SPORTS GALORE: Following the Tigers

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 12:40 pm on Friday, July 13, 2012

Sports Galore | Bruce Bentley

Prior to this season I had only been to one other Major League ballpark not home to the Detroit Tigers.

A few years back I made a trip to Milwaukee to catch a Brewers and Chicago Cubs game. It was an excellent ballpark and time, but It wasn’t the same not watching the Tigers.

Being a Tigers diehard I figured it was time this year to make a road trip, or as it turns out, a few road trips to see the Tigers in action.

First it was off to Cincinnati for two games in June. We drove down on a Friday morning and stayed across the Ohio River in Kentucky. The Tigers lost the first game we attended that same night. My second game was Sunday, which was supposed to be a day game, but was switched the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The Tigers won that one.

As for the ballpark, it is just one of many recently built stadiums that are fan friendly, with great views and plenty of options for watching, eating or drinking. The area around the ballpark was perfect for some nightlife and a good time.

My original plan was to visit my family in Bloomington, Ind., after the Cincy games and then head to Chicago to see the Tigers face the Cubs. It was the perfect plan since game two of the Cubs series was on my birthday.

But for reasons to be explained later, I had to cut the Chicago trip short. Or so I thought.
Anyway, I returned home on June 12, a day before my birthday, and had a couple of softball games to play. Following the games and dinner, my girlfriend, April, surprised me with two tickets (or so I thought) to see the Tigers and Cubs play on Wednesday night.

So after driving all day Tuesday it was back on the road Wednesday. After some morning errands I was surprised again as six of my friends were set to make the trip, as well.
We had a blast and for me it was something I have always wanted to do. That was see a game at Wrigley Field, especially with the Tigers playing.

I didn’t have a whole lot of time to take in Wrigleyville (I will another time), but I loved the stadium.
I love the history of the game and could feel that history when I walked into the stadium. The concourse was small, I couldn’t see the field of play, but it heaven just the same.

Walking the concourse I could smell just about every scent of every food being prepared. With no open concourse the scent had no way to escape quickly.

Just like at Tiger Stadium, the lower deck skyline was blocked by the upper deck. So there was no following a fly ball through the air. I loved the ballpark and even went and sat in the infamous Steve Bartman seat in left field.

As I previously mentioned, I had cut the Chicago trip from my schedule for a reason. And that was because of this weekend.

As you read this column I will be en route to Baltimore to catch two more Tigers games this weekend. It was because of this expenditure I originally decided to hold off on Chicago.

So now I get to witness the stadium that changed baseball. Camden Yards (opened in 1992) ushered in a new era of retro ballparks with amenities for everyone. The new ballparks brought in new revenues. They helped revitalize some fading cities with additional new development and reason to come to the city.

Only nine on the 30 current ballparks have been in use longer than Camden Yards, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

It will be a treat to see the stadium that changed how the game was watched in person. For some, like myself, we still watch the game. For others, being at the ballpark is a social event or field day for the kids. Heck, Comerica Park has a ferris wheel and merry-go-round in their stadium.

It’s been an awesome summer so far. With football season fast approaching it is nearly over for me. I will enjoy this weekend, but will soon start planning for a couple of trips next summer. I already have my sights set on Minnesota and Cleveland.

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