Toledo, Detroit musicians to face off in baseball gameWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: The game, which was originally scheduled for June 8, has been postponed to 4 p.m. June 27 due to wet field conditions.
Musical promoter Michael Rys has long held a dream to play baseball at the old Tiger Stadium and on June 27 his dream will come true as the Toledo Rockers will take on Detroit’s Motor City Sluggers.
The two teams of rock ’n’ roll musicians will face off at 4 p.m. June 27 at Navin Field, the location of the former Tiger Stadium before it was demolished.
Rys, a former musician who loves baseball, had the vision to bring music and baseball together.
“The Toledo team has already had a couple practices,” Rys said. “I was expecting a comedy of errors, but we’re pretty good.
“Quite a few of them played baseball in high school and college and just haven’t played for a long time,” Rys said. “There’s a number of them who have athletic ability and played softball and soccer. We have a girl on the team who’s an avid cyclist. Some haven’t brought it out in a number of years. Like myself, I’m not very athletic anymore. I think everybody has an athletic side to them on the team otherwise they wouldn’t be out there sweating.”
The game is largely meant for fun, Rys said, but a hat will sit out on the field to collect any money for the Navin Field volunteers who work hard to keep the field in top shape, Rys said.
“The baseball diamond is still there through the work of the Navin ground crew. It’s in pretty darn good condition,” Rys said. “They use clay, they got benches, they built a back stop, there’s a flagpole in center field. They do have a flag up and a [Detroit] Tiger flag. … The city at one point didn’t want them there and was throwing them out and now they leave them alone. Technically, everyone is trespassing but [the city] realized it’s just a vacant lot.”
Rys, a former musician who books and promotes shows in Toledo, grew up in southwest Detroit two miles from the stadium. As an adult, he said he took his kids to Navin Field and always thought it would be cool to play there.
“I grew up pretty close to the stadium. I always wanted to play there and thought maybe I can get a group of guys together and play a game,” he said.
Rys put the word out on Facebook and a “bunch” of musicians responded, he said.
“They were totally into it and wanted to do it right away,” he said. “We have a group of 13 from Toledo and the same from Detroit.”
Lyndsay Stiles, who rolls as Punk Monkey for the Toledo Class City Rollers and has been in bands Streamlined, Sangsara, Tracer and Buick 6, plays right field for the Toledo Rockers.
“I am proud to be part of this team representing Toledo,” Stiles wrote in an email.
“I’m excited about the game because it’s a chance to play baseball on the field that I loved so much and it’s a great chance to help out the people that have been caring for the sacred ground so well,” said Graham Johnson of the band Nightbringer, who will play first base for Toledo Rockers.
Players have been encouraged to bring their families and coolers. One player plans to grill up some hotdogs, Rys said. There are also many bars and restaurants in the area so players may decide to meet up for a beer after the game.
The game will be weather permitting, Rys said. He said he wasn’t sure what they would do if it rains but there was talk about mud ball, he said.
“There’s a competitive side to it,” Rys said. “I want to beat the Detroit team there’s no doubt about that. We want it to continue. There’s already talk we will invite Detroit out here to play and pick a cause to try to raise some funds for. Naturally, we want to see if [the game] goes off well.”
Toledo’s team includes Stacey Kynard (center field), Michael Rys (second base), Ed Cornelius (starting pitcher), Trevor Davis Tadsen (third base), Seth Mehan (left field), Graham Johnson (first base), Bert Tadsen (catcher), Roger Dargartz (shortstop), Lydsay Stiles (right field), John Kuhlman (sub), Harold Champnoise (sub), Andrea Cardinal (sub) and Nicholas Rys (bat boy).
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