photo by Samara Pearlstein
The 2006 season was of course unforgettable for many reasons, and here at Roar of the Tigers it was even more remarkable because I got out to a grand total of 7 games. I know that doesn’t sound like very many, but bear in mind that I spend most of the baseball season living back east in Massachusetts. And through several strokes of ridiculous good fortune, some of those games ended up being “special”… the home opener, all three games at Fenway, and Game 2 of the World Series. I am a lucky blogger, yo.
If you’ve ever been to a game with me (and some of you Tigers bloggers have had that unfortunate experience), you know that I am usually somewhat uncommunicative because I either have my face buried in a scorecard, or the back end of my camera. Even if I’m sitting up in the hinterlands and haven’t a chance of getting anything approaching a decent shot.
So I think I’ll do a review of the games I went to in 2006 with some of my favorite shots from the season. Really this will only serve to make me miss baseball even more right now and to cause me to quietly curse the great temporal distance between now and the start of Spring Training, but I DO IT FOR YOU, CHERISHED READERS, ALWAYS FOR YOU.
(Disclaimer: All photos by me. I do not have a DSLR camera so, y’know, it’s not made for shootin’ sporting events or low light or anything that, uh, characterizes most baseball games. All shots taken from wherever I happened to have seats in the ballpark, which varied from “Wow amazing but behind this bloody net” to “So far up I can see Canada from here”. Expect photo quality to vary accordingly. I’m shooting with a Sony DSC-H1, if anyone cares, which I suspect none of you do. However! Onwards!)
The home opener, Comerica, Jeremy Bonderman vs. Freddy Garcia (White Sox)
Perfect weather… in fact, a bit TOO perfect, because if I remember correctly I may have *coughcoughcough*skippedoutonclass*coughcoughhonk* to go to this, and I had to keep my sweatshirt on without even rolling the sleeves up, because I would’ve sunburned and given the ruse away otherwise. And it ended up being too bloody warm for a sweatshirt. Jerome Bettis threw out the first pitch. REMEMBER KIDS, HE’S FROM DETROIT. IN CASE YOU NEVER HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.
Went with a bunch of kids from my hall. We were sitting pretty far out in left field, but we were in the lower deck, I wasn’t complaining. The White Sox won 5-3, and after the glorious home opener of ’05 led to a mediocre season, no one was expecting too much yet. It was still a ridiculous lot of fun. The full photo set can be seen here.
terrible photo quality, but I like the obscenely orange tiger behind Zoom
You know, I don’t think I had my teleconversion lens for this game. Can’t rightly remember, though. Anyways.
April 28, Comerica, Nate Robertson vs. Brad Radke (Twins)
We had great seats for this one. Right behind home plate, maybe four rows off the field. Insane for watching the game, not so hot for taking photos (the net, you know). Went with my dad, the original Tigers fan in the family, and made him go early so we could watch the Twins take BP. Consequently, most of the interesting photos from the game are of Twins. Ah well. There was a lot of “Welcome back Rondell White!” sentiment goin’ on. Gator spun a gem and knocked out the Twins 9-0. Full photo set is thisaway.
Brandon Inge and Marcus Thames chattin’ it up in the on-deck circle. If I recall correctly, there was a break in the action here and someone opened one of the doors in the netting, which was the only reason this came out anything like in focus.
August 14, Fenway, Nate Roberston vs. Josh Beckett (Red Sox)
The first of the Tigers-at-Fenway series. I went with my friend Jess, who is a long-suffering baseball buddy of mine, and she made the mistake of agreeing to show up for BP. We were waiting outside Fenway for the gates to open with all the rest of the Bostonian lunatics. It was possibly THE MOST EXCITED I HAVE BEEN for BP ever, because who should show up on the field but MARK THE BIRD FIDRYCH, and I RECOGNIZED him, and it was magical. Also who should decide to have a conversation not three feet in front of our faces but JOHN HENRY AND DAVE DOMBROWSKI. This made me so painfully excited that I can’t even describe it. Jess could describe it, but she would probably burst out laughing. And I SPOKE TO DAVE DOMBROWSKI. And also I spoke to VANCE WILSON. And Jess thought I was ENTIRELY INSANE. And the whole photo set is HERE. Because we went to BP and were thus much closer to the field than I am during a game, I reckon this is the best set of the season, by my decidedly cruddy standards.
Oh, and the Tigers won, 7-4.
THE BIRD! (his shirt has sharks on it, which is essentially too awesome for words)
THE GENIUS! (Jess wasn’t sure who Mr. Dombrowski was, so I had to call him “the Theo of the Tigers”. Jess is a Red Sox fan, so this appeared to clear up the confusion)
THE VERLANDER! (in the midst of being awkwardly interviewed by NESN sideline reporter Tina Cervasio)
August 15, Fenway, Jeremy Bonderman vs. Curt Schilling (Red Sox)
Oh man, this one went down to the wire… the Tigers almost had it lost, and then Wily Mo Pena made a sloppy, bizarre play and missed a ball going down near the foul line in the 9th inning. This was the game where Polanco separated his shoulder and I NEVER WANT TO SEE SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN PERSON AGAIN. It was HORRIBLE. It was also Pudge’s first time ever playing second base. It was fairly hilarious to watch him OBVIOUSLY PRETENDING to know what he was doing out there.
Granderson sits like this a lot, we’ve noticed
not the greatest quality, but the fact that Verlander’s face is STUFFED WITH RALLY GUM is what I particularly enjoy
seriously, NEVER want to see this again
August 16, Fenway, Justin Verlander vs. David Wells (Red Sox)
This game was just one “did that seriously just happen?” after another. There was a little ceremony before the game because it was Bruce Froemming’s 5,000th game umpiring. Then a helper monkey (!!!) threw out the first pitch. Then Verlander forgot where home plate was. Then Brent Clevlen his a massive blast over the Monster. Then the Red Sox won 6-4.
Went with my brother, who is also split-loyalty between the Red Sox and Tigers. He wore Red Sox gear, I wore Tigers stuff. Hilarious hijinx ensued. Set here.
seriously, you guys, a monkey
September 5, Comerica, Jeremy Bonderman vs. Jake Woods (Mariners)
This one was delayed by rain for about an hour in the 4th, which knocked Bondo out of it. But we stuck around, because this was the (in)famous Tigers bloggers meetup game, and we refuse to be scared out of Comerica by a touch of rain, goldanggit. Attending were Rob of the Cheap Seats (boo hiss State), Brian of Beyond Boxscores (the only one, aside from me, to actually have a rain jacket on hand), Ian of Sweaty Men Endeavors (my ride downtown, and thusly my hero), Greg Eno from Out of Bounds and Motor City Sports Magazine (and about a hundred other things), and Bill from the Detroit Tigers Weblog (much taller than expected). We also ran into Big Al of the Wayne Fontes Experience, a very funny dude who was not sitting with us. Obviously because he’s too cool to be seen with our motley crew.
Good times were had, even though the Tigers managed to lose 4-3. We all decided that Neifi Perez is a magical, immortal being of perfection and light amongst us mere mortals. The photo set is here.
stadium tigers guarding against the storm
they do a good job lighting the stadium
World Series Game 2, Comerica, Kenny Rogers vs. Jeff Weaver (Cardinals)
Hey, there was no controversy about Kenny’s hand from up where we were sitting!
Possibly the most cold I have been in MY LIFE. I thought we were going to die. The woman sitting next to me was extremely drunk and repeatedly called Kenny “the Bro-ster” (?). She also, when talking about Brandon Inge, winked and nudged me and referred to his admittedly awful goatee as “a tickler”, which I think may have traumatized me for the rest of time.
Yadier Molina took a ball to the nads. We couldn’t find the car on the way out. Did I mention the cold? Because it was pretty cold.
It was still one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had. Went with my dad, the Tigers won 3-1, and the photos are all here.
Sparky Anderson throwing out the first pitch!
just because I still, to this day, cannot quite believe that there was World Series baseball in Detroit, or that I was there
So that was 2006 for Roar of the Tigers, and a thoroughly refreshing season it was. I don’t expect to get out to this many Tigers games next season, so enjoy the “charmingly amateur” fan photos from this time ’round.
Oh, and Happy 2007.