Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Magglio Ordonez Rehabs with West Michigan

Since I did a diary on Curtis Granderson's rehab with the Whitecaps, it's only fair that I feature Magglio Ordonez here as well. Was going to put this together yesterday, but then the politicians all went nuts and I got distracted. It was actually a close call on what to do first, because if Flickr stats are any indicator - baseball players are WAY more popular than politicians. And as far as baseball players go, few are more popular than Magglio Ordonez, at least here in Michigan.

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They announced his appearance during the afternoon game on Sunday (where I was there to see my one true love Ryne Sandberg managing the Peoria Chiefs), and knowing what was coming, I immediately went and bought a ticket for Monday's game...

The game sold out within the next 24 hours - a total of 10,592 fans made their way to 5th3rd Park to catch the reigning American League batting champion in action. They opened the gates at 3:30 so fans could watch batting practice...

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Ordonez seemed amused by it all. According to the GR Press, he doesn't like to be the "center of attention", but he was impressed with the park and the reaction of the fans. Many sported the Magglio hats - and this next family was featured in the Press article.

Ordonez Fans

Batting practice was comfortable, not everyone can get there that early, of course. Slowly the park filled up... and filled up some more.. and by the time the team had changed into their home whites and came back out to the field, they were lined up 10-15 deep on the first base line, hoping for an autograph. Maggs obliged - couldn't get to everyone of course...

Autograph Swarm

We come to game time. The roar when he was announced was stunning. It was getting hard for me to maneuver around; even though I'm buddies with the ushers out there and they let me get away with more than the casual fan, it was tough to position due to the sheer crush of people. Here is Magglio tossing the bat as he runs down to first on his only hit on the night.

Magic Bat

I couldn't get around to the other side in time to catch him making his way around the bases - a quick single followed by a quick double drove him in to score the first run in what would be a 10-2 Whitecaps victory. In his second at bat, he reached on an error, third and fourth were a fly out followed by a ground out. Still, he put good wood on the ball, and looks ready to go.

Team Congrats

The Tigers announced today he will be activated for tomorrow's game. Sure am happy that the Caps are affiliated with the Tigers - every time a Tiger comes to town, it certainly is the place to be!

More pictures available at the Magglio Ordonez Whitecaps Flickr set.