St. Louis Cardinals 3 – Detroit Tigers 5
Comerica Park – Detroit, MI
September 7, 2018
This trip was more than just baseball. And in the Detroit/Michigan leg of this tour, I finally got to spread out and feel at home once again.
My family on my dad’s side grew up in the Michigan area – from up by Rogers City to Bellevue and even some time spent in Detroit and Lansing. I focused on the Bellevue stop. This small town was the one I have memories that date back well over 20 years. My great-grandparents had a house there that I visited a few times and it is not the resting spot of them and my grandpa. I was in Bellevue as recently as 2016, but I’ve never taken a solo trip… until now.
I will put the video in here, since it is much easier to get the story from moving pictures, but I want to briefly discuss why the Detroit Tigers are a sentimental favorite of mine. Let’s take a trip back in the time machine. The year was 1926 – I know this because I have a baseball that has this date on it – and my great-grandpa was a high school pitcher for Bellevue, MI. He was a submarine-style pitcher and quite good. Family stories that have been passed down a couple generations now claim that he even got to pitch against a barnstorming Tigers team. Who knows who was playing that day, but he impressed some folks. Mark X. Shimer was offered a contract to sign with the team. Since this was during the Great Depression and baseball wasn’t as lucrative or as respected, he went with the more secure job at the auto factory.
My great-grandpa would live to be 102 years old, and even though he had hearing loss due to factory conditions, he raised a family of three girls who would go on to raise their own families. I was lucky enough to exist because that chain kept going. So no matter how much I wonder “what if”, I ultimately know that I wouldn’t be here to ponder that question if my great-grandpa would have become a Detroit Tiger.
As for the game? Well, BP was abbreviated (and gates open only 1.5 hours early). But I managed to get a couple toss-ups before the game started. The conditions are NOT ideal for catching baseballs at Comerica. I couldn’t even do the cup trick, so all those balls in the bullpen? They were painful reminders of how hard my struggles were in Motown.
I would like to thank Steve Liddle, though. The former Twins coaching staff as a whole seemed to recognize me. Steve hooked me up with a game ball right away (like pretty much at first pitch). He teased me for being old, but ultimately was kind and made a 34 year old kid very happy.
Ball 1: Willie McGee
Ball 2: Bryan Eversgerd
Ball 3: Steve Liddle
And here is the song that is referenced in the title. The White Stripes are a Detroit band, and it is fairly obvious that I have driven my fair share of highways. The only thing that would have been better is if the song was called “Little Ginger Ale”, because Vernor’s is the best Michigan soda. Period.