Marvel at our Dominicans because our Dominicans have marveled me. And I really want you to understand my cryptic ways of doing things, if for no other reason then you will be in the same place as I. That morning, when I picked up The Cincinnati Enquirer and its section titled “Life” had a big spread on Edwin Encarnacion...they dressed him up like a smiling Greek god. He said something about how he liked to wear simple clothing, jeans and t-shirts. They dressed him up in $100 t’s and $200 jeans with shoes and socks that cost more than the gross national product of his native land. He said something about how he likes to shop in the malls with his brothers and sisters. I would be lying if I said that his humble approach to being a pretty good shortstop and loyal family member didn't sell me right away. I was all “Dominican this” and “Dominican that” because I saw a humbleness in Edwin that I could appreciate, a standard that could be called a standard. I began referring to all my favorite players as “Dominicans” from that day forth. I see a good play, or a good case of sportsman like conduct and I applaud that person as a Dominican. I sit in a multi-million dollar stadium, I eat over-inflated gas station style snack foods, I feel used and I know in the back of my mind and in the bottom of my empty wallet, the millionaires are getting richer... Edwin Encarnacion, a true Dominican, is having a good night. Freel is on it. Dunn can come through. Griffey can be one of the best players in the sport (if he wants). I smile and think “Our Dominicans are strong!”
I tried to help them figure out a band name from their earliest news that they were, in fact, a band. That fragile, new time, when everything is fresh and new and exciting and open. I cannot remember the rather extensive list of names that I ended up running in an article for The Neus Subjex, except one. It was one they liked.
It was Crime Spree. Or was it Crime Wave? I can’t remember now, but they ended up calling themselves The Cincinnati Suds. This was in homage to a “professional” softball team that existed in Cincinnati at one time or other. Early fliers for the band played on the whole “suds” ethic of the band. Lots of big breasted and big assed women in tubs of soap suds with captions like “It’s bath time.” They were pretty funny. I was close to the band then, as I am close to the band now. One time, while taking some pictures of them on a hot summer day, in the basement of a place they called The Red Alamo, I saw a 12 pack of beer move across the floor by itself, unassisted by any worldly means. Odd, unexplainable forces at work. It was something. Really something.
Like I said, I am close to the band. Somewhere along the line, even though they were supposedly named after a softball team, the use of the Cincinnati Reds logo played into their whole game. Adam, a guitarist and main vocal contributor of the band got a tattoo of the Reds “C” logo and where it would normally say “Reds” he had it spell out “Suds.” He wears a Reds hat while he plays, at every show. There's a local guy who will replace Adam’s hat with a Yankee hat at times throughout any Suds performance. I hate when this happens and refuse to take any pictures or show any form of acknowledgment when Adam is wearing that fucking Yankees hat. I see any baseball fan as either a Yankees or Red Sox fan (as well as their home team, first and foremost, of course) and that being said, I’m more Red Sox. So that means, I cannot endorse the Yankees thing. Instantly though, Adams tattoo, it was a fucking hit. I remember an evening when I was visiting him, he had just arrived from Louisville (where he lives) for a Suds appearance at a local Cincinnati dive. Me, him, and Grandaddy (drums, secondary vocal contributor to The Suds), his wife Angela (who I refer to as “Fair Angela”) and two other locals were sitting around talking baseball and the dreams of the Reds making it past the regular season (which we agreed would happen) and the totally insane dreams of them making it past the playoffs to the World Series (which we all realized was an even more impossible dream). Adam had just gotten the tattoo in question and Fair Angela was giving him all kinds of shit about it, about it being stupid. And her, doing this while a pork chop was on the roof, just outside the window, as an experiment maybe, I’m not sure, but ants were all over the discarded piece of meat, a whole story above the ground level of the residence. It was a perfect setting. A place of marvel.
Some one calls Aaron Harang “The Harang-a-tang” and everyone in the room laughs. Well, everyone except Angela who is still accosting Adam for his new tattoo.
They are all Dominicans. And I love them all. They have the gusto, all of them, and are happy to be playing the game. When the sign of the cross is made on their chest, just before they bat, and after they adjust their cups. It means something big will happen.
And my dad, captain of the Cincinnati Reds, was in bad shape. Lying in the hospital bed, the prospects of open heart surgery were not looking good. In fact, just a few hours later, after an angioplasty, the hopes of any form of open heart surgery were squashed. His heart was too damaged in the wrong places. They put in a stint, and he got as ok as a guy who had three heart attacks would get. He now leads my mom in the heart attack series 3-2. And he is close to death and taking about the Reds to me while hooked up to oxygen and IV’s and all that hospital shit. He talked about me getting a Reds hat to wear at a game that my brother and I had promised to take him to earlier, before this latest attack of the heart. To diffuse the seriousness of the situation, I joke. I tell him that I want one of the fitted ones, the kind you get at the mall, and I want his number embroidered on the back, the number he would have used if he had become a Cincinnati Red, and become their captain, as he said. He said he would have used the number nine.
Humble. I appreciate the humbleness of the Dominicans. Just happy to be there. I am not ashamed to admit that I first learned about the term “humble” from watching the animated movie Charlotte’s Web and Wilbur, but I most associate it now with Jesus Christ who along with Wilbur is a prime example of humility. Did I mention that our Dominicans are strong? Because they are.
And here we are in right field. My brother, me, and my dad, captain of the Cincinnati Reds. I’m wearing an adjustable Reds hat, like the ones they wear when playing at home, and I bought it for $4.97 from Value City. It’s about a week and half until I leave for Florida to get married. This night at the ballpark is sort of my bachelor night out. My dad marvels me by reading the players on the field, telling me how they are feeling and how they are standing in all the wrong spots. Well, mostly players from the Rockies are standing in the wrong spots. Maybe that’s why the Reds won that night, or that's what he said. One of the Rockies eats M&M’s in-between batters and this infuriates me, despite him being on the team that I want to be defeated. It just looks bad. And my dad agrees. My brother, DeWayne, has a great time and watches a family three rows up from us eat nachos with hot peppers and cheese. We get up at the seventh inning to walk around the ballpark. We check in on the bullpen, I buy hot dogs for all of us. We get yelled at from stadium security for standing in all the wrong spots and can’t find a drinking fountain anywhere, which forces us to take another loan out for sodas. My brother tells me to cherish the coke and sip on it slowly, ‘cause he put his house up as collateral for his snack-loan.
I appreciate them for their unfriendly-jersey names. The Dominicans. Encarnacion. Lopez. Freel. Phillips. Griffey. Aurilia. Dunn. Harang. Coffey, all of them Dominicans. My Dominicans—and I declare them strong. I love each of them. In the end, though, I realize that the Dominicans will decide the World Series, them and their brothers. The boys of summer. It will be the team with the strongest Dominicans that will rule the day. That, mien friends, is my prediction, and afterwards they will go shopping at the malls with their brothers and sisters.
Shawn Abnoxious is the editor of The Neus Subjex. You can contact him at MySpace.com/ShawnAbnoxious and at TheNeusSubjex.com. Check out the Cincinnati Suds at MySpace.com/CincinnatiSuds.