Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Excitement fills the air as we leave Hockeytown Café for Comerica Park.  A policeman halts traffic  on Woodlawn Avenue to allow pedestrians to cross. Mingled in the crowd are scalpers offering to buy and sale tickets.  Up next to the old Fox Theater is a young man preaching the gospel, his voice loud and clear thanks to a small portable sound system, but his good news is tempered with his focus on the approaching judgment.   Maybe we need to hear the message because in the mood of mistreating some visiting angels from Los Angeles .  Personally, I’m hoping their halos are knocked off and their wings clipped.  Across Woodlawn, an old man plays a banged up horn, its case opened in the off chance someone wanted to reward him for his efforts or to help him afford some music lessons.   

We follow the crowd into the stadium, walking  under the large statues of tigers posed like gargoyles above the gate.  Before heading to our seats, we find the Michigan’s Baseball “Hall of Fame” memorial and take photos of Bernie next to it.  Bernie was our local high school coach and his name is on the memorial for having nearly 300 lifetime wins.   Afterwards, we take our seats on the upper deck, right above the catcher.  The sun is bright and it’s warm but humid.  Both teams are on the field, stretching, warming up, and running sprints.  A few minutes later, they line up for the National Anthem, and we all take off our caps in respect.  Then the umpire shouted “Play ball,” and we sit down to enjoy the game.    

The game proceeds rather quickly and is a bit boring, but that’s okay.  I feel blessed just watching what little action takes place as I smell the hot dogs and sip an overpriced beer.  The Tigers go ahead in the third and hold a one nothing lead until the eight.  But there do seem to be real angels at third and in left field, as both players make incredible catches that keep us from adding to our sole run.  We sing during the seventh inning stretch, while the “Ace Hardware” ground crews smooth out the sand in the infield.  Everything is commercialized.  In the eight, they tie the game, as clouds begin to form and a breeze cools us off.  Nobody scores in the ninth as the clouds climb higher.  At the top of the tenth, the Angels score two.  Someone on a smart phone looks up the weather and announces that a line of storms are moving our way.  I don’t want to leave, but agree and we head downstairs to where we can watch the game while standing near a gate.  It’s the Tiger’s final chance to tie or take the lead.  They fail on both accounts and we rush to the parking garage behind the Fox Theater.  This time, we passed another street preacher, a young African-American woman who speaks of approaching doom as distant thunder rolls through the city.  About the time we pulled out of the garage and onto the busy streets leading from downtown Detroit to the suburbs, the storm hits.  We get on 10, heading out of the city and it’s bumper-to-bumper.  It’s a good thing the line of cars are only moving five miles an hour, any faster and I wouldn’t be able to see a thing as the windshield wipers are already working overtime. 

We made it back to this side of the state safely, having enjoyed out trip even if we did get baptized were unable to pluck a few feathers from a faux-angels from LA. 
On a sad note, keep the families of the firefigters killed in that wildfire in Arizona this weekend in your prayers.  Yesterday, I learned I knew one of the guys when he was a teenager, growing up in Utah.  Prayers for his wife, children and mother.


  1. Sounds like a good way to be spending summer. I can't believe after our long winter that it's already July 2nd. I am saying a prayer and keeping the families in my prayers as well.

  2. The Firefighters are utmost in our thoughts and prayers, Sage, here in Arizona. Good of you to mention this tragic event so that others may become aware. I am praying for your friend's family, indeed, all the mens families and loved ones. I cannot imagine what they must be going through right now.

    I too encountered a street corner preacher in downtown Tempe. He was preaching the need for salvation. But like you, I often run across those who preach too much on the doomsday message. Be well my friend!

  3. I've never been to a major league game but have been to minor league ones. I enjoyed it when My son did but baseball in general was a bit boring to watch unless my own son was playing.

    It was very horrible to hear about the firefighters.

  4. Amen for the 19.

    Are you sure those were street preachers and not Detroit City Council persons. Dang I made a funny today. They tore down 90% of the only baseball park I have ever or ever intend to bein but I am glad the weather didn't get you under it.

  5. def keeping the firefighters families in my thoughts...my grandfather was a fireman...when he died they gave him honors and i still tear up to remember it...

    love the baseball game man...detroit is one of those places i would love to see one at...

  6. I do love a baseball game - yours sounds like such a nice time.

    Yes - so sad about the firefighters.

  7. If I ever get to see a game ? match ?. Where is the best place to sit. I think you had the same seat last year.
    And can you actually see the trajectory of the ball.

    1. Vince, at this stadium, I prefer to be up over first base (but I didn't get these tickets, someone else got them and I paid him). However, these are good tickets. I often like the 3rd baseline, but not in Detroit for an afternoon game as you'll have the sun in your eyes.

      I think you're right about last year, except that post I did wasn't from this park but PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I didn't even get to a Detroit game last year. The sides give you a better view, but from here you get a better view of the pitching. And yes, it's a game. Over here, matches are for tennis and boxing!

  8. I can't abide baseball, but the grass is always SO green.

    I really feel for the families of the firefighters. It was a terrible tragedy.

  9. Nothing like a summer night at a ball game!

    I'm very sorry to hear about the firefighters. What a terrible tragedy!

  10. First of all, thanks for your comments on my blog, they're much appreciated. Secondly, I'm sorry to hear that you knew one of the guys who got killed in the fire. That was terrible.

    And third, you are a baseball man. I grew with and ON baseball! :-) I follow the Yankees, which are not everyone's cup of tea, I know, but at one point in the early to mid 90s they had a few Cuban players who had defected to the US and they used to play for my baseball team in Cuba before leaving the country. Loved your post. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  11. I have a huge love for baseball. My favorite sport by far. I love everything about it...the most romantic of games.

  12. Nothing evokes summer more than the sights and sounds of a baseball game. From our neighborhood games on empty lots to watching a friend's dad play on a local Babe Ruth team, then to the stadiums in different towns where we've lived. It's one of the few sports I actually understand : )

  13. Great recap, Sage. I'm not sure I'm going to make it to a major league game this year. Time is dwindling and other plans and obligations are getting in the way.

    I'll expect an invite and complimentary ticket if the Reds and Tigers meet up in the Series :)

  14. I remember this game and the other two (that the Angels also won). Out here, we thought it was going to be the turning point in the season.

    Great post and you are so right about everything being commercialized. It's all about the money.

    Having said that, for more than half a century I do the same exact thing every morning during baseball season. I get up, get the newspaper and pour over the box scores of every game. Some of my fondest memories are listening to Vin Scully call the Dodger games while hiding under my blanket so my mom wouldn't hear my little bedroom radio.

    As an adult, I'd volunteer to take business trips that nobody else wanted. If the local team was in that city, I'd go no matter how crummy the task was going to be. I got to see many of the old stadiums that way also. I love those memories. Overly commercialized or not, I still love it today just as much as when I was a kid.

  15. One more thing...
    Thanks for dredging up some of those memories for me.