HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Senators cautiously approached the goats, monkeys and dogs.
For clarification, that would be the Harrisburg Senators, the AA affiliate for the Washington Nationals, and their right fielder, Destin Hood, keeping a safe distance from the monkey cowboys who rode border collies to herd goats around the outfield here in between innings to gin up excitement about the post-game entertainment.
Somewhat of a fixture in minor league baseball parks, the Cowboy Monkey Rodeo, aka Team Ghost Riders, ride into towns like this one, the capital of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, led by rodeo veteran Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard.
It was Thirsty Thursday here at Metro Bank Park, so in addition to fans seeing the Senators take on the Erie Sea Wolves, $2 Coors Lights flowed generously. "For them's that's not seen it, you're not going to need your seat the rest of the night," Lepard said, before releasing his team of primates loose on the unsuspecting trio of goats trying to snag a few bunches of center-field grass.
After the show, which featured the monkeys herding the goats into a makeshift corral at first base, then coaxing the goats on top of a ballpark golf cart, Lepard made a plea for political and cultural peace. "I'm not a Republican. I'm not a Democrat. I'm an American, and it's time we put God back in America," he told the crowd.
The cheap beer, the monkeys, the goats, the baseball, the ecumenical plea — it all gave new definition to the term "goat rodeo," which loosely translates as a chaotic situation. Here, it was more literal, but retained the metaphorical meaning nicely.