Peanuts, popcorn, hot dogs, and beer ... Mud Hens season is here! Thursday was the opening day at Fifth Third Field, and fans were ready to party. If that wasn't enough, there was the Gram Slam Saturday Night gala.
By 7 a.m. Thursday hardy revelers were at The Bronze Boar for eggs 'n' kegs. Bob Douglas, host of a tailgate party, was flipping burgers and dogs. Parking lots were packed by 11 a.m. and crowds swarmed to the stadium for the sold-out game. Excitement was high but tame. Dancers performed at the entrance despite the chilly weather as policemen on bicycles and horses made their presence known.
Lathrop Co. hosted a Party in the Roost. Sipping warming libations were Sandy and Mark Luetke, Dan Tabor, and Margo Maxwell.
The first ball was pitched as fans in the general section outdoors shivered in the cold. Meanwhile, the suite section indoors was THE place to be. As for the game ... what game? Most folks were so busy schmoozing they never did see the game. Just ask Carty — he wandered from suite to suite. Other gadders spotted were Alan Brass, Jen and Chuck Swisher, John Kevern, Marcia and Tom Kovacik, Rich Heck, Dave Waterman, Joe and Darlene Minnick, John and Susan Block, George Kamilaris, Sandy Isenberg, Jeff Jaffe, Bob Chirdon, Tom Crothers, and Paul Abendroth.
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It was Jerome Hamilton's first Hens game: The eligible bachelor is new to Toledo. It was a first for Sam Szor, too, who proudly wore a Hens jersey presented to him by the late Gene Cook. Howard Hartung, a Gulf War veteran, sported a patriotic look with his baseball/Stars and Stripes tie and 82nd Airborne pin as he commented, “The two greatest things in the world are the USA and baseball!”
The game is over? Several revelers barely noticed, except for the cheers from proud fans for the victory over Louisville in the first game of the season. Partying continued at the Durty Bird, where it was standing room only but no one seemed to mind, including Jeff Potter, Mo Devany, and Carl Wise. Spectating from a corner were Dick Moses and Tom Schlachter. At the bar, Steve Boice joked it was a gaping and groping scene. Keith Walker crushed through the crowd to his limousine waiting outside. Of course, even partier Larry Boyer had to call it quits and eventually headed home.
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THE GRAND SLAM Saturday Night ballpark bash enticed guests to wear baseball formal attire. Volunteers Cheryl Sanders and Jumana Hasan greeted the 400 guests — far from the mass last year that tipped past 1,000. However, that was the stadium opening, and this time there were several other competing events. Guests sipped and supped in the suite area, with Impressions. Dessert was in the Roost with the Andre Wright Trio. Then guests danced to Stacked Ham.
Seen were Stephanie and Robert Alexander, Marlene and Tom Uhler, Doug Rechtine and Angie Turner, Debbie and Terry Paul, Richard and Denise Hasbrook, Andrea and John Monoky, Mark and Marcia Rubini, Chrys Peterson and Tom Runnels, Mike and Anna Miller, and stag for the night Steve Klepper in his “long underwear with felt tip pen stripes” baseball pants. Diehard fans Walter and Lucille Johnson, looking especially spiffy, were there, too. Mrs. Johnson is a celebrity with the players — she bakes cookies for the Hens. Chairman Jeannie Hylant, there with Tom McHugh, said proceeds support local children's charities.
It was a glorious week for jazz in Toledo.
Monday, Jon and Judith Hendricks' place in Ottawa Hills rocked till 3 a.m. with area jazzmen. The gathering was in honor of jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, who sang with Mr. Hendricks.
Tuesday, Mr. Elling addressed Mr. Hendricks' jazz history class at the University of Toledo. The two singers will be performing together this summer with Mark Murphy and Kevin Mahogany on the Four Brothers tour, including Toledo's Art Tatum Jazz Festival June 21.
Mr. Hendricks, who is 81 but acts like the Energizer Bunny, is also in the People I Know movie with Al Pacino and Kim Basinger, opening April 21.
Wednesday night, Mr. Hendricks sang at the Eagle Point Colony home of George and Carol Koury for a party in honor of former Toledoans Charlie and Diane Gallagher.
Saturday night was a big jazz night at The Peristyle. Trumpet star Wynton Marsalis, leader of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, invited Mr. Hendricks onstage to sing. Before the concert in the Old West End home of Tammy and Scott Michalak, a select group schmoozed with Mr. Marsalis and host Mr. Hendricks. After the show, Mr. Marsalis stopped by the Toledo Symphony Space before heading to The Murphy's for a jam session that lasted until the wee hours. Keeping the pace, Mr. Hendricks today jets to Milan, Italy, to open the new Blue Note Jazz Club.