Father’s Day is here and I can’t help but connect old Tiger Stadium to the less acknowledged parental holiday. Let’s face it, Mother’s Day always gets more hype. When was the last time you and the sibs got together for a Father’s Day buffet? Patriarchal snubbing aside, Tiger Stadium has been completely gone for almost one year. The last game was played on September 27th, 1999, most stadiums don’t make it that long without being torn down. I remember my first time (doesn’t everybody). August 2nd, 1970, Al Kaline Day. Mel Torme sang “Thanks For The Memories” and old Mel “Toupee” couldn’t have been more prophetic as I have commited so much of that day to memory!…The Tigers lost 4-3 to the Minnesota Twins but I will never forget walking into that stadium. My brother, my mom and my dad walked through the corridor and I thought the smell of stale beer and peanuts was the greatest stench ever created. We turned into section 123 and it was as if we were ascending into heaven. There before me was a slowly revealed, early afternoon, blue August sky followed by the greenest grass God ever created! Follow that with an army of green seats and you understand why green is the color of envy because you wanted to live there for the rest of your life! The usher then led us to our seats eight rows behind home plate and I settled in for the greatest afternoon of my seven year-old life.
22 years and 200 some-odd games seen at Tiger Stadium later, it is Father’s Day 1992. The only thing Dad wanted to do was go to a Tiger’s game and who were we to say no. It is the only time our entire family went to a game together. Me, Mom, Dad, brother and both sisters, just the six of us. Couldn’t tell you the score, didn’t care. We gorged ourselves on Ball Park Franks, peanuts and Pepsi. Dad made his usual corny jokes, Mom wanted us to stop throwing peanuts at each other and all we did was try to make each other laugh for nine innings. We simply moved the “us” show to a new location. It is my favorite Father’s Day to date, my Dad’s as well. We’ve had our disagreements over the years but we’ve always been able to talk about baseball. Mom passed away four years ago and Dad hasn’t been the same since. So, this Father’s Day we’ll all head over to Dad’s, we’ll barbeque and watch the U.S. Open, that’s all he wants to do, heck we might even turn on the Tiger’s game!…
What are you waiting for, go call your dad!