Nothing perks up a day at the office by spontaneous baseball that I don't have to play. Before the office and baseball, though, there was a trip to the Farmer's Market downtown, where I didn't intend to buy anything. I just wanted to go walk around somewhere for a little while before I spent my whole day at the office.
I parked down on State Street, where weekend parking is free and where the parking garages besides the one behind the movie theater have all seen better days:
Granted, the abandoned building with smashed out windows isn't the actual garage, but see how the sign is all rusty? If Knoxville is ever going to get serious about revitalizing downtown, then they need to revitalize the places that you have to park at to be downtown. If it looks like the place where Batman's parents got killed, then probably no one wants to park there.
Walking up to the Farmer's Market, I passed the Wall Avenue wall and saw that someone else agrees that Knoxville could use a little improvement:
If you click on that and look at the bigger size, our river is apparently nasty and our zoo ghetto. I didn't think the zoo was really that bad (a little poorly laid out, maybe) but I might have just gone in with low expectations.
Bob Dobbs had no commentary to offer on the zoo or on the state of the city:
Moving on, I walked through the Farmer's Market:
Even though I didn't buy anything, I noticed a surprising lack of actual food at the Farmer's Market. This is the first time I've gone to it in at least a year, but last time I went almost every stand was vegetables and cheese and baked goods, the kind of thing I expect from the Farmer's Market at home. Those stands are all still there, but now there are at least the same amount selling wind chimes and candles and crafty stuff. I guess it's good that the Farmer's Market has gotten a lot bigger since the last time I went, but at the same time I think of food when I think of farmers, not jar candles that smell like cookies.
After an hour or so of walking around I headed in to work, where I am trying to get ahead on things before my vacation in a week. This year my goal is to try to get some pictures up while I'm still on vacation, so that I'm not spending five hours doing it when I get back.
Anyway, I was at the office for a couple of hours when I got an email inviting me to meet up with Jess and whoever else showed up for Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball. Since I've never been and baseball is way more fun than being at the office, I immediately said yes.
Smokies Park, deep in the Smokies, was just small enough to be cozy while still feeling like a baseball stadium.
If it holds more than five hundred people I'd be terribly surprised, but you never know. It does hold two mascots:
The green one has a ponytail, and we couldn't tell if it was supposed to be a girl or if it was just sporting a genuine Tennessee rat-tail. Either way, we managed to find nachos and hot dogs, Jess and George got themselves on the Dance Cam:
and we stayed all the way through the end, when it got dark out and we lost:
Losing was still better than spending four extra hours at the office, except that now I have to go in today again instead.