Journalism day at Tiger Stadium evoked fond memories of the fact that it’s not just a game. As cliché as it sounds, it’s more than a baseball game. It’s a hit, a run, a cheer and some groans. It’s old men trying to keep score, yelling at the umps when they make bad calls. It’s a group of 20-year-old girls posing in attempts to get the perfect selfie to show they’re “not like the other girls, they like baseball." It's parents bringing their kids to expose them to the same childhood they had. It’s the Ferris wheel and the merry go round. It’s the smell of roasted almonds, hot dogs, pizza, frozen lemonade and pretzels.
When I think about baseball, I think of my sisters, my parents, my great uncles and my grandparents. I think about family. I think of my sister’s softball games and my t-ball practices. I’d go to field trips with the team, meet the tigers, and leave the game only eager to show my mom my signed T-shirt.
Baseball is my dad yelling at the screen during the World Series game. It’s my sister surprising me with tickets on the third baseline right. It’s me joining the softball team to feel at home at school. Some go to Comerica Park for the game, but I go to remember my childhood. Ticket stubs still lay inside a box on my dresser. When times would get rough at home, I’d put on my headphones and block the arguments. The screen would switch from college softball to the Detroit Tigers best plays to best MLB hidden ball tricks. It’s comfort.
Every summer we go to games, it’s not summer if we don’t go.
When we’d go, we’d sit all the way at the top and my mom would squeeze my hand as we’d get further up. She’d tense up and squeeze my hand even harder, refusing to open her eyes. My sister, Jocelyn, would distractedly reassure everything’s okay and then clap at the good play. My sister Itzel would be one of those 20-something girls posing.
And as for me, I’d sit. I’d breathe in the air. I’d look around and I’d take it in. I’d watch the jumbo screen show the birthday wishes and names. I’d watch the games they’d play for the crowd and always bet on the red car. I’d watch the sky go down and I’d zone out. It’s not that I didn’t like the game, I loved it. But there’s times when I’d sit and I’d breathe in and find myself no longer my ripe old age of 16, I’d return to that 8 year old girl who was missing teeth, still grinning at the fact that my T-shirt was signed by the Tigers.
As the air goes into my lungs, everything changes and all I see is my family. When I exhale, I know I’m home.