Tagged: Game Day Trips

Gameday: Yankees 6, Tigers 1

It started raining at about 5.30pm. Interesting note – gates, which open an hour and a half before every game – didn’t this time. I mean, for a 7.05pm game, the gates will open at 5.30, exactly. But not this time. This time it was 5pm. I asked the usher why – "Because they’re the Yankees. Big deal, I guess." Yeah, you know. But I’ve never seen a team actually change their timetable around the Yankees. Just another mystery…

Kevin and I went down to the visitor’s dugout as soon as gates opened, hoping to get another Yankee. Last year we got A-Rod. This year we were hoping for Jeter, Mo, etc. Cano was signing about 20 feet down from where we were, but the thunder was rumbling and he headed back into the dugout. By then I had, of course, made my way to where he had been signing. I looked at him back in the dugout and said, "Mr. Cano, do you have time to sign this please?" and held up my ball. He looked in my direction, but did one of those things where you act like you didn’t actually see the person yelling your name. It’s alright, he didn’t want to get wet – I understood. Just then, Mo started signing all the way down the left field line, closer to the corner than the dugout. Kevin and raced over there, but Mo cut his session short as the thunder grew more intense. It was pretty entertaining to see the grins he gave us and the sky each time he heard something.

So for, we’re 0-2. Not good. When Randy Johnson headed out to the field, he ignored everyone’s requests – one of those guys who didn’t even look in your direction. But the key here is stick-to-it-ivness. Randy was heading back to the dugout, and he changed his angle of approach – it looked like he was heading for the crowd, ever so slightly, so I headed over where I thought he would land. By the time I got close, people were starting to see what was up. I ended up about 10 feet down from where Johnson ended up signing, but between him and the dugout, which was good news. Now I’m going to give everyone a lesson that, until now, I had little empirical data to back up. Johnson was now about 6 feet away from me, and looked like he was tiring of the whole thing – he had probably signed 7 items. I held my ball towards him and up in the air a little, and when he had finished signing his previous item, politely said, "Mr. Johnson, can you sign please?" Johnson returned whatever he had just signed, looked at me, walked over, took my ball, and signed it. I’m not going to say he took his time, but he took the ball, found an open spot, and wrote out his signature neatly. That’s the lesson, for all you guys out there who want autographs – a nice, polite, non-screaming, "Mr. Blank, do you have time to sign please?" Always Mr., and always please.

About two minutes later it started to rain. It was about 5.30 and we still had an hour and a half to go. They had forced everyone up to the concourse to keep us safe, basically. At about 6.50 we took our bleacher seats and they kind of rolled back the tarp, announced the lineups, etc. Then at 7p, the tarp went back over.  A mean cloud rose over the stadium, (if you watched the game, they probably showed it at some point, it was like nothing I’d ever seen – I’ll have pictures up later.) We took shelter until 7.50p. At that point, Kevin and I both decided that if they didn’t call the game, they wouldn’t start it soon. The field was literally flooded and the rain was still coming down – albeit not in the torrents that we saw earlier. We had both been at work since 8am, and decided to call it a night. We headed home, and the game started about 45 minutes later. Eh, oh well.

I’m going to try to add more detail and pictures to these posts in the next couple days. I’ll be in Cincinnati but should have a fair amount of downtime – a couple hours a day is more than I’ve had all last week. I’m not sure exactly how that will work though. I get back on Sunday night and will be leaving for Chicago Monday morning – I’ll be there until Friday, and repeating that for the next two weeks afterward. Hopefully I’ll have a laptop down there, not sure yet. In any case, I’ll be working all day, so we won’t see anything intense. I leave in two hours, so this is goodbye for a while. I don’t know how the next three and a half weeks will turn out, so I can’t promise anything. Probably every other day stuff… Anyway, check back in a day or two for more pictures and the like.

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Gameday: Yankees 11, Tigers 6.

I went to last night’s Yankee game, as many of you know. I actually had to leave the game early (top of the 8th,) to get on to some other things – but mostly because the guy who had the tickets and taken me wanted to head out. At that point, the Tigers were down by one run. They ended up tying it in the bottom of the 8th, but the Yankees blew them away in the 11th. Yankees win, 11-6. Well, the game wasn’t too big a deal. Evan and I were both pretty tired – I had been at work hauling dirt all day, while Evan had… well, woken up around noon, and done nothing for four hours. I’m not sure why he was tired. Basically, Ramon Colon started for the Tigers, gave up a few runs, setting us back. Aaron Small looked great for NY, but he had a bad 5th inning, giving up three runs.

Typically game-day posts are a lot longer than this, (see May 19th.) However, I just got off work and have to head out to Game 3 of the series in a couple hours. Meanwhile, the last six days have been insane for me. I’ve been working all day and busy with other things for the rest of the time. I haven’t really been home for more than a couple hours since last Friday. And, now it’s time for our big announcement…

As many of you know, I’m heading out of town tomorrow afternoon to Cincinnati until Sunday night. What you didn’t know – and neither did I until this morning – is that I’m heading to Chicago this Monday for three weeks. ACE Hardware, my ‘place of employment,’ is sending me down there to help take down a store – expenses paid. I get the weekends off. I also get all the nights off. I’m assuming that there will be plenty of games to watch while I’m down there. I’ll be there the nights of June 5th-8th, 12-15, and 19-22. Here’s where you guys come in – if anyone can get me tickets to either the Cubs or White Sox, get in touch with me – reid@yankeesmvp.com. I haven’t checked yet, but I’m sure tickets are pretty hard to come by, especially at Wrigley. Anyway, we’ll see. Apparently it’s in "Metro Chicago.’" Anyway, I’m going to try to get a computer down there with me, so we should still see nightly posts and the like. Alright, time for me to go. We’ll (hopefully) be seeing a normal Gameday post for tonight’s action.

Gameday: Tigers 4, Reds 9.

Here’s our first Gameday post. I’m shooting to hit about eight games this summer, down from the lofty 11 I made last year, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Tonight was the first Tigers game of the season that we were finally able to get to, so the boys ponied up and headed down to the CoPa for an inaugural interleague matchup. The day started off like any of the previous ten Michigan days – cold, dark, and dreary. I had checked the forecast last night and we were looking at a 30% chance of rain through gametime; odds we considered to be in our favor. If you start turning away at a 30% in Michigan, you’ll spend your life indoors. That’s no joke either. Anyway, today the delegation consisted of Kevin, Soifer, Nick and myself. Nick’s another kid from back in the High School era. Soifer, as we know, member of the original experience from the Groves days as well. Kevin, he’s as much baseball fan as me and co-chair of the Andres Torres Fan Club. So we pile in the Buick and it’s down to Detroit. Obviously, our route is obstructed by various construction sites but there’s no way around that; we had left late anyway, with no intention of sitting around for an hour and a half in the cold. Heck no. So we get to the park around 6pm and grab a meal at the in-park Leo’s Coney Island. Interesting fact – a Cheese Coney at Leo’s in Birmingham is about $1.10; a Cheese Coney at Leo’s in Comerica Park is about $3.75. Heck, they add a buck just for the cheese part, which is a solid joke. No refills on the monster 16oz drinks either. The final tally – $12 a head. By now it’s 6.30pm and we’re heading to the seats.

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If you know anything about Kevin and I, it’s that we very rarely pay full price for a ticket to a baseball game. In fact, our record is $2.50 each for one game, and that was a $5 for parking. We had free coupons for upper deck seats, which we promptly vacated, pulled on one of our many usher friends, and ended up in the first couple rows in left field. Today we were using tickets from Soifer’s Dad’s office, some fine duckets in Section 134, Row 22, (right, as seen last year). Basically, 22 rows back from the center of the Tiger’s dugout. That’s a big section for the business men, or, as it was tonight, the drunks, incompetent parents, Piston fans, and TV News hosts. It was an outstanding, all-star mix of folks tonight, but we’ll get to that soon enough. The game started with the typical celebrations, National Anthem by Country Singer, Little League team night, etc. But someone had thrown a wrench into the typical routine; there was also a Pistons game on tonight. They were facing elimination, down 3-2 to the Cavs. Here’s the thing. As has been previously discussed, I don’t care for the Pistons one bit. I used to love basketball. I went to the occasional game, watched some on TV, and was a big fantasy junkie. Then came the Championship – I believe it was 2004, maybe 2003, I don’t care. For the first few rounds it was alright, I even enjoyed a couple games at the Chili’s bar with Jeff, (old school guy from the way back days when I worked at Pet Supplies Plus. Plays amateur ball. Baseball nut.) But after that Lakers series where ‘we’ took the Title, it all went downhill. Basically, everyone who had never seen a basketball before was suddenly the Piston’s #1 fan. I wasn’t down with that, so I quit. And now, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s Pistons bandwagon fans. This will come into play on multiple occasions later.

Back to the game. The first inning was, for the most part, uneventful. You’ve got the chronic late fans, which is an obvious problem when you’re sitting in seat 1. Basically, anytime a vender passes or someone gets up, it’s a break in the action for you. And they are about five times more likely to pass by you just as the pitcher enters his windup than any other point in the game; it’s uncanny. So that was the first inning for you, late arrivals and beer sales. Beer sales which, it turned out, would come back to haunt a few of the surrounding fans. Who will likely wake up tomorrow with no recollection of the loud stories they told or the intelligent heckling they did.

Now, the top of the second is when things began to get scary. Bonderman gave up two runs, and I can personally claim responsibility for one. That would be the Rich Aurelia home run. In typical fashion, my Mom picked gametime to call me. Of all the times she could’ve called to chat all week, she picked gametime. She’s very adept at doing so, in fact, this is the fourth time it’s happened in the last 12 games. Pretty remarkable for someone you talk to on the phone once or twice a week. So, we stand at 1-0, Reds. Next comes a Scott Hatteburg walk and an Austin Kearns double that moves Scott to 3rd. Then Hatteburg scores on a sac fly by Javier Valentine, DH. Good to see the Reds beat us at our own game. Reds up, 2-0. Jason LaRue takes a terrible cut to strike out – so terrible, in fact, that he helicoptered the bat down the 3rd base line. It wasn’t a typical helicopter either, it was weak and barely had any spin on it. Good job, Jason. Brandon Phillips grounds out, inning over.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the Tigers went down uneventfully, again. Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. strike out swinging in the top of the 3rd, with terrible swings at low balls. Maybe Ken failed because the guy to my right yelled, "What happened to you, Ken!" and then to his friend, "Ever since he left Seattle, he’s fallen off the face of the earth." Because he’s getting old, dude. It’s not like he made a conscious decision to be unhealthy, so give the guy a rest. The Tigers go down on the bottom of the third, again uneventfully. This was the last time anyone thought we had a chance in the game.

Now it’s the top of the fourth, and things just blew apart for the Tigers. Scott Hatteberg singles. Austin Kearns walks. Javier Valentin walks. Now the bases are juiced up, no outs, Jason LaRue – catcher! – up to bat. And he gets drilled, driving in Hatteberg. Reds up, 3-0. Now it’s Brandon Phillips up, bases still tagged. And he hits one into the gap – clearing the bags for a triple – but wait! The throw comes into Guillen (SS) who sees what looks like a close play at 3rd and chucks the ball in the general direction, very Knoblauch-esque. Error number 11 for Carlos, Brandon Phillips comes home. Technically a triple with a score on the throwing error, but for all practical purposes, an in the park grand slam. Quite uncommon. Either way, Reds up, 7-0. Leyland has had enough of Bonderman and he gets yanked for Ramon Colon, who came over in the Kyle Farnsworth dump last year. I was pissed when that went down, because Farnsworth is my boy. Anyway, when Ramon comes in you figure the game is pretty much shot, and it was. 3 innings down, 7 runs back. Felipe Lopez grounds out, so we finally get an out there. Then Adam Dunn – he who knows only the K, BB, and HR, literally; dude has 13 singles, 6 doubles, 14 HR, 52 K’s, and 37 BB’s – homers to right. This makes the choice to bat him in the two-hole all the more mysterious. I’ve never witnessed a HR in person that was so obviously out. For a while, Soifer and I honestly thought it was going out of the park. It missed by a few rows. And the entire Al Kaline Porch.  It clocked in at 440ft. But what can I say, it was traveling parallel to us and my outfielder’s eye didn’t have a good fix. Reds up, 8-0. At least my fantasy team, (Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn,) was benefiting. We finally got out of that inning, now down by 8. Then, for awhile, I thought the Tigers would make a real game of it. Polanco singles to left, Pudge singles to center, Ordonez singles to center, scoring Polanco. Reds still ahead, 8-1. Carlos Guillen grounds into a double play, but moves Pudge to third, and Shelton doubles him home. Reds still up, 8-2. Then, a real miracle happened. With two outs and two runners on, Craig Monroe got a hit. Mark your calendars, because it may never happen again. Shelton scored from 2nd, 8-3. Shortly after, inning over.

In the fifth, Brandon Phillips knocked in a run with a sac fly, Reds up 9-3. He had 4 official RBI’s, 5 if you count his error-induced, in the park grand slam driving himself in. In the bottom of the 6th, Marcus Thames homered for the Tigers, putting us at 9-4. And that’s where we finished out. But if the Tigers didn’t entertain us, the crowd wasn’t going to allow any boredom in the stands. It started out with a 2-year-old child wondering around the aisle. Heck, when I’m at work in the hardware store, mothers won’t walk 4 feet down an aisle when I show them a product if it means they have to leave the stroller. This kid was wondering around the aisle, on the other side of his parent’s seat, and right in front of me. Screaming bloody murder in my ear. Absolutely terrifying screams. I have no idea why he was so upset. Maybe it was because his mother, instead of coming to get him, tried to coax him back with a frozen lemonade. This didn’t work for five minutes, and finally an usher came down and told the Mom that no small children were allowed in the aisle. Basically, keep on eye on your brat, lady. The kid can’t even say words yet, he shouldn’t be roaming around the CoPa screaming. He might get snatched. Well, she’s not winning any mother of the year awards.

But we did have some millionaires in the house. Millionaires, I presume, because of what I gleaned from the conversation behind me. Things like, "yeah, I think that’s a good place to buy boats. I was on one that came from there a couple days ago, and it was brand spanking new, couldn’t have been 20 hours old. I think Charlie bought a couple good boats from there too… so, Sunday a big day to sell real estate?" These two guys had jack. And when they left in the 6th inning, they asked us if we wanted their peanuts, which they hadn’t finished. Thanks, because I know that I can’t afford the things on my college budget that you can on your millionaire salary. Thanks again, sir.

And of course, no game is complete without the drunk. But when you mix the witty drunk with the heckler with the loudest voice on the planet, certain fun ensues. Fun like, "Adam Dunn, you’re a bum. Buuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmm!" The guy had superhuman lungs. He had that last ‘bum’ going for no less than 15 seconds. I’m not kidding. Three sections worth of fans were looking right into his sunglass-covered eyes. I nearly responded to the guy, who was a few rows above us, "Dunn is a bum? Because they rhyme? And how much do you make a year? Compared to Adam, you’re a hobo." Drunk Heckler also came up with the following shot at Rich Aurilia, "Number 33… haha!" Clearly, there’s something about the number 33 makes any player who wears it a big loser. You learn something new every day.

Then I had to suffer through two intense bandwagoning Pistons fans. Two women, right above the line, at around 28. All decked out in their Pistons gear. At a baseball game. After hearing the 20th update of the score – which seemed to always find the Pistons ahead by a meaningless two points – I said, simply, "you’re at a baseball game!" Clearly, I was wrong. A chorus of "Deeetroit Baaasketball" followed that erroneous statement. Now, as if throwing the Bandwagon slogan into my ears for the 217th time that night wasn’t bad enough, I was informed by one of the ladies that, "your first-place team can’t even sell out a game on a Friday night!" after which point I stopped listening. First of all, you’re at the baseball game, not the basketball game. Obviously, the Tigers have some draw, or you and bandwagon HQ wouldn’t be in attendance. Furthermore, you haven’t touched on the root of the problem – that you’re cheering for a basketball team while attending a baseball game. If you wanted to watch the basketball game, you should’ve picked that as your Friday night event – not a "girls night out" to the ballpark because, quite frankly, you couldn’t find a date.

But that’s where it got interesting. All of the sudden, a resounding cheer erupted from behind me, in the suite level. I was puzzled, because there was nothing going on at the field – we were between pitches or something. I looked back and saw every suite TV tuned to the Pistons game. Fantastic. Come to a baseball game to watch a basketball game on TV. For the next 10 minutes, random cheers came from the entire suite level and a couple hundred fans who were watching the suite TV’s from down below. The Tigers and Reds must have been completely baffled. Why, wonders Pudge, did everyone just cheer when LaRue threw the ball back to Hammond? What’s going on? And the energy just fed off itself like the nasty machine it was. Pretty soon, the entire stadium was cheering whenever the suite level went off. I don’t think anyone except the suite ticket holders knew exactly what they were cheering for, but the remaining 20,000 fans weren’t going to miss out on whatever it was. That’s not to say that the entire park didn’t have the Pistons on their
mind, it’s just saying that they weren’t watching the game and had no
idea exactly what events were transpiring. The crowd was circling the wagons, and they weren’t going to watch a baseball game simply because it was happening in front of them. C’mon, the ‘stons are facing elimination here! Ben needs me! Ben needs to know that I got his back! Finally, the Tigers made the loss official and we headed home.

Good game, boys. The fans congratulated you with things like, "Well, they had to lose sometime." Right, because the Tigers have never been known for the losing ways. And then, "well, if they had won tonight it would’ve been an 8-game winning streak, and that wasn’t gonna happen." Clearly, Tiger Fan is still in denial. Get with it, people – the Tigers aren’t a 3rd world baseball team anymore. They’re halfway decent. Accept, and move on.

As for the in-game analysis, there really wasn’t much. Bonderman was off, and that’s what cost us the game. He allowed seven earned. Had he had a quality start, you can say he allows 3 runs in 7 innings, and then the relief would be perfect. Tigers win, 4-3. Obviously, that’s the biggest leap into revisionist history ever, but you get the point. Other than that… probably the most unremarkable game ever, outside the fans. And the near-foul ball catch. I bring my glove to every game. And today, I brought my A-game. The closest we got to a foul ball was about 100 feet. But I’ll be ‘darned’ if I wasn’t on my feet and reaching. "You need to jump, Reid! Lay yourself out for those!" shouted Nick. Maybe next time.

An MLB-er named Andres Torres: Part Two

You pretty much need to read Part One if you want this to make any sense. Anyway, we left off after the May 31st, 2005 game.

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June 2nd, 2005:

Kevin and I had our plan to honor Andres Torres. As the May 31st game was the  first game of the series, we still had another game two games to get back to and chat up Andres. Well I had to work or something on Wednesday, which left Thursday’s day game. The plan was to make some of those iron-on T-shirts with Andres Torres Fan Club designs on them. See illustration, (click on the picture to enlarge it.) I ended up burning my arm on the iron, but it was ok. Anyway, we made up two of these shirts for ourselves and another for Andres, which was the same except for the back, where we put our names instead of his career stats. We headed to the park on Thursday hoping to give him the shirts as our way of saying thank you.

62_tigers_game_005sm Anyway, we had been waiting at the park, in the same spot, for an hour and no sign of Andres. We told a couple of the players as they were heading in to send out Andres if they saw him, because we had some shirts for him. (Note: we are not to be confused with the old, female, crazed Indian’s fan that follows the team around and yells at the players, trying to give them t-shirts.) Anyway, gates had opened at 11.30a, and now it was about 12.30p and still no sign of Andres, and we were getting kicked out of the area since we didn’t have tickets down there. We still had his t-shirt so we had to think of something fast. I talked to the usher who stands on top of the visitor’s dugout (Ron,) and asked him if we could stick around awhile. He told us to stand a few rows above the dugout and hang out there. Then an old usher comes along trying to bust us, and Ron comes through for us and busts him up… it was good stuff.

Finally, about half an hour before game time, we saw Andres come out of the dugout. So we ran up and told him what was going on and tossed him his t-shirt – he goes, ‘meet me over there,’ and points to the right of the dugout. So we come down there and explain to him how we wanted to make these shirts as our way of saying thank you. He asked if he could sign our shirts, and of course we said sure. By now everyone else is coming down for a piece of Andres, so he had to get out of there.

We headed back to our seats in left field, which weren’t that bad. It was a 62_tigers_game_032edsm beautiful game really. I had another Rondell White Home Run land a few feet to my left, (on the video you can see someone running toward where the ball is about to land, and then turn back in disgust when someone else catches it.) And our seats were directly behind the bullpen. To your right you can see a little of what its like. I think it was like little kids’ day at the park and a lot of Middle Schools were hanging out there, which wasn’t really that bad. In any case, it was a great game, and I chatted up an usher and he ended up telling me where the team bus was after the game.

We went over there after the game and encountered a group I previously Yankees_003edsm mentioned; the ‘sellers’. The sellers are people that buy $5 skyline tickets, go the park when gates open, get autographs from all the players then (usually taking them from other people,) and then leave and come back to the team bus to get autographs then. Many of them will even arrive early in the morning when the players first get to the park. We call them sellers because they carry around binders of cards and 8×10’s which they have the players sign, and then they sell them on eBay. Before the Yankees game, when Alex Rodriguez was signing, most of the sellers had huge posters stacked up in front of them. After A-Rod left they bragged to each other about how many posters they had gotten. "Man, he signed 5 of mine, but then he looked up and I think he recognized me so that was it." I believe this behavior is pretty pathetic, seeing as many of the small children there left disappointed because they couldn’t get the autograph of their favorite player. But hey, at least they can buy it on eBay right? See the picture on the left for a quick shot of A-Rod signing at that Yankee game. And yes, I did get his autograph. Didn’t compare to Andres’ though.

Anyway, back to the team bus. As the players all filed out, none of them would sign, as we learned was fairly typical of the Rangers organization. Then Andres came out. Some of the sellers were shouting his name, asking for autographs, (these guys have at least 9 cards of everyone who has ever been drafted by a team.) Andres walked right up to Kevin and I, gave us a quick pound, and said:

Hey guys. How you guys doin? Thanks for the t-shirt, it helped me have a great game today… So, can I get you guys anything? You need anything?

I pretty much pissed my pants. Stunned, I replied, ‘Oh no problem, you’re welcome. Anytime man… we’re good though. See ya later.’ Or something to that extent. Andres then walked on to the team bus.

We were both stunned by the day’s events. I believe this to be the greatest baseball story ever told. I know it sounds unbelievable but I give you my word, every bit of it is true. We went home that night pretty much on top of the world. The only other this is… if anyone knows how to get in touch with Andres, (he now plays for the Twins,) tell him we said hey and wanna talk. Thanks.

Thanks again for your readership and feedback. I’ll try to keep the good stuff comin’.

An MLB-er named Andres Torres: Part One

For those of you who have patiently awaited the Andres Torres Story, the day has arrived. This story is very special to me, and so I’m trying to tell it in a serious tone. Besides, there isn’t much humor to be found in it anyway, but it makes me feel good about the future of our sport. I intended to post the story yesterday, but after I typed the whole thing and I tried to save it, MLBlogs asked me to log in and I lost it. Should’ve copied it… oh well. Here we go again.

First, to start out with a little background information. 531_tigers_game_018edsm_1This was the first of 11 games that Kevin and I ended up making it to over the summer of last year. Kevin had been telling me that as a kid his father and him would get to the games when gates opened and go down to the visitors dugout, where they could get a lot of autographs from the players. I decided I would give it a try and brought two of my baseballs, although I didn’t believe I could just get five autographs in one game, as Kevin claimed. Anyway, here’s the story.

May 31st, 2005: Rangers v. Tigers
The game started at 7.05p, so Kevin and I were there before gates opened at 5.30p. When they did, we ran down to the dugout and waited. Those of you who are good baseball fans know the pregame routine; hitters are taking batting/fielding practice and going in and out of the dugout while pitchers warm up in the outfield. So, there we stood, just to the right of the Ranger’s dugout (on the outfield side,) calling out to the players as they entered/exited the dugout. Now, the first rule to remember if you’re ever asking for an autograph is to be polite. "Mr. Cordero, do you have time to sign please?" If the players are too busy or don’t want to sign for whatever reason, they’ll usually flick their head in your direction, or wave, or say sorry… Sometimes they won’t do anything.

This was one of those days where nobody ‘had time’ to sign. Francisco Cordero had gone into the dugout and I asked him if he had time to sign. He said he didn’t, and I asked him if he just had time for a quick picture. He responded by tossing a ball at me, which made everyone happy. Next, Chris Young came in from the field and, when I asked if he had time to sign, bent down and tossed another ball at me, which I gave to a kid. The rest of the team had blown everyone off. In the spirit of continuing my beating on Alfonso Soriano, I’m going to have to say that he was the worst. On about three separate occasions he walked right by us, (there were about three guys with kids and a couple other ‘sellers,’ which I’ll talk about later,) without even looking in our direction. So, we were a bit discouraged.

Finally, at about 6.15p, a guy named Andres Torres emerged from the clubhouse. 531_tigers_game_019edsm_2Nobody really knew anything about the guy; he had been in and out of the club and hadn’t done anything big, but he had played for the Tigers earlier in his career. Andres saw what the rest of the team had been giving us, (he had been on the field or in the dugout for awhile I think) and came out of the dugout to talk to us. This act forever immortalized Andres Torres in my heart. He asked Kevin and I how we were doing, offered us an autograph, and when I asked if he had time to take picture, he said sure. I took one of us with my digital camera, and Torres actually asked if he could see it. Understand that people are now seeing that someone is signing, and running over to try to get an autograph. Anyway, the first picture didn’t turn out, so he offered to take another. He then offered to take one with Kevin, which we did. He signed our baseballs and then went out on the field to do his warmups.

After this we got kicked out because we didn’t have seats in that section, so we 531_tigers_game_037edsm headed up to our upper deck seats. We were pretty excited. On the one hand, we’d gotten blown off by the entire Texas Rangers. But, Andres Torres had stepped up big and come through for us, so we immediately elevated him to level of Hero. We spent most of the game talking about how to honor Andres and his stand up attitude. We came up with a plan, but it would take skill, wits, and technical know-how to pull off. It would also require me burning my arm, but I didn’t know it at the time.

On some baseball notes, I only got a chance to watch the first few innings of yesterday’s Phillies v. Yankees game. For some reason, my archived footage of the game from MLB.TV kept stopping, so I would have to close out the window and restart it. I could only put up with this so many times before I gave up. I hear there is a new media player coming out for MLB.TV in which we will be able to watch multiple games at a time, so we can get excited about that. Anyway, I’ve pretty much been in class the last two days so I haven’t been able to keep up, but I do promise to have some comments in a few hours. Until then, thanks for the readership everybody. Leave comments and emails.

(Read Part Two)

The Phenom

This is a time for a throwback memory from the 2005 season. If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ page you already know a little bit about that special Summer, but even if you don’t… anytime you can make it to 11 baseball games between April and July is bound to be a good one.

In any case, one day my friend Kevin, who’s even more obsessed with Baseball than I am, (and would probably have an MLBlog if he wasn’t poorer than me as well,) brought up the idea of a ‘high-expense’ day at the ballpark. Being poor college students, we usually have to get by with what we can. This means a lot of upper deck vouchers, basically. However, knowing the ushers at your park comes in handy, especially when you want to move from say, Upper Deck nosebleeds to some prime seats behind the bullpen in Left Field at Comerica. In any case, we decided it was time for a change. We were gonna splurge on the $25 tickets on the Right Field line, right where the stands jut out a little bit so those fouls roll right into your glove. So we bought the tickets about a week in advance and waited in anticipation for our special day at the ballpark.

When the day finally arrived, I showed up at Kevin’s house around 10am. We went to Olga’s for breakfast, found it to be closed, went to a Wendy’s or some other joint, found it to be closed as well, and just threw in the towel and headed down to Detroit. We ran into a BK along the way, stopped and had some delicious chow, and continued on our way. We got to the park, got the usual pre-game autographs, and settled into our seats – 2nd row, Right Field foul line. Comerica being the home of the Tigers, the seats in front of us were empty… so we took them. (Actually, from hanging around the ballpark so much, we knew that some season ticket holders – about 6 old guys – held those seats, and it didn’t look like they were showing up, so we took ’em.) In any case, we were both excited about the possibility of getting a foul ball.

I have about 6 inches on Kevin and so, in the event that I foul ball come our way, I told him he would have to fight me for it if he wanted it. Around the 6th inning, time slowed down as Tony Giarratano, or ‘The Phenom’ as we referred to him, stepped up to bat. We had been yelling, "Phenom!!!" for the past few games, and had seen no results… of course, it’s not likely he could hear us when we were about 11,000 feet behind him. This game was different though, he had to hear us, because just then he pokes a quick roller right at me. It’s foul by a few feet, and it’s steaming right towards me. I went into action mode, grabbed my mitt, (which is actually on my hand from the time I enter the gates to the time I get back in my car,) leaned over the fence, and scooped her up. It was beautiful.

The Phenom was sent down to the Minors after that game. It was a sad day in my life. I was pissed. Mostly, I wanted to get Giaratano to sign that ball, which would make it that much more special. The best I got was a Carlos Guillen autograph on there. I think there are a few more on there as well, but I can’t remember for sure. In any case, after no less than 25 games in 10 years, I finally caught a game used ball. Note that this is not to be confused with the times Francisco Cordero and Chris Young flipped me practice balls, on the same day, on separate occasions.

Which reminds me of the Andres Torres Fan Club Story, which is possibly the greatest baseball Fan-Player story of all time. If anyone reading this frequented Comerica last year and saw me and Kevin in our A.T. Fan Club T-Shirts… drop me an email, please. And I know some of you have pictures, feel free to send those as well. That story will be appearing in the next day or two.

You’ve been great listeners. Thanks for being here as the season approaches, and my mental health returns to a normal state. Email me with suggestions or leave a comment with your personal opinions.