Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Opening Day In Detroit Something Special

Observations of another Opening Day in Detroit...

Walking to the ballpark yesterday after entertaining guests at the Motor City Sports (MCS) Magazine tailgate party, I asked my boss -- publisher Muneesh Jain -- if he had ever been to Opening Day in Detroit. He said no -- but that he'd been to OD in other cities.

"Well then," I said, "I guess that means that you've never truly been to Opening Day."

It's true. There's something magical in the air when it's OD in Detroit, and when Mother Nature smiles upon the city as she did Monday afternoon -- with mostly sunny skies and temps in the upper 50's to low 60's -- it's even more so.

The pregame crowds were jovial and well-behaved, and it struck me that this is still one helluva baseball town. Tigers jerseys and attire were everywhere -- even on those bodies that don't look particularly good in double-knits, but what the heck?

At the MCS party, we enjoyed hot dogs, submarine sandwiches, Swedish meatballs, and the beverage of your choice -- thanks to the good folks at Anheuser-Busch. There was soda pop for the youngens, too. Plenty of magazines were available for free, and it was good to mingle with readers and advertisers.

On the field before the game, I saw actor Jeff Daniels, who was almost unrecognizable in his full, bushy beard. I spoke to him briefly about being the subject in an upcoming MCS Interview, and he was quite receptive, so stay tuned on that.

The drawback, though, to watching the game in the press box is the disconnect from the atmosphere in the crowd. It's a sort of antiseptic way to watch baseball, but that's where we were stationed, so there you have it. Of course, we get free hot dogs and pop so I can't complain too much.

I had predicted a Tigers win and an ejection of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen right here in this very space yesterday, and when Guillen came onto the field in the fourth inning to argue Dmitri Young being safe on his steal of third base, I made sure the folks around me knew of my fearless forecast.

"Unbelievable! A guy who actually makes predictions of ejections," George Eichorn, the Executive Director of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, said. But I was disappointed when Ozzie argued so mildly.

The other thing that struck me was how many folks hung around the ballpark after the game. Nobody was in a hurry to get to their cars and go home. It was a quickie game -- 2:14 -- so maybe that was a factor. But the streets were alive, and you couldn't tell from the happy looks on people's faces that the Tigers had lost. Of course, I wonder how many of them even knew that fact. Perhaps imbibing trumped watching the game's outcome.

Chicago 5, Detroit 3. Oh well -- there's always Wednesday.


Blogger Ozz said...

My favorite home opener was in '93, when the Tigers put up 20 runs on Oakland. Oddly enough, two of the A's pitchers that day (starter Storm Davis and reliever Joe Boever) ended up pitching for the Tigers later that season.

My least favorite home opener was in '86. Not because Boston's Dwight Evans homered off Jack Morris' first pitch of the season. It was because I had the freakin' chicken pox. At least I had the rare legit excuse for skipping school for Opening Day.

4:18 AM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

Funny you mentioned those two, because in '93 I was in the hospital as our daughter ws being born, and I, in fact, attended the '86 game and remember Evans' HR.

Gibby hit two that day, and I remember Rich Gedman SCREAMING at Sammy Stewart as the second one flew into the upper deck.

11:37 AM  

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