Baseball and The Open Road, Part 7, Comerica Park


7 days into our trip both Grant and I were beginning to really get a feel for what makes a stadium good, great, or just plain dumpy.  Seeing so many stadiums in such a short amount of time has really allowed me to notice the little things that take a stadium from good to great, or from bad to worse. On 7 July, 2012 we pulled into Detroit to see what baseball looks like in Detroit.

Comerica Park in Detroit was a very nice stadium.  We parked about three blocks away for $20, there was another lot for $10 that was a little bit closer, but by the time we pulled into Detroit that lot was full! Curses! We parked and walked across the interstate and were quickly surrounded by Tigers fans and classic cars.  The Motor city did not disappoint in anyway.  Outside of the stadium there was a classic car show going on, and Grant and I used some extra time we had before the gates open to check out some BEAUTIFUL classic cars.  We even ran into Paws, the Tigers mascot, and concinced him to take a picture with Grant.

After we finished looking around at the cars, we walked over to wait in line for the Gates to open.  The concourse outside the main gate was gorgeous.  The huge tigers out front and the tiger gargoyles on the stadium facade were a very nice touch.

Once we got inside the stadium, we found ourselves in front of a huge merry-g0-round, but instead of horses it had lots of different tigers for kids (and adults) to ride around on.  We passed on a ride on the merry-go-round, but we could not pass up a ride on the Tiger’s Ferris Wheel located further back in the park.

As we continued our journey around the stadium one thing became quite evident, our adventure at Comerica Park was going to be scorching hot!  We were sitting in the LF bleachers (where I had hoped to mock Delmon Young all afternoon, but he was DH’ing) and had no shade available to us.  The temperature on the field at first pitch was 92, but the heat index was 104, and would rise to 106 by the third inning.  We were just behind the Tiger’s bullpen, and Phil Coke, and several other Tiger relievers generously sprayed down the crowd with the bullpen hose between innings.  The people I met at Comerica were really nice. Everyone welcomed me to Detroit and seemed genuinely interested in my Baseball Road Trip.

It was almost too hot to grab a hot dog, but I did manage to drag myself out of my blistering hot seat and into the glorious shade of the concourse to find a hot dog.  Detroit’s hot dog immediately shot to the top of the baseball road trip hot dog list. In addition to quality condiments, the hot dog itself was just a cut above the others from the trip, plump, juicy, delicious.  To wash down the winning hot dog, I got myself a yardstick full of Pina Colada and Strawberry daiquiri.

Beer prices at Comerica were pretty standard, ranging from $5 for a small beer up to $8.50 for a premium large beer.  The beer selection was good, featuring local beers and your standard domestic/international beers.  There were many different food options around the stadium, including a sushi option.  I was curious how good sushi from Detroit could be, but eating sushi in 100 degree weather didn’t seem like a good idea.

Doug Fister took the mound for the Tigers to face off against the Royals Bruce Chen.  The Royals scored early, but the Tigers answered back and took a commanding lead, 8-4, into the 9th inning when Jose Valverde (aka Papa Grande) entered the game and things got interesting. Valverde faced 7 batters in the 9th, giving up three runs before getting himself out of the inning and securing a 8-7 win for the Tigers.  Tiger fans everywhere were complaining about bringing Valverde into the game in a “non-save” situation.  Your best reliever should be able to perform in any setting, up by 4, tie game, up by 1 or down by a couple, your best reliever should be able to come into the game and shut down the opposition.  The terms “save” and “closer” have changed baseball, and in my opinion, not in a good way, but that’s another discussion for another day.

As the game ended all of the happy, sweaty Detroit fans peeled themselves out of their seats and headed home with smiles on their faces and the Win added to the team’s record.  Comerica was a beautiful stadium, large concourses, abundant food/retail choices and the sightlines from all over the stadium were great.  The concourse along the outfield provided awesome views of the field.  Comerica Park is a great place to catch a ball game.

Next stop on the trip: U.S. Cellular to watch the White Sox take on the Toronto Blue Jays


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