Finally, after an entire winter of sadness and suffering, it’s finally baseball season again, thank God. Dad, Kim, K-Ren and I got on the road promptly at 8, and promptly at 8:03 I determined that the Crackberry was at home. Now, since my relationship with my personal digital assistant is more umbilical than practical, I had to listen to a rasher of crap out of some of my seatmates as we traversed the block to get it. I felt much better once I had it in hand, and we headed out.
Breakfast was a delight at the truck stop east of Jackson on Sargent Road. I can recommend that place for yummy truck stop food. I don’t want to see their grill, but I can testify as to the “flavor” that the food emanates. So, Very, Good. I must say I enjoy it when they call a big burger without a bun or fixings a “hamburger steak”. I had a “hamburger steak” for breakfast. Yay me!
We got into Detroit about 11 or so, and parked at Cobo on the roof and took the People Mover around. Kim mentioned that it would be cool if the People Mover extended farther, and that got the attention of a fellow rider, a black man who had a very strongly worded opinion on the behavior of one Kwame Kilpatrick, putative mayor of Detroit. Right on, my friend. He was certainly singing my song.
So, we walked into the stadium, and I bought my scorecard. You cannot know the joy that I felt looking out over the field, or begin to fathom the sense of expectant energy that coursed through me. Translated = I am happy as hell that the Tigers are back. Gimme a beer, or three.
Miss America is from Farmington Hills this year, and Miss Kristin Haglund and her tiara did a fabulous job with the National Anthem. She sang it sweet and plain, as it should be sung. No histrionic vocal gymnastics, just a pure and true rendition. Nice.
Justin Verlander was the starting pitcher, and he threw a beautiful game through 6 2/3, scattering 4 hits over the Kansas City lineup. For some reason, he got pulled for Jason Grilli, who didn’t do so great, and then he got pulled for Bobby Seay, who looked pretty good, and then he got pulled for Aqualino Lopez, who didn’t look too bad, then he got pulled for Todd Jones who looked great (yeah, more on that later), and then he got pulled for the final pitcher of the day (!!) Denny Bautista. For those of you scoring at home, that’s one pitcher through 6 2/3, and then five pitchers through the next 4 1/3. Yeah, and we ended up losing 5-4 in 11 innings to the Kansas City Royals. God almighty.
I know I’m going to catch holy hell for this, and trust me, it pains me to form the words, my mouth blisters, my lips sting, but Todd Jones looked pretty friggin’ good today. I think maybe he could have stayed in a few more batters. But then, I felt the same about Mr. Seay and Mr. Lopez, without the pain of admitting they looked good. You all know I can’t tolerate Tums Jones. But darn it, he looked good today. I can’t explain it.
A major highlight was the absolute LASER that CF Brandon Inge fired to C Pudge Rodriguez in the 11th. It was a cannon arm shot from center field to Pudge to stop Mark Teahen in his tracks. Kalinesque, let me tell you. It was astonishingly fabulous.
Umpiring sucked at first base and home plate. There was no apparent definable strike zone. I’m not bringing that up as an excuse. We lost because we have no bullpen, plain and simple. This is an ongoing issue that has concerned me since the off season, and my worries are being borne to fruition at this writing. Let’s hope that we acquire some help, or the current batch of boys steps up some.
The weather was gray and overcast, and windy as hell up in my seats, but overall, not too bad a day. The people around us were cool, lots of great folks. I’m hoping some are fellow season ticket holders and will be around this year.
After an interesting detour through Mexicantown that gave Kim a World Series flashback, we stopped in Belleville at Dimitri’s Kitchen. It’s open 24 hours and the food’s diner good. Check it out!
After dinner, we had a rousing round of Use That Word in a Sentence. We had some balky particpants, but in the end, I beleive we shared a moment of enlightenment and personal growth, didn't we, K-Ren?
All in all, a damn good day in Detroit. Can’t wait for the next time!