Posted by Bob Biscigliano
For the past 5 years of my life, my appreciation for what my father has done for me and my family has grown an enormous amount. At 23, I have matured to a level that allows me to be aware of the gratitude that is due. Aside from being the absolute best father I could ask for, one of the greatest appreciations I have for my dad is that he introduced me to the sport I love and know so well: baseball. He would talk to me about it before and after school and even coached me perfectly, mentally and physically, as I was coming into my own as a pitcher during my teenage years. He was the ideal coach and role model, instilling in me a real passion for the game that I could also parallel to real life situations. If it weren't for my dad's enthusiasm about sports in general, I probably wouldn't be as true or loyal of a fan as I am today. I MOS DEF wouldn't keep a blog about Detroit sports and if I had a blog at all it would probably be more like a gournal, keeping everyone posted on my current moods by displaying different types of smileys. Lame, right? Anyway, I really wanted to write this post because of the night I just spent with my father at Comerica Park watching the Tigers beat the Cardinals in the 9th inning. Tonight was so special to me not because of the walk off win, but because I was able to spend a night at a Tigers game one-on-one with my father for the first time in my life, watching the sport he raised me to love, know, and play for the last 18 years. This post may cause tears so I hope you have your kleenex handy. It also might be a good idea to have a telephone near because you are probably going to want to call your daddy after reading this....
The idea to invite my dad to a Tigers game dawned on me the other day when I realized that this is probably going to be the last full summer I will ever spend in Detroit. The past couple weeks have been full of me lamenting about Detroit sports and how I can't wait to see how my loyalty will hold up in the next 25-100 years. With that very sad realization, I've become more eager than before to attend every single Tigers game I possibly can for the rest of the summer. (I typically do this anyway, as I have probably attended more than 10 home games a summer for the past 5 years I have been home. Last year I was home for only 2 weeks during the season and I still attended 8 games; 2 of which were on the road). I digress... The more I think about my love for Detroit sports and how I wish I could stay, the more I think about how my father helped shape it. The more I think about that, the more I wanted to go to a game with him. I understood that this was probably not going to be the last chance I would get to attend a baseball game with my father, but it may very well be the only chance I get to go with him by myself, as a maturing kid phasing into adulthood with him still-and always- being my wise old man. So I asked him to go to the game while we were at work the other day. He seemed more than happy to go, so I went ahead and got two seats behind the Tigers bullpen. The date was set: June 25th, 2008 Tigers vs. Cardinals regular season game. Just me and my dad.
The day with my dad started just as special as it finished. We arrived at the stadium about 30 minutes before game time and shared a moment looking for the brick that his summer baseball team donated to him. Afterward, we meandered to our seats in left field. Along the way, my dad and I stopped at every statue/display of old Tiger teams and I listened as he told me old war stories about each and every player. For example, Ron LeFlore was a Tiger in the 1970s. He was an inmate at the Michigan State prison before being recruited to play for the Tigers. His speed and strength earned him an opportunity for parole and a chance to play baseball with the Tigers. He would later become an All-Star. My dad told me the story in much more detail though. My dad is an encyclopedia for real. We then bought a pizza and went to our seats. We watched the first 5 innings in the rain behind the Tigers bullpen. The game was really exciting as the Tigers traded runs with the Cardinals every other inning . In the bottom of the 5th the game was delayed for 2 hours and 25 minutes. However, my dad and I never ever thought about leaving. In fact, the only comment my dad made was "this delay will weed out the true fans." I loved that. It was exactly what I was thinking. Out of 40, 091 fans that were at the game to start it, only a quarter of them remained after the delay. I was so proud to be a part of that with my dad, the man who made me such a true fan.
Throughout the entire rain delay I day dreamed about moving up some 5-10 rows to RIGHT behind the bullpen and asking Zumaya or Todd Jones for a ball so I could give it to my dad. I was really happy to be at the game with him so I thought it would special if I got him a ball from one of his favorite current Tigers. During the delay we walked around the stadium though; probably 2 or 3 times, chatting and sharing some laughs at the expense of the people taking too much advantage of the beer sales that would not stop as long as the game was stuck in the 5th inning. As soon as the game was scheduled to resume for 11:05 pm, we strolled down the stairs of the nearest aisle to some seats along the 3B line. We sat about 6 rows from the field. An inning and a half later a 2-2 pitch to Granderson was popped up down the left field line right in front of us. The ball bounced on the field in foul territory and up into the seats right in front of us. As if my day dream before had come true, the ball landed 2 seats right in front of me, there for the taking if I was aggressive enough. If you didn't see me on Fox Sports Detroit (because I was on there), I reached down and out scavenged a big black man, man with a glove, and a 7 year old boy for the ball. As soon as I picked it up I immediately turned to my dad and handed it to him. He tried to give it back, saying it was mine but I said "no no dad. This one is for you." I could tell he was really happy about it because he rubbed it with his hands for the next ten minutes before tucking it deep into his pants pockets.
The time with my dad was special also because it was an amazing game. The Tigers traded runs with the Cardinals the entire game, we saw Zumaya's return to Detroit, and we saw a walk off hit in the 9th (a hit that my dad geniously predicted before the inning started). After the walk off hit, which occurred just 6 hours before my dad would have to go to work again, my father and I exchanged high fives and smiles as we started to walk to the car. My dad said "this was all well worth waiting out the rain delay." I was happy the Tigers won the game for sure, but not nearly as happy as I was to be there with my dad. I might have gotten him a foul ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson, but my dad has given me so much more. I want the baseball I gave him to serve as a symbol for what the game has represented in my life. Baseball symbolizes the love, hard work, passion, and loyalty I try to possess in my life... all instrumental aspects of life that my father has gracioiusly passed down to me throughout my upbringing.
I want to end by defending my dad for buying me that mike's hard lemonade. He didn't know there was alcohol in it, Chip!