MINOR LEAGUE MEMORIES
Return of the Jedi
The first Big Star Wars Night at Werner Park started as a summery mid-morning. It was 82 degrees outside, with 110 percent humidity. A hundred ten percent means it was so humid that the moisture in the air formed into millions of drops that fell to the ground. Twitchy the squirrel was hanging off of our back screen door, begging for peanuts.
Jennifer, Michael, and I walked up to Michael's school, where they were having a ceremony honoring a Papillion hero recently killed in Afghanistan. I didn't know that Michael had been using my camera to make home movies, so when the batteries were exhausted after only one shot, I didn't have spares.
The ceremony was to rename a local street after the soldier whose funerary procession route was attended by most of the town. Michael had stood in uniform, next to all his schoolmates, saluting all the cars.
There's a page about that here.
I thought it was nice of him to salute the entire procession; I'd told him he only had to salute the hearse.
He said he'd never seen the hearse. I finally figured out that he had been waiting for one of these:
After that, we went out for breakfast and then home for the second thing on our calendar— watching NASA launch the Juno spacecraft.
Juno covered the distance from Earth to the moon in less than one day's time. It would take another five years to complete the journey to Jupiter. You can learn all about Juno on NASA's website.
Michael was amused to learn that the Juno probe was carrying three LEGO guys: Jupiter, his wife Juno, and Galileo Galilei.
But hey! It was Centris Credit Union Member Appreciation Night at Werner Park, where the Omaha Storm Chasers were having their annual Star Wars Night. The rain had stopped and now it was just hot and sauna-like, all sweaty and sweltery. We had to go early to get free T-shirts. (Finally, a T-shirt promo where we got one each, in all of our exact sizes! The sad part is, they were Centris shirts and had no Werner Park/Storm Chasers references whatsoever. Not very useful for future games.) But we got in through the special Centris Only gate, and Michael showed his mom around the Centris Fun Zone where we get in for free all the time because we're awesome. Then we did other stuff.
Nobody warned me there'd be autographs, so even though I had a big carry-bag full of preparations, I had opted not to bring Michael's autograph Ball of Scrawls. Therefore, I have no proof that he was ever in close proximity to (L to R) First Baseman Clint Robinson, Second Baseman David Lough, and Right Fielder Kurt Mertins. At least, those were the positions they were playing at the time.
(Michael & I went back two days later, and the same three guys were giving autographs again. Then I had Michael's Ball— but forgot my camera.)
After overheating and hydrating in the Fun Zone for a while, we made our way to our seats way down front to await the game, and Star Wars Night.
This is Casey. He's a lion. I have a million pictures of Michael with Casey. And I'll keep taking more.
Finally! The Imperial 80th Squad, Central Garrison of the 501st Legion (Vader's Fist) showed up. And Star Wars Night was to be had by all. I said I had a big bag of preparations...
There were stormtroopers wandering around.
I don't remember seeing this alien monster in Star Wars, but whatever it is— it's horrifying!
We had to hunt for quite some time before we found Obi-Kurt Kenobi. He remembered Michael (again!) and they conversed briefly. I don't know what they said, and I couldn't talk to him myself because other humanettes were wanting photos and such.
Michael changed back into his Earth clothing, and we watched the Storm Chasers lose, 2 to 1. They still maintained the Division lead they held since week 3, though. Third baseman Lance Zawadzki gave his bat to a kid just in front of us. Which was probably more enjoyable than the boy sitting one section over, who got a free baseball— sliced hard off a lefty hitter's bat straight into his face, causing profuse bleeding and much attention from numerous fans and stadium medics before the family was taken away to the Soylent factories under the park.
We didn't get a regulation bat, but we did come home with a pair of mini-baseball bat keychains from a tuxedo rental place. And a free set of 2011 Storm Chasers Inaugural Season drinking cups from American Family Insurance. And a jumprope from Alegent Health Systems. And a fold-up, wave-at-yourself fan from some other place. And a Centris member-exclusive invitation to see a free movie at the ballpark. And some blinky-light necklaces Jennifer conjured up from somewhere. I love free swag!
Wandering the perimeter of the park, Michael and I saw four toads. He wondered if the ballpark was infested. I said, considering it were toads, it would be plagued. Even though they were free, we didn't keep any of the toads.
Then, there were fireworks.
So... that's a Friday.