Some thoughts about baseball and my quest

Yes, I know, you thought this was a blog about sex.  Specifically about the kind of sex Cosmo says you should be having.  This post isn’t necessarily for the target audience of the blog itself.  I’m not sure if that’s irony or not, but I suspect it’s not.  That said, it’s my blog, and I’ll post what I like.  Feel free to skip this one if you’d like.  But if you read it, you might learn a little more about me and how my brain ticks.  Or tics.  I’m pretty sure that happens too.

What’s the quest?  I’ll get to that in a while, but first, some background.

If you’re a friend of mine, you probably know that I kind of have a thing for baseball.  Specifically, the Detroit Tigers, but really, any baseball at all.  I remember my grandma listening to games when I was a little girl.  My parents and I lived near Kalamazoo, and so we didn’t go to games, but I was kind of a fan.  I guess.  Until September of 1984 when we got to go to Detroit to see the Tigers play the Blue Jays.  If you’re up on your baseball, you might know that’s the year the Tigers were on FIRE and won the World Series.  If you’re me, you remember turning 8 years old and being terrified of the big crowds.

Between then and 2006, I kind of ignored baseball.  I vaguely paid attention to the games when I was in college, but I was more concerned with school (yeah, right, school).  In law school, I dated a guy who really loved football and kind of liked baseball, so I saw some games.  There were groups of us that would go to Cubs games and spend crazy amounts of money on beer, especially considering we were poor law students (I’m still paying for that beer now, goddammit).  My parents came to town for a Cubs game.  I still wasn’t focusing on the Tigers.  If you know anything about the Tigers, you know why.  They were complete and utter shit in the late 90s and early 00s (2000s?  I dunno how you’re supposed to say the first decade of the 21st Century).  I don’t think I actually went to a single White Sox game (where I could have seen the Tigers) until 2005.  Kind of sad, all that baseball I missed.  I took note when the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, though.

Anyway, in 2006, the Tigers got good.  I suppose I was a fair weather fan before then.  I apologize whole-heartedly to the Tigers for that.  I should have been paying attention.  I should have been following you.  Maybe it would have helped.  Maybe not.  Baseball has its superstitions, and if those shitty years are my fault, well, I’m sorry.  I’m trying to make up for it now.

I went out to Oakland, California in July of 2006 to see a guy  I was dating* (call it what you will).  He was (and still is) a HUGE baseball fan (Giants, if you’re wondering, though he claims the Royals too since he’s from KC.  I can’t fault him for that.  I claim the Tigers and the Cubs).  He mentioned that the Tigers were playing the A’s while I was out there and did I want to go to the game?  Why the hell not?  I love me some baseball, this guy hates the A’s and will cheer for the Tigers, and beer!  The Tigers lost, he almost got in a fight with a guy who was doing some particularly nasty heckling (I’m so glad I got that park out of the way – their fans are bad), but hmmm.  There’s something to this baseball thing.

I started paying really close attention to baseball after that trip, and my heart was broken when the (goddamn) St. Louis Cardinals beat the Tigers in the World Series.  I’m still bitter about it, something a co-worker who is a die hard Cardinals fan thinks it silly.  I tell him to take his “Cardinal Way” and shove it up his ass.  We agree to disagree, but I digress.  In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, I started paying closer attention, but I still was a bit of a fair weather fan.  Little did I know how important baseball would become in my life.

Along came November of 2011.  I had been working at a job that was literally making me lose my mind.  I was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder in 2009 after a quite disastrous trip to Hawai’i, and this job was only making it worse.  It got to the point where the job and I had to part ways.  I did not have another job lined up, but I had a severance package and unemployment benefits.  That winter was a warm one (by Chicago standards) and ended up being eye-opening.  There is a life outside of work.  Yes, money is a concern, but you have to have a life.  You have to do things that make you happy, or you might not be around to see another year.  It’s an ugly truth, and I have some wonderful people to thank for helping me through some really dark times.  You know who you are.

In March of 2012, I got an offer for a great job, and I’m pretty sure my parents breathed the sigh of relief heard around the world.  They never said anything, but I think they were afraid I was going to move home and make all of our lives miserable.  To celebrate our happiness, my Mom asked if I wanted to go somewhere.  Spring Training, maybe?  My Dad wouldn’t be able to go because tax season (best CPA in Southwest Michigan – let me know if you want his number), but she & I would go.  And so we did.

We have a family friend who works for the Tigers at their Spring Training facility (Joker Marchant Stadium, home of the Lakeland Flying Tigers), and we got some tips from her before we showed up.  And show up we did.  We had not great seats for one game, amazing seats for the other.  Got to see the big guys play.  Got to see the kids play – I had to keep checking my score card to see who #98 was.  Got Prince Fielder’s autograph.  It was a good trip.  One that really helped cement my love for this team.  I will always share that with my Mom, and I cannot ever thank her enough for that trip.  I have to take her on one of these trips some time.

I decided some time in 2012 that I would see the Detroit Tigers play at every single MLB park.  If you know baseball, you know this isn’t easy because there are two leagues – American (designated hitter) and National (the pitcher bats), and they don’t often play against each other.  Baseball has made this easier by having inter-league play after putting the Houston Astros into the American League, but it’s still a hotly contested issue among baseball fans.  In 2012, I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish this, but I knew I could do it.  It would take years, but I would get it done.  My new boss loved baseball (even if he is a Cardinals fan – he’s not a jerky one, which is rare).  I started stalking cheap tickets to White Sox games when the Tigers would be in town.

30 parks.  Only counts if the Tigers play the game I see.  Game. On.

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