Sixth Annual Cook Grandfather-Father-Son Baseball Roadtrip – Game 2, Twins at Tigers (5/25/2013)
On the morning of May 25, 2013, the boys and I woke up early in London, Ontario and headed down to our hotel lobby to find some breakfast as my dad caught up on his sleep. Our hotel (the London Suites, or something like that) had a restaurant called “Smoke and Bones” built into the building and they can a nice breakfast buffet. We enjoyed a big, filling breakfast.
Our Tigers/Twins game in Detroit didn’t start until 4:05 in the afternoon,*we though* the ballpark wouldn’t open until 2:30, and we only had a two hour drive so we were not in a rush to get going in the morning. We probably dilly-dallied a bit too long. In fact, I know we did. But we finally got on the road around 11:00 a.m.
It was a nice flat and relatively straight drive…
…down from London to Windsor, Ontario.
Windsor is directly across the river from Detroit. Before we realize our cellphones wouldn’t work in Canada, we decided to get a hotel room in Windsor for the night. When we pulled into the Riverside Inn around 1:15pm…
…my dad ran inside to check in and I realized that my phone could hook up to the hotel’s wireless connection from the car so I took that photo above to the left of Tim and Kellan and sent it to Colleen, and then we chatted back and forth over instant message briefly before my dad returned to the car.
The lady at the front desk recommended that we take the “tunnel bus” to the ball game. So, after running our stuff up to our nice room, we headed to the bus station right behind the hotel:
This proved to be a terrible idea. After my dad threw down a bunch of cash to buy round trip tickets to Detroit, we headed out to the sidewalk to wait for the bus. We’d just missed a bus. The next bus wasn’t until 2:00 p.m. It was supposed to drop us off about 6 blocks from the stadium. I figured there was a chance this would work out and we’d get there on time. But when a bus employee appeared and started asking him about it. When we realized that the entire bus (which was going to be packed) would have to pass through customs at the border before we could head to the ballpark, I suggested that we eat the bus tickets and hop in my car.
So that’s what we did. After a 4-5 block drive, we headed through the “Tunnel to the U.S.A.” and found ourselves at the border crossing at 2:10 p.m.:
From the point I took that photo, it took about 10 minutes to get through customs, but then it was a very quick drive to Comerica Park. As we approached the stadium parking lots, it was still a few minutes before the standard 2:30 gate opening time. When we drove by and saw people inside the ballpark, I figured that they must have been season ticket holders that got in a few minutes early. But then we realized that the gates were already open. Oh, no! We were missing out on our stadium time!
We parked and hustled into the ballpark.
Turns out the gate timing issue was these guys’ fault:
In case you can’t tell, those guys on the newly upgraded scoreboard are the 1968 World Champion Tigers. For some reason, the Tigers were celebrating the 45th Anniversary of their championship season and, as a result, they had unknown-to-us opened the gates at 2:00 p.m., half an hour early.
The stadium was already pretty packed (for BP standards). Tim Kellan and I immediately headed to RCF in hopes of finding an open corner spot. My dad, who had never been to Comerica before, hung out down the RF line and took some photos of his 30th MLB ballpark (or, possibly, his 31st if he’s been to old Yankee Stadium):
By the way, I should not that, as of this game, the only current MLB ballparks that my dad had not yet visited were Citi Field, Marlins Park (but he’s been to SunLife Stadium), Minute Maid Park (but his first game ever was at the Astrodome), and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (guess what state we’re going to next season!).
My dad spotted us with his camera…
…and we had successfully found an open corner spot…but it was pretty cramped quarters out there, at least in the first row.
Here is what it looked like from out spot:
I could not recognize a single Twins player out there. Everyone was wearing pullovers over their BP jerseys. Luckily, one single ball was hit directly into the corner right below us, and that guy picture above to the right walking away from us on the warning track toss it up to us. I have no clue who it was. But…
Thanks, mystery Twin!
The nice thing about our little corner spot is that (provided that we hugged the brick wall behind us) we were in (or at least half in) the shade:
Eventually, my dad came over and found us. And very soon after he arrived, the Twins fled the field. BP ended way early because there was an on field ceremony to honor the 1968 team, which was fairly pointless in light of the long and informative discussion they had with the 1968 team on the big screen. Really, compared to the discussion they had streaming on the scoreboard, the on field ceremony was pretty boring.
We headed up to the upper level in deep RCF and tried to get some lunch at The Jungle restaurant…
…but it was completely full and it didn’t look like anyone was about to head out.
We decided to head over to the Big Cat food court (where the Tiger-Go-Round is located) to grab some lunch. On the way, the boys and I got pictures with an old-school looking Mickey Mouse…
…and a Tiger pig.
We also saw the new’ish Ernie Harwell statue…
…and posed with a fake statue liberty.
Finally, we grabbed some lunch and then walked back to the Pepsi Porch (second deck in RF) and grabbed a picnic table for lunch:
While we were eating, Kellan debuted an awesome new dance move:
After finishing our late lunch, we headed down to the seats in RCF, just above the visitors’ bullpen, and watched Joe Mauer and P.J. Walters warm up for the game, first in the outfield grass…
…and then in the bullpen:
See that guy leaning against the CF wall two pictures above (and to the left)? That is the Twins’ bullpen catcher. He was stretching out/loosening his back muscles by leaning against a baseball and rolling it across his back against the wall.
In the last photo above (also to the left), Wilkin Ramirez is standing in the batters’ box giving Walters the feel of pitching to a live batter. A couple pitches into the “at bat,” I called down, “Swing away, Wilkin!”
It would have been pretty sweet to see him launch a fly ball out of the stadium over the 3B line upper deck!
As the stadium PA announcer introduced Jose Feliciano to play the national anthem…
…, all of the players on the field turned toward us…
…and I realized that we were standing right below the flag.
After the anthem, we headed to our seats in section 141, row 12:
As the game was about to start, my dad took the opportunity to document some of the scenes around the ballpark:
We were rooting for the Tigers at this game because they had former Mariner Doug Fister on the mound. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Joe Mauer to jump all over Fister. With one out in the top of the first, Mauer launched a deep drive to RF:
And after gathering to take a look at it, Crew Chief Joe “Cowboy” West confirmed the homerun call.
Once again, Kellan wasn’t in a sitting mood at the beginning of the game. My dad and Tim stayed in our seats while Kellan and I took a little walk in the beautiful Comerica Park cross aisle. As we walked toward home plate, Fister fought a losing battle with Josh Willingham:
Willingham drew 1-out walk. We grabbed a prime standing-room spot in the cross aisle behind home plate just in time to watch Fister’s tough first inning continue against Justin Morneau:
Morneau hit an RBI double to make the score 2-0 Twins with only 1 out in the first.
By the way, Kellan was on my shoulders as we walked (and stood) in the cross aisle. Sometimes Kellan gets squirmy and is only satisfied if I continue walking around when he’s on my shoulders. But, to my surprise and delight, Kellan was happy as a clam sitting up there on my shoulders behind home plate. So I decided to just hang out there for a while. Here was our view:
Two batters after Morneau, Chris Parmalee hit an RBI single (scoring Morneau) to cap off the scoring in the top of the first.
After the first inning, the score was 3-0 Twins. It was really too bad because Fister ended up pitching 7 innings and not giving up another run the rest of the day…but the Tigers (spoiler alert) only managed to score 2 runs all day. Tough luck for Mr. Fister.
I was satisfied to just stay put in our SRO spot all day, but we had to get out of there quick when we saw this guy…
…walking in the cross aisle behind the 3B dugout. That’s Paws the Tigers’ mascot. In the photo above to the left, I tried to take a *selfie* of the three of us with my cellphone, but I completely missed Kellan and missed most of myself. Paws saw how terrible my picture came out and he grabbed my phone and handed it to his escort, who took the photo above on the right. I like how Kellan is just chilling up there looking at Paws, which is much better than what he did last year (cried) every time he saw a mascot up close.
On a funny follow-up note, for the rest of the day Kellan kept asking about the “lion.” I told him over and over that Paws is a tiger, but he just kept calling him a lion.
Like the previous night, when we initially left Tim and my dad at our seats, Kellan and I promised to come back with ice cream. So Kellan and I set off to find some ice cream.
We headed to the concession stand in the LF concourse. But we couldn’t see any ice cream helmets (or ice cream) in the stand. So we walked the concourse toward home plate until we found a fan assistance office. The fan assistance staff explained that there were ice cream helmets out in the food court encircling the tiger-go-round (and while at the fan assistance office, I picked up “First Game at Comerica Park” certificates for Kellan and my dad).
The ice cream place was all the way around the other side of the stadium from our seats. I handed Kellan’s ice cream up to him and carried Tim’s ice cream back to our seats:
Kellan ate his ice cream on the walk back. After I took him down so he could sit in his seat and eat his ice cream, a lady sitting behind me leaned forward and said, “I apologize, but I have to get this ice cream for you” and then she took a napkin and cleaned a huge piece of ice cream out of the back of my hair. Kellan and deposited the ice cream into my hair and somehow I had no clue it was there.
Anyway, while the boys ate their ice cream, Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera…
…did not hit a homerun.
Guess what Kellan and I did after he finished eating his ice cream (or, I mean, after I finished eating his ice cream)? We went right back to our same SRO spot behind the 1B side of home plate. It was the perfect spot to catch a foul ball (which we didn’t) and Kellan was into hanging out there (and not so into sitting in the seats) so I figured let’s go for it!
For most of the rest of the game, Kellan and I stood between two college-aged gals on our left (who kept giggling about how cute Kellan was sitting on my shoulders) and two 40-50 year old men on our right (one of whom thought we were the ideal example of why baseball is the best sport for fathers and sons). At one point, as Kellan was all relaxed and just lounging up on my shoulders, I could hear the guy next to me telling his friend who awesome it was that I had brought Kellan to the game and we were just hanging out watching the game together. Two seconds later, the guy asked if I had a camera and told me that I just couldn’t miss getting a photo of this…
…moment. After he took the picture, he handed my phone back to me and said, “I may need a copy of that one myself!”
It is a pretty cute picture. And it great to capture these moments when my lil’ guy can rest up there on my shoulders. It’s so sad that Tim is too big to do that now. They grow up so fast!
By the way, here’s a picture of the general scene:
The guy in the ChiSox jacket is the one who took our picture, the Cubs guy is his buddy who was standing right next to me and Kellan in that empty spot between him and the girl in the orange jacket. That girl is one of the “college-aged” girls I mentioned before (hmm…maybe not college, but young 20s nonetheless), I’m not sure where her friend was at this point.
While Kellan and I were standing there watching the game, Tim and my dad toured all over the ballpark. First they went up to the upper deck where my dad snapped a few photos out past the foul pole:
By one of the “D” stores (team stores), my dad got this great shot of Tim “hitting” against Fister:
They got some pictures with the ferris wheel in the background…
…some pictures above/behind the big Tiger statues and the tiger-go-round…
…and a shot of Tim by a big Tiger coin-collector…
…, which was just inside the main gate by the Ernie Harwell statue.
The Tigers made the game interesting by scoring a pair of runs in the middle innings while Fister kept the Twins locked in at 3 runs. In the fifth inning, Andy Dirks singled with two outs and then scored on an RBI double by Torii Hunter.
In the sixth inning, Jhonny Peralta took a leisurely trot around the bases…
…after hitting a solo homerun with two outs. But that was all the scoring the Tigers had in them. The score after 6 innings (and after 9) was 3-2 Twins.
In the ninth inning, Kellan and I started the slow process of getting into position to make an attempt for a post-game umpire baseball. Here was our view as we first started our trek down to the tunnel:
We ended up doing some birding during the ninth inning. Here are my bird shots:
And here are 4 of Kellan’s first birding attempts:
Eventually, he successfully captured a bird on *film*:
In the bottom of the ninth, this was our view:
We were in a near perfect spot for an umpire ball, but that metal box is pretty poorly placed.
After the game, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher didn’t toss any baseballs into the crowd. When he walked by us, I could see two baseballs in his pouch, but they stayed there. On his walk out, he motioned to someone up higher in the stands behind home plate. I had a feeling he was going to come back to chat with someone so we stayed put. In a few minutes, he did come back. As he was standing right below us I asked if he could toss one of the baseballs in his pouch up to us, but he said (1) he only had a couple left, (2) was meeting up with a friend, and (3) had promised them to his friend’s kids. And that’s just what happened. He ended up chatting with a guy for a while and giving the two baseballs to the guy’s kids. Oh, well.
Kellan and I then met up with Tim and my dad out by our seats. It is super easy to meet up with your loved ones when you are in the U.S. and have working cellphones. Before heading to the exits, we got a great group picture:
On our way out of the ballpark, we found a second Tigers Mickey Mouse:
We exited via the CF gate so we had to walk all the way around the stadium to get to our car. On our way by the 3B gate, I got a couple photos of Tim and my dad:
And then we headed back to Windsor, Canada for the night. We ended up playing catch for a while in the park across the street from our hotel…
…before going out to a late dinner at “The Keg.” Note, in that picture above to the right, Tim is catching a pop fly and that is our hotel in the background. In that picture above to the left, that is Detroit in the background across the river. Detroit was incredibly loud all night because there was an electronic music festival going on over there, and it literally shook us over in Windsor.
All-in-all, the second day of the Roadtrip was a smashing success.
2013 C&S Fan Stats
15 Teams – Mariners, Royals, Phillies, Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Yankees, Dodgers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Pirates, Blue Jays, Twins, Tigers
16 Ice Cream Helmets – Phillies (jumbo) 2, Red Sox 2, Yankees 2, Orioles 2, Nationals 2, Pirates 2, Blue Jays 2, Tigers 2
42 Baseballs – Mariners 6, Royals 4, Phillies 9, Rays 2, Orioles 5, Dodgers 1, Umpires 2, Reds 4, Nationals 1, Marlins 4, Pirates 1, Blue Jays 2, Twins 1
8 Stadiums – Citizens Bank Park 2, Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Rogers Centre, Comerica Park
14 Player Pictures – Oliver Perez, Lucas Luetge, Hisashi Iwakuma, Carter Capps, Daniel Nava, Alex Wilson, Andrew Bailey, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Carp, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks, Joel Hanrahan, Jonny Gomes, Alfredo Aceves, Clayton Mortensen
5 Autographs – Hisashi Iwakuma (English & Japanese), Carter Capps, Ryan Hanigan, Jesus Tiamo