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Special from DominicG - LionsTalk.com User
(Dominic and his family were in attendance for the annual Detroit Lions charity softball event)
LIONS IN THE HOUSE
We were at Oldsmobile Park in Lansing, MI. The scent of freshly popped corn wafted through the air, creating the perfect addition to the absolutely gorgeous day. Children were restless in their seats, leaning over the wall trying to get a glimpse of their beloved Detroit Lions, while parents sipped on various drinks, attempting to stay cool under the sun soaked clear blue sky. Everyone waited in anticipation for these warriors of the gridiron to take the field in battle against the long arm of the law. Anticipation hung in the air as the crowd wondered if the Lions would avenge last years beating. The attendance swelled and matched any crowd that you will see at Comerica Park. There were at least 150 people there.
Finally, with the introductions over the bruising Lions defense took to the field. Rob Rubick stalked the mound as if it was his prey, while the Lions fanned out behind him seeking areas of domain. The outfielders Eddie Murray, Jared DeVries, Kerwyn Supernaw, and Dominic Raiola roamed their territory like a hungry pack of animals devouring everything hit out to them. The infielders were equally imposing as they took their positions. Former Lion, and U of M lineman Rick "The skyscraper" Stringer took first. Linebackers Tom Beers and Clint Kriewaldt made their homes at second and third respectively. Shortstop went to Sedric Irvin who was definitely the clown of the day, trying to get a laugh and playing to the crowd at every opportunity. Playing catcher, making sure no one would bowl over this position, was the mammoth Jeff Backus, who, along with Stringer, received a somewhat lukewarm welcome from the crowd that was largely Spartan.
However, before the game could begin Sedric refused to play. It seems there was a young man sitting behind the Lions dugout wearing a U of M shirt. Sedric came close to abusing this poor defenseless child by making him remove his wonderful shirt and putting on a disgusting MSU shirt. Where was the father of this child? Where were Jeff Backus and Rick Stringer? Have they no pride in their alma mater. I would have fought for my child. My life would have been gladly given before I'd let my child wear the green and white. Oops! She already does. Forget I said that. GO BLUE!!!!!
Finally feeling like a man after his conquest of the 12-year-old boy, Sedric was ready to play. The game against the Deputy All Star team began. The Lion's plan was simple, make the children happy and put on a great family show. Even the Lions brought their own family members with them, who also enjoyed the show and cheered their team on to victory. The players just wanted to have fun. The Deputies on the other hand played like they wanted it. This made for an interesting contrast as the two teams battled against each other. The teams battled back and forth until the fourth inning. Then the Lions exploded sending 9 teammates across the plate, going up 12 to 4. They could have had more but the catcher tackled Sedric Irving and held him until a teammate could lay the tag upon him. Rob Rubick protested to the umpire. But hey, that's the kind of treatment you would expect for a Sparty. The Lions won the contest getting revenge for last years drubbing. But there was plenty of fun during the game.
The promoters tried to have Sedric, who wanted to be announced as Derrick Jeters, sing during the seventh inning. They came to their senses and quickly tried to take the microphone away from him. But Sedric turned the microphone over to two young ladies who lead the crowd in a beautiful rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Throughout the contest the Lions threw footballs into the crowd, pausing on other occasions to sign autographs and talked with their fans. Sometimes the players got a little too caught up talking to the fans. At one point DeVries was looking at photographs of himself playing basketball at a previous Lion charity game. Apparently he was trying to get the negative of the picture. Jared's head snapped back to reality when Rob called out to him. It seems the Lions had been out in the field playing without him!!! So much for keeping your mind on the game, eh Jared.
After the game was over the players gathered on the concourse and signed autographs. The kids giggled with joy and gushed at meeting the Lions up close. The Lions enjoyed a chance to sit in the sun and share stories with their fans. Sometimes the players go a little out of their way to please fans. Jared DeVries made one young fan's day when he gave his shoes to her. Parents got to shake hands and thanked the Lions for giving their time to come out and do things for the kids. The day was beautiful and the action was great. I have to imagine that many a child raced home to tell the stories of that wonderful afternoon.
Even a little 12-year-old Michigan fan. Who for a day was forced to become a State fan.