Friday, April 8, 2011

Getting Ready For My Night At The Joe

I am mere hours from stepping into one of the more storied hockey venues in the world as I will be in attendance to see the Blackhawks visit the Red Wings this evening. As far as hockey arenas go, this is one of the ones I'm really most excited for given its relative age, tenant and history. The Red Wings have been among the most well-run franchises in professional sports for the last 20 years and tonight I will get to see, firsthand, one of the more unique arenas in the League.

Also the game is kind of really important.

This will be a fun and appropriate capper to what has been an enjoyable few days in Michigan. This state is actually the only one of the upper Midwest that I had never spent much time in, so not only was I happy to get a taste of Ann Arbor and various staple eateries such as the Maize and Blue Deli or The Cottage Inn, but I've also gotten the opportunity to try what has to be the greatest named beer I've ever heard of in my life, which was of course, a local brew from the city of Detroit known as.... Ghetto Blaster.

Yes, Ghetto Blaster.

I won't even claim to be above the fray on this one. We absolutely bought a pitcher of this beer simply because the name was hilarious and the word "blaster" made me immediately assume this was the type of beer that would be produced by some combination of events on The Wire and at Mos Eisley Spaceport. Whether or not they serve it at the cantina, I can't say, but if Han drank it he would almost certainly be shooting first. The beer itself isn't half bad, though I wouldn't consider it great.

Really the name sells the beverage.

Other exciting events of the week have included watching Michigan go to the Frozen Four National Championship Game in a massive group of Wolverines, which is an uncomfortable position when you don't really like Michigan, last night when I went to a bizarre karaoke fundraiser at a gay bar called Aut Bar, which had a somewhat overwhelming assortment of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs on the walls.

Also, I was only hit on by one man, which, even as a heterosexual, was kind of disappointing. I'm just going to assume they could tell I wouldn't be interested.

Of course, the biggest event so far was my visit to the Palace of Auburn Hills to see the Pistons beat the Nets in an entertainingly high scoring, and defensively nonexistent affair. The Palace is an interesting arena because it's more than 20 years old and yet as the forebear of the modern wave of luxury-suite laden basketball and hockey arenas, it actually holds up very well. It hardly seems as old as it is even though some of the murals are a bit out of date, such as the one depicting the three-time WNBA champion Detroit Shock, who have since moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Also, the ubiquity of dumbest basketball GM alive Isiah Thomas is less than inspiring if you're a Knicks fan, but otherwise the building has aged better than George Clooney in a number of senses. If I had been told it was four years old, I would have believed it.

Of course, 48 hours later, the far more meaningful event of the week, given the fact that both teams are still alive and have won Stanley Cups in the last three years, is happening tonight, and I am pumped. I have no idea what traffic heading into Detroit will be like, but I'm optimistic that I'll have plenty of time to see how the place looks and hopefully scope out that statue of Gordie Howe they've got. And there's also the outside chance that I'll get to see Chicago clinch a playoff spot depending on what happens between Dallas and Colorado, an event that, remarkably, in all my years of attending sporting events would be a first.

Of course, for that to happen, quite a few chips would have to fall into place. Beggers can't be choosers. I'm just happy to be there.

And if they serve Ghetto Blaster on tap, I may just be even happier.

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