I had the opportunity to attend a home game of the Detroit Tigers last night, as they played host to the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Unfortunately, the Tigers played poorly, and the Twins romped over the home team 11-0, certainly the worst home loss in recent memory for the Tigers.
The slaughter on the field was mitigated by the fact that my dad had tickets to a lower-level suite, and we watched the game from a comfortable vantage point behind the Tiger dugout. This was an excellent place to take photos, and I could use the space to get some interesting images.
Joining us in the suite last night were a number of diehard baseball fans, and I found that my less-than-expert knowledge of the game paled in comparison with some of the folks sitting with us. They were also well versed in the latest Tiger rumors, such as that Magglio Ordoñez has not been the same power hitter since "he went off the juice," and that the switch-hitting Carlos Guillen may not bat right-handed the rest of the season due to the shoulder injury that sidelined him for several months.
Attending a major league baseball game these days is a multi-dimensional entertainment experience. Last night was host the fourth annual ¡Fiesta Tigres! celebration, which was designed to honor the contributions of Hispanic and Latino players. The Xochiquetzal Folkloric Ballet performed traditional dances from Jalisco, Mexico, while musical groups such as Orquestra La Inspiracion and Los Gallos de Oro entertained the crowd at different points in the stadium concourse. Add to this the post-game fireworks display, and the result is 4-5 hours of entertainment.
Yet all of this hoopla could not match the simple joys I experienced attending Tiger games as a kid. Perhaps this is a function of being middle-aged and jaded - or perhaps the sport's tarnished luster from scandals is to blame - but baseball for me has lost its magic. I still cheer on the Tigers, but something seems missing: something innocent, something pure, and something timeless.
I hope that baseball finds its way back.
As for the suite life, I was very appreciative of the tickets and the hospitality, and certainly the camaraderie was excellent, but most of the guests of the suite owner spent their time hanging out inside the suite. True, the Tigers put on an abysmal performance, but many folks in the suites spend their time doing business and making connections. Most of the conversations among the bunch I found myself with discussed foreclosures and court cases, and only the handful of true baseball fans actually watched the game and talked baseball.
This scenario is true for all sports, of course, and yet the wide-eyed kid that lurks within me still questioned just what all of this had to do with the game on the field. Personally, I have more in common with the people in the cheap seats than I do with the suite owners, and the isolation of the suite from the regular folks seems unnatural.
That is, except for the private toilet in each suite. I did NOT miss standing in line for half an inning just to use the restroom.