Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Hendel

Opening Day: Plenty to play for on the field and off

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    Carla Nowak, left, Maria Veltre center, and Bob LaClair were on hand to watch the Toledo Mud Hens' opening day game from the 5/3 suite at the ballpark in downtown Toledo.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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Spring is here -- and so is baseball season.

It was cold, windy and rainy April 4 for The Toledo Mud Hens season opener, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the those who came. There’s more to the game than baseball itself: It's about the people and the excitement. The ping of the bat hitting the ball, the cheers from the fans, the peppy music, the announcer, the pop corn, peanuts and hot dogs, are all part of the fun at Fifth Third Field.

Tailgaters started as early as 7 a.m. The Durty Bird opened at 9 a.m. for Beer and Brats. The Bronze Boar, Fricker's, Packo's, The Blarney, Pizza Papalis, and Ye Old Cock N" Bull Tavern were all packed shoulder to shoulder by noon.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for more photos from the Mud Hens Opening Day

Corporate tailgate parties were plentiful:

The Maloney McHugh and Kolodgy party on the first floor of the firms building in The Shared Lives Studio gallery, drew scores of lawyers and clients as firm client Nick Tokles of Nick and Jimmy's, grilled outside under a tent.

Seen were Federal Judge James Carr, Sixth district court of appeal judge Arlene Singer, probate Judge Jack Puffenberger and his wife, Sarah, Jeannie Hylant and Tom McHugh, Susan and Jeff Gibbs, and Becky Furhman and Don Leary.

Communica, Inc. and Continental Office Environments hosted its annual Mud Hens Opening Day Parking Lot Bash under a giant tent. Midland Title, Martin + Wood Appraisal Group, Ltd., MT Business Technologies, Inc., and Waterford Bank, N.A. had a tent for their Parking Lot Party, too. Table Forty4 was busy, indoors, with a pre-party.

Inside of Fifth Third Field, Lathrop Company, the General Contractor for Fifth Third Field, which opened in 2002, hosted its annual tailgate party indoors at The Roost. Muddy and Madonna Mud Hen were the popular guests.

Meanwhile, downstairs, John Fedderke, Gene Parker, Jeff Halsey, and Ron Kischuk played Jazz tunes as fans strolled in.

About 4:14 p.m., just after the game started, The Toledo Mud Hens vs The Louisville Bats, it still seemed quiet in the suites, then all of a sudden, by 4:45 p.m., the suites were packed with many who came after work.

So much fun, music and people to watch, was anyone watching the game?

Although the Hens lost 3-1, it was definitely a big social event, even for those who know nothing about baseball.

The game over, many sports enthusiasts headed to Huntington Center to watch The Walleye game. Others filled the local bars 'till late that night.

The next Hens home game is slated for April 16 and 17. The Walleye are slated for home game today at 5:15 p.m. against the Cincinnati Cyclones.

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