Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blog Hooky at the ballpark

What better way to celebrate Hooz Day - the birthday of a woman who tolerates baseball the way most of us tolerate anchovies on pizza - than to catch a matinee at Comerica Park between our Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox? At the risk of sounding cliche, it really was a perfect day for baseball for me, my scorecard, an overpriced, watered-down beer, and 30,634 of my best friends: 80 degrees and sunny.

And even better, the Tigers came out swinging, pounding a queasy David Wells with six straight hits to begin the game and five runs in the first inning, on the way to a 6-5 victory over the defending World Series champs. (Sure, a couple of those first-inning hits were dead duck floaters, but it doesn't say that in the box score.)

The game also provided a great example of why seeing a game in person is better than watching it on TV. On TV, you can only look at what the camera shows you. At the ballpark, even if you're farther from the action, you can see everything. So when the Tigers had the "squeeze play" on in the first inning, you could watch it develop. You could see Craig Monroe run toward home plate from third base as Wells threw his pitch. John McDonald laid down a bunt along the first-base line, the Red Sox didn't have first base covered, and the Tigers scored their fifth run of the inning. Exciting stuff, and you would've seen only a fraction of it on TV.

(Image by Morris Richardson II/ The Detroit News)

More on the game and other miscellany from the CoPa...

As a Tigers fan, it was nice to see the team recover after Tuesday night's late-inning meltdown, for which manager Alan Trammell was getting absolutely roasted. You could make a case either way for whether Tram made a mistake in taking out a pitcher who was performing extremely well in favor of the guy who's supposed to close the game in the ninth inning. (Considering that the Tigers have to find out who can play and who can't, I think he made the right decision - after sleeping on it, mind you.)

However, I think he did exactly the right thing yesterday, bringing the man who blew Tuesday's game (Fernando Rodney) back out to see how he'd bounce back. Not only did he save the game for the Tigers (albeit after giving up a run and making everyone in the crowd rather nervous), but he got David Ortiz - the man who hit the ninth-inning home run on Tuesday - to hit into a game-ending double play. Redemption? Maybe not, but it was an example of toughness Tigers fans can point to for optimism (if they choose to).

♦ Drew Sharp has a nice piece on yesterday's winning pitcher, Jeremy Bonderman, in today's Detroit Free Press. But the lead paragraph shows that Sharp just can't help being an @$$hole, even when he's trying to be nice.

♦ I haven't watched the ESPN telecast of the game yet, so I don't know if I made my national television debut. By any chance, was a poor sap in the upper deck trying to get rid of his farmer's tan shown between innings? Just curious. I'll check the tape tonight. (And I think I may have to change the name of this blog to "Fried Forearm Thoughts." Somebody got a sunburn. Ow.)

♦ A People Mover ride to Greektown (where I left Mama Cass to gamble at the casino) for dinner is not a bad way to spend a post-game evening in Detroit. I was hoping I'd get a free t-shirt from the city for actually using the People Mover, though.

♦ This surely isn't an original thought, but the upper deck of Comerica Park, Detroit looks pretty impressive. (Or is it as Mis Hooz says, "The farther away you are, the better Detroit looks"?)

♦ How tense are things in the Tigers locker room (especially between Trammell and catcher Ivan Rodriguez)? Terry Foster's been beating this drum for the past week. But check out this piece by Jeff Moss at the Detroit Sports Rag. Yikes.

♦ Do the Red Sox really have that many fans traveling to see the team or did the bandwagon make a stop at Comerica Park during the last three games? Lots of Sawx fans in the stands.

♦ Would the Red Sox have won had Manny Ramirez been in the lineup, as the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wonders? Hmm, could be...

♦ Over at Blue Cats and Red Sox, Witch City Sox Girl commented on how many times the J. Geils Band song, "Centerfold" was played over the P.A. system. Apparently, the Tigers read that blog, as I only counted two "Centerfolds" during Wednesday's game.