Tigers Baseball Outsider

a thinking fan's perspective

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Biggest Blowout I Ever Almost Saw

This Tigers fan went to the ball game yesterday.

For the sake of my own historical archives, it was San Francisco’s second game in the D after a great close game the night before blown by Papa Grande in the top of the ninth.

But last night’s game was a blowout.

In more ways than one. And it was not that great of an experience from start to end.

But I can only blame the Tigers for the end.

It was parrot-head day at Comerica Park. It was Jimmy Buffet day – complete with flip flops and margaritas and flowery shirts … and a typhoon.

But no Jimmy Buffet.

I thought he was going to sing the national anthem and perhaps sing at the seventh inning stretch.

The game sold out and we missed getting a free hat by twenty minutes. My lovely wife Darlene was very disappointed. We were trying the day before to get tickets on line – and the seats kept evaporating leaving us to the very top row in the bleachers directly behind home plate.

We marched all the way up there – stopping several times so that Dar could recuperate her back and legs to continue the journey up – we let the sherpas go at the final flight, radioed to base camp our status and plugged in our oxygen masks to reach the summit.

Our tickets said section 329 row 20 seats 24 and 25. The very last row at the top and our seats weren’t on the isle – they were in the isle. If people were walking up and down the isle – you couldn’t see the plate.

“I think we’re in section 328 not 329”, said Dar pointing over her shoulder.

She was right. We were one section off. We both leaned forward to look down the row to our seats in 329 and came to the conclusion that two college kids were busy drinking beer and eating pizza in our seats.

“Let’s stay here until someone comes to claim these”, I said.

“What if they do? Do we go kick those guys out of our seats?”

I looked down the aisle again. “I don’t think those seats are worth fighting for”, I said.

The game started with Scherzer on the mound. It was great … until he threw the first pitch.

The inning consisted of a bloop shot over second into right for a runner, then a line drive shot a Cabrera which he dove for and knocked down, but Scherzer couldn’t beat the runner to first.

Then a home run. A three run shot to left just over the Tigers bullpen.

Then a bobbled ball behind first by Raburn for a safe call as Ryan couldn’t pick it up and throw it in time.

Then another home run – this time to right field.

The score was now five to nothing.

That’s when the nice couple with tickets for our seats appeared – having just radioed base camp and releasing their sherpa’s from duty.

I explained our situation as we moved out of their way, and they were nice enough.

“It’s pretty pathetic when you get kicked out of the worst seats in the stadium”, I laughed to the fellow as they settled into our spots.

Dar and I ventured down from the top of Comerica Park. The game was out of hand already. So we would walk around the stadium and peek in here and there. Darlene wanted some souvenirs.

I just wanted a shirt – a pair of sleeves with the old English D on the breast. No such shirt could be found. Shortly after – we found ourselves standing in front of and leaning on the marble base that supports the bronze statue of Willie Horton in center field. Darlene had come to know Mr. Horton – who is an incredibly nice and generous man – in her course of professional duties. In fact he even signed my daughter Alannah’s very first little league baseball card of herself – which caught Darlene by surprise as she only meant to show it to him … “What are you doing?” she gasped as he ran his pen across Alannah’s face” … one of my all time favorite stories.

The feeble Tigers defense continued – as we watched two innings finish by Giant double plays.

That’s when we noticed the monstrous sky appearing over the horizon behind the first base line side of the stadium. Lightning crackling across the sky – and we headed for the main concourse behind home plate for coverage.

The storm hit fast and the storm hit hard …. And the field was cleared and covered within moments.

The winds whipped – and we found ourselves standing between a young family, the father sitting with a baby curled under him the mother to one side, and Dar and I on the other to protect the infant from flying debris.

Everything was flying around and the people in the crowd stayed calm but you could feel the concern – which outweighed the feeling of inconvenience of a rain delay.

That lasted for nearly two hours of standing there.

We walked more around the concourse trying to read the skies. It was an ugly green then an orange. It looked like there was no way they could finish this game – now only three and a half innings completed.

I was praying for a rainout.

We finally decided it was safe to head for the car – parked four blocks away. The rain had stopped – but it was going to start again. And once in the car, it did indeed again start to pour.

We made our way back to the tunnel to cross back to the other Land of the Free and just as reached the hole under the river – the radio crackled that the tarp was coming off the field.

The storm really hit Windsor hard – downing power wires and trees and flooding. The power was out for more than two hours. We reached our Legion to check out a new band when we saw the score read 15-1.

“I’m glad we left now”, I said to my lovely wife as I finished a game of 8-ball.

In this one evening of baseball, a couple of truths became clear. Our pitching is suffering, second base is clearly a weakness, and there just might be something to this global warming concern!

It was indeed a blowout – in more ways than one.

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