Take Me Out To The Ballgame…

I’m not much of a sports fan. In fact, by and large sports are kind of boring to me. Except Baseball. I love baseball. It could be because when I was a child I spent a lot of time with my grandpap who was a semi invalid. I would often sit with him in the livingroom and watch the game on tv. As the game played out he would explain to me what was going on.

I quickly learned what a pop fly, a shut out, a bunt, the squeeze and countless other things meant. And what they looked like. And I quickly began to appreciate anyone who could seemingly fly up into the air and snag a homerun wannabe ball and dash all hopes.

I think maybe because of grandpap and my early tutelidge in the game I became a diehard Tigers fan. Even now, even though I’ve lived in California for most of my adult life – I still have a softspot for those motor city madmen. There is just something about them that speaks of the best of ‘home’ to me. They take me back to my childhood, when popcorn was heaven and watching the game was the biggest thing going on in the world. When things felt safe and happy. And even if they got the pants beat off of them I never stopped loving my Tigers. I guess that’s what they call a fan.

One of my fondest memories was the 1968 World Series. It was Tigers vs the Cardinals. And what a series! It was a nail biter from beginning to end. It looked like the Cards were going to sweep the series but somewhere around game 5 my Tigers busted outta the box and the fight was on. They were not going to go quietly. The Cards were going to have to use every trick in their bat bag to beat them.

Maybe because I’d watched my Tigers from the time I was a tiny girl and knew the team – Stormin’ Norman Cash, Al Kaline, Wille (the Wonder) Horton, Bill Freehan, Mickey Lolich, Gates Brown, Mickey McClaine and the rest…I just had a feeling. I believed. I knew my Tigers were going to rally and come back to take the series. It was going the full seven games and they were going to win.

I watched the whole series with my then best friend Dorothy – we were on a babysitting job with some neighbor kids and made them watch too. Our eyes never left the set. Especially on Game 7. It was the one. The game that would decide it all.

And that final moment when catcher Bill Freehan caught that last out sent us over the edge. We screamed until we were hoarse. We danced. We celebrated. Our guys had done good!

Imagine my delight when I learned that this year’s series was once again between my beloved Tigers and the awesome Cards. I’ve been watching the series – and ironically, I find myself going back to my memories of the ’68 series. This could be it tonight. The Cards could take it all. They have only to win one more game and they’re the champions. Yet…in my heart I’m hoping and believing that my Tigers will rally once again. They will get their blood boiling and their bats banging. And make this hometown girl proud as punch. Cuz though the players have changed, I think the spirit of the Tigers lives on – it transcends the players, the managers and coaches and is its own force to be reckoned with.

Wish them luck.


Me, Wild-Heidi & Taylor Hicks

You may not be aware of the fact that I am a rabid Taylor Hicks fan. (Well, maybe not rabid since I wouldn’t bite anybody.) It all started when I happened to catch a couple of American Idol auditions last winter. This guy caught my eye. Stood out as something special. Not because of his grey hair or his rumpled cuteness but because it seemed to me he reached deep when he belted out those few words in the audition. I decided I would watch the show as long as he remained a contestant. Little did I know what a phenom he would turn out to be.

Long story short, I like (apparently) millions of other women became completely enamored of this grey-haired dude and my (our) life became all about Tay-Tay. Yep, it was all Taylor all the time. Soon, I was seeking out other Taylor fanatics online and actually ended up making a few friends. Most notably: Bobo, Wild-Heidi, Uni & Trish. It was cah-raze-ee! We spent endless hours on message boards, IMing about the latest, visiting sites like graycharles.com, swapping pics, videos, blah, blah, blah. Hey I finally got to be 16 and it was fricking great! Then…

Yay! He won.

It turned out that Wild-Heidi lived in California too, so we hooked up. The incessant Taylor-Talk continued. We were going to stalk him and find him and I don’t know – we never really talked about what we’d actually do if we met him. Anyway, at some point, we decided it would be too long before he put a solo concert together so we thought we’d better go see the Idol concert when it came to town. Intense conversation on the phone, tickets selected and bought online. Then all we had to do was wait…….

Yesterday, the day had finally arrived. We were going to see Taylor. We were both so hyped up that neither of us really slept. We left for Orange County (concert was in Anaheim) a mere 4 hours early. We had lunch. Then we zipped over to the stadium. Still an hour & a half to concert time, we hung by the tour busses in hopes of catching a glimpse of our obsession. No luck. We did see Kelli, Cat, Elliott & Paris. I was utterly amazed at how tiny they all were. They looked so much bigger on television. And btw, Kelli and Paris really are beautiful young women, startling so.

Wild-Heidi was disappointed that we didn’t catch site of “T” but I said, ‘hey, maybe he’ll dance down our aisle or something. could happen?’ We went in. The place was packed and though the a/c was jacked to the max I was sweating my brains out.

We found our seats and Wild-Heidi made friends with everybody in our quandrant of the stadium. There was picture swapping, binocular sharing, fangirly screams and dancing. Yep, we were having a grand old time. But oh, the wait. Not that the other kids weren’t great, they were. But, I paid $150 to see Taylor – that was all I was interested in. Wild-Heidi and I conserved our energy for him.

Just after intermission the lady sitting next to us whispered that she heard Taylor was in fact going to be dancing down our aisle. I told Wild-Heidi and worried she would need an oxygen tank if she didn’t start breathing soon.

The lights dimmed – we watched the stage and eyed the aisle alternately. Back and forth. Forth and back. Just when we thought he wasn’t really going to be dancing down the aisle, we heard him to our left. OMG! There he was! Yep, right there – 3 feet away from me. He was reaching out and touching people and I put out my hand and managed to graze his arm. I touched him. Yeoooowwwooooooohhooooooooooooooooo! Okay, that definitely made my night. Wild-Heidi got a little vaklemped because she was trying to manage the digital camera and the camera cell phone at once and got a ‘ghost’ of a pic.

Then we screamed our heads off, danced the Carltong, yelled, clapped, hopped and sang! It ended way too soon. Way too soon. But what great fun it was while it lasted.

Right after the concert, we rushed to the tour busses, where they fenced us back like we were in fan-zoo’s and we waited. People pushed and leaned and poked and nuggled but me and Wild-Heidi held our own. We stayed up front. We were ready, we had our CD’s, ticket stubs for signing (actually I wore a white shirt for signing- I know, crazy, huh?). But, it was not meant to be. Taylor was whisked away to another engagement after we barely caught a glimpse – and we had waited over an hour just for that. Happily, I did get my shirt signed by Mandisa, Paris and Kelli. All beautiful, all very sweet young women.

We topped the evening off by going to a gas station mini-mart, buying a couple of warm diet cokes and making the long drive home. Wild-Heidi is still a little miffed at Tay for not stopping and saying hi to us, but she’ll cheer up once we plan our next Taylor caper. Hehee, oh yes she will.

By the way ladies, Taylor is unbelievably handsome in real life. Knocks you flat on your arse. I promise, no lie.