Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cold Beer - Guaranteed

I’ve sold beer on Christmas and New Years Eve before. I’ve driven through a blizzard to get to the Dome for a football game, but tonight was a first…

Vending while it snowed…

It was definitely the coldest game in Target Field’s brief history; 40 degrees at game time and a 17 mph breeze blowing in from left field. It was cold at first, but once I got moving it wasn’t so bad. I also wore additional clothing tonight. I had 2 long sleeve shirts on, a pair of thermal socks and 1 glove. (Yes, 1 glove... It is impossible to open a plastic bottle of beer with cotton gloves on, so I only used it on my “money hand”.) It started snowing in the 2nd inning and continued throughout the rest of the game. Not hard, but it was noticeable.

Fans tolerated the weather much better than they tolerated Liriano’s pitching performance in the first 3 innings. In between the 4th and 5th innings the musical selection was Jingle Bell Rock. There were other holiday selections played during the game, and most everyone sang along. It was a bit odd listening to thousands of people singing Christmas Carols on April 27th, but it is outdoor baseball and fans seemed to be enjoying the novelty of the weather.

Santa Claus was there, he was actually sitting next to a guy in a gorilla suit. They looked like Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi from the set of “Trading Places”. I’m sure they were a lot warmer than the 3 guys without shirts by the dugout on the third base side.

I guess it could’ve been worse. Talking to Ron Coomer down by the dugout in the 3rd inning, I asked him what the coldest game he ever played in was. He told me about an April game in Detroit where the entire warning track around the field was completely frozen solid and covered in ice. They played through it.

Tonight, more people were standing up in the concourse by the overhead heaters than in their seats. Actually, at one point in the seventh inning I counted exactly 5 fans in section 332. (Glad I wasn’t assigned there.)

Twins fans bought less than they normally would, and hot chocolate was in high demand. I heard one soda vendor shout, “Ice Cold Killebrew Root Beer HERE!” and thought to myself, someone in his advertising department should be fired.

I even left out the words “Ice” and “Cold” when advertising beer tonight. The temperature of my product was really irrelevant, and people didn’t need to be reminded of anything cold.

Tomorrow is a double header to make up for last night’s rainout. Weather conditions look to improve throughout the day.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hot Chocolate and the Rainout

First rainout of the season in only the 6th game. I’m disappointed because I chose Hot Chocolate to sell over beer. Temps were in the low 40’s and there was a steady drizzle. Tips wouldn’t be the same, but I figured I could make up for it in volume. 3 guys ahead of me in seniority took it, so I wasn’t the only one thinking it could be a good money maker for the night.

Cocoa is $6.75 and it comes in a souvenir cup. Besides that, I don’t have to card anyone tonight.

Then it happens. Notice on the scoreboard… “Tonight’s game has been postponed”. 30 minutes in and I had already sold 38 cups. Fans were even buying on the way out the gate

It was hardly worth the drive down here and the evening wasted for that… I’m sure many fans felt the same way.

Weather looks better for tomorrow and maybe we have turned the corner on the winter that just won’t end. Next stop 90 degrees and bottled water in June. Let’s hope so.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Opening Day – Season 2

3 ½ weeks ago we stood in Target Field for orientation and it was 25 degrees and the wind was making it feel like the low teens. There was still ice on the field and 3’ piles of snow in the seats. Every vendor wondered how it was going to be possible to climb stairs for the start of the season. In 2010, the weather was perfect for outdoor baseball. There was only 1 rainout and 1 delay. We figured 2011 was likely to be payback?

Fast forward to today, April 8… and there couldn’t be a nicer forecast for a Friday Spring day. The weather keeps looking better and better for the Twins Home Opener today at 3:10. Latest I heard was 65 and sunny. I even packed the work shorts at the last minute, just in case.

Everyone has probably heard that Wally won’t be back for 2011. Neither will Ed. I have reread my blog entry about “The Sting” and still can’t believe it happened.

We lost 2 other guys to retirement, so I moved up 4 spots in seniority since 2010 from 24 to 20. I’ve been doing this since 1989 and finally cracked the top 20. Moving 4 spots is a big jump… I don’t think I’ve moved 2 spots in a season in the last 10 years.

Beer will be $7.25 this year… up a quarter. That is both good and bad. The jingle jangle of coins makes people think of tipping more, but $14.50 for 2 beers makes for a small tip if the customer gives you 15 bucks. $29 for 4 beers (criminal, I know) leaves only a buck leftover. Guess I will just have to “work it” more this year.

There is a new beer available from vendors this year. We finally have Coors Light. It is the most common beer people have asked for over the past few years. I think I might even give it a shot today (selling, not drinking) with Grain Belt.

There is just “something” about Opening Day. As the ESPN commercial says, “It’s not just Flag Day… It’s the world’s biggest flag Day.” There will be a flyover after the anthem. There is nothing comparable to having five F-16’s roar about 500 feet above the Target Field.

It’s also the start of another long summer. 81+ games to work, and a long way to go to the finish line.

Let’s play ball.