Friday, July 13, 2012
Welcome to the All Star Version of Hell
Joey G’s Grill and Bar
315 US Highway 206
I spend way too much time sitting on airplanes.
Sometimes I feel like the most important moments of life pass me by while I’m stuck in a communicationless metal tube 35,000 feet above the planet.
We can put a man on the moon, map the human genome and instantaneously broadcast videos of singing kittens to the far reaches of Planet Earth, but the airlines refuse to figure out a way for me to watch the game of the century while crammed into 43B.
Granted, a few airlines, like JetBlue, at least try.
But it seems like half the time their in flight “Live TV” is out of order or cuts off just as the potential game winning shot is soaring toward the basket.
So after being stuck way too often crammed against the fuselage while once in a life-time moments are unfolding down below, I’ve developed a new policy.
I block off certain dates on the sports calendar.
The Super Bowl. That fabulous Thursday and Friday during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. College Football’s National Championship Game. Game Seven of the World Series.
And baseball’s All Star Game.
Yeah, I know. The Mid-Summer Classic may not be as impactful on human metaphysics and world peace as those other high profile events, but I still look forward to it. Just like when I was a young Suit757 eagerly shuffling through my baseball card collection and pulling out the All Stars as they were introduced during pre-game ceremonies.
Call it nostalgia. Call me sentimental. But for Suit757, the All Star game is a can’t miss diversion on the annual sports calendar.
So I successfully maneuvered my schedule to avoid having to spend the evening of July 10 on an airplane – a rare occurrence for Suit757.
Sure enough, I wrapped up my last meeting of the day somewhere deep in the bowels of Northern New Jersey right around 7:30pm.
Next plan of action: find a sports bar to watch the game. Right away. Before player introductions.
No time to drive to my hotel an hour and a half away in Philadelphia and change out of my suit.
Just as luck would have it, thanks to the magic of smart phones, I found the web site for a nearby place called Joey G’s Grill and Bar, which bragged about its 20 “big screen TVs” tuned to “ALL SPORTS!! ALL THE TIME!!”
Or so I thought.
The first sign of trouble was when I walked in, not one of the dozens of TVs was tuned to the All Star Game – the only sporting event occurring that evening in all of the world as far as I know.
Fortunately, the bartender was happy to switch the channel for me.
Just in time for player introductions.
I was hoping she would turn the bar’s sound system to the game, but as I quickly discovered, there was going to be no chance of that.
The Pennsylvania microbrew is a deliciously hoppy variation of that overly ubiquitous beer style – the Pilsner.
I mean, Miller Lite markets itself as a Pilsner. Yeah, and Suit757 is a philosopher.
But any loyal Miller Lite drinker would immediately sprout chest hair after one sip of Victory’s Prima Pils.
Too bad Joey G’s was charging six bucks a pint for it.
But the second sign of trouble appeared just as Justin Verlander launched his 100 mph first pitch.
The dreaded Karaoke song book.
Yep. DJ Jazzy Pete started setting up his speakers in the corner of the bar and handing out song books before the National League scored the first of their five first inning runs.
What the hell is with New Jerseyians’ obsession with Karaoke?
I detailed my consternation of having to endure the amplified screechings of Jersey girls – the last time I was stuck in this smog-belching highway of a state between New York and Philadelphia.
Even stranger than Karaoke at a sports bar during the All Star Game, was the fact that the near empty bar began steadily filling with people as the game wore on.
And not one of them was watching the game.
By 9pm, the bar stationed a bouncer by the door to collect a cover charge.
I think I’d rather undergo a prostate exam by a blue-gloved TSA agent.
Most popular of all seemed to be some old bald guy in a homemade t-shirt he emblazoned with the word “SEXY” in all caps who calls himself Willie “The Manville Idol” Martin.
He used his 5 minutes and 37 seconds of amplified fame to plug his Facebook page.
Meanwhile, I’m straining my neck to look up over the hoards of Coors Light drinking Jersey Shore cast rejects to keep an eye on the game I came to watch.
Not so easy – or pleasant – when you are being hovered over by drunks gyrating to the slurred words of “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
I’ve never NOT had so much fun with a beer in my hand.
The food at Joey G’s did nothing to salvage my miserable evening.
My “Sloppy Joe” was a glorified club sandwich of corned beef, turkey and ham.
Room temperature cold cuts slathered in Thousand Island dressing made me yearn for the days when airlines served meals.
After my head-pounding experience listening to amplified bad pop songs being massacred by hammered Snookie followers, I yearned for the relative peace and calm of a middle seat in coach.
Sometimes being out of communication range isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Rating: Clean Grill with Shirt.