I read about this a few years ago, but it was a brief thing that didn’t make a ton of waves, mostly because the Tigers and their late owner Mike Ilitch weren’t interested in making a big deal out of it.
In the wake of Ilitch’s death, however, we’re reminded that he paid the rent of civil rights icon Rosa Parks for several years. In 1994 Parks’ home was broken into and she was assaulted. In the wake of that awfulness, a local judge and a real estate developer helped her find a new apartment in a safer neighborhood. Ilitch, when he read about it, called the judge and the real estate developer and said he would pay for her housing as long as necessary and cut thousands of dollars in checks to that effect.
I’ve heard some people poke some holes in this over the years. It’s possible Ilitch did not pay her entire rent for the rest of her life or perhaps someone else contributed or any number of other scenarios unfolded. It’s clear, however, that Ilitch did reach out and did pay good money for Parks’ benefit out of the goodness of his heart and with little if any desire for publicity.
There are no doubt any number of skeletons one can find in the closet of any octogenarian billionaire. Skeletons often come with that territory. But there is no question that Ilitch did a great many of good things for people and his community as well. And as he shuffles off to sports owner Valhalla, it’s good to hear about some of those things.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has a son, Tate, who was selected by the Red Sox in the fourth round of the 2015 draft out of Missouri State University. Tate, an outfielder, spent the 2015 season with Low-A Lowell and last year played at Single-A Greenville.
Now in spring camp with the Red Sox, Tate is trying to continue his ascent through the minor league system. On Monday afternoon in a game against his father’s Cardinals, Tate pinch-ran after Xander Bogaerts singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. Mike wasn’t about to let his son catch any breaks. Via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Yes, the moment Tate Matheny pinch-ran at first base, Mike Matheny called for a throw over in an attempt to pick him off. #Cardinals#RedSox
MESA, AZ — Over the past couple of seasons we’ve, more or less, gotten used to the sight of metal detectors at major league ballparks. And the sight of long lines outside of them, requiring us to get to the park a bit earlier or else risk missing some of the early inning action.
Beginning this year, Major League Baseball is mandating that all spring training facilities use some form of metal detection, be it walkthrough detectors like the ones shown here at the Giants’ park in Scottsdale or wands like the one being used on the nice old lady above at the Cubs facility in Mesa.
I asked Major League Baseball why they are requiring them in Florida and Arizona. They said that the program was not implemented in response to any specific incident or threat at a baseball game, but are “precautionary measures.” They say that metal detection “has not posed significant inconvenience or taken away from the ballpark experience” since being required at big league parks in 2015 and believe it will work the same way at the spring training parks.They caution fans, however, that, as the program gets underway, they should allow for more time for entry.
And that certainly makes sense:
I took this photo a few minutes after the home plate gate opened at Sloan Park yesterday afternoon. As I noted this morning, the Cubs sell out every game in their 15,000-seat park. That’s a lot of wanding and, as a result, it could lead to a lot of waiting.
But the crowds here all seemed to get through the line pretty quickly. Perhaps because the wanding is not exactly a time-consuming affair:
Not every security guard was as, well, efficient as this guy. But hardly anyone walking through the gate was given a particularly thorough go-over. I saw several hundred people go through the procedure soon after the gates opened and most of them weren’t scanned bellow the level of their hip pockets. I went back a little closer to game time when most people were already in the park and the lines were shorter. The procedure was a bit more deliberate then, though not dramatically so. This is all new for the security people too — spring training just started — and it’s fair to say that they are trying hard to balance the needs of their new precautionary measures against the need to keep the lines moving and the fans happy.
On this day at least it seemed that fan happiness was winning. I spoke with several fans after they got through the gates and none of them offered much in the way of complaint about being wanded. The clear consensus: it’s just what we do now. We have metal detectors and cameras at schools and places of work and security procedures have been ratcheted up dramatically across the board. That we now have them at ballparks is not surprising to anyone, really. It’s just not a thing anyone thinks to question.