Carolina on my mind
So, I’m sitting at home, stuffing my face with Memorial Day barbeque, when it hits me I never posted following my last stop on the tour of the Carolinas: Kinston.
Kinston struck me, for the brief time I was there, as a sleepy town, one that’d you’d expect in the middle of fairly rural North Carolina. The person behind the desk at the hotel there (the Hampton Inn is where the visiting teams stay) suggested a Chinese restaurant for lunch, but maybe it’s an incorrect bias on my part, but I just don’t trust Chinese food in rural North Carolina (or anywhere North Carolina, truth be told).
But I digress…the ballpark — Grainger Stadium — was exactly what you’d expect and want from a Carolina League park. Ads adorning the walls, fairly symmetrical. Built in 1949, you could just feel the history within its walls.
The best part of the evening was a mascot — not the usual Kinston mascot, which, oddly, is a dog. This was a creature called Bird-zerk, on loan from a local TV station. First, he did a dance routine with Winston-Salem third baseman Leo Daigle which ended with Bird-zerk taking Daigle’s glove and throwing it over the outfield fence.
But then the bird-like creature outdid himself, doing a clearly rehearsed number with the base umpire, Corey Blaser. At first, Blaser refused to dance, but then warmed to the idea and they ended in sync with some pretty nice moves. By far the best shtick I’ve seen in a while.