Opening Day in Detroit: Saginaw Super Fan Sammie Telder Never Misses a Game

Jake Newby

| 4 min read

Sammie Telder’s parents don’t even have to watch Detroit baseball on TV to know when the home team is rallying. Their daughter’s reaction from her bedroom tells the tale.
Whenever her beloved Tigers have hitters on every base, Sammie lets out her signature chant: “The bases are loooooadeddddd,” she’ll wail out. 
Sammie, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan member, has been a Tigers super fan since at least 2016. Like many Detroit fans in the mid-2010s, she was captivated by Miguel Cabrera’s larger-than-life personality and prowess in the batter’s box. Her favorite current player it outfielder Akil Baddoo.
“She’s got little nicknames, she calls (Tarik) Skubal, ‘Screwball,’” Kathy said. “She calls (Zach) McKinstry, ‘Hit Streak.’ Akil Baddoo she’ll say:
“Yabba Dabba Baddoo,” Sammie said, finishing her mother’s sentence.
The 26-year-old Saginaw native’s love for America’s Past Time predates her Tigers fandom; baseball has been woven into the fabric of the Telder family for decades.
“It started when she was really young because her brothers played Little League baseball,” said Sammie’s mom, Kathy, during an interview with BCBSM. “Then they played high school baseball. I played softball at Western Michigan, so I’ve always been a baseball/softball fan. So, she kind of had to be (a fan). She came to all the games with us. Even at the high school games, she’d sit behind the dugout and keep score for the high school. That’s kind of how it started.”
During one game, Sammie was welcomed into the broadcast booth to announce the players.
“She got to say, ‘Next up to bat, my brother, Luke Telder,” Kathy affectionately recalled.
Sammie doesn’t miss many pitches, swings or catches during the 162-game regular season. When she’s volunteering at Bayne’s Apple Valley Farm cider mill and café while the Tigers are playing, she records the game to watch later. When she’s not watching live or recorded contests on TV, you might just spot her at Comerica Park taking in the sights and sounds of her favorite sport with her family and extended family. The Telders try to hit downtown Detroit for at least a handful of games each season.
“They’ve got the Ferris wheel and the carousel, and of course the food’s great,” Kathy said. “We always have great seats behind home plate. We’ve sat in the upper deck. We’ve sat behind the dugout. It’s a lot of fun.
“It’s a great time with my friends,” Sammie said. “And my brothers take me.”
“Yeah, her brothers and their friends take her,” Kathy added. “There is a group of like eight or nine kids in the seats every year. It’s really special.”
Sammie’s all-time most enjoyable visit to Comerica Park might have come last season, during a late-May game against Chicago. After meeting and mingling with star players Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, Kerry Carpenter and her favorite player on the team – Akil Baddoo – Sammie was featured on the pregame Bally Sports broadcast, where she was interviewed about her fandom. She got to participate in the broadcast’s “Pick the Stick” game, where Detroit analysts, commentators and guests predict which Tigers player will hit a home run that day. Of course, Sammie had to select Baddoo, her fav.
In the third inning of that May 28 game, Sammie's savvy prediction came true when Baddoo blasted a grand slam home run into the outfield seats. Her magical day at the ballpark was punctuated by a greeting and hug from Craig “C-Mo’ Monroe, a former Tigers player who now calls the action as a broadcast analyst.
“Maybe C-Mo can give me a shoutout or something (this season),” Sammie said, during the BCBSM interview.
“She wants a shoutout at a game this season from her buddy C-Mo,” Kathy said with a laugh. “Super fan Sammie."
When she’s not rooting for the home team, Sammie loves to draw, make cards and dance. Her mom couldn’t be prouder of the person Sammie has become.
“She’s a super caring young lady,” Kathy said. “She’s always concerned about people’s feelings and if they’re ill she’s always worried and hopes they get better. She makes cards for her friends and families and teachers. She’s just such a caring person. She knows so many people in our town. She was actually the homecoming queen in 2016 at her high school.”
When asked to predict which Detroit player will be the first to hit a home run in the upcoming 2024 season, the prediction guru had a different answer than last year.
“I think it’ll be Carpenter,” Sammie said, before her mom got in on the fun. 
“I pick Torkelson!” Kathy chimed in.
Opening Day in Detroit falls on April 5 this year when the home team welcomes Oakland into town. The Tigers happen to be in town for a series against Cleveland when Sammie turns 27 on July 11. The Telders have already secured tickets to the game that day.
“We have a special day planned this summer on her birthday,” Kathy said. “We’ll be there.” 
Photo credit: Kathy Telder
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