Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pink Slugfest

The mother of a friend of mine is a breast cancer survivor. She is one of those uncommon stories where there is no family history. She got it anyway as cancer does not discriminate or care much about family stuff. A few days back, she got a letter inviting her to the Tiger's game today at Comerica Park. The plan was to get a bunch of survivors, proudly in pink, on the field before the game to increase awareness of breast cancer and the tremendous efforts of the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation. Four tickets were included with the letter and I got to go.

Pink ribbons were absolutely everywhere. There were ribbons tied to railings and ribbons painted on the field. Some electric signs were in pink, too. A promo on the big screen even talked about MLB games being played with pink bats! I'm surprised the beer wasn't pink!

Our seats were pretty good. We were only about 30 feet from the right field foul pole. Attendance was a bit light and the shade was a bit cool, so moving up a few rows into the sun was a good idea. On a day like today (never above 60 degrees), that warm sun can make all the difference.

The day was never hot, and at first, the Tigers were not either! It wasn't even the end of the first inning and the Tigers were down 5 runs to nothing! With all the moans and groans in the crowd, one could tell this had the potential to be a awful game, right? Well, word must have spread around town a bit about my vast sports knowledge. As you may recall, I bailed out both the Red Wings and Pistons earlier this year. Sure enough, my phone rang. My caller ID showed it was coming from the Tiger's dugout. It was Jim Leyland, Manager of the Tigers.

"Yeah! Jim! What's up?"
"Got a minute? Armando Galarraga is getting killed here. It's only the first inning. I was hoping I could get a few more innings from him. Nobody ever wants to pull a pitcher in the first inning. Whatta ya think?"
"Jim....buddy.....yank him.", I said. "He's done. Everybody knows your bullpen has been struggling and has blown a few games that should have been 'W's. If you keep him in, and the bullpen has its the now almost expected meltdown, you'll never stand a chance in this game. Get him out and hope your hot bats can get this game going again. Granderson and Santiago are rollin'. Let them do their thing. But get that pitcher off the mound or your doomed. "
"Thanks! Any chance you could help..."
"No way. I am enjoying myself here with this beer! You'll be fine!"

Within seconds, he walked to the mound and Galarraga was done. Bats boomin', and the slugfest continued. 8-6 was the score by the end of the 3rd inning. The Tigers held on to win 11-7. This is how baseball should be in my book. If you don't have the pleasure of watching a shutout or a no-hitter, then dammit, I want bats cracking, balls flying and outfielders earning their pay! This 3-game sweep of the Athletics, by the way, totaled 34-8. That is some mighty fine hitting!

The beer, for the record, was pretty good. Really! Somebody in the Tigers organization put their "thinking cap" on and figured out that there is more to beer than Bud Light. They figured out that fair-weather sports fans like myself enjoy real beverages at the ball park and a can of swill is not the answer. So, they figured out a plan that I think is a winner for sure - get the local breweries there! My beer was the Dirty Blonde (reviewed here) from the Atwater Block Brewery. Now maybe the local brewers have been there in the past, but I have never seen them. Now that I know they are there, they will have my business. Forever. Oh, and the prices were the same for the Blonde vs a Bud Light - $8.50 for a 20oz cup. Hmmmmmmm- same price for the same amount. One is pretty good while the other is basically on a direct feed from the Detroit River a few blocks away. Geeee, what should I get?!?! Hand crafted beer or river water?

All in all, a super day it was. Great efforts (on and off the field). Great weather. Great game. Great company.

Did I tell you it was great?

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