Thursday, August 20, 2009

Detroit Tigers Honeymoon

**Warning: Super long post ahead! But plenty of photos, too. Click them for full size view.**

Being the obsessive weirdo I am, I asked Mordecai about going to Detroit to see a Tigers game as part of our honeymoon. Being accustomed to me, and liking baseball generally, he said he'd be up for it. First we acquired third row tickets by first base to a Twins vs. Tigers game. Now we had to go to Detroit! We then made reservations in a suburb of Detroit for a Travelodge room that looked a lot like Llewelyn Moss and Anton Cigurh's hotel rooms in "No Country For Old Men." And in case you were wondering, Mordecai and I also made reservations at a resort-y hotel in southwest Michigan since we knew Detroit wasn't going to completely cut it as a honeymoon destination.

Clockwise from top left: "Where the prices are so low" they and the products don't exist anymore; a Billy Dee Williams ad for Colt 45 was never too far away; abandoned four flat building; braiding business no more :(

Everyone told me Detroit was a hot mess, to lock my doors when we drive through the city, that we shouldn't use their unmanned rail system, and so on. I didn't realize that Detroit (not really sure what parts constituted Detroit proper) was like parts I know of Chicago's south side, but maybe to an extreme. It is very visibly economically depressed; many lots, buildings and businesses are totally abandoned; and the only businesses open are for liquor, lotto, fried chicken, and Little Caesar's. I saw one Little Caesar with the same rotating contraption as Harold's Chicken Shack in Hyde Park, where you order through bullet-proof windows and hand money in this rotating thing and receive your food in it so as to never come in any kind of physical contact with the employees. There is more life in the suburbs, like in Royal Oaks, where we stayed, or Birmingham, where Miguel Cabrera supposedly lives.

Left: Abandoned whale building can be seen from inside Comerica Park. Right: Fox Theater (not even sure if that's what it's called).

But I found downtown Detroit to be charming and having lots of character. There are tons of old, beautiful buildings--they're just totally abandoned. The windows are either broken and graffiti-ed on, or they are boarded up. I totally wanted to root for the city. I mean, look at this Fox Theater! Jamie Foxx was coming to the Fox Theater!

I hope that cheering for the Tigers is a way of cheering for the city. It's easy to do with big names like Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, and Justin "The Truth" Verlander. Even their young busters are charming--Youkilis-take-downer Rick Porcello, "Mr. & Mrs. Babe Ruth" Clete Thomas ("One day he plays like Babe Ruth, and the next day he plays like Mrs. Ruth," says Jim Leyland), and newcomer catcher, Alex Avila, who also happens to be the son of the Tiger's assistant GM. And above all, the owner of the Tigers also owns Little Caesars? Pizza pizza!

Left: In front of one of the tiger entrances at Comerica Park, where I tweeted my uncontainable excitement. Right: Waiting for my pizza with my new Tigers hat.

I did not know Little Caesars was based in Detroit. How can at least some tiny part of you not cheer for the Tigers or Detroit or both now? So of course we got some pizza, a slice each. When we picked up the boxes, we realized they were incredibly light. Next time, and believe me, there will be a "next time," we are getting a whole pizza, like everyone else was doing.

Left: I saved many of these Comerica Park napkins. Right: Mordecai places his finger in the photo for scale.

We were SO CLOSE to the field. Since we were by the first base side, we were right next to the visitor's dugout. I'm used to the White Sox being on the third base side and the Tigers on the first base, so I had some mental adjustments to make. We saw the Twins' outfielder Carlos Gomez up close when he signed stuff for the little children, which was nice. We saw the Twins' batting practice, where Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer were just hitting balls out to the streets of Motown. This was all too much Twinkie business for me, but it was worth getting to be near Miggy when the Twins were up at bat during the game.

Clockwise from top left: Joe Mauer in catching gear; Michael Cuddyer being older and fatter than I imagined him to be; some young pitcher participating in a hazing-like ritual on his way to the bullpen; Carlos Gomez, the Twins' official mouth breather.

Here are some non-Minnesota shots from the third row.

Clockwise from top left: Comerica Park scoreboard brought to you by a bunch of folks including Big Boy; flying bats!; a Tigers' security guard who I believed was Jim Leyland's brother; a choir of old men who sang the national anthem and SHUT IT DOWN!

Oh yes, the game. Thanks to mediocre pitching from both teams, the game was very exciting. This was actually our second time seeing Armando Galarraga pitch, lucky us. But it turned out for the better--Galarraga and the Tigers won this day, while Verlander pitched poorly the next (rainy) day and the Tigers lost, 11-0.

Clockwise from top left: Galarraga pitches; Curtis Granderson (GRANDERSLAM!) representing Chicago and UIC; Magglio Ordonez sans lion mane; Brandon Inge (INGE GENIUS!) on first

But most important: LORD MIGGY! He often looked over to our general direction in the stands. I wonder if it gets boring between pitches on the defensive side. Anyway, at one point when he was looking towards us, I waved to him like a small child/idiot. But as he was returning his attention to the game, I SWEAR HE SMILED, or maybe it was more like a smirk? Mordecai noticed, too! Not just my imagination!

OMG WE'RE TOTALLY BFF!!! Doesn't he look as excited as I sound???

Can I also note that he is no longer fat? He looks fit. Did you know he has three stolen bases this season, to date? Two were from this past week. He's on a roll!

Speaking of fat and rolls, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was going nuts. Look at him all angry! He was ejected fairly early on in the game. Curtis Granderson was caught in a run down but he managed to slip away, scoring a run. Gardenhire came tumbling out and started yelling at the umpire, but eventually calmed down (below left). Not long after, he got pissed about the home plate umpire's calls and was ejected (below, right).

"Youroiaukdfjaskerjaieuafjskdjfskjs;"

And then Lord Miggy came rolling up to the plate. On a 3-0 count, he hit a three-run homer! JUST FOR ME, HIS NEW BEST FRIEND FOR LIFE!

Topps, feel free to use this photo for your upcoming Miggy cards. I'll take a case of Finest in exchange.

The General Motors Fountain of Doom went berserk as Miggy & Co. rounded the bases. I like how it says that the Tigers support their automakers; isn't it usually the other way around?

Aforementioned new catcher, 22 year old Alex Avila, hit his first career home run in this game as well. The Twins' starting pitcher Swarzak was relieved after the first inning by some dude and then later Jesse Crain. I only know of Jesse Crain because I have his Stadium Club autograph. It was exciting to recognize someone I don't even care about because of baseball cards! Everyone interested in baseball should definitely collect cards.

Clockwise from top left: Daryl, the guy behind us who was egged on by his friends to get a ball from the Twins' players when they got off the field to bat (the Twins always threw the ball to children and young girls); Jesse Crain, forever x 2 etched into my mind; The Wave that went around about 11 times, no joke; ELEPHANT EAR.

I had red rope and then ELEPHANT EAR. I went to get beer, but when I saw the claim that someone sold elephant ears that involved cinnamon and sugar, I had to get it. So somehow, alone, I managed to bring back two beers and this giant floppy naan-like thing that was AWESOME. I'm sorry to U.S. Cellular Field, but elephant ear >>>>> funnel cake. I couldn't get over the soft, chewy texture and slightly crispy edges.

First base coach Andy Van Slyke was hilarious. He was hamming it up for us, stretching unnecessarily in his MOON SHOES while nonchalantly eating sunflower seeds.

Who is he looking for? Please notice his MOON SHOE.

Joe Nathan relieved Crain, and Fernando Rodney came to shut it down. This photo is for Joe V., who likes the Twins and their Joes. This photo is also for those who like bear-ish pitchers. Maybe both shots are for Joe V.

Joe Nathan in a non-save situation; Fernando Rodney in a save situation, keeping things exciting as always.

Tigers win, 10-8! I caught a glimpse of Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander. Marcus Thames is also all up in my picture.

Ricky P and Justin V are in navy blue; Marcus Thames is probably glad he didn't have to play. Look at him looking like a base coach or something, cheering everyone on.

After the game, there was a nice fireworks show.

Being Japanese, I spent more time taking photos and videos of the fireworks than I did actually watching them.

Surrounded by Detroit's finest: Miggy and the handlebar mustached usher who wiped our chairs for us when he escorted us to our seats. First class treatment at a first class stadium!

Thanks to Joe V. for the $15 Miggy shirt from Marshall's!

Don't get me wrong, I still love my White Sox and the Cell. But me and the Tigers, we just CLICK! To quote our blog leader Jenni, "LOVE IS ALL."

3 comments:

  1. always got to cop some $1.50 crazy bread whenever i pass the little caesars
    did you catch how much it was up there?
    their pizza has been mostly unmemorable from me
    once they got away from two-pizzas-on-one-tray
    and the BIGFOOT

    love the over the behind shoulder dap mauer gets from ocab

    that security guard is probably dnalyel mij
    whats going on on the field in second quadrant of same photo?

    looking at boxscore
    i see nathan gave up one earned run
    not much in life angers/instills more fear in me
    more than closers appearing in non-save situation
    recipe for disaster

    i thought miggy shirt was only $10
    and i thought you compensated me for it as well

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  2. I want to go to Detroit and eat pizza and see the Tigers. I love this blog post and I love Crazy Bread!

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  3. Joe- I don't think they had Crazy Bread at the Little Caesar's at the stadium, but I may have been overstimulated at the time. I never went into a Little Caesars outside of the stadium, so no idea what the cost might be. Next time, I'll be sure to enter one and get some crazy bread. The pizza wasn't bad; the pies looked more appetizing than the little slices tasted.

    The grounds people are wetting the infield dirt in the first quadrant, and then in the one below that are the old choir men singing the national anthem.

    Joe Nathan might have suffered a Curtis Granderson extra base hit. Not sure though.

    Maybe Miggy shirt was $10, and I did compensate you for it, but you uncovered it from the depths of a northern Marshall's, which I could never have done. I'm doomed to the Marshall's on Fullerton or downtown Marshall's, generally.

    Jenni- I am always down for another trip, anytime! As scary as Travelodge appeared, the rates were not bad. We also found a good donut shop! And a couple of mediocre card stores. I'm sure there were lots of other mediocre things we could point out to you, and mediocre things that we missed, haha.

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