In His Words: Detroit Ad Exec Tim Smith, Gone at 54, Wrote About What Matters

January 17, 2018, 7:50 PM

Skidmore Studio chief executive and owner Tim Smith, who moved his advertising and design firm downtown from Royal Oak in 2011, died Tuesday night at 54 from a heart attack. News coverage is at Crain's Detroit Business

Smith contributed essays about baseball and life to Deadline Detroit before the Tigers' home opener in 2014 and last AprilExcerpts from the 2017 post show his connections to family, Detroit and baseball. They reflect a life well-appreciated by an inspiring Metro Detroiter.

By Tim Smith

The game of baseball eases my pain. It makes everything okay, and Opening Day becomes a day of rebirth.

Anything is possible.

It’s circled on my calendar soon after the last game in October. I begin pointing to that day sometime in mid-January when I start saying things like "anything is possible."

Tim Smith: 1963-2018 | "Anything is possible."

It's the bright spot on those cold and grey winter days. It’s the dream I cling to when one of our clients wants to make "one last change" on a Friday afternoon. It's me sitting in a sun-baked seat at Joker Marchant stadium in Lakeland, Fla., for a spring training game. It's early enough that I can still convince myself that this could be the year the Tigers will actually win the World Series again. I even get bold enough to proclaim that this is the year I get that book published I’ve always wanted to write.

[His book, Dare Mighty Things: A Field Guide for Millennial Entrepreneurs, was published last June.]

Maybe this will be the year I train and run a marathon? Anything is possible. . . .

I'm what you would call a baseball romantic. I like the history and the spectacle of the game. I’m a baby boomer punk who played Little League and dreamed of being the next Ron LeFlore. I wanted to play center field for the Tigers, steal second base off Johnny Bench and rob Rod Carew of an extra base hit deep in the alley of the outfield.

My dad used to take me to Tiger Stadium in the mid-1970s when the team was not very competitive. But when we would walk out of the tunnel under the stadium and the sunshine would hit my face at the exact moment the smells of fresh-cut grass, stale beer and grilled hotdogs would slam into my nostrils --  that was heaven!  Every time.

I was not concerned with win-loss records or ERAs. Just the experience. It was a time I could connect with my dad. We could talk on the same level. He was always happy at the ballgame.

At home, you never knew if you’d get the happy dad or the grumpy dad.  But at the baseball game you always got the happy dad. So, baseball was the treat of the summer when we’d get to make the trek to Michigan and Trumbull.  He’d show me where he worked at Michigan Bell. We’d make a pit stop after the game at Lafayette Coney Island. . . .

Baseball creates bonds with fathers and sons that are unique and magical.

I have two sons now. They are both grown. One is two years out of college, the other is graduating from college this spring.

I have pictures of them in my arms at Tiger Stadium. And photos of them after the game at Comerica Park when Magglio Ordonez sent us into the World Series with a walk-off homerun. (Yes, that’s the one that hit me in the forehead.) I have photos of my boys on the infield grass with Ernie Harwell and leaning over the first base line trying to grab a foul ball. . . .

Celebrate Opening Day and all the possibilities it brings. I’ll be thinking of my dad and my two boys and thinking about fathers and sons.

Tim Smith's full guest post

'A Day of Rebirth:' For This Tigers Fan, Today Brings Memories of Time with Dad, April 7, 2017

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