Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Deathtour~!: Comerica Park, Detroit (Now with 100% less pictures)

Despite assurances that Detroit was a wretched hive of scum and villainy, I was not shot, stabbed, beaten, mugged, assaulted, accosted, jostled, burned or dismembered. In fact, I suffered no flesh wounds of any kind, although that is not to say I will reflect on my short stay in Detroit with fondness. I’m not going to go into the details but let’s just say that I will avoid Comfort Inn on future trips.

My time here also suffered from the death of my camera’s battery. I was particularly upset about this since this isn’t the first time it’s happened at a game and I should be more prepared for this. I’d actually checked the battery in the hotel room and it seemed okay so I didn’t bother to recharge it. As soon as I turned it on to take that first picture, nothing. No picture. So, new policy. That thing gets recharged every two days. I a guarantee I’ll be taking plenty of pictures of the Giants game in Cleveland on Wednesday to make up for it.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t have photographs of Comerica Park, the Tigers home field. It’s a visually spectacular facility with a plethora of historical treasures, memorabilia, attractions and a panoramic view of the downtown area. And it’s a popular destination for a week night. This opening game against the Cardinals drew the 3rd largest crowd in the 9 year history of the ballpark. And boy was it a large crowd, both in volume and girth. By my completely unscientific estimation, Detroit fans are the second heaviest group of fans behind St. Louis (and I know Shane is attempting to single-handedly lower the Cardinals fan weight average). How fitting that those two teams were playing tonight.

I arrived an hour before game time and it was already packed. I had to squeeze my way past the Tiger faithful in their 1968 replica road unis, which took some time. Comerica pays tribute to Tiger history beginning with a series of pillars on the lower level promenade, each dedicated to a particular decade. Tiger greats like Ty Cobb and Mickey Cocherane are spotlighted in pictures and with their equipment on display. Statues line the left-field bleachers, each representing the players who have been bestowed the honor of having their number retired.

The name, Comerica Park, conjures up the image of an amusement park, and, in fact, houses an attraction you’d likely find at such a place. Comerica Park is the only baseball stadium to hold a carousal, fittingly with nothing but Tigers. The centerfield hitters backdrop is lined with ivy and topped with a fountain that you can walk under. Despite being constructed in the era of luxury and club level seating, Comerica has only 2 decks with a small luxury level in-between and the upper level seating is very family friendly in economic terms.

I took my seat shortly before game time, still bummed about not having my camera and I didn’t take any notes during the game. After last night’s 2:12 minute affair, this game seemed like a marathon session. Kenny Rogers took about a minute just to throw the first pitch. The game plodded along for over three hours from there. The crowd was surprisingly subdued for such a large crowd, only coming alive for a couple of early home runs, of which one was highly controversial, sparking an argument between Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and the unpires. Disappointingly for Tiger fans, he was not tossed. Once the Cardinals took over in the middle stages of the game, it was a slow migration towards the exits with many departing after the Redbirds scored 3 in the 7th to make it an 8-2 game. Detroit scored 2 in the bottom of the inning and had runners on in the ninth but never caught up.

After the game I quickly made my way back to the hotel to prepare for an early wakeup call. Next it’s on to Cleveland. Go Gigantes!

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