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Michael Arace: A Nationwide Boulevard of Designated Open Refreshment Area hits a triple

October 4, 2021

Photo by Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch

Article originally published in the Columbus Dispatch by Michael Arace

Ike and I, or Mike and Ike, if you like, had what turned out to be a perfect view of Huntington Park during our brief interlude outside the right field wall Wednesday night.

The Clippers were hosting the Louisville Bats in the last series of the Triple-A season. In the bottom of the first inning, with one out and one on, Clippers right fielder Daniel Johnson crushed a fastball to dead right field.

Mike and Ike were standing at street level, which is well above field level, on Nationwide Boulevard. We were stationed behind one of those screens which allow pedestrians to stop and watch the game from the sidewalk. We tracked the big fly to its apogee, which was probably directly over our heads.

The ball went out of sight for a second because, well, we couldn’t see through the ceiling above us. And then we turned and it reappeared, like a space capsule under parachute. It landed in a boxwood hedge, behind a bush, on the other side of the boulevard.

My first thought was, “Good thing nobody got hit in the head.” My second thought was ‘Free baseball. Go get it!’”

Ike probably had the same thought, and he probably abandoned it as quickly as I did. There were hundreds of people streaming up and down the boulevard between us and the boxwood hedge. You’d have to be a combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to get from one side to the other with any alacrity.

On game nights, Nationwide Boulevard is a Designated Open Refreshment Area, or DORA, which is a euphemism for “go ahead and take it with ya.” You can do it on game nights — and on this night, for the first time ever, the Clippers, Crew and Blue Jackets hosted games, concurrently, within their friendly confines in Arena District.

A few folks who were doing the DORA were marginally aware that a baseball had flown over their heads. I pointed and said, “It’s there, behind that bush.” Soccer and hockey fans said “hold my beer” and did some landscaping.