Random observations from Detroit
My wife and I are attending all three Cubs games in Detroit this week. As native Michiganders, the Tigers are our “American League” team, while the Cubs are our #1 team. As we’ve been telling people at the ballpark, these are the only three regular season games that we WON’T be rooting for the Tigers…and we’re running into a fair number of Cubs fans here doing exactly the same thing.
It’s been kind of a melancholy week with respect to the Detroit ballpark. I openly stayed AWAY from attending Tigers’ games in Comerica Park for the first few years in protest of the move from Tiger Stadium. And as many of you may have seen in posts here this week, all that’s left of the old ballpark is the press box elevator shaft and the center field flagpole. As Cubs coach and former Tiger Alan Trammell saw first hand Tuesday, the rest is just a pile of rubble. As someone who spent a fair number of days and nights at that ballpark, it’s very sad.
That being said, Comerica is a beautiful park. The Tigers and owner Mike Illich did it right. It’s in about the best area left in Detroit and makes for a nice area in “Foxtown”- adjacent to Illich’s Fox Theater, Ford Field, the HockeyTown Café and Chelli’s. It’s a short walk from Greektown (with hotel and casino, which incidentally, many Cubs fans have discovered).
Nearby parking runs from free (on the street if you get there early enough) to $5, $15, $20 & $25 lots. The closer you park, the more it costs. On both days, my wife and I went early enough to get a free spot on the street and then did some sight seeing. We finished each afternoon at the HockeyTown Café, enjoying “Anchor Steam” on tap with an appetizer of “Red Wings”. Nice!
The park itself is stunning on the exterior. Lots of tigers incorporated into the architectural design. Inside, it’s very open and clean with a wide concourse decorated with Tigers historical displays- and even a statue of former legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell.
The park staff is very friendly. Once inside, you can ‘upgrade’ your seats to a better location (if available). Tuesday and Wednesday night, I upgraded to seats behind home plate- from $39 dollar tickets to $77 dollars per. Well worth the money. These level seats get access to the ‘Tigers Club’, an upscale bar/buffet area on pressbox level. You also get a wait staff at your seats that take food and drink orders and BRING them to your seat (for no additional charge- a beer costs the same as if a vendor sold it to you or you went and stood in line at concessions).
Bathrooms are clean and easy access. Even with the large crowds each night, there were no lines and you get in and out quickly- and back to game action. Concession lines seamed relatively short and kept moving. Again, the staff we encountered were happy to serve and glad to help if you have any questions.
There is a ‘Beer Garden’ where you can go inside and cool off with a cold one. Adjacent to this area are several open-air grill-style concessions with covered, sit-down seating. Also nearby is a small Ferris wheel. Rides in the baseball shaped cars are $2.
Fans are generally very nice. There is a policy for fan conduct that is regularly reinforced via public announcements: a “Visiting fans are our guests and are to be treated as such” sort of thing. Most people comply. Some don’t.
Now a word to Tigers fans (and I’m one) who want to “playfully” heckle fans of the opposition: Be more creative. Chants of “100 years”, curses, “Soto- you’re FAT” and “Bartman” are lame. Come on- do you think Cubs fans have NEVER heard that before? On the other hand, chanting “off the juice” and “.224” to Soriano and “Candyland” to Bradley were at least something new.
Oh, and really drunk 20-somethings screaming “it must really SUCK to be a Cubs fan” conjures up images of Bubba Helms in 1984 and is just silly coming from fans of a team who have had some of the longer droughts in baseball as well- and just 6 years removed from 43-119. As Dean Wormer said in Animal House: “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son…”
Anyway, on to todays game. Perhaps the Cubs can finally pull one out against the Tigers. I was at Wrigley in 2006 when the Cubs and Tigers played and it wasn’t fun then- or now. Let’s change that this afternoon…