Ernie- a grand slam

ernie_playI knew going in that I would enjoy this play. I grew up listening to Ernie Harwell on the radio, was horrified when he was fired by the Tigers, relieved when he was re-hired, and sad at his eventual passing.

But I surprised at how truly enjoyable it was.

“Ernie” is set on Ernie Harwell’s last night at Comerica, when the Hall of Fame broadcaster is about to give a moving thank you to a grateful city.  Just before he walks onto the grassy field, he encounters an unusual boy who is eager to know all about him, coaxing Harwell into giving one final broadcast – the “broadcast of his life.”

The play, written by long time Detroit sport columnist Mitch Albom, recounts Harwell’s life, the highs (many), the lows (few) and his amazing journey through the game of baseball from the minor leagues in Atlanta, to the majors in New York, and finally to his adopted home Detroit.

Recounting his meetings with baseball greats Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Ted Williams, to regional stars like Mark “the Bird” Fidrich and Sparky Andersen, the play reveals Harwell’s love of baseball and people he met during his journey including the players and fans who loyally listened to his broadcasts.

Ernie is played by local actor Will David Young who embodies not only Ernie’s distinctive speech patterns but his mannerisms as well. The portrayal is simply amazing.

I have no problem admitting that I was moved to tears during the performance. Any fan of Ernie Harwell and Tiger baseball owe it to themselves to see this play while they can.

Ernie the Play

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Brandon Inge is my Tiger

The Detroit Tigers are my favorite baseball team and to steal a line from their recent marketing promotion, Brandon Inge is my Tiger.

For seven years we had season tickets for the Tigers and for most of that time the team was pretty bad.  When you attend a lot of games in you get a different perspective on players apart from their statistics.

Inge was one of the few players who gave his all no matter how poorly the team was playing.  He played catcher for the Tigers (one of my favorite positions) but when the Tigers signed perennial all-star Pudge Rodriguez I wondered what would happen to him.  Some in the media speculated that he would demand a trade; instead he he switched positions becoming a super-sub, able to play practically any position to help the team, eventually settling in at third base where regularly dazzles fans with his spectacular defense.  While e’s not the greatest hitter, he battles every at bat and has knack for driving in runs to help the team.

So I like the way he plays the game but that’s not the only reason he’s my favorite Tiger.

Inge and his wife live in Dexter which is near where I live and they are very involved in supporting the Mott Children’s Hospital.  Many players support charities by donating money, but the Inges also volunteer their time.

Brandon Inge recently volunteered his time to support the Bid for a Cure, which raises funds for cancer research, and he also a got other Tiger players to come out to Saline on one of their very rare off-days during the season.

When we got in line we were nicely told that Brandon and Austin Jackson would soon be finished signing autographs.  We took a chance and waited and both players signed well after the official end of the line.

As we went through I was able to get a photo of Brandon with my youngest daughter and he thanked *us* for coming out to support the fundraiser.

No Brandon- THANK YOU!

Thanks for the playing the game the *right way* and volunteering your time to support such good causes in the community.

Your impact will be felt long after your playing days are over!

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