Saturday was one of those glorious late fall days. The air was crisp, sky a bright azure, and the snow from earlier that week had all melted from the ground along with our memories of bad seasons.
I met Kyle at the corner of the Comerica Park past the protestors, Detroit’s finest mounted police, and the high priced parking where the wealthy men who could afford the front space hooted at hotties walking by.
Energy is high, attitudes are optimistic, and our etickets for the ballpark work. We are ecstatic. As an added bonus, some of our old friends were able to get tickets and we meet them in the standing room area where they will watch from the left field foul line.
The “Old English” Detroit D is everywhere. Kyle is kind and waits while I buy a Tiger cap. In line the fans are friendly. I run into my good friend Geoff. I hadn’t had a chance to talk much with him since I left the last company. Geoff was a glowing parent, like so many on that day, ready to live the history with his son.
Kyle and I take our seats. They are high up on the second deck, but there isn’t a bad view at this park. The day is full of glorious possibilities. We debate what the score will be as if we were fans of the Chicago Bears and Mike Ditka - Will the Tigers win 10 - 0? Will the Tigers win 15 - 0? Our fellow fans ask the catch phrase of the Tiger ball club “Who’s Your Tiger.” The answers have the nuance only a fan would appreciate. By mid summer all the ladies like Inge, the boys like Guillen, some reflect the deep and diverse pitching of Bondermann or “Gum Time” Robertson. But there are many who say Polanco.
If we were at a bullfight, these would be the cheep seats. They are in the sun. We did not bring or buy padding. But this is Michigan. Being in the sun is welcome as the scoreboard reads 51F. We know that the brisk air will soon be chilled air. The shaded seats on the lower deck are filled with the bundled masses.
By the third inning we are down 3 - 0. Our enthusiasm is put on hold with exception to one Tiger finally getting on base. Kyle is sick. I have seen this before. He has such great enthusiasm, such engaging passion for things, his body and adrenaline can’t keep up. From the moment we sat down a headache has kicked in. It is big. We know the only way for him to feel better is to vomit. So he marches on to the long lines at the men’s room.
I have a voice mail at the end of the inning. Kyle is in First Aid. He is watching the game on a TV with a nurse, medication, and a shot of something in his arm. Go Get’em Tiger - now the game is tied.
There is hope, there is heartache, joy and despair. The group behind me complains about the crowd. They are season ticket holders and everyone else is not as good as them. They explain that the people Kyle and I bought tickets from gave them up after one of these four threw-up on them accidentally. They taunt other fans for misspelling names on homemade banners or putting incorrect salary figures down. I miss Kyle. The sun is setting on the day and our chances to sweep, maybe win.
It is the 9th inning. Kyle returns with a big smile on his face. A man on first, two outs, two strikes. We have one chance, or it goes to extra innings. But then...
Fans Pour Onto the Street
Hours of High Five's at Elwoods
For hours after the game the streets are filled with fans. Boys are grabbing girls to kiss, everyone is high-fiveing. Songs and chants fill the air. We have won the American League Championship. We are going to the World Series.