Since I never seem to find myself in a place that my hometown (from across the state) Tigers like to visit, I’m usually limited to one or two live games in a year. This year, I only had one chance and that day was last Saturday as Detroit visited Baltimore for what promised to be an easy four-game series. Well, let’s just say that neither the game nor the series went the way they were supposed to go. The Tigers hammered Daniel Cabrera in the first inning but then managed to not only let the Orioles back into the game but even found a way to lose it. And they dropped 2 of the four games. So, I’m not writing about the game or the series. I’m writing about what I saw at the game instead.
First off, If you’ve never been to Camden Yards, go. The tickets are cheap, the views are great and chances are that if you came to watch another team play the Orioles, you’re going to go home happy. However, I have a bone to pick with the management. Why can’t I buy a beer in a souvenir cup? I don’t want a Pepsi. I don’t want a Diet Pepsi. I want a beer and I want it in a plastic cup that has the Oriole’s season schedule and whatever happens to be the catch-phrase of the year on it. I do this everywhere I go and up til now it hasn’t been a problem. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the cup I got from Yankee Stadium because I can spit sunflower seed husks into it and it feels like I’m somehow spitting on the Yankees. That’s a good feeling. But how can I spit on the Orioles if they won’t give me a cup? Yes, I finally broke down and bought a lemonade because it was really freakin’ hot but a part of me is still outraged. It’s un-American.
And speaking of un-American, the Orioles tossed out a special welcome to the Venezuelan Embassy, employees of which happened to be in attendance at Saturday’s game. I suppose this shouldn’t have come as a surprise since half the players on the field had some sort of Venezuelan connection and we were only an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. And it was nice to see some of the Venezuelan players come through during the game; for instance, Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run shot in the first inning. But there’s just something a little strange about a group of people enjoying the classic American pastime while their president says things like: “I hereby accuse the North American empire of being the biggest menace to our planet.” I’m just saying…
But, despite the unfortunate ending to the game, the crowd’s even more unfortunate adoration of “the wave” and the disproportionately large and drunk meat-head a few rows in front of me, it was good to see my team play. It gives you a similar kind of feeling to the one you get when you find out that the blog you (kind of) help write has now moved up from fifth to fourth place in the standings. At this rate, we might even make the playoffs! There are playoffs, right?
Sunday afternoon I had my first opportunity to hit the ballpark, soak up some rays, drink a few beers and enjoy watching the Nats as they entertained the visiting Cubs. However, as they say, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men…..
Turns out that after a week of ridiculous heat and asthma inducing humidity, the weather gods decided to turn things on their head a little bit and go more for the mid-50’s with mist sort of atmosphere. And I’m not going to lie. When you’re sitting in the upper upper deck, way out in left field and that wind starts to blow off the Potomac, it ain’t pretty. And it wasn’t. But, I’m a trooper so I got decked out in my Sunday finest and headed for Nationals Park.
What can I say? It’s a new-fangled ballpark. They serve mixed drinks, they have Ben’s Chili Bowl and the seats aren’t too nasty yet. The game was a close-fought contest and the Nats prevailed. There were a couple of spectacular plays by Reed Johnson of the Cubs in centerfield and Ryan Zimmerman of the Nats at third.
But in the end, although I love visiting new parks, there’s really only one place that I consider home when it comes to watching baseball: Comerica Park. And yes, I know it’s new and I know it replaced Tiger’s Stadium which was a classic old ballpark. But you know what? When it comes to the Tigers, I don’t think they can do any wrong. This is a team that made me accept Gary Sheffield as one of our own despite the fact that I still picture him in Yankee pinstripes. And I just don’t have anything close to that affinity for either the Cubs or the Nats. The closest thing I could come up with is that the enemy of the enemy of my friend is my friend. But, that’s a pretty tenuous connection.
So, as it stands, I’m just going to have to sit tight and enjoy baseball as I can. But don’t worry. The Tigers come to Baltimore in July and I haven’t been to Camden Yards yet. The Olde English “D” will be flying free in the Chesapeake Bay breezes. Of that you can be sure.