Give a wave to the Tigers while you still know who they are.
Let’s face it, after they board that flight to Detroit and play on opening day, they might as well be in exile. The Red Wings are about to start their playoff run. Every Tigers game after the first will be relegated to the one-play highlight and scorebox for two months. Right around the middle of June we’ll flip to Fox Sports Detroit and try to remember what Andy Dirks looks like.
So before the excruciating end of the NHL regular season is completed and the whole state sets their clocks to playoff time, let me say goodbye to the Tigers and equip you with some knowledge at the same time.
See, I’m strategically cheap. Not so cheap it becomes a problem in everyday life, but cheap enough to walk out of the checkout line and put bread back on the shelf after seeing a sign for another brand costs a quarter less. It’s a simple strategy: get as much benefit per dollar spent.
As summer starts to bloom, you’ll find yourself wanting to go to a Tigers game. That’s fine. It’s good, hearty entertainment at a reasonable price. But don’t just carelessly pick a day and go to game. Scout it out. Find the giveaways.
The objective should be to at least come away with something, even if you have a terrible time at the game. Almost nothing Comerica Park is going to give out will be worth over three dollars but if you bought three dollar seats you’re even, and getting free entertainment.
How do you know which games to go to? Here’s all the giveaways and special nights for the Tigers season. Still too complicated? I figured. I’ll break it down for you real simply:
Top Five Games and/or Giveaways this season
1. July 4, vs. Minnesota: Independence Day postgame fireworks; red, white and blue Tigers hat, Military appreciation — The only problem is that tickets prices will probably be high because of the holiday. That’s why you plan ahead. Buy them now.
First of all, the giveaway is a legitimate object and something you would actually wear. Secondly, you’ll be going to a fireworks show for Independence Day anyway. Save some time and knock it out while you’re at the ballpark. Finally, the least you can do is show up and honor the military while claiming the free hat that they fought so hard for you to have.
2. July 18, vs. Los Angeles Angels: Christmas in July — This is more an event than a giveaway. It’s Christmas. Who doesn’t love Christmas? (Jewish people don’t count.) Chances are the in-game giveaways (Johnsville Brat Row, etc.) will be coming hot and heavy. Plus, Pujols and the Angels. Brats and Pujols, little in this world fits so well together.*
3. June 20, vs. St. Louis: MLB Network Backpack – Honestly, the Cardinals will probably suck without not-so-fat Albert. Still, you’ll get the wrinkle of interleague play, where you can finally break your streak of going to seven consecutive games in which the Tigers’ opponent is the Indians.
As for the giveaway, the backpack has some legitimate retail value. I know, I know. Your growing out of your backpack days. Well, guess what? That nephew of yours has a birthday coming up. Boom. I just saved you from spending $20 on a lead paint-filled toy.
4. May 19, vs. Pittsburgh: Negro Leagues weekend, 18th annual Negro Leagues tribute game. Austin Jackson Detroit Stars bobblehead — Not only are you a part of Negro Leagues weekend, you’re a part of the actual tribute game. That means two things: 1.) Detroit Stars Unis baby! 2.) A small portion of your white guilt is removed because you’re celebrating a league that was only needed because of the racism of your ancestors. HOORAY!
In addition, you get to see another National League team play live. The Austin Jackson bobblehead probably doesn’t have much value unless you’re from 2002 or a really big Austin Jackson fan but the kid down the street doesn’t know that. Tell him the different uniform means it’s a rare misprint and take his lunch money.
5. Aug. 4, vs. Cleveland: Seventh annual Fiesta Tigres, Fiesta Tigres acrylic mug, Fire Works — The mug is worthless in the Starbucks world we live in and considering I have no idea what Fiesta Tigres is, I must’ve missed the first six. Yet, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my four years of college, it’s never, NEVER, pass up a fiesta.
*(I’m not sure that joke made sense to me either.)
Best game to roll the dice on:
Sept. 23, Minnesota: Fan appreciation, Player poster No. 4; player TBA, “Shirt off our back” giveaway — Usually the fan appreciation days are the last series of the season. This year, presumably because the Tigers would rather not force you to watch the Royals play live, it comes in the second-to-last series. You’ll see a Twins team who could still be fighting for a playoff spot and while the poster is only for kids, the key here is the “Shirt off our back” giveaway. This could be the best or worst promotion of all time.
If the players are literally giving you the shirts of their backs, that’s fantastic. Unless you get Phil Coke’s. Nothing is going to take out those mustard stains. But there’s only like 40 guys on the team. The odds of receiving a jersey (or sweaty undershirt?) are slim.
If you’re getting the shirts off of a non-players’ back, that’s just weird.
If you’re just getting a shirt, that’s not a bad day’s haul.
Either way, it’s worth a shot.
(Still unsure of which games to go to? Before you make any rash decisions, click back here later in the week for the Worst games/giveaways this season)