A Tale Of Two Home Openers

A few years ago, my sister and her son came for a spring break visit. They came to frigid Michigan from hot and sunny Florida. In retrospect, I should have gone to visit them instead. Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun on their vacation and my staycation. The highlight was to attend a professional baseball game. Unfortunately, the only Tigers home game during their stay was the home opener and I couldn’t get tickets.

I tried to get tickets, sitting in front of my computer for two hours clicking through the buying process over and over again only to be bumped out. Clearly the system was not robust enough to handle selling all the tickets for all the games for all the teams all at once. Once I gave up on Tigers tickets, I took a shot at buying opening day tickets to the Mud Hens. I was worried about not being able to get tickets, so I opted to buy a package available prior to the regular tickets going on sale. The tickets included a buffet lunch for not a lot more.

On game day, it was bitterly cold and windy. We went through the buffet line and sat down at a picnic table straight back from second base. Due to the shape of the stadium, the wind whistled most fiercely through the picnic area. Once we finished our lunch we tried to find our seats only to discover that the picnic benches were our seats. Although I’d brought several stadium blankets with me, very soon my sister and her son slipped away and bought sweatshirts and stocking caps. In the end, it was so cold that we left before the end of the game.

This week, I had my first opportunity to attend a Tigers home opener and what a contrast. I worked through the morning and then left around 11 a.m. intending to meet up with my colleagues at 11:30. I soon learned that I had waited too long. The entire area around the stadium for about a one mile radius was packed with cars and people. Music was blaring and clearly many people had been partying all morning.

All the parking lots and garages were full, but I finally found a lot which allowed me to park in an unmarked spot because my car was small enough to fit. I felt relieved to only hand over $20 since I’d been quoted $40 elsewhere and I only had $28 on me.

I walked to the stadium, trying to memorize where I’d left my car. Pressing through the crowd, I struggled to find my group, but with a lot of text messaging we ultimately found each other. We then got in line for the stadium. Calling it a line is misleading, as it was really just an enormous crowd all pressing towards the doors. It was the first game with walk-through metal detectors and things were going very slowly. Eventually we made it in and found our seats.

The next few hours were pure heaven, especially given the extremely cold and snowy winter we were still trying to escape. The sun was out, the temperature was in the high fifties, I drank my first shandy, and we reveled in the warmth of the almost-imageforgotten sun. The game was exciting with a tie going into the bottom of the ninth. The winning run emptied the bench and got all of the fans up and out of our seats to cheer. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to share the day with my sister and nephew.

Find the Joy in the Journey…revel in every glorious day that you find!


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