Baseball came to Detroit a week later than usual, but the weather remained chilly.
The Tigers could play their opening game of the season in Death Valley in the middle of July, and it would still be frigid.
That’s because, as any Tigers fan knows, the team’s first game is expected to be frigid.
It’s also supposed to be loud, hopeful, and energetic in any sense of the term, and it was all of those things on Friday.
The Tigers upset the White Sox 5-4 in a thrilling come-from-behind victory, but it may not have been the most significant aspect of the day.
According to fans, Opening Day is a celebration of the rebirth of a sport that has brought generations of families together. It marks the beginning of a season associated with rebirth. It’s a jumble of baseball, nostalgia, partying, and religious experience all rolled into one.
And here you thought it was all about the beer.
Andy Heller of Rochester Hills, who was enjoying a Bud Light in the left-field bleachers, has started bringing his kid to the home opener in the same way that his father did. It’s an unofficial holiday from work and school in the Heller household.
According to his father, the chatty kid had been talking about the game all week. When a reporter said his goodbyes to the family in the fifth inning, he was still talking.
He couldn’t decide between the two Detroit clubs. He came to the conclusion that they were approximately the same.
Full of optimism
The clamor surrounding Opening Day doesn’t stop when the first pitch is thrown. It started early on Friday, as usual, with rock music blasting from Eastern Market sheds to the three floors of The Old Shillelagh bar in Greektown.
It was difficult to talk about the Tigers at the Tin Roof bar’s parking lot.
Even though the stadium was just across the street, the music was so loud that it was difficult to think about the squad.
It was easy to imagine Bob Seger in the rear seat of his 1960 Chevy with the music blaring. The singer of the song “Night Moves,” which is blasting over the speakers, is from Detroit and a huge supporter of the city’s sports teams.
Kathy Baker of Kalamazoo battled the din at the Tin Roof to explain why Opening Day is so important. She explained that holding a reunion around the game had become a tradition for her longtime pals.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, one of those guys, Javier Baez, who is infamous for swinging at any ball in his Zip code, drove in the winning run.
Standing on the concourse near third base, Tom Norris of Taylor did the math and believes the Tigers can win their division.
He admitted that wishful thinking had a role in his calculations. He could also have been giddy from the thrilling victory, in which the Tigers came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the powerful Sox.
Abraham Lincoln gets in on the action.
Ron Carley, a professional Lincoln presenter, said he was just like the rest of the crowd at the field for the game.
He said, “It’s Opening Day.” “It’s a get-together.”
People approached him to take photographs with the dummy president. He claims he visits the stadium almost every day at noon to shoot photos in front of the stadium’s massive stone tiger sentinels.
“I believe I am Michigan’s only professional Lincoln presenter.”
It’s great to be outside.
Emily and Frank Pizzo, both 62, of South Lyon, said they tailgate in the same area every Opening Day in a parking lot near the game. They’ve been doing it for maybe ten to fifteen years.
They arrived at 8 a.m. on Friday to set up a canopy, chairs, a television, a grill, snacks, and beverages for family and friends who would arrive later.
Despite the large spread, Frank noted that the furnishings were down this year. They used to supply a band and a porta-potty.
After being pent up during the pandemic, he said he was relieved to be able to get outside.