Opening day at Comerica Park is a big deal for Detroit Tigers fans. And Tiger fan Kelsey Kiander, 14, an eighth-grader at Cedar Springs Middle School, got to do something special for opening day—she was chosen as an honorary member of the grounds crew where she got to place third base on the field.
Kelsey, the daughter of Shila and Kevin Kiander, of Cedar Springs, was one of 30 winners of Kids Opening Day Sweepstakes, an essay contest that drew more than 230 entries. Kelsey wanted more than anything to go to a game for her birthday, and Shila saw the sweepstakes on Facebook and decided to write an essay about Kelsey, with the hope that she might win a chance to go.
Her essay read: “My daughter has been waiting for opening day since the end of last season. She has always rooted for the Tigers but last year she became a real fan. Her great grandfather spent his winters in Lakeland Florida and was a big Tigers fan. Last year, at the age of 90 he was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition. My daughter spent 3 weeks caring for her great grandpa. She prepared his meals and gave his medication to him. During those three weeks, they didn’t miss watching a Tigers game together. Grandpa died last July. After great grandpa died, Kelsey was given his Detroit Tigers baseball cap. She wore it all summer. Kelsey has said she was lucky to get to spend those weeks taking care of her great grandpa. She says that some of her favorite memories of her time with her great grandpa was when they watched the Tigers together. She has never been to a Tigers game and all she wants for her birthday is to go to a Tigers game. Her birthday is April 7th and she will be 14 years old. I can’t imagine a better birthday present for my daughter then spending opening day at Comerica Park!”
Shila was excited when she found out she’d won. “When they called me I couldn’t believe it,” said Shila. “We decided to wait and tell her on April 7 (her 14th birthday) that she had won the sweepstakes winning four free tickets to Sunday’s game!”
Kelsey was excited, too, and had a great time at her first Tigers game at Comerica Park with her family!
Detroit lost to Kansas City, 9-5.