Thursday, June 24, 2010

To understand the opponent, you need to know where he is from. Our evening at Comerica Park

Since the Tigers have been visiting the Mets this week, I thought it might be a good idea to show Mets fans where the Tigers spend most of their time.

And I'm talking about the ballpark, beacuse you really don't want to see too many photos of Detroit other than our adventures in trespassing at the old yard.

Comerica Park isn't the worst place to see a game, but it's far from my favorite. Like Cit Bank in Philly, it's a jumbled mess.

But there are some neat features, like giant tiger statues -- including two atop the scoreboard with glowing eyes when the team plays "Eye of the Tiger" late in the game. And it's cool that the team takes the field as "Detroit, Rock City" blares from the PA.

So Will and I went to see the Diamondbacks, and wore our sweet D-Backs batting practice jerseys. He's got the Unit, I've got Schilling.

Tigers fans are pretty mellow. I knew we'd never get abused for wearing opposition colors. In fact, I set the over/under on abuse at two people. Other than some mild ribbing from employees, we heard mostly compliments from D-Backs fans. Usually people mentioned it as a way to start a conversation.

The huge tiger statue is one of the good things about the stadium. It's a natural meeting spot and photo zone. There are several other, smaller tigers on the roof on either side.

It is well-known that I will pose with any mascot at any time. Occasionally this brings great discomfort to my friends. We neve got close to Paws, the Tigers' mascot, but we did see the Comcast remote control -- I don't know if he has a name -- and the Belle Tire guy. Will humored me by stepping into the photo.

The team has a booth full of game-worn or used items, including these bats from the Mothers Day game. Sometimes there are affordable items there. Last year I got Lloyd McClendon's locker plate for $10 and Luis Lopez's cap from a Negro Leagues tribute game for $20.

The Ferris wheel and food court were hopping areas, with a band playing. The wheel isn't all that tall, and if not for the novelty of riding in large baseballs at a stadium, it's not exciting. But it's kind of neat to watch.

Comerica has a number of stupid little mistakes, things that could have been done much better. Among those was the placement of the statues in left. They're on the concourse, but right up against the fence so they overlook the seats and playing field.

But people like to take photos of the statues, and they like to take photos of fields and themselves next to said statues. But the only way to get a person and the statue in the same shot is to stand behind them.

So here's Ty Cobb's butt, and Will's too.

The Ernie Harwell statue is near the main entrance, better situated and is a popular posing site. Harwell was probably the most popular person in Detroit, and when he passed away this spring he was brought to the stadium, with the open casket set near the statue and the line stretching around the block. People where snapping photos with their cell phone cameras, which seemed kind of odd.

The Diamondbacks had their way with the Tigers, with Mark Reynolds launching an early bomb and the team padding the lead, sending Rick Porcello all the way back to the Toledo Mud Hens. The Tigers got within striking distance, but Aaron Heilman, of all people, came in to close the door.

The sky was beautiful as the sun started setting. Will noted that the view will be pretty neat as the lights in all the downtown Detroit buildings started flickering on. Then we remembered that we were in downtown Detroit and there would be no lights because most of the buildings are empty.

A couple was married at home plate after the game. They'd won a contest for the honor, and note that Paws, the Tigers mascot, is among the groomsmen and wearing his tux. We suspect the wedding party had been celebrating for much of the evening, because instead of saying, "I do," she yelled, "HELL YES!"

And the game ended with a pretty sweet fireworks show, with the explosions going off right there in centerfield.

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