Crack. The baseball whizzes over the field in a smooth arc, and the crowd hushes for a moment in breathless anticipation. The outfielders scramble to the warning track, but the ball whooshes past their outstretched mitts, over the fence. Homerun! The entire crowd is on its feet: whistling, stomping, cheering. The hitter rounds the bases while triumphant music plays over the speakers.
It’s a beautiful moment, perhaps one that could only happen at Jimmy John’s Field. Yes, everyone watching the game has a favorite team or a favorite player, but somehow it feels like a victory no matter which side gets a run.
My dad and I are watching the Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers play the Westside Woolly Mammoths. It’s our first time at Jimmy John’s Field, and we picked a great day for it. The weather is perfect. It also happens to be Oakland University day at the ballpark, so we’re treated to a performance by the OU Spirit Squad during the game. I’m glad to be surrounded by fellow Golden Grizzlies, whose enthusiasm in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is unparalleled. And our music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha’s rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner is profoundly moving.
Happily, all of our favorite ballpark traditions are there—our section of the park goes wild when we win the Dunkin’ Donuts race—but there are also several pleasant surprises in store. Blackjack the Border Collie amazes us with her Frisbee-catching skills, and the mascots (Buzz the Beaver, Woolly the Mammoth, and, just this once, the Grizz) race against one lucky kid selected from the crowd.
After the game, hundreds of kids pour onto the field to run the bases. My dad sips a beer while I enjoy my cup of strawberry gelato (a newfound favorite!) Finally, at the end of the night, we get to watch a fireworks show—a Friday tradition at Jimmy John’s Field.
The game itself is incredibly fun to watch. The players are all extremely talented; it’s no surprise that 14 players from the league have been signed into the Major Leagues so far. But Jimmy John’s goes the extra mile to make the full experience of going to a game truly special.
My dad is already asking me when we can go again. With so many fun themes—Star Wars night, Beatlemania, Lego Day, etc.—there’s a lot to choose from.
One thing is certain: a night at Jimmy John’s Field is guaranteed to be both fun and memorable. And I can’t wait to go back.
Jenna Russell is a summer intern at the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. She is a senior at Oakland University.