A Detroit Tigers Blog with a Feminine Touch

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Few Days in Tampa Bay

First off, we must say: What an amazing, exciting, confidence-boosting turnaround by our team. Although tonight's loss was a little disheartening thanks to Brandon Inge, Defensive Replacement, it's still heartening to know that by the end of the night we will be at least 5.5 games up on the competition for the AL Central crown. After that horrible series against Minnesota, we sweep Cleveland in dramatic fashion and win two very good and close games against the Rays. Last night's win in particular was outstanding, as Brad Penny out-dueled David Price. That was a sentence we never thought we would write, but things seem to really be going the Tigers way lately.

Secondly, we're sorry we haven't posted in a while. Because we have pretty busy schedules lately, including one of us going back to school for the fall, we needed to take a break. And it just so happened that Laura and Megan took that break....

In Tampa. The Tampa Bay Area. Yes, with the Tigers. 

You reader(s) may remember that about a month back Sam from Roar of the Tigers accidentally stayed in the team hotel in Minnesota. For us, it was not so much of an accident. At all. Don't worry, we're not as crazy as we sound, and we didn't harass (or even approach) any Tigers, but it was very fun and entertaining and STRANGE to see the Tigers dressed in normal clothes, walking around doing normal(ish) things.

We all have seen the Tigers up close and personal at games (obviously) and we're sure a lot of you have seen them at events or promotions or randomly on the street or wherever. But to see all these Tigers in such a small space in such a short amount of time was a little more than we could take. Meeting Curtis Granderson alone in 2009 made us almost pass out. So you can only imagine our euphoria when we were in the same hotel as all of them. At once.

Oh yeah, there was a game too, and a good one. Jump with us to read in detail about all of the Tampa Bay Fun...

We arrived at our beautiful hotel around 3 pm Sunday afternoon--so, basically a few hours before the Tigers' incredible walk-off DP win over the Indians (one of the best wins of the season, no doubt). After eating a late, relaxing dinner in one of the hotel's restaurants, we strolled carelessly back towards the lobby so we could take the elevator back to our room.
Little did we know that the Tigers had just arrived. To the hotel. All of them. At once.
Let it go down for the record that walking into a literal ambush of Detroit's Finest is more terrifying than thrilling. Think about it: one minute you're harmlessly finishing your brownie a la mode, the next you are practically colliding with Juh-honny Peralta. This happened. After we both made awkward eye contact with a few players (probably made more awkward by the stunned looks on our faces), we then nearly sprinted to the elevator.

However. We were not alone on this elevator ride. Who should join us in the admittedly very small, cramped space but the one and only Mario Impemba. You know how we knew it was him? He was toting a bag that bore the inscription: M. Impemba. We had decided before going to the hotel not to approach any Tigers so they could enjoy their stay peacefully. However, we were not willing to endure an awkward elevator ride made even more so by the fact that these elevators are teeny tiny. So we asked timidly if he was Mario. Mario said yes, and we pleasant conversation until we reached our floor. Surreal. 

One note from our conversation: Mario was pretty surprised that we were Tigers fans. Why? A little more on this later.

The next day we saw Papa Grande. He was very friendly and initiated conversation by asking us how we were doing (How nice!!!) Papa Grande wears sunglasses indoors and has huge diamond earrings. He is cool enough to do this. 

We also (horrifyingly and hilariously) saw Jim Leyland and Tom Brookens sunbathing together by the pool. In swim trunks, no shirts. This is a sight we both honestly never ever ever ever thought we'd see. Also, our mom has a small crush on Brookens from his glory days, so she was very jealous. 

Dave Dombrowski, Rod Allen, and Ryan Fields also made appearances at the pool, but Rod and Dave kept their shirts on, thank God.

It's also very funny and scary to see Justin Verlander on a pitching day storm onto the team bus in his sweats, ignoring everyone and everything around him. He's focused all day, people, as if you ever doubted it.

If you've never been to Tropicana Field, go. Go as soon as you can. There's a good chance you'll get great seats, since Rays fans blow, and you'll probably be sitting with all Tigers (or whatever team you root for) fans. It's also truly a very nice "park", with a bunch of very random and funny videos appearing on the JumboTron. Lucky it's a dome too, since it was storming like crazy during game time. No rainouts here, people!

We were sitting in the front row on the third base side, directly across from the third base umpire. Therefore, we were lucky enough to see the bullpen pitchers in all of their glory walking between the "bullpen" and the dugout. Let us tell you, all the things you've heard are true--our bullpen really is as crazy as they're made out to be. Bumble Below seemed to be the only calm one, and everyone else was goofing off one way or another.

Speaking of Below, we both got a picture with him. He took a half hour our to walk down the third base line and sign autographs or take a picture with anyone who asked. What a sweet boy! Actually, he's not as young as we thought. But whatever.

Also, one of the Security Peeps said that it was rare to see two girls sitting in the front row at a baseball game, which brings to mind the surprised look Mario gave us. We know that sometimes we definitely come off as shallow and overly dramatic, but it would be nicer to see girls take more of a serious interest in baseball. It shouldn't be a shock to see girls who know every player, position, major statistics, and broadcasters of their team, or who sit in the front row and cheer like maniacs for their teams. It shouldn't!

Okay, preachiness over, moving on!

Seeing Alex Avila go down with a ball to the neck was horrible (Please, somebody give him a day off)! Seeing him hit a home run was amazing. Seeing Justin Verlander pitch for his 19th was more than amazing. The Tigers really, really looked like a playoff-caliber team on that Monday night.  It was very encouraging to see.

The next day was our last day, and after three very fun filled days, we were on our way back home. If you are a Tigers fan who actually respects the Tigers personal space and just appreciates being in their presence, we would suggest staying at their hotel. It is quite the experience.  Just don't go over the top and start stalking them or something!  There were a few fans at our hotel that may have crossed the line by asking players for their autographs or for pictures, but other than that, it's just like staying at a hotel with a celebrity, except for us, it was about 100 times more exciting!

The other thing is that, despite our disappointing loss tonight, we are really liking our team. We feel the most confident we've felt all season, and, knock on wood, we think we're in for a very fun end to the regular season.  Stay tuned this fall, folks! We're in for a wild ride!

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