The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

14 April 2013

Tiger Pride 2013

Every year, when the Tigers come to play the A's, we have a weekend of Tiger Pride. Most of my friends have Tiger Pride t-shirts I designed when I was sixteen, and we've gotten about four batches since 2002, when this all started. We get smaller groups now that a lot of people have moved away, but it's still fun.

This was Kaline's first Tiger Pride series—I wasn't sure how he'd do, having to stay down for a whole game, so Juno did Friday night (also because it was cold at the night game, and we all know how Kaline “deals” with cold), and Kaline did the two weekend day games.

Friday, 12 April: A's 4, Tigers 3 F/12

Friday night, Juno, Dad and I arrived at the ballpark well before the gates opened, and ended up meeting my friends Danny and Evanne. Juno was, of course, a star. We schmoozed with our favorite usher, Papa Nick, who works right behind the Tigers dugout and who has known me since middle school, probably. (The Tiger Pride crew have gained the affection of all the ushers on the first-base side, because we started coming with the Tigers were so epically bad.)

Juno waiting to go in.
We got to sit in Nick's section, cause he's awesome like that, and the game was pretty good. My nominal favorite Tiger, Max Scherzer, was pitching, and he was decent; the offense just didn't do much. Prince Fielder homered to give us a 3-0 lead, and then we gradually let the A's chip away till they won in extra innings. It was a really good thing I had Juno. Not only was it a ridiculously long game in terms of time, it was cold. I was miserable. Juno, with her nice double-coat topped off with her grey Cloudchaser, was just fine. Slept under my seat the whole time, then helpfully pulled me up the stairs and out of the stadium.

Juno being a pretzel under my seat.

Less pretzel-y.

On the way out, we passed some middle-aged female A's fans perched at the side of the concourse, booing anyone wearing blue and orange. They were like high school bullies. So I flipped them off as we went by. One of them then decided to come up behind me and grab me by the shoulders, telling me authoritatively, “You're too young to be doing that.” Just writing about it is making my heart rate shoot up. She is bloody lucky that I freeze in fear when I get grabbed by a complete stranger, instead of freaking punching them as hard as I can. I should've punched her, and I should've responded that she was way too old to be doing what she was doing, but instead I said, “Fuck you, I'm twenty-seven,” and rushed outside to find enough open space for Juno to lie across my lap and lean into my chest. She did that as soon as I sat down. I was shaking. People have no boundaries. But my dog is freaking awesome.

Saturday, 13 April: Tigers 7, A's 3

Kaline's first Tigers game was a smashing success. We got to the park later than normal, still an hour-plus before game time, and met up with Danny, Ryan, Evanne, Sonja, Hendrik and Chief at various times, along with my Tigers buddy Sabrina, the #1 Don Kelly Fan.
Me with Ryan, Danny and Evanne in our Tiger Pride splendor.
Kaline did incredibly well with the crowds packed in the concourses—it was a beautiful Saturday, there was a giveaway, and Justin Verlander was pitching for the Tigers, so it was a really well-attended game, especially for the A's. Crowds really send my anxiety through the roof, but watching Kaline be completely cool while trying to find a way through was amazing at calming me down. He's going to do great with the Leading Through Crowds tasks, when he is old enough to learn it. I think so, anyway.
Me and Kaline with Anthony.
I took Kay to meet all our favorite ushers, like Anthony, Mark, Other Mark, and Rod. They all loved on him, and I didn't say no because you totally want the ushers to be on your side; it was cool to watch Kaline accept their pats and kisses without really getting lovey back. After the game, I found Sabrina (who has a Doberman) and her birthday group and unvested Kaline, who had done really well. He immediately went into social-butterfly mode then, kissing everyone, giving hugs, draping himself across convenient laps. Super cute, a great reward for a good day's work, and the humans thought it was great too.

During the game, to my delighted surprise, Kaline curled up under my seat and barely popped up at all. He did slowly wheel himself around, trying to find the optimum orientation, but he was calm and down and that's all I really cared about. Our only minor issue was that he wanted to do a little sunbathing, and kept sticking his head and one paw out into the aisle, where he could easily get stepped on. I was able to get him to crawl backwards by just holding a treat against his chest. It was actually quite amusing.

Head in the sun, nose and paws safely within our row!
And the Tigers won! Not without a lot of scary-ness, after Justin Verlander departed, but still, a win! And toward the end of the game Kaline and I moved up with Chief, Sonja and Hendrik, which was great fun as well. Kaline finally stuck his paw in Chief's face one too many times and Chief told him off. Attaboy, Chief!! Everyone was charmed by the pups. Cause they're freaking adorable.

Sunday, 14 April: Tigers 10, A's 1

Today's game went quite well also. We got there before the gates opened, so we'd have lots of schmoozing time before the game. Kaline did well in the small handicapped line (which I am so grateful for, by the way—no having to wait in big crowds of hostile A's fans. They're super mad at the Tigers right now, because not only did we eliminate the A's from the 2012 playoffs, we then failed to beat the A's crosstown-rival Giants in the World Series. Much bitterness).

We visited with Anthony, Sabrina, and other Tigers fans during batting practice, which Kaline found alternately fascinating (ooh, flying baseballs!) and really boring. It was great fun introducing him to other Tigers fans, because when they heard his name they'd smile with recognition. You don't really get that with the general population, haha. Donnie Kelly came over and made Sabrina's day by signing the baseball he'd given her on Friday and taking a photo with her. What a guy!
Donnie Kelly and Sabrina.

Anthony set us up with excellent seats and we happily watched the Tigers pummel the A's. Kaline was a little more fidgety today, because though it was sunny, it was windy and kind of cold. He was wearing a Cloudchaser under his vest, and he was still curled up under my seat shivering. About halfway through the game I wrapped him up in my dad's big hoodie, which seemed to help. Hopefully once he fills out and puts on more muscle, etc., maybe he'll stay a bit warmer. If not, we're going to have to figure out some kind of plan for night games ...
Curled up early ...
... bundled up later. 60 degrees with wind = winter blizzard in Kaline land.
Kay was definitely more on his game today—any sign of anxiety (including when I made joking distressed sounds) and he was pressing himself against me. I was super pleased with his whole weekend performance. It was a lot more than I was expecting! I have much more confidence now about taking him to ballgames in the future. He got to love on Sabrina after today's game too. Then he nested adorably in the back seat on the way home.  
DPT from Kaline.

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