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I went to Comerica Park and it was good

Aug 6, 2012, 9:15 AM EST

Comerica Park

On Friday I detailed my trip to old Tiger Stadium and mentioned that I was heading off to Comerica Park. And there I went, for all three games of the Tigers-Indians series. The baseball speaks for itself — RIP Indians and my condolences Indians fans — so let’s talk about the park.

I really, really like Comerica. It’s a great place to see a game.  It was packed all three days and it’s an enthusiastic and knowledgeable  crowd.  The design is excellent. Some of the new-era ballparks are something of a pastiche. This design feature here, that design feature there and some quirkiness sprinkled around all willy-nilly.  That is not the case at all with Comerica.  It feels like a much more coherent kind of design. Even the features that got a lot of derisive attention back when it first opened — the ferris wheel and carousel — are well-integrated to the design of the place and are not at all obtrusive or superfluous.

The outside of the place is pretty swell too. A lot of people write and talk about the giant tiger statue and the million tiger heads carved in the side, but I think the most striking aspect of the park is how it doesn’t loom over the surrounding area like a lot of ballparks do. From Woodward Avenue it seems almost quaint, size-wize, thanks in part to how deep down the field of play is apparently dug from street level. Also thanks to the fact that Ford Field — the Lions stadium — is right next door and is, of course, gigantic.  Anyway, Detroit obviously has some issues with downtown development, but if ever the day comes when the place is hopping again, Comerica would fit in, in terms of scale, not unlike a lot of the old timey downtown parks of yore.

I had pretty sweet seats for two of the three games. Tiger Den seats on Friday, which are equivalent to club seats at other ballparks. Comfy chairs, waiter service and that sort of thing. I could get used to that. On Sunday we sat in the Terrace section along the right field line, which is in the upper reaches of the lower deck, just under the overhang. Those were swell as well, with the added bonus of being in the shade on a hot sunny day.  On Saturday I sat with a group down by the left field corner. Despite it being far away, they were still excellent seats which somehow seemed closer in to the action than comparable seats at other ballparks. Maybe it’s just a good sight lines thing.

The concourses were really congested. I guess that’s part of the deal when you get more than 40,000 people in the joint all three games. Still, I’d like to see what it’s like when it’s a little less hectic. There are these really cool kiosks detailing decade-by-decade Tigers history. I would have liked to spend more time checking them out but the crowds make it kind of difficult.

Beer was kind of frustrating. There is great beer there — Bell’s and Atwater brewery have kiosks and/or counters — but they’re relegated to the right field concourse. If you want beer without a walk, you have your choice of Miller Lite, Miller Lite or Miller Lite every ten feet, with some Labatt’s thrown in for, um, diversity.  Make the walk to right field if you want good beer.

Food: again, there is good stuff to be had — the food court between home and third place had a lot of options — but it’s mostly your standard hot dogs and pizza kind of place. Pfun Pfact: the Little Caesar’s $5 Hot and Ready pizza they advertise all over the park is $18 in Comerica Park. It’s way easier to justify eating that stuff for $5 than it is for $18.

Anyway: for a guy who was prepared to find fault with Comerica Park due to his irrational love of old Tiger Stadium, no real fault could be found. It’s a great place to see a game. As far as the new era parks go, I’d place it a notch below AT&T Park (it’s impossible to top that setting) but above Camden Yards and Progressive Field, both of which I really, really love.

If you’re anywhere close to Detroit, I highly recommend a visit.

UPDATE: Forgot two things:

1. Yesterday I was all fancy and had brunch in the Tiger Club before the game, sitting along the window overlooking the field. I’m pretty sure that drinking champagne while eating tasty omelettes, prime rib and the like disqualifies me from ever talking about baseball purism again; but

2. I had some karma to burn because on Friday night I left the park and bought a t-shirt from a dude in the street that says “Detroit Fu**in’ Michigan” on it, which felt like the right thing to do. No, I have no idea where I’m gonna wear the thing. I’m guessing the kids’ parent teacher conferences would be a good place, but beyond that I’m blanking.

  1. darthicarus - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Was curious to read what you thought about Comerica Park, nice to see a positive review. The one thing I like most about it, and you touched on it, is there doesn’t seem to be a bad place to sit at all and you never feel like you’re far away from the action. It is a nice park and one of these days I’ll bring by troupe of kids down to enjoy a game, it can be their “Tiger Stadium”.

  2. dawgpoundmember - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    I went to a concert at Ford Field last summer and it was the same day as a Tigers home game and Woodward dream cruise, with as many things going on just that day I kinda forgot how run down downtown Detroit is.

  3. Detroit Michael - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    The best part about the silly Ferris Wheel is that it is somewhat segregated from the rest of the park, so the families with young children can go make congestion away from the fans who want to watch baseball.

    Glad you liked the park. You forgot to mention that there are no trough urinals, surely an item you would have noticed if you drank enough beer.

  4. jtchernak - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I sat in the tigers den this year also but the only problems I had with it was how close he speakers were kinda loud and that everything that’s offered on he menus literally says drenched in cheese whatever I just got a pizza anyway and another silly thing is how the tigers eyes light up in the scoreboard

    • kiwicricket - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      ,

  5. latchbeam - Aug 6, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    This was your first time there and you live nearby? A knowledgeable crowd… what?

  6. kiwicricket - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    Are you handing in any more ‘business related’ receipts with the times 2345, 0015, 0045, 0125 on them again? Or are you saving them up for something special?

  7. tcostant - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    The Mets do that same thing, they have $5 footlong ads everywhere, but charge something like $14 for a footlong subway sub at Citi.

  8. mybrunoblog - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Good post by Craig. I enjoy this type of ballpark stuff.
    Hope he didn’t wear the flip flops. As for the t-shirt? Um……

  9. haterhurter937 - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    wow, your lucky. 3 days of detroit and you didnt get robbed, raped, or anything. beautiful area…lmao!

    • detroitr1 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      “your lucky….”

      Why, were you in Cleveland that weekend?

  10. bravojawja - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    I’ve lost track: which ones are AT&T Park and Progressive Field?

    Camden Yards I can remember. Ditto Yankee Stadium and Kauffman Stadium. But Corporate Name Field/Park/Stadium just don’t have any sense of place.

    • Detroit Michael - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      To get even, keep calling the Astros’ ballpark “Enron Field.” It was it’s original name after all.

      • Detroit Michael - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        should be “its”

    • Gamera the Brave - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      AT&T (aka ConHugeCoPlex) Park is in San Francisco.
      I still remember the first time I walked into that park, got goose bumps for the first 3 innings.
      I am aware that we are spoiled in SF, it’s a great park. The Angel have a nice park as well. Was in Seattle recently, but not long enough to see a ball game, unfortunately.

  11. oltanya - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Little Caesar’s isn’t even worth $5, $18 is criminal.

  12. Matt Aromando - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I enjoy traveling to different stadiums, I’ve been to 9 major league parks so far. I need to get to Comerica in the near future while I still have friends in Ann Arbor. I liked AT&T Park too, I wrote up something about it here: http://www.mattaromando.com/2012/07/27/att-park/

    As far as newer parks go, I think PNC Park is my favorite, though. Crowd was awesome especially considering I went a couple of years ago when things were still pretty bleak for the Pirates. I also like how close their park is to the city in a time where a lot of parks are built in less convenient locations.

  13. wethog66 - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Living in Annapolis, MD I am between Camden Yards and Nats Park. Two parks that certainly have their own unique charm and are great places to watch a game. Just wish Baltimore City officials would of stopped Hilton from building an extremely ugly Hotel that dominates the left field sightline of the park. Travesty.

    And I love Nats Park, was there for opening day, but spending $30 for a “tall” beer, bottle of water, and 2 hot dogs in unacceptible.

    So yeah, Parks like Camden Yards and Comerica might be great to watch a game, but until the price of refreshments is cut in half, at least, I will hang at home and watch games on my fabulous HD TV.

    • assassins14 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Been to Camden Yards many of times….It makes a nice picture on the TV but not a very ggod place to see a game. Even not taking into consideration the slow pitch softball dimensions of the field itself it is not a very comfortable place to view a game. If you a positioned down the lines at all it is a terrible angle and you will feel like you watched a tennis match when all is said and done. Enjoy uour recliner!

  14. assassins14 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I appreciated your insight on the ball park. I am taking my son to Detroit Labor Day weekend in our annual father/son road trip in quest of seeing the White Sox play in every park. The fact there is a pennant race going on is a much added bonus…..one I admit I didn’t expect when I made plans this spring.

  15. hojo20 - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    “Make the walk to right field if you want good beer.”

    That’s an insult to drinkers of Miller like me.

    • jbrunnels - Aug 6, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      And drinking Miller Lite is an insult to real beer drinkers…

  16. extremepanic - Aug 6, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    I don’t think it gets any better than PNC Park for watching a ballgame. I could literally live in the place.

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