I loved Tiger Stadium growing up. It was a slice of emerald goodness in a concrete grayness that only years of neglect can give you. One of the best feelings I remember while growing up was walking through the labyrinth of ramps, cresting to expose grass as far as the eye could see.
You felt like you were transported into a different world, if only for a few hours. I miss the old place, a lot of good memories. But as the legend Ernie Harwell would say, it was loooooooong gone before I had my first child.
My oldest never had a chance, she was going to be a baseball fan whether she liked it or not. Luckily for both of us she’s a huge Tigers fan. In fact, the only poster in her room is of her favorite Tigers player. Brings a tear to my eye.
When we head downtown to go see a game, I miss parking on someone’s front yard for $5, or having to walk across the footbridge, dodging oversized balloons and t-shirt vendors to get to the stadium. It added to the experience. Now, we park in a fenced-in lot, pass the peanut guys and go into the stadium after our tickets are scanned.
A lot has changed. Ferris wheels, sushi and full pizzas are the norm.
What hasn’t changed is the look on the face of a youngster seeing the field for the first time. I remember that look on my daughter’s face; it was a mix of excitement and awe. There aren’t many days that you can put that look on your child’s face, so you have to cherish those moments … but it’s also up to you to feed that feeling because that will only grow their inner-child that they’ll need when they’re adults.
My daughter only knows Tiger Stadium by what I’ve told her. She knows it was where I saw my childhood heroes play. But what she doesn’t know is most of the time I was sitting next to my Dad, or as she knows him, Poppie.
My dad and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye on everything growing up, but what father and son do? But we could always agree that spending a summer afternoon in the bleachers was time well spent.
I plan on spending a few afternoons this summer with my favorite Tigers fan in hopes that one day she will look back at our time knowing that our trips to the ballpark were much bigger than the game.
– Jim Pesta, Parenting Program participant and father of two girls