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 »

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Maize and Blue Delicatessen

14 08 2009
  • 1329 S. University Avenue
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 996-0009
  • Website
  • Menu
The Maize and Blue Delicatessen on South University at Washtenaw in Ann Arbor.

The Maize and Blue Delicatessen on South University at Washtenaw in Ann Arbor.

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I’m a late sleeper.  Most days, it well into the late morning before I get out of bed.  In my defense, it’s usually after two a.m. before I go to bed.  That makes days when I have to get up even harder and nothing has been more of a challenge than I had this morning.  I had to be in Ann Arbor, ready to work, at five A.M.  That means, I was out the door at about 3:30…an hour after I usually go to bed. 

I was able to change my sleep pattern for the weekend and actually slept all day Thursday and got up around midnight and just stayed up.  When “lunch time” rolled around on the job site at a little after seven, I was starving. 

I work a lot of these gigs where we’re fed by University catering.  The food is fine, but it’s always the same bacon, dry scrambled eggs, and some kind of cheesy potatoes.  It’s not really filling and usually pretty bland.  On today’s job, the guy in charge did something different.  He had to make a last minute change to our meal plan because the job was supposed to be in the afternoon but it was moved to morning.  Some quick thinking got us a much better breakfast than anticipated. 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 »





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 »





Crisler Arena

18 01 2009
  • 333 E. Stadium Blvd
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 998-7236
  • Website
Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor

Crisler Arena on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor

When I got the e-mail asking if I was available to shoot men’s basketball at Crisler Arena, I have to admit, I was a little pumped.  Growing up in the far away land of Central Illinois, Ann Arbor was this far away, mystical place we saw on TV every Saturday afternoon.  I would have been in junior high during the Fab Five years and there were wars at my house over college basketball.  My brother was a Michigan fan while I rooted for Duke.  This was also about the time Nike was coming out with “authentic” apparel.  My brother had the Jalen Rose jersey and matching shorts.  I had a number of Duke shooter shoots.  As far as we were concerned, Crisler Arena was one of those places we’d never go to, but would have given anything, at that time, to see a game there. 

Well, I got my chance 10 plus years later.  Crisler Arena is on the campus of  U of M in the shadow of Michigan Stadium.  My first impression was, “wow.”  That’s not a good wow.  That’s a “I can’t believe this” wow.  The place is so run down it doesn’t look fit for a basketball program with the history and aura of the Michigan Wolverines. The seats were rusted, they were small and low to the ground.  From a broadcast point of view, Crisler is one of the worst stadiums I’ve ever worked at.  I’ve never been to Big Ten stadium where all of the cable had to be run from the truck.  After being there five minutes, all the expectations I had as a kid were squashed.  I’m really glad my brother hasn’t been there. Read the rest of this entry »





Zingerman’s Delicatessen

13 09 2008
  • 422 Detroit St.
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 663-3354
  • Website
  • Menu
Zingermans Delicatessen in the Kerrytown District of Ann Arbor

Zingerman's Delicatessen in the Kerrytown District of Ann Arbor

Since we’ve been in Michigan, the one place I’ve been wanting to eat at is Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor.  I can’t remember how I first heard about it, but it’s been on my short list for a long, long time.  I’ve passed the last two times I was in Ann Arbor because of time constraints.  Today, J and I took a shopping trip since U of M was on the road and the first thing we did was find Zingerman’s Deli.

Zingerman’s is in a unique area of Ann Arbor known as Kerrytown.  Very narrow streets  not far from downtown.  Across the street, sorta, sits the Kerrytown Shops.  There was a lot going on in the area on a Saturday morning.  Not only was the Farmer’s Market open, but there was a festival going on in the school lot near the Deli.  We drove around for almost twenty minutes before we finally found a spot to park on 5th Avenue.  It was raining pretty hard, but that wasn’t enough to keep me away from the biggest sandwich I’ve ever gotten at a Delicatessen.

When we opened the door to Zingerman’s, I was shocked to find a building full of people.  I had heard the lines got pretty long at times, but it was shoulder to shoulder inside.  We finally made our way past the meat and cheese counter to get to the line to order lunch.  There are close to 100 different sandwich combinations.  It was a little overwhelming at first, but we managed.  The wait was pretty short even though there were so many people.  The employees taking orders were very on top of things and knew what the sandwich combinations by the numbers. Read the rest of this entry »





Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger – Ann Arbor

25 05 2008
  • 551 S. Division StBlimpy Burger
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 663-4590
  • Website
  • Menu

Not only is Blimpy Burger the oldest burger joint in Ann Arbor, it’s also one of the most famous places in town.  The humble little shop on the corner of Packard and Division Sts. is voted best burger year after year by a variety of publications and they’ve even been featured on Food Network’s Diner’s Drive-In’s and Dives which somehow I missed. 

I was in Ann Arbor the Big Ten Baseball Championships and needed to find lunch before crew call at U of M.  I had heard of Blimpy Burger and thought it would make a good lunch.  Apparently, half of Ann Arbor thought that too.  The line weaved around the tables inside and right to the door.  The building is small. There’s only room for a handful of tables that line two walls and a couple free stand tables next to the counter.  The service is described as cafeteria style.  You actually walk up to a counter where the cook asks you what you want and he cooks it right there in front of you.

Ordering is a tradition in itself at Blimpy Burger and something I thought was going to be really intimidating.  On their website, they give you instructions for ordering and those same instructions are posted in the restaurants.  For the most part, they’re just to keep the line moving.  It starts out simple.   Everyone who’s ordering must order themselves.  You can’t just send Mom up to get food for everyone.  Your first stop in the process is the deep frier.  A fry cook asks if you want anything deep fried.  Your choices are fries (which are steak fries) or vegetables like onion rings or mushrooms.

After you get your fried food, you make your way to the grill.  The cooks actually put on quite a show and this part can be fun to watch.  The cook will first ask what you want.  Adults have to get at least a double and they go all the way to quints (that’s five burger patties) and beyond.  All the meat is fresh.  What they do is take a disher and make little balls out of fresh beef.  The cook puts those balls on the grill then slams them down into patties.  He had probably five or six orders going at one time with all of them being at least triples.  The patties aren’t huge.  Once slamed down, they’re pretty thin, so a triple isn’t as huge as you’d think.

After the cook asks what you want, the next question is “Do you want any grilled items.”  By this, he means bacon, onions, etc.  Don’t say cheese.  Cheese isn’t grilled.  The guy in front of me made that mistake.  I didn’t want anything, so he moved on to buns.  The regular bun comes standard, but they also have choices of onion or Kaiser rolls for an additional charge.  As the burgers are just about done, the cook turns around again and asks if you want cheese.  They have five choices.  I went with cheddar although the bleu cheese option was there.  The burgers cook a little longer then they are passed on to the cashier who finishes the burgers off with condiments.  There’s even a correct way to handle this process.  Wet condiments first then everything else.  I passed altogether as I just wanted to taste the burger.  The cook appreciated that.  He turned around and said most people don’t do that, but they really should.

It took me about a half hour to get through line.  I elected to take my burger to go since the place was packed, but quite a few people were grabbing trays to stay.  Once I got to my destination, I chowed down.  The burger was delicious.  Blimpy Burger is NOT all hype.  They really do have good food.  The triple was about the size of a double most places.  The cheese was melted into the burger and the burgers were so moist they were just falling apart.  I actually had a hard time finishing the burger and fries which almost never happens.  I just got the small order of fries and with the sandwich, the total was just over six dollars.

Blimpy Burger is an absolute must in Ann Arbor.  Make sure you have plenty of time as I imagine it’s always busy like it was the day I was in there.  This place lived up to the hype as a classic burger joint.  Their slogan is “cheaper than food”…..they could also add “better than food”