Eyewitness Report: 5/20/06 at Detroit

This is probably the latest in the year that I have first gone to a game in 6 or 7 years, and I was really starting to miss it.  I had been looking forward to this for several weeks, and even though the Reds blew it, the excitement of the game didn't disappoint.

Some observations:

  • I don't know if it was the sun in his eyes or what, but Ryan Freel looked like he didn't know what he was doing in left field.  He was taking odd angles on fly balls and he and Griffey definitely looked tentative when they got within range of each other.
  • JD was right when he said that Milton looked tentative.  His fastball was topping out at about 87-88 MPH.  And everything was being hit in the air.  In fact, I think Dmitri Young grounded out once and everyone in our section was questioning how that was possible against Milton.
  • The defense was shaky all night, but in the 10th inning especially.  When Guillen stole 2nd base, he should have been out.  The throw was on time and perfect (at least from my angle), but either Lopez or Phillips (I can't remember who) dropped it.  I was so pumped at that point when I thought they threw him out that I accidentally whacked the guy in front me in the head.  He had it coming though.  Later in the inning Phillips was eaten up by what really could have been a double play ball.  And then Lopez double-pumping and rushing the throw to end the game was the absolute worst.  
  • On a positive note, Griffey's granny in the 7th was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in person.  Zumaya can throw some gas, and all of the Reds hitters up to that point were just trying to put wood on the ball.  When Griffey came to the plate, my buddy, who is also a Reds fan, and I both commented that Zumaya wouldn't be able to get that heat by Junior.  When he hit it, there was no doubt.  It was a thing of beauty.
  • Dunn's home run was weird because every pitch before it, he looked like he was totally baffled by Maroth.  He didn't have any good swings before the home run, and I swear there were two instances where he was so far ahead of a pitch that he fouled it back by carrying it around his shoulder on the bat.  It just goes to show that it doesn't take much of a mistake for someone as big as Dunn to put it into the seats.  
  • After Griffey's Grand Slam, my buddy asked me whether the Reds had enough of a bullpen to hold the lead. I said, "Nope." I hate when I'm right.
  • Curtis Granderson's home run went 348 feet. The wall is 345. That's how close we came to walking out with a victory.
  • This was the second time I had been to Comerica Park.  The last time was All Star Sunday for the Futures Game last year.  I would say based on both of those experiences that the park gets a "B" for a grade.  I found myself having to sit awkwardly to see around all of the heads in my way - and most of those people were sitting down.  I've been spoiled by prices at GABP as the prices for concessions at Comerica were outrageous.  Beer was $8, a hot dog was $5.  I don't know how you take a family out to a game at that cost.  The field itself was nice and I like the jagged wall.  The scoreboard was pretty good, though I wish they gave more information about the pitchers' line.  All in all, it was a good experience.
  • One last note, and something you won't find in the box score, is that just as Eric Milton was about to throw a pitch to a Tigers' batter, a giant inflatable penis was thrown on the field.  I would have pictures but suffice to say, when a giant inflatable penis is in the field of play, people stand up to see it.  I didn't have a good view for very long in order to snap a photo, but it was still interesting enough that I felt I should tell you about it.
  • Some pictures:

    Felipe Lopez "enjoys" a stretch.

    EdE gettin' loose.

    Phillips and Griffey "warm up" before the game.

    Milton pitching.

    Phillips just misses the ball on a Carlos Guillen single...

    And he comes up hurt, though not too bad as he stayed in the game.

    Griffey swings.

    Kearns swings.

    LLM swings.

    Griffey, seconds before his grand slam.  I imagine the guy on the cell phone telling his friend that something cool is just about to happen.

    Griffey rounds second after his grand slam, amused at the simplicity of this game.

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