I was raised a Detroit Tiger Fan. Opening Day was a legitimate holiday. We went to Opening Day at Tiger Stadium once, thrilled to snag a cheap seat. Mostly, we played hooky and watch the game on TV. Just like there are twice-a-year churchgoers, there are once-a-year baseball fans. They observe the holiday, not the season, which is why it’s standing room only for Game One, but seats a plenty for Game Two.
My kids were on Spring Break, but we were Spring broke. I watched Opening Day with my son, alternating between the radio and the computer. That’s when the idea struck. Why not attend Game Two? It had all the charm and trappings of Opening Day – day game in the middle of the day. We could get some cheap seats and snake our way up to the good seats.
I pitched the idea to my dad who retired this year. He was on board. My mother said she would order the tickets and I would bring a check for the total. I showed her the $15 specials. I told the kids to find their blankets and baseball caps.
This is where the smiles come.
First, I got to break out my homemade Tiger gear. My friend knitted the scarf. My mother created the purse from a stadium blanket.
Second, my father saved me all the baseball preview sections, as he has done since I was 10 years old. Good reading for the drive to Comerica, you know. I might be a mother of three teenagers, but I’m still my father’s kid.
Third, my mother completely ignored my price range and splurged on the good seats. Nineteen rows up for the third base dugout. Do you have any idea how cool that is?
So cool, you could almost tell who was in my lousy photos. [That’s Aníbal Sánchez.]
Fourth, tradition. My dad took me to my first Tiger game in 1983. The first thing he did was buy two scorecards – one for him and one for me. If one of us went to the bathroom, the other would take both cards. If one of us got lost, we would sneak a peek at the other one’s card. Afterwards, we would compare notes. Thirty-two years of Tiger games with my father and everyone starts with a scorecard. This game was no different.
Fifth, between inning shenanigans. When the television goes to commercial, the ballpark goes to the silly place. Dance-offs, bad singing, giveaways, trivia questions, mugging for the big screen, costumes and contests. These are the moments when a crowded ballpark feels like a family reunion.
Sixth, A Tiger victory. An 11-0 stomping, actually.
High fives all around. Happy Opening Day!