“Play Ball” Thursday thoughts for March 31, 2011

The logo the Reds used in 2002 for their final...
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I remember the first time that I attended a professional baseball game. It was 1971, I think, and my dad took me to the still new and cutting edge Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.

We got tickets in the red seats (the color matched the nosebleed placement of them though they could give a great view of that cavernous ballpark.) I thought that I was going to fall out of the seats and onto the field because of the pitch (slope) they had been built and installed at.

But that trip was the beginning of many more which enabled me to see almost all of the NL teams over a 30 year period. And in my office as I type this I notice the credit card gift towel I got that paid tribute to the 32 year history of the park. (The logo on it is the same as the one shown here.)

Great American Ball Park is wonderful and it brings the game closer, but Riverfront/Cinergy Field will always be my first home for MLB.

I remember the first time I went to Tiger Stadium in Detroit. ( I slowly became a Tigers, Red Wings, and Lions fan over the years. I am a native Buckeye, you know!) It was 1992 and I had lived in Michigan for 7 years. They were to play the White Sox.

Rain.out.

I waited with my friend and his then 6 year old son for 3 hours before the called the game. (10 years ago this Memorial Day week, a kidney stone removal  halted my trip to then Comiskey Park in Chicago. I am convinced that I am not to see the White Sox play!)

But before that ’92 game, we got to get on the field because of that 6 year old! My buddy and I looked at one another and said, “The infield!” We ran to it and was stopped by the string barrier from walking on it. There was ‘Sweet Lou’ Whitaker, Alan Trammel, and Cecil Fielder (whose son I got to see play in minor league ball in Ft Wayne 10 years later!) signing autographs and giving lessons to the kids.  That was worth the trip!

Tiger stadium also figures in an anniversary trip in the early part of the season where my wife and I sat behind the left field wall and put a pizza on our laps to stay warm and left after 6 innings and two hours of baseball where the Mariners were docked by the Tiger’s power line-up of that day.

Comerica Park is a great park and I was glad to see a great crowd in Motown’s downtown last summer. But Tiger Stadium was history.

One of my bucket list goals is to visit all the major league ballparks and watch a game.  I have gone to the friendly confines of Wrigley with a friend whose funeral I did 12 years later. It was a memorable experience as the newlywed couple from Iowa, headed to Jamaica for their honeymoon, sitting next to us had goose bumps from the cool May afternoon breeze and the guy behind us was a source of silent laughter to us.

Now days I watch my youngest play local little league and he only has one year left before his playing days are done.

But there will also be a game going somewhere this time of year

and I will always be a fan.

Play.Ball!!!

These are my Thursday thoughts…

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