson after the game. Now, I’m all against running unless pizza, beer or chicken wings are involved but, now with all of this free time on your hands, you need a hobby. So you, not me, should run. I hear it’s good for you.
If you need extra incentive to run how about dressing up in red and white and being chased by women with bats? Oh, so now you’re game.
This weekend is the 11th annual San Fermin in Neuva Orleans a.k.a. the Running of the Bulls. It’s a true “You won’t believe what I saw in New Orleans” event where the Big Easy Rollergirls chase down the folks who don’t, but really do, want to get hit by a plastic bat. It’s fun. It’s New Orleans. It’s super early! As in, the run starts at 8 a.m. sharp on Saturday. It’s also short — the run that is. Because right after the run is over the party kicks back into high gear. If you can’t make it out that early, post up at Avenue Pub on St. Charles or the Balcony Bar on Magazine Street in the early afternoon. Actually any bar will do to watch as the Running of the Bulls transforms into the March of the Drunk Zombies. It’s beautiful.
There will be Saints
Look, I know it’s July and July means August is next and August means football overdrive. You can scratch that Black and Gold itch starting July 24 as the Saints bring training camp back to Metairie for the first time in three years. So if you like watching people practice the world is yours.
To me, training camp is the most nerve-wracking time of the season when every headline has the potential for disaster. Honestly, no news is good news at this time of year.
It’s also a time to get an extended look at all of those rookies you’ve been salivating over since the NFL draft. WhoDat Nation will be looking for first round draft pick Marshon Lattimore to step in immediately and lock down the other corner across from Delvin Breaux. With Terron Armstead’s injury, Ryan Ramczyk will be called upon early to man a spot along the line. The thought of Drew Brees dropping passes into the hands of the shifty and speedy running back Alvin Kamara also tantalizes. There will be a lot to watch in a few weeks.
Cheers to a wonderful and safe Fourth of July, New Orleans!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Urban South’s “Coop’d Up” Farmhouse Ale
Playlist Recommendation: Sonakay – “Cruel Summer”