by Ray Bergman
Game 14 - Tigers vs White Sox at Tiger Stadium
August 19, 1996Well fans, here I am back again after taking a few days off from writing to refresh my mind and to give my ailing knee some time to mend. At the end of today's game I will have completed the first half of the dream trip, traveled some 7,000 miles, attended 14 ball games in 14 different stadiums and spent 25 days on the road away from home. Bring on the sencond half of my dream! I feel like a 20 year old rookie coming to bat for the first time. I am ready to play, so put me in, coach and lets get on with the middle innings.
I had a short drive today from Benton Harbor, MI to Detroit (about 200 miles). It rained most of the way and I was in heavy bumper to bumper traffic several times. The road was generally flat, green and lightly wooded. A little dreary looking. The roads in Michigan are pretty well beaten up due to the harsh winters. In fact, the state roads resemble a patchwork quilt in many areas.
I can see why they call this area the rust belt of America. As I drove into Detroit on my way to Tiger stadium I passed old steel plants, manufacturing plants, refineries and other grey, gloomy, ugly-looking buildings. I believe that Tiger stadium is the oldest ballpark in the Majors and it looks that way. However, there are several saving graces. It has real grass and it is not symetrical. The outfield has some unique corners and right center is 440 feet from home plate. The fans are so close to the action that someone in the center field seats can carry on a conversation with the fans behind home plate. That might be streching it a little bit, but not much. Even the broadcast booths are closer to home plate than the middle infielders which makes for some interesting calls on line drive foul balls.
Today the Tigers host the Whitesox, a team I've already seen 3 times on my dream trip. The starting pitchers were James Baldwin for the Sox and Omar Olivares for the Tigers. The Tigers scored first with a run on two hits in the first. Meanwhile, Olivares was cruising along, as he retired the first 12 batters he faced and his teamates added two more runs in the fourth on an Andujar Cedeno homer, but he completly lost it in the sixth as he walked four and gave up two hits. Joey Eischen replaced him in the sixth, and when the dust had been swept from home plate, Chicago had scored 5 runs and taken a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. This was a mild game compared to the next three innings, here's what happened.
The Tigers snapped right back by scoring four runs, highlighted by a pinch-hit three run blast by Curtis Pride, and regained the lead at 7-5. The score remained that way until the top of the ninth, when all hell broke loose and the Sox scored seven runs, aided by two three-run shots over the out field wall, one by Ozzie Guillen and the other by Danny Tartabull. Roberto Hernandez closed out the game for the Sox as the Tigers went down 12-7.
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© 1996 by Ray Bergman. Reproduction of all or any part of "My Baseball Dream" without the written permission of Ray Bergman is prohibited.
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