EPIPHANY AT THE PENINSULA GRILL *

A native of Michigan, I’d lived in Baltimore for forty years,
half-heartedly rooting for the hapless Orioles,
headed for another hundred-loss season,
the third in four years —
spared in 2020 only by the pandemic.
But, back in the Wolverine State,
when we stopped for lunch
at a restaurant on the Old Mission Peninsula,
there were the Tigers on the big screen TV,
playing the Rangers in an afternoon game in Detroit,
and the old loyalties came flooding back
like a deep current out in Grand Traverse Bay.

The Tigers were already up 3-0
on Eric Haase’s first-inning homer
when the waitress showed us to our table,
but in the bottom of the second,
Will Castro slammed a long drive to center field,
running for his life around the bases,
sliding head-first into third:
a triple, the rarest of base hits!

“Yes!” I whispered fiercely,
mopping up ketchup with a French fry,
hurled back to the days of Kaline and Colavito,
Bill Freehan and Stormin’ Norman Cash.

We only stayed for maybe half an hour.
The Tigers would go on to beat Texas, 7-5.
But it was as though the few innings I savored
were Marcel Proust’s Madeleine,
capturing and cradling lost time.