Category Archives: Baseball

My Twenty Fourth Year of Life

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“I don’t about you….but I’m feeling twenty-twoooo.”

Actually, I’m feeling 25, but T. Swift just happens to be stuck in my head this morning.  It’s difficult to believe  I already feel 25.  Typically it takes me about two months to feel my actual age after my birthday, and my birthday was five days ago.

With this post, I wanted to recapture some of the amazing events that occurred during my 24th year of life.

*I started a new career at OtterBase and am absolutely in love with it. I have met the most amazing, intelligent people, and I finally feel like I’m in a role where I am challenged to hit my full potential. The people with whom I work have become another family–my OtterFamily!

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*The Tigers made it to the World Series this year! Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to any post-season games this year, but we went to as many regular seasons one as possible!

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*My best friends and I got old, and everyone moved away! Around that post-graduation time, some of my closest friends/siblings reached that point in their lives where Michigan was no longer “it” for them. My little sister Kelly continued to pursue her dream of working at the Happiest Place on Earth. She’s living in Florida and working full-time at Disney World! That bum! My best friend Laura moved to Louisiana to further pursue her school counseling dream and to be closer to her loved one. My bisterousin (best friend/sister/cousin) Elena started her third year at Notre Dame working toward a degree in Psychology and to do research to save the world. My best friend since high school Jake moved out west right after high school and now is living in LA. Even though we only see each other once a year, we still maintain this ridiculously awesome friendship, which is too cool for pictures.

I miss them all terribly, but we have no problem staying up to date in each other’s lives.

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*My mom graduated from nursing school! My mother is an amazing woman, and I could not be more proud of her. This April, my mother–who is 51 years old mind you but has the energy of a 29 year old–completed nursing program and is now taking the licensing boards to become an R.N. She has worked her butt off and is a complete inspiration.

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*I was asked to write a blog for EveryDay Health’s Voices of Experience blog. It was amazing writing these articles about my experiences with diabetes and how I dealt with my successes and difficulties with type 1. Unfortunately the program was cancelled in December, but I got my first taste of professional writing!

*My little brothers decided not to abandon me, and I sure love them for that. Derek is in his second year at Michigan State University, and I am so proud of him! It’s amazing to watch your little silly brother grow up into a responsible, devilishly-handsome young man who belongs on the cover of GQ Magazine. My youngest brother Brady decided he would attend a pre-school here in Michigan so I wouldn’t miss him too much. He has remained as pinchable as ever.

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*This year, I also became an aunt! One of my dear friends Becca had a beautiful son, and I am just in love with him.

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*I also went to a Yellowcard concert this year! Yellowcard has been my favorite band since I was 15-years-old, and holy cow that makes me feel old. It’s been 10 years since I first heard “Ocean Avenue”. Elena turned 21 this year (again, how old am I?!), and Yellowcard happened to have a concert in Grand Rapids on the night of her birthday. What an unbelievable night!

Quality photo--I know. You can clearly tell this is Ryan Key.

Quality photo–I know. You can clearly tell this is Ryan Key.

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Well, folks, that’s it! Nothing else major happened at all this year.

Oh wait. This year I did GET ENGAGED!

*Ah yes, I suppose I did have the most unbelievable, romantic, life-changing moment of my entire life while I was 24-years-old. Keegan and I went on vacation to Jamaica, and he asked me to marry him! I said yes!

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24 was an unbelievable year. It had so many positive changes and so many life-changing events for those around me and me. I can hardly believe I’m at the point in my life where I have a career I love, I am engaged, and I am so unbelievably happy.

So Taylor, 22 may have been fun, but it’s nothing compared to 24.

Run-Ins With MLB Players

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It is a flat-out understatement to say that I “like” baseball. You can “like” your kitty or “like” Mountain Dew, but I LOVE baseball. It’s almost unhealthy.

I have been fortunate enough to run into a few professional baseball players in my days, and let me tell, you I had to take a moment to collect myself before saying hello.  What I wanted to do was say “LAKSJEFUIAHERKJLK YOU PLAY FOR THE TIGERS! ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR TEAM AND I’LL KNOW IT! BATTLE AVERAGES! OBPs! YOUR STARTING LINE UP! I’M A TRUE FAN NOT SOME DITZY GIRL LOOKING FOR THE 10.75 MILLION YOU MADE IN SIGNING WITH US!! KLJFOIAJFJL;KJFLJ.”

Instead, I said, “Well hi there! Can I start you off with a Miller Lite or a soda?”

I used to work in a restaurant in the Metro Detroit area back by my home town, and we’d occasionally have professional athletes playing in Detroit who came in to eat. While working there, the staff knew how much I loved baseball and the Detroit Tigers.  So when we had special promos going on where players would come into dine, they’d be sure to seat them with me.

In his debut season in 2008, Matt Joyce of the Detroit Tigers came in for a quick meal before hitting the road. He was there with lots of high-strung PR people, but he himself was very low-maintenance.  He stood and took pictures, signed autographs, and mingled with some fans who came up to him. He appreciated the support of the fans and spent so much time with them he had to take his food to go.

No big deal. Just my BFF Matt.

Another time, some of St. Louis Cardinals game in, and we had to block off the entire back section for them.  No pictures allowed! Sorry to disappoint.  But they were super nice.  On a $250 bill they tipped $100.  Thank you for realizing you make millions a year, and I–I am a full-time student working to pay off college.

My 15 minute claim to fame came in 2008 when I met then-Tiger and future-2010’s World Series MVP Edgar Renteria. He came in on a Sunday night after a day game where he hit a grand slam to win it. When Renteria sat down, my manager pulled me over and said, “Hey, Bri.  Do you know who that is?!” I looked over and we both acted like little school girls! A well-established Detroit Tiger! Not a rookie or anything!

So I went over to the table, introduced myself, and we talked about baseball for a bit.  Long story short, we hung out, and he was not a gentleman, and I should have known that.

No big deal. He was traded shortly after.

Buuuut my most interesting run-in with a Tiger did not happen at a restaurant. It happened at a service plaza in Ohio.

Back story: Keegan used to live in Cleveland when he was working as the PR person of Cleveland’s AHL team.  Because we traveled to see each other every weekend, we decided a Tigers game in Cleveland would be fun! I had never been to Progressive Field, so we made it a date.  The park was pretty nice–no Comerica Park, but nice–and we enjoyed a victory over the Indians.

Nice job, Tigers!

On my drive home on Sunday night, I stopped at a service plaza to grab a coffee.  When I walked out to my car, I saw a giant black Escalade and the people were standing outside of the car pumping gas.  My car was parked at the same pump, opposite side.  When I got closer to my car, I could not BELIEVE my eyes.

Who in the ENTIRE world was standing across from me texting on his cell phone?

Holy Kit Kat bar.  It’s Number 24 hitting fourth in the line up and averaging over .300 Miguel Cabrera.

One more time…while randomly stopping at a service plaza in Ohio, I bumped into MIGUEL CABRERA!!

I approached with a grin bigger than my face, and I said, “Hello! Do you happen to be Miguel Cabrera?”

He stopped on his phone and looked up.  He smiled and said, “Si. Como esta?”

AHHHH HE’S TALKING TO ME IN SPANISH!! Okay. Keep it cool, girlfriend, I thought.

I explained that I’m a huge Tigers fan and I was at the game last night and I thought he was amazing blah blah.  He was really nice and smiled and nodded his head, and his friend agreed to take a picture for us as well.

 

This is unreal.  Thank God for the camera
or I wouldn’t believe myself if I told me.

On my way I nearly cried of happiness.  He was so nice and was letting other people stop and take pictures with him, too. Not at all the kind of athlete pushing fans away.

As if my love for baseball isn’t deep enough, my love for the down to earth players who appreciate their fans is even deeper.

Magglio Ordonez

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If you don’t already know, I love baseball, and more specifically, I love the Tigers. I have loved those boys since before they were in the race for the pennant in 2006, so don’t even think of calling me a bandwagon fan.

Magglio Ordonez joined the Detroit Tigers as number 30 back in 2005 after several seasons with the Chicago White Sox.  After paying close attention to this very talented (and very attractive) Latino player, I decided he was my new Tiger.  I appreciated his quiet confidence and loved his power at the plate. No no, I was not one of those women who fell for his long, curly hair.

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Hello, Magglio!

In 2006, Magglio led the Tigers to the race for the pennant.  Though we ended up landing the wild card spot instead of clinching the AL Central Division spot, we still made it.  And oh baby did we really make it.

First we played the Yankees in a five-game series. After losing the first game, all critics thought that was it.  There was no way the team who has not been to the playoffs since 1987 was going to beat the New York Yankees.  Think again, oh yee of little faith!

The Tigers may have lost that first game, but they won the next three to win the ALDS.  Then we met up with Oakland A’s in the ALCS.  We won game one. We won game two. We won game three.  Could we possibly sweep them in all four games?

It’s Saturday night, bottom of the ninth, game 4 against the A’s.  The Tigers are tied up 3-3 when Craig Monroe and Placido Polanco hit back-to-back singles.  Then Magglio Ordonez comes up to the plate.  First pitch. Ball.  Next pitch.  He makes contact with it….it’s going…it’s going…IT’S GONE! HE HITS IT OUT OF THE PARK! THE TIGERS ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES! WAHHHHHH!

Dan Dickerson’s announcement of the home run

I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I sang “We Are the Champions.”  That is by far my favorite baseball memory.

Though the Tigers didn’t win the World Series that year, Magglio’s bat did not slow down in 2007.  He was on fire that season and won the coveted Batting Title hitting a career high .363.

In his next three seasons, he still averaged above .300 and was still playing like a star.  Unexpectedly the second half of the 2009 season, his bat slowed down a bit.  I remember Fox Sports Detroit announcers Rod Allen and Mario Impemba mentioning Ordonez’s wife Dagly was being treated for cancer and was being treated in his home country of Venezuela, and I personally think that’s why his game started to diminish.

He played with the Tigers until 2011 where he ended up hitting in the mid .250s, but his contract was not renewed in 2012.  But that is not the memory I’ll have of this great baseball player. I will forever remember his poise at the plate, his quiet celebration when he made contact with the ball, his support of his teammates.  He was a great baseball player and made a phenomenal contribution to my beloved Tigers.

Today, June 3, 2012, he is officially retiring.  Magglio, you are a great athlete and by far my favorite Tiger.  Thank you for the unforgettable baseball memories and smiles you brought my friends, family, and me throughout the years.

Oh yeah, and go Tigers!

Opening Day

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Oh baseball.  Finally here you are.  My winter has been so long and lonely without you!  I’ve been waiting for the hum of a crowd of 40,000 anxious fans, the sight of Cabrera hitting one clear out of the park, and the smell of hot dogs and those freaking delicious sugary almond things.

Opening Day means the beginning of 160+ nights of late night baseball and the build up to the thrill of a post-season win.   Opening Day means my life can finally begin again!

Unfortunately I was not able to attend Opening Day 2012, but it looked like a beautiful day for a game! Sunny and clear skies. Mmm mmm mmmm.  Sounds MUCH better than last year’s weather!  Holy cow it was 32 degrees and my sister and I had hypothermia at the end.   That didn’t matter, though! It’s the fact that we were there at the first home game of the year with thousands of other people who were just as excited as we were.

You see, in my family, our priorities are as such: God, family, baseball, breathing.  No really. I’m not kidding.  We’d give up breathing before giving up baseball.  We are all raised to be die-hard Tigers fans, even during unspeakable years like 2003. Note: true fans watched the games even that season.  

Here I am looking very much like a son:

And here is my cousin getting married at Comerica Park.

A dream come true.

What better way to celebrate a girl’s 21 birthday than with the family at my second home?!

 Overall, I’ve loved baseball since before I could talk, and my passion for an in the park home run has only grown since.

So here’s to you, Detroit Tigers 2012.  THIS IS OUR YEAR!