PREGAME: After beating up on Wandy Rodriguez last night, the Tigers will face a slightly more formidable challenge in Roger Clemens…I really don’t have much more to say. Roger Clemens is really good, and none of the current Tigers have had a great deal of success.
I’ve seen Clemens pitch in person one time. It was when he was with the Blue Jays and our seats were in the 2nd row by the visitor bullpen at Tiger Stadium. I don’t remember the game itself, but I distinctly remember being 15 feet away as Clemens was warming up. Very cool.
Big League Nate Robertson takes the ball for the Tigers. The Tigers are 2-2 in June when Robertson pitches, and he really pitched 4 winnable games. His bullpen let him down in 2 of his starts.
Game Time 7:05pm.
POSTGAME: I just got back from the game and it had exactly what I hoped for. The Tigers won. Roger Clemens was looking like a Hall of Famer. Nate Robertson battled and matched him.
Two of my favorite moments from this season came during the 7th inning of this game. In the top half of the inning, when Nate Robertson was in the midst of crawling out of a runner on 3rd no out jam, the crowd rose to its feet as Willy Taveras came to the plate. The park was electric as 40,000 willed Robertson to get that final out.
And then in the bottom half when Roger Clemens was taken out of the game, the Detroit faithful gave him a standing ovation out of respect for his effort that night, and for his complete resume. I’m tired of the Roger Clemens retirement/non-retirement saga every year, but I still fully recognize his stature in the history of the game.
I’ve been to sold out games at Comerica Park before, but they weren’t like this. Opening Day is a party, and the Yankees are the Yankees. Tonight was all about baseball. The fans were collectively engaged the whole game. The crowd sensed momentous turning points and rose in unison. This wasn’t a bunch of bandwagoners following a winner. These were baseball fans thrilled with finally having something to cheer about from the home team. This was a whole lot of fun.