A Motown Hit

Living in Columbus, Ohio, I have four different MLB cities I can make a trip to and return the same night. Those being Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh. The last of these four places I visited was Detroit.

Comerica Park has been the Tigers home since 2000. Built during the middle of the retro ballpark boom, it’s the successor to Tiger Stadium, where the Tigers played from 1912-1999 (fun fact: Tiger Stadium opened the same day as Fenway Park in Boston). In its short time, Comerica Park has already hosted two World Series and one all star game.

My first visit to Detroit was in April 2016. The Indians were visiting the Tigers in an early season weekend series, and a 1:10 Saturday game seemed like the perfect first game for Detroit. We could go to a new ballpark and the game would be over with it still being daylight. So we would not have to deal with a new city for the first time when it was nighttime.

Driving up to Detroit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had never been there before, and I had heard certain things about the city. But this article isn’t to talk about Detroit as a city. I’m here to talk about Comerica Park.

It’s really nice.

Yeah, that might be a bland description. Take my word for it. Comerica Park is a tremendous place to watch a baseball game. Its playing field has two distinct features, deep dimensions and a dirt path from the mound to home plate. Center Field is 420 feet from home plate. The home plate area is also shaped like a home plate and not a traditional circle.

Around the ballpark, one thing stands out. Tigers. A 15 foot tiger statue graces the main entrance to the ballpark and there are 8 other tiger statues throughout Comerica Park.

You’re definitely at Comerica Park when you see two tigers at the entrance.

Two of the tigers stand atop the scoreboard out in left field. Those tigers even have eyes that light up after Detroit home runs and victories. Around the exterior of the ballpark, you will find a total of 33 tiger heads with lighted baseballs in their mouth.

The Comerica Park scoreboard. Watched over by two tigers.

Pro tip: when visiting a ballpark for the first time, do not go directly to your seat. Just please don’t. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the game. Take some time to explore the rest of the ballpark. For example, if you’re taking your kids to Comerica Park, they might enjoy the carousel. Yes, the carousel features all tigers. You will also find a ferris wheel with cars shaped like baseballs. Comerica Park has a wide open concourse. The best part about the concourse is the lower level is open all the way around. So when you’re walking around, you can always see the field. The lower level concourse also goes all the way around the ballpark. So you can walk around and give yourself different views of the field.

A pregame view near the left field foul pole.

In the left center field concourse you will find statues of all former Tigers who have had their uniform number retired. You will also see a Ty Cobb statute. Cobb played before uniform numbers were used on the back of player jerseys. Also you will find the names of these players and other hall of famers who spent a significant amount of time in their career with the Tigers on a brick wall out in left center field. Which can be seen sitting most places in the park.

Ty Cobb’s statue.

My first trip to Comerica Park was also special to me because it was my first time seeing the Indians play a road game in person. The Indians ace pitcher Corey Kluber was pitching, so on paper it seemed like the perfect game on paper to attend. Man, was it ever.

The Indians jumped on Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez right away. Kluber went to the mound in the bottom of the first with a 3-0 lead. Cleveland would tack on 5 more runs in the 3rd inning. Catcher Yan Gomes leading the charge with a 3 run home run. Kluber would pick up his first win of the season by pitching 8 innings and allowing just one run (solo home run) on two hits in a 10-1 Tribe victory. Comerica Park impressed me so much I returned in September of 2017 (this time a night game) to see another Indians win over the Tigers.

Although no seats at Comerica Park are obstructed, I recommend being able to sit behind home plate. If you’re like me and you spend your summers traveling to ballparks, you aren’t exactly trying to splurge on the fancy seats that have you right up against the netting behind home plate. I like to sit in the upper deck. From there you can see the entire field and it will give you the perfect backdrop for a picture of the whole field. The backdrop? Downtown Detroit. I’ve said it before. City skylines are the best backdrop for a ballpark.

The Detroit skyline gives Comerica Park the perfect backdrop.

So even if you don’t really care much for the city of Detroit, look past that when you visit Comerica Park. The atmosphere is inviting and the fans are friendly. Go and hear the roar of the crowd. Make sure to enjoy a baseball game sometime in the Motor City.

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