The Detroit Tigers entered my life about the same day I entered life. Pompie, (my Great-Grandfather) Grandpa Poochie (Grandpa) and my Dad, well, Dad, listened to the Tigers during long Sunday afternoons spent in my great-grandparent’s backyard tending to Sunday dinner on the Weber grill. The strategy coming from that backyard seemed so real to me I was sure the ball game most certainly hinged on those recommendations. Ernie Harwell had a voice so intoxicating it could lull me into a baseball coma if I wasn’t careful to run quickly past that circle of men. Those days WERE the days.
As I got older I discovered station WKZO on the AM radio and my love of listening to Tiger’s baseball developed. Eventually, I was a full on baseball addict with a Tiger’s flag of my own. Spring took on a new meaning because now it wasn’t just a great time to lay mulch in the backyard, it was time to listen to baseball – constantly. My world revolved around baseball games. Mario Impemba and Rod Allen were extensions of my brain. When they had a thought it was because I was yelling the same thing at my team only five times as loud with fifty times as much enthusiasm. After each and every game I got to discuss it with my Grandpa and my Dad and my brother. No, these WERE the days.
The first Spring we gave up cable Mr. MVP was so sweet to offer up a package to MLB, which completely defeated the purpose of saving the money to give up cable in the first place. I declined and listed on the radio. I still got to hear Rod and Mario, but also got to know Dan Dickerson and Jim Price and I got good at listening for plays and asking questions. My Grandpa and I could spend an hour chatting about one ball game, one player, one play and be content. I promise you, these were definitely THE days.
I went to my first ball game in August of 2009 and it was the most amazing experience. We sat in the Champions Club Suite and had indoor and outdoor seating and watched the most fantastic ball game of my life. It was blazing hot outside, but I was watching baseball up close and personal in the airconditioning. I could hear the crack of the bat and smell the grass in the outfield. My Dad was truly impressed when he got to watch his beloved Tigers play ball at Comerica Park. We talked about that game against the Twins for months, even years afterwards. Hell, we still talk about it today. It was that cool. THAT was the day.
Last season I did not listen to or watch any baseball. I missed every single swing of the bat and each and every throw of the ball. It was awful. My Tiger’s pride simply faded away and I’m not exactly proud of it. This season is different, however. The Tigers are in my blood. I need to be enthusiastic about pitches, stats and runs. For my own sanity I need to turn on WKZO and start feeling like part of my team again. I need to cheer like a maniac and wear my lucky Tiger’s t-shirt. I need to watch baseball because TODAY is the DAY.