So after a while of not being able to watch games (even my attempt at taking one in at an Ocean Shores pub last Friday was thwarted by obnoxious bar patrons and a very small TV in the corner where I could barely see the score) I was finally able to actually go to a game last night, with my friend Jennifer. Jennifer is an alumni of a Michigan college (forgive me, I cannot remember which one), and became a Tigers fan a few years back, when she was visiting a friend who took her to Comerica Park and she first saw Prince Fielder; so now she and I go to Tigers games (and Rangers games, so she can follow “Princey” around) every year. I went to the season ticket holder early entry yesterday, and she followed shortly thereafter. We used our coupons for discounted beer and a pretzel, and then hung out in The Pen chatting and debating what we both wanted for dinner. I checked into the ballpark on the MLB Ballpark App on my phone, and decided that we should upgrade our seats, so we were able to have dinner in and watch the game from the Terrace Club for a few extra bucks. I don’t know if the same perks exist for non-STH fans, but it’s worth the free download, for sure.
We grabbed some dinner (the barbecued beef carved sandwich up there is pretty good, and they have serve-yourself pickle spears, which I could make a whole meal of anyway), and then got situated in our seats, completely unprepared for 11 innings of what turned out to be half pitcher’s duel, and half home run derby.
Austin Jackson turned into the hero of the night, hitting a grand slam, the first of his career. I almost couldn’t believe it, but by the time the ball was hanging over the middle of the outfield, it was pretty much a no-doubter; and even then I still couldn’t believe it. A grand slam is a rare sight to behold. A Mariners grand slam is even rarer. That was the only hit Jackson got over the course of the evening in four at-bats; but if you have to only get one hit, that is a hell of a hit to get. Franklin Gutierrez followed it up, answering the Tigers back to back homers in the first inning, with a dinger of his own, which apparently (I read on Twitter) sent the dugout into paroxysms of joy. I wish I could find the .gif of Logan Morrison twirling his finger in the air, mouth open in a giant smile; it was good to see Gutz hit something like that, after so long. His last homer before he descended into sickness was in September of 2013. He might not be able to bring himself back to Death to Flying Things level, but it was wonderful to see him bringing a little power to the table, regardless. Robinson Cano also wound up with a solo HR in the 5th inning, the last truly significant bit of hitting we would see until the bottom of the 11th, where the score would lie tied at 6-6 until he singled into a walkoff. The dugout was empty and running into the right midfield to pile on Cano before Austin Jackson was even halfway to home plate, and those of us still left (not the Tigers fans) cheered in appreciation.
I had told Jennifer that we should wait until the Mariners hit in the 11th before slowly exiting the building. It was approaching 11PM, and both of us were yawning over each other to the point where my eyes had started to water. I had been up for 18 hours at that point and wasn’t entirely convinced we were going to win. I also feel a little guilty making non-fans stay up past their bedtime due to my own obsession, so I was going to kind of strike a compromise by staying but then not really staying. So we sat there and watched as Tigers pitcher Ian Kroll dealt to Austin Jackson and Franklin Gutierrez, then gave up that single to Cano. Jennifer wasn’t entirely pleased with the outcome, but I think was happy for me, nonetheless. We bailed back to her car as quickly as possible through what was left of the crowd, and I fell asleep nearly the second my head hit my pillow at home.
I am currently besieged by allergies from the thick layer of smoke from wildfires east and north of us, but it is also blocking out a lot of the sun, so it helped make last night’s game cooler than the 94F that it was originally projected to be. Jennifer was marveling at the green-ness of the grass at Safeco; it might actually be the greenest grass in town right now! This Saturday, Tom and I are going to check out season ticket holder appreciation day. I don’t know that I’ve ever been, so it will be fun. Hopefully the weather will be nice then, too.
Oh, and I wound up on the jumbotron with Jennifer, as I was absent-mindedly rocking out to some pop song and checking Twitter between innings. We went to get ice cream, and as we were walking back to our seats, some random guy walked past us and said “hey, you were on TV!” Just when I feel like I blend into the crowd, it turns out I’m awkwardly recognized by strangers. Sweet. Also, here is a photo I took of myself and Jennifer, with Travis the TravelTiger. Travis is not a Tigers fan, no matter how much Jennifer insists…