Happy Birthday, Babe!

Yesterday, February 6th was Babe Ruth’s birthday.

Now that’s not something I’d normally get excited about, but there is an annual birthday party for the slugger at Tom’s Tavern in Detroit.

This was my first time going, and the small bar was absolutely packed but friendly. The Stroh’s were cold. Everyone got a Babe birthday pin, too.

And here’s some interesting local history from the Babe Ruth article in Wikipedia:

Ruth’s name quickly became synonymous with the home run, as he led the transformation of baseball strategy from the “inside game” to the “power game”, and because of the style and manner in which he hit them. His ability to drive a significant number of his home runs in the 450–500 foot range and beyond resulted in the lasting adjective “Ruthian,” to describe any long home run hit by any player. Probably his deepest hit in official game play (and perhaps the longest home run by any player), occurred on July 18, at Detroit’s Navin Field, in which he hit one to straightaway center, over the wall of the then-single-deck bleachers, and to the intersection, some 575 feet from home plate.

That intersection is presumably what’s now Trumbull and the service drive. With Tiger stadium gone, it’s easier to visualize just how far that home run was.

Vigil at Old Tiger Stadium

img_2675I won’t harp on about the preservation of Tiger Stadium and the abrupt plans to demo it all. Others have done a fine job of that already.

And it was picked up in the national news.

But I have made my donation to the Old Tiger Stadium Consevancy.

And last night I biked to a last-minute vigil for her near the corner of Michigan and Trumbull with about 50 others and a good number familiar faces. There was just a lot of frustration and a couple conspiracy theories. Why this and why now?

After a while, the crowd dispersed with many heading to nearby Nancy Whiskey. I pedaled home. It was a great night to ride, but the temperature was dropping through the 40s.

That didn’t keep the ladies off Woodward just north of McNichols, one of whom yelled, “Ride that bike!” Sure thing.

Not much further away, I stopped at Dutch Girl Donuts for a snack. I ordered just one and entered into a discussion on donuts at the small counter. Some round donuts came up fresh and they gave me a couple freebies.  Yes, these are the best donuts in town and they’re open 24/6.  Yeah, they’re closed on Sundays.

Mark “the Bird” Fidrych Vigil

More sad news in Detroit.

One of the most unforgetable of all the Detroit Tigers, Fidrych passed away yesterday at 54. 

I belong to the Save Tiger Stadium group on Facebook. Just after the sun went down, I received a group message about a candlelight vigil for Mark Fidrych on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.

The radar wasn’t showing any imminent rain, so I hopped on the bike and rode to the old stadium.

The stadium is just 15 miles from my home in Royal Oak, so I was there in less than an hour.

No one was at the corner.

I biked down to Nemo’s and peeked in.  There was Josh, owner of the Urban Bean working on a pint. He hadn’t seen any vigil-goers.

Back outside, I rode to the west end of the stadium. A Channel 7 News truck was there, so I stopped to ask. 7 Action News reporter Cheryl Chodun didn’t see any vigil and she’s “ready for breaking news everyday.”

Chodun was just waiting for the start of the 11 O’clock news when she filed her report (see video).

After biking back home, I found out I was just a little too early for the vigil. No biggie. It was a nice dry night for a bike ride inspired by the Bird.  RIP.

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