Michigan Stadium

20 09 2009
  • 1 E. Stadium Blvd.
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 764-1817
  • Website
Michigan Stadium - The Big House

Michigan Stadium - "The Big House"

Don’t judge me.  I wouldn’t judge you if you went to a baseball game at Wrigley Field.  I’m not a closet Michigan fan.  In fact, growing up, I despised Michigan because my brother, for some reason, was a huge Wolverine fan.  We grew up about an hour north of the University of Illinois, so it caused a lot of Saturday afternoon fights in our house. 

Still, even though I’ve never been a fan of Michigan, like most sports fans, Michigan Stadium has been one of the stadiums that I really wanted to see a game in.  When we moved to Lansing, one of our goals was to see a football game at both Michigan and Michigan State.  I’ve been to Spartan Stadium for work, but not Michigan Stadium. 

Last week, when I was working at Illinois, I got a text message from J that said she wanted to go to a football game this weekend.  She looked first at MSU, but they were on the road, so she checked Michigan.  There were tickets available and at $50 a piece, didn’t seem to overpriced, so she ordered two tickets. 

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been looking forward to this all week.  I mean, it’s The Big House. I have a lot of friends back home, who aren’t Michigan fans either, that are really jealous. 

Michigan Stadium is the centerpiece of the University of Michigan athletic campus  on the corner of Main Street and Stadium Boulevard.  I’ve heard a lot of stories about how crappy the place is, but those opinions were coming from Michigan State fans, so there may be a little biased.  My expectations for the stadium itself wasn’t very high.  My suspicion was that Michigan Stadium was more about tradition and atmosphere than it was comfort and aesthetics. Read the rest of this entry »





Ray Fisher Stadium

11 04 2009
  • 1114 S. State Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 647-2583
  • Website
The entrance to Ray Fisher Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan

The entrance to Ray Fisher Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan

Being a former college baseball player, I’ve always been jealous of the guys who get to play in the Big Ten.  When I was a Senior in high school, I went down to Champaign to pitch my case to “Itch” Jones.  I wanted to play Big Ten baseball.  Coach Jones told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t good enough to play in the Big Ten.  He suggested junior college and see if I got better. 

I didn’t take his advice.  I went to a NAIA Division I school, played a year and a half and got cut halfway through my sophomore season.  I could have went back to juco, but I gave up on a baseball and focused on my education and getting out of college as fast as possible. 

Even though we were one of the top NAIA teams in the country, we shared our field with one of the local high schools.  It was our field, but it was on their property.  The field was ok, but it doesn’t compare to the minor league ballpark the team plays in now. 

I tell you all this because I get chills every time I walk on the grass at Ray Fisher Stadium in Ann Arbor.  The field is part of the Wilpon Baseball/Softball complex.  It sits in the middle of the athletic complex on State Street.  The field is surrounded by Yost, Schembechler Hall, the track and field complex and Alumni Field.  Read the rest of this entry »





Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant

5 04 2009
  • 318 S. Main Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 665-2968
  • Website
  • Menu
Conor ONeills Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor

Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor

One more day in Ann Arbor.  I was actually supposed to work another day, but the softball game I was supposed to work was moved to Saturday because of the threat of nasty weather.  J and I got a hotel to stay in Ann Arbor Saturday night.  Our plan was to go shopping on Sunday but before we could do that, we needed to find lunch.

We headed downtown to find the Prickly Pear after Amy suggested it to us.  When we got there, we found a menu outside and realized we weren’t really in the mood for Southwestern so we walked down Main Street until we found someplace to get sandwiches.

Conor O’Neill’s is on South Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor.  There are a lot of restaurants in the area and a lot of fancy restaurant in the area.  Conor O’Neill’s offers a more price friendly alternative. 

The outside of the building is painted in bright colors and really, it looks like a lot of other Irish pubs.  Inside, they have the typical decor.  There’s a lot of dark woods, old furniture, and Guinness signs.  The walls and ceilings are hand painted with words of wisdom.  We were shown to a table where one side was a padded bench an the other side had chairs that I thought I was going to break when I sat down.  It creaked pretty loud when I sat down, but the furniture really added to the overall look and feel of the bar.

The ambiance includes a lot of TV’s playing soccer games.  If watching soccer isn’t enough, the volume was up loud that it could have been heard over a live band.  It was obnoxiously loud for the one guy who was drinking at 11:30 on a Sunday morning and watching a Manchester United game because he probably doesn’t get the channel in his dorm room.  Read the rest of this entry »





Mia Za’s Cafe – Ann Arbor

5 04 2009
  • 615 E. University Avenue
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 555-1211
  • Website
  • Menu
Mia Zas Cafe near the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Mia Za's Cafe near the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Once again, I spent my Saturday working.  Not complaining at all.  I love it when I get a chance to work.  However, it takes weekends away from J and I .  When I work, my days are 10 hours and that doesn’t include travel, so I spend all day work and when I get home, I’m exhausted and don’t want to do much.  Instead of sitting home by herself, J decided to come to Ann Arbor with me.  We got a hotel room and she was going to do some shopping while I worked.

At lunch time, J came back to the Wilpon baseball softball complex to pick me up.  I only had an hour so I wanted to stay somewhat close to campus.  Last week while working in Champaign, IL, I stumbled upon a little cafe that served up really good food really quickly.  One of their two other locations happened to be in Ann Arbor and I knew it was something J would like, so that’s where we went.

It was a really busy Saturday in Ann Arbor.  There were people everywhere and traffic was slow going.  We finally made it to Mia Za’s which is on University Street in Ann Arbor near the campus of the University of Michigan.  There is street parking on either side of University so we started looking for a spot.  I saw one going the other direction so I did a U-turn and made it back before someone else picked it up.

There is quite a bit of construction going on in the area including a massive construction project at the building next to Mia Za’s.  The sidewalk is closed and the temporary sidewalk structures almost cover up the awning and front of the building.  I almost missed it when we drove by.  Read the rest of this entry »





Alumni Field

5 04 2009
  • 1202 S. State Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 647-2583
  • Website
The backside of the grandstands at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor

The backside of the grandstands at Alumni Field in Ann Arbor

My very busy April of shooting baseball/softball continues this weekend in Ann Arbor.  I was actually supposed to shoot baseball yesterday in Ann Arbor, but the weather kept that game from happening. 

This isn’t my first trip to U of M for spring sports.  Right after we moved here last year, I got a call to shoot the very first softball game in the remodeled Alumni Field.  I shot a couple baseball games later in the spring, but this is the first time I’ve been back to Alumni Field since then.

The University of Michigan’s softball team calls Alumni Field home.  The field is part of the larger Wilpon Baseball and Softball complex which is part of the even large sports complex on the Ann Arbor campus.  The softball diamond shares a parking lot with the baseball diamond, Ooseterban Fieldhouse, the UM Indoor Track and Field Building and Yost Ice Arena.  The center field wall butts up to the center field wall of Fisher Stadium.  Read the rest of this entry »





Li’l Porgy’s Bar-B-Q – Champaign, IL

30 03 2009
  • 1917 W. Springfield Avenue
  • Champaign, IL 61821
  • (217) 398-6811
  • Website
  • Menu
Lil Porgys Barbecue on Springfield Avenue in Champaign, IL

Li'l Porgy's Barbecue on Springfield Avenue in Champaign, IL

My last day in Champaign and I needed something good for lunch.  As I was driving away from Eichelberger Field on my lunch break, I remembered a BBQ place I ate at a couple years ago.  I was pretty sure I remembered how to get there once I found Springfield Avenue off of Neil Street. 

Li’l Porgy’s has two locations in the Champaign/Urbana area.  I chose the Champaign location which is on West Springfield Avenue near Mattis Avenue.  There are a number of other restaurants in the area including a Famous Dave’s. 

The building is nothing more than a run down old fast food joint.  It’s not much to look at and I wondered if it was even open on a Sunday morning when I pulled in.  As I was nearing Mattis Avenue, I knew I was close, but it wasn’t until I got right up on the sign that I noticed it.  As I turned in the parking lot, I noticed a couple other cars, so I figured I was go for Q.

Inside gets a little wierd and I remember I didn’t quite get it my first trip.  There obviously used to be a huge order counter like you’re familiar with at the fast food joints, but they put an oven or food warmer or something right in the middle and divided it up into two windows.  The openings are very small.  There’s not really room for anything but the cash register at the order window. Read the rest of this entry »





Eichelberger Field – Urbana, IL

30 03 2009
  • 1201 W. Florida Avenue
  • Urbana, IL 61801
  • (217)
  • Website
Eichelberger Field on the campus of the University of Illinois

Eichelberger Field on the campus of the University of Illinois

Nothing like getting up early on a Sunday morning to drive in blizzard like conditions to a softball game.  That was how my day started. 

After getting rained out Saturday at Illinois Field, I made the trek back to Champaign/Urbana from my parents house for a softball game between the University of Illinois and Michigan State University.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t want to cooperate.

The University of Illinois softball team plays their home games at Eichelberger Field in Urbana.  It’s actually just a few hundred yards from the men’s field, but the city limits for the two towns lie just outside the center field wall at Illinois Field.  Even though the street addresses are different, they’re on the same street. Read the rest of this entry »