A man named Edward Demming helped save Detroit’s automotive industry in the 1980’s by pushing quality improvement. He was a great man that communicated arcane concepts clearly and simply. He believed that if you want to learn something new always go to the Master, do not waste your time with those of lesser ability. I wanted to learn about beer and it’s relationship to baseball, so I went to the master. I sat down with Mike Chezick, America’s #1 baseball fan.
I’ve known the guy my kids call “Mr. Mike” now for over a decade. Over the years we’ve watch our kids grow up, we’ve laughed together, we’ve fought together, we even joined a bowling league together with our wives and lost every single season. Through it all we drank loads of craft beer. To be honest, I think Mike’s natural inclination is wine but he sure appreciates good beer and he loves loves loves the Detroit Tigers.
Mike, what pulled you in to Craft Beer?
The Bad Frog pulled me into craft beer, Dave.
To be precise, a beer label with a frog “flipping me off” pulled me in to craft beer. I saw this bottle of Bad Frog and I had to buy it. When I got it home I tried it and loved it then I tried others. To this day, I still have a bottle from that original six pack of beer.
Factoid: Bad Frog beer is banned in several states as the label is deemed offensive (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio and New York).
Why are Beer and Baseball intertwined?
Baseball is America’s past time and beer is America’s adult drink. What could be better then having ….a Beer, a Hotdog and Baseball? When you have all three and you’re out there at the baseball field, the experience is just incredible. It’s a Norman Rockwell painting that you can walk into whenever you want. You can walk into this reality that is iconic Americana.
Factoid: You know that phrase about a bear in the woods? Well Mr. Mike parks where he pleases. When he took me to a game, he drove. He drove to inner-city Detroit, found a parking space on an empty street and put the car in park - no fee required. I'm not sure he even locked the doors.
Tell us your journey to become a Detroit Tigers fan
I’ve been watching the Tigers my entire life. I remember as a kid walking into the grocery store and they had these paper Detroit Tigers. I remember the ’68 series and I was only 5 years old. In 1972 the Tigers were playing during the day when I was in school and the teacher walked us to the school library. We watched a Tigers playoff game in the library. Then in 1984 my greatest memory, was being there and watching the Tigers win the Word Series in game 5! I was there!
Factoid: Both of Mike's daughters have enjoyed the experience of throwing "the first pitch" at a Tigers game. His son Josh is pictured next to him for the 2011 sales brochure.
What have you observed over the years with ballpark beer?
The ballpark has tried to upgrade the entire experience. The beer, the food everything is just better (Mike has had prime rib dinners at Comerica stadium). Really the ballpark beer and is following along with our society which is elevating everything. Today we have bigger TVs and better cars. Compare the typical house from 1960 to what we have today for a middle class family. Everything in our society just seems to be getting better so why not beer?
Tell us something only an insider at Comerica stadium knows about craft beer
I love Oberon! I drink it at games but it’s a different beer depending on where you buy it. Oberon tastes different, depending on what part of the stadium you buy it from.
One last item, get into the Tiger Den Lounge for a meal and enjoy the great view pictured below. The food is great and you can watch the entire game from a dining table (diners can get in up to 2 hours before a game).
–> At a recent Tiger game a “Kid” made his first appearance in Major League game. The Kid got a hit and mom was in the stands watching with tears of joy..
This is one of the reasons for our love of baseball…