Later, I realized that this is a moot observation. Baseball seasons will fade in and out for decades into the future, regardless of labor struggles, bloated schedules, overly long nine inning affairs, $5 hotdogs, $10 beers, $20 parking, $50 tickets, and controversies orbiting around age-old vices like gambling, drugs, alcohol and tobacco. And those who don a uniform will continue to enjoy the earthly blessings they’ve been afforded and, hopefully, share in their good fortune.
My thoughts eventually shifted from matters that I will never influence. The ’94 strike was on my mind, but my peevishness evaporated as I instead reminisced on my first and only trip to Tiger Stadium on the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues in Downtown Detroit.
That summer Dad and I committed to a father-son pilgrimage that had taken root 10 years earlier when the Tigers barnstormed their way to a World Series victory. We road-tripped from Memphis to the Motor City, took advantage of the $15 room rate I received as a Holiday Inn employee and met up with Grandpa Frey, Uncle Lance and Cousin Chris on an August evening for a tilt between the Tigers and the Brewers. The looming work stoppage dictated the game we chose and the series ended up being the finale before the remainder of the season, including the World Series, was scrapped.
I had forgotten about that circumstance until reading the USA Today story. Whenever I had given thought about that evening the memories that stuck were my grandpa seated in the stands munching on a hotdog, trying in vain to get Alan Trammell’s autograph with my 12-year-old cousin, and the above photograph taken at a relative’s home before heading to the ballpark. The finer points were fuzzy until I sought assistance from the Internet. I knew the Tigers lost, but the only other fact I could recall was Travis Fryman hitting a solo homerun that barely cleared the left field fence. Like the strike, those details became insignificant to me over the ensuing years.
The ill-fated 1994 Major League Baseball season is history. There’s no need to dwell on it or its repercussions, but that’s not to suggest that MLB's leaders should not embrace its past and those fans who long for fleeting moments that transcend the action on the field. Such nostalgia was a big reason why we all returned to Detroit 10 years later and it will also factor into us one day taking a new generation of Tiger fans to Comerica Park. Chris, when do you think your boys will be ready?