Detroit Fan Fair

This past weekend, my girlfriend and I (with her parents) checked off our fourth baseball stadium together: Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.

Katey has been a Tigers fan most of her life, and she’s stuck with them through the good, bad, and ugly times of the team’s history. Even though she’s from northwest Ohio, Detroit is give-or-take 45 minutes closer than Cleveland. Although she misses the old-fashioned feel of the old stadium, she thinks Comerica Park isn’t that bad of a stadium. There are plenty of aspects to enjoy, but we’ll get to those in a couple paragraphs.

We were going to get to one of our respective team’s stadiums this first season of our stadium challenge, and I’m glad we were able to check out the home of the Tigers. Katey and I have both been to New York, but I’ve never been to Detroit.

A whale of a mural. [Photo by C. Malone]
Of what little I briefly saw in the city, I enjoyed. There were plenty of spots where public art, murals especially, were proudly displayed. There was a convenient on-street parking spot too good to pass up; although the meter had to be paid through 10 p.m., the cost per hour was only $1, and the machine did not vomit an annoying, flimsy square piece of paper that Syracuse parking attendants fail to look at.

Our parking situation wasn’t far from Comerica Park, and it was a stone’s throw from Small Plates Detroit. The restaurant tried to open up a restaurant in Syracuse’s Armory Square to no avail. My first experience wasn’t a very noteworthy one, and the second shot redemption also came up short. There wasn’t time for “third time’s a charm,” but I’m happy to see the restaurant surviving.

Tiger Stadium Grotesques [Photo by C. Malone]
Aside my partner’s informing me of a couple unusual baseball stadium perks at Comerica Park, these aspects — a carousel and small ferris wheel — definitely added to the the immensity of the Tiger’s lair, which sits cozily in Detroit’s urban den.

The brick exterior is very decorated with tiger everything. The statues of large cats are seen as a large statue with a paw ready to claw opponent patrons, some are prowling the top edge of the stadium walls, and large feline grotesques with baseballs stuffed in each of their mouths — similar to that of a pig roast — line the walls and look oddly similar to Pez dispensers. Two tigers scale the top of one of the entrances, in almost Zuul and Vinz Clortho fashion.


Comerica Park [Photo by C. Malone]
In all seriousness, the stadium looks pretty damn great. What’s not so great: The Chicago White Sox turned the tables on the Tigers in the eighth inning. The Sox cranked out six runs in a slow-paced game to take over the latter’s 3 – 0 lead.

Hawt dawg! [Photo by C. Malone]
What else was great: The Chicago-style hot dog. We may have jinxed the team by eating one (and a half) of these stadium staples, but it was worth it. The menu item dog is placed in a bun and on top of tomatoes and onions. Relish rests alongside the dog as the small spoon, and a dill spear lies on top of everything. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass to eat, albeit not the messiest, but it’s so worth the $6.75.

There were other hot dog options I wanted to try, but I wanted to the couple thing to do, and enjoy one with Katey. She was craving one, and there was no reason to distrust her judgment.

Again, the trip to this baseball stadium stressed the importance of family. Frankly, although baseball games have been historically family-oriented events, I feel Comerica Park stresses family time more than any of the stadiums we’ve visited so far.

Save the fact this was the first game I attended with any of my partner’s family — her parents. Katey and her brothers grew up with the sport and attending games. My being new-ish in the picture was a step for them; they allowed me into their world.

Baseball games, due to length, may not be the most friendly for the little-little ones, and having all the lights, the picture opportunities, the Chevrolet Fountain, mid-inning games, the conversation friendly outfield bar area patio (mostly for the adults and not fooling anyone), plus the aforementioned carousel and ferris wheel will ease a crying or fidgety kid.

I’m glad my girlfriend is a Tigers fan. It’s going to be an often frequented baseball park I’ll love returning to.

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