Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Opening Day

Now that Opening Day is in our sights, I've got some questions for you.

Do you have a tradition of attending Opening Day?  How many years running have you gone?

What's your most memorable Opening Day experience?

Have you ever attended the Tigers first game of the year when it was on the road?

For me personally, I don't feel compelled to attend Opening Day itself.  I have only gone twice, with mixed results.  Once in 1997, it was very frigid, near freezing, and although I was bundled as if I were in the Iditarod, it did not help one bit.  I remember sending my husband out to get some hot chocolate in hopes of warming my insides and my hands on it--and when he got back it was stone cold.  My feet were like chunks of frozen ice blocks, they felt heavy and stiff.  The weather dampened the fun a bit that day.

I shied away for a few years after that, waiting for fair weather.

Then, one year, right after work, I ran into a guy at the gas station.  The weather that day was absolutely incredible for April.  He had his Tigers gear on--a short sleeve t-shirt, and was all sun-kissed and beaming.  I knew right away he was coming from the game.  I asked him just to confirm, and he was so clearly on a baseball high that I vowed to go to Opening Day the next year, despite the capricious nature of April weather in Michigan.

My mom and dad happened to be coming into town around Opening Day, so I invited them to join me.  Their excitement, although not quite matching mine, added to the anticipation.  We couldn't have asked for a better day, the sun was out, the weather was in the low 50s, and our seats were pretty good--third row behind the visitors bullpen.  We watched Freddy Garcia warm up, and some fan heckled him mercilessly about his frosted highlights.  The little boy sitting next to us adopted my dad as grandpa for the day, sitting in his lap, stretching out--I think he almost fell asleep in my dad's arms at one point.  Funny how ballgames foster instant friendships.  We lost to the evil Chisox that day, but it was a near-perfect, memorable day nonetheless.

Since then, I've been content to attend one of the games of the first series.  I like it because it's a little less circus-like, a little more about the game.  This year, my first game isn't until the second series, although I may cave and buy tickets to the second game of the season on Saturday.

Please share your Opening Day stories to tide us over until Opening Day 2009 arrives.


Mark said...

I attended my only opening day game in 2003 with a group of friends. It was the first game that Alan Trammell was the manager of the Tigers. It was frigid that day; sunny but windy and very cold. It had even snowed the night before! Mike Maroth started that day and took the loss even though he pitched pretty well.

Greg Eno said...

Ahh, Opening Day....

1986: Jack Morris's first pitch is clobbered over the fence by Boston's Dwight Evans. But Kirk Gibson hits two HRs, and the Tigers win. After the second homer, catcher Rich Gedman rips his mask off and starts yelling at pitcher Sammy Stewart, before the ball even lands in the stands.

1990: A cold day in the CF bleachers; Tigers win a marathon, high-scoring game against Baltimore. My friend Paul is up and down getting food like he's a 12-year-old.

1991: The Tigers just picked up Pete Incaviglia and the Yanks were in town. The Yankees bring in a lefty in the late innings and I'm betting that Sparky Anderson will pinch-hit Inky, because Sparky loved throwing new players into the fire right away. But Inky stays on the bench. No matter; Tigers win.

2006: My first Opening Day in the press box, as I'm there for journalistic reasons. The Tigers lose to the White Sox, but I meet actor Jeff Daniels on the field before the game and set up a magazine interview for later in the year. So, not a total loss!

OldEnglish said...

Wow, great stories--keep 'em coming!

I love that Gedman yells at the pitcher, and GIbby was my boy back in the day.

Anonymous said...

My first and only opening day was last year. I've always been content watching the game on television.

It was pretty cold last season and they were handing out handwarmers at the gate.

Verlander started and it was the first time we got to see Miguel Cabrera in a "real" game for the Tigers. It was really exciting.

I feel you on the circus atmosphere, but there are good and bad things to that.

The Good: Everyone there, everyone, is excited that baseball is back and there is a connection there that is awesome.

The Bad: Almost as many people are drunk.

I'm not a big drinker so that party atmosphere got to be increasingly annoying as the game progressed.

I keep checking stubhub this year, waiting for prices to come down in hopes of going. If I cannot get into the game for a reasonable price, I'll just rely on Rod and Mario to bring the game to me.

Anonymous said...

Im starting a new opening day tradition this year:

I am going to sit at home and pray from the first pitch until the final out. I am going to ask all the deities that will listen to me to give us a solid year - one very much unlike last year.

Then, I will do one of two things. If we look good, I will continue this tradition every day for the rest of the year or I will sulk in my room, and become a Nationals fan.


OldEnglish said...

-s you are in a bad place and the season hasn't even started yet!! :)

OldEnglish said...

blake-I agree about the atmosphere--there's solidarity in addition to the carnival