Monday, May 21, 2007

A Hoe-Down with the Cardinals in Mo-Town

In Canada, we are celebrating what we call the “May two-four weekend”.

While the two-four does reflect the Bob and Doug McKenzie Canadian Philosophy of beer drinking here in the Great White North (beer is most commonly sold in boxes of 24 best known as two-fours), in fact this is the Victoria Day weekend to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday.

What is the best part of the May 2-4 weekend? Getting Monday off.

It’s also my cousin Ellyn’s birthday.

This year Darlene and I spent the Sunday at the Tigers game. They were playing the St. Louis Cardinals – in the third and final game of the 3 game inter-league series rematch of the 2006 World Series.

Last fall of course, the Cards beat our boys 4 games to 1. It didn’t make sense at the time, and it does not make sense today. Last year during inter-league play, the Tigers swept those Cardinals. They did it again this year.

Did I give away the ending? I don’t think so.

Going to a Tigers game for us means crossing the border by either the bridge over or tunnel under the Detroit River. No big deal, we do this all the time. Darlene does it every day.

The game starts at 1:05 PM. We drop the girls off at Grandma’s by 11:15AM. And we are in line at the tunnel at 11:30 AM.

Understand that if the border did not exist, we would be 5 minutes away from Comerica Park.

We chose the tunnel because the tunnel goes right down town and comes out underneath the Renaissance Center – the keystone of the Detroit City skyline from the Windsor side.

The Ambassador Bridge – even though we live at the Canadian end of it, forces you to use the Michigan expressways – which are mostly closed for repairs and various projects during the summer. Not a fun Sunday adventure.

But what we forgot was that the Red Wings were to play the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the all important game 5 of the Western playoff finals. That game started at 3:00 PM at “The Joe” (Joe Louis Arena).

And in Hart Square, they were having a hoe-down.

No, really. A hoe down. In downtown Detroit. Mo-Town.

No, I don’t think it was a play on the word “Hoe” either. For the first time in my memory, the downtown plaza was packed with Stetsons and cowboy boots. Shucks.

Anyway – we got in line at the tunnel at 11:30. At 1:30 PM, we cleared customs in Detroit. It took us an hour and a half to make a 5 minute journey. Most of which we could not even listen to the radio while in the tunnel.

Luckily when we emerged, we found out our boys had taken a 1 – 0 lead.


We found great parking for a sold-out game – two blocks away for only 10 bucks.


We entered Comerica park through the center field gates. There you will find a row of bronze statues for all the Tiger greats: Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Willie Horton. There are spaces for more. Spaces for guys named “Pudge”, “Kenny”, and perhaps if he decides to stay around – Gary.

Darlene had just met Willie Horton a couple of weeks before. She was really struck by the tremendous bronze tribute to this younger vision of him.

After acquiring two beers and four hotdogs – we headed to hunt down our seats.

Section 114, row 45, seats 22 and 23.

We found section 114. But it only had 43 rows? We found a park “usher?” who escorted us to the other side of section 114.

“We didn’t think you were coming” he said as he moved his newspaper and lunch for us.

Row 45 was the very back corner of section 114. Since this section wrapped around part of the pavilion, there were only two seats for Row 45. Seats 22 and 23.

The good news is that we wont have to get up every time somebody on our row wants out” I said to Dar. But the bad news was you couldn’t see the field for the steady stream of people passing by.

Yee – haw? Nah.

Gary Sheffield, for the first time this year, played right field. Maglio Ordonez instead was the DH. Sheff was brilliant out there. He made three great sliding plays, and one basket catch. Mags had an RBI.

You know, I might could live with Mags DHing.

Justin Verlander was the starting pitcher and lasted 8 good innings.

Yee- Haw.

In the end, The Tiger’s won, sweeping the Cards. What the heck happened last October?

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