Then we headed out to do some quick kitty care for Shane and Matt, who are visiting Matt’s family in Wisconsin. All the kitties are fine, and all ate heartily!
THEN we were motorin’ to fabulous downtown South Bend, where we had tickets to see the South Bend Silver Hawks (single-A team for the Arizona Diamondbacks) play the Dayton Dragons at Coveleski Stadium, AKA the Cove. It was also a special promotion for Father’s Day: Bacon ‘n Brews.
This was on the Upper Deck, an enclosed room behind home plate, and it was basically a beer tasting, with different local craft beers paired with appetizers, entrees, and desserts. There was a little initial confusion, with the front gate staff directing us to the picnic area where a lot of events are held; there were plenty of people who we asked along the way who directed us to the right place. We hadn’t been to the Upper Deck before, so we appreciated the help.
There was a little more confusion when they weren’t serving the food when they said they would be. But we settled at the bar and paid for a couple of beers before we got the food and beers included in the package. We took the time to get to know Ken the Bartender, a super nice guy who recommended several local breweries. If you haven’t been paying attention, craft breweries are popping up everywhere, and there are quite a few in our area.
We saw Drew, the guy renovating the State Theater. He was the one who posted about this special promotion, and I’m glad he did! I had messaged him and he said he was going to be there, and I finally saw him. We chatted with him a bit, and met his friend Mara (I hope I’m spelling that correctly), who is also helping with the renovation and promotion of the State.
We talked with Ben (that’s him in the picture up there), who is a master chef and the head of food services at the Cove. This was the first event of this kind at the Cove, and he was asking people’s opinions. We were honest.
- This is a GREAT idea, and we hope to see more such promotions at the Cove!
- Since this was the first time they’ve done this, we understood the delay in the food. But that shouldn’t happen again.
- The cheese soup on the appetizer station was yummy, but way too salty. Back off on the salt!
- The chocolate covered bacon with jalapenos and sea salt on the dessert station was the BOMB. Holy crap, that was good! All the food was of a high quality.
- Have the TV screens showing a live feed of the game rather than other sports feeds. That is beyond Ben’s control, but Coveleski needs to do that, both in the Upper Deck and in the concourse.
- Better direction and promotion. There was much confusion as to where this was among the staff. It took us a bit to find where it was. And we only found out about it because Drew posted it on Facebook; I looked for it on the Silver Hawks website and couldn’t find it. (Thanks for the tip, Drew!)
- LOVED it that they were promoting local breweries! More of that, please!
I told Ken that this would be a great place to hold one of his bigger PMI meetings, so he made sure to ask Ben about that and get his card. It sounds like they can accommodate such things, and it would be cool to support our local ballpark!
We also heard from Ken the Bartender that not only is the owner of the Silver Hawks planning on putting in more attractions (like a three-tier party pavilion), he is hoping to affiliate this farm team with either the Chicago Cubs or the Chicago White Sox! What-WHAT?! The Silver Hawks used to be affiliated with the Sox, but that changed a while back to the Diamondbacks. If they could get back an affiliation with one of the Chicago teams, that would be HUGE. We’re only an hour and a half away from Chicago, so having potential Cubs or Sox play here in South Bend would be a great local connection! Good things happening in South Bend!
As for the game, we lost 2-0, but it was a beautiful day, and we got some good sun and enjoyed it thoroughly. We got to see the Vegetable Race, which never fails to crack me up. This time it was between Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Mushroom. We were cheering for the Shroom, but Broccoli won it. They came right up our aisle afterwards, and I got to high-five Broccoli and Shroom, but Ken got to high-five all of them! SCORE!
But the best part of the day for me....
Ken went to get us a beer, and as I sat there, I saw the woman in front of me rubbing sunscreen on the neck of the elderly gentleman next to her. They were Dragons fans, and it looked like the woman was there with her husband and her Dad. It brought a tear to my eye, and I leaned over and asked, “Is that your Dad?”
She said, “Yes.”
I said, “I thought so. I lost mine three years ago. Cherish him.”
She patted my hand and said, “I understand. I lost my Mom 11 months ago. He’s 90 years old!”
I sat back and cried a little bit, missing my Dad. I think it was after the 7th-inning stretch singing of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” that I decided to step down to the elderly gentleman and I told him, “I lost my Dad three years ago. Can I give you a hug?”
He said, “Yes. I lost my wife a year ago.” He returned my hug.
That one was for you, Dad.
On the way home, we put down the top on the convertible and cranked up Foster the People and just enjoyed the beautiful day. This is where we live…this is us coming home.