Comerica Park – Detroit Tigers
In 2000, after almost a century at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, the Detroit Tigers moved their ballgames from Tiger Stadium to nearby Comerica Park along Woodward Avenue. Instead of the intimate, almost pleasingly claustrophobic feel of old Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park presents a wide open feel. It is a ballpark focused on a family friendly vibe. The Tigers have made five playoff appearances since moving to Comerica Park, appearing in two World Series in the past decade (although losing both). The team has been successful at the box office as well, ranking in the top half of MLB every year since 2006.
Food & Beverage 4
The concession options at Comerica Park continue to be an outstanding part of this stadium experience, but unfortunately prices also continue to be high. Although, to be fair, prices are about average compared to other MLB teams. If you are an adventurous eater when you go to the ballpark, and like to try unique items or local fare, then check out the food court called the Big Cat Court, near the home plate entrance. Here you’ll find the Michigan State Fair stand (deep fried Oreos and “Brat Pops”), Mexicantown Stand (try the quesadilla, especially if you want a good vegetarian option), Corktown Stand (terrific burgers), and Greektown Stand (try the Smokehouse fries).
Other tantalizing options include bacon on a stick, or Mac Daddy Dog (hot dog topped with mac & cheese and bacon bits).
A more basic selection would be to go with a Polish sausage ($6.75) from one of the sausage stands, or opt for a slice of Little Caesar’s pizza ($6.25/slice or $12 for a pizza), which was founded by Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
There is a new bar on the main concourse located section 123, just past the Big Cat Court, with 30 beers on tap and various craft cocktails. Another good option is the small Atwater Brewery concession ($10) about halfway down the third base side of the concourse. Most draft beers will cost $9.50 (Miller Lite and Molson Canadian among others), while premium beers (Leinenkugel) are $9.75 for a 20-ounce draft. Cans of beer will also be found by vendors roaming the stands ($8.50 per 20-ounce can of Miller Lite, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, and Molson Canadian).
If you are sitting in the upper deck sections of the ballpark, consider grabbing your food or drink of choice before heading up to your seats as the options are less plentiful once you leave the main concourse.
Comerica Park provides a great atmosphere for fans of all ages. Whether you follow the history of the game, are there for a fun day out with family, or just want to sit back and watch baseball, you’ll enjoy your time at Comerica Park. The giant tigers that surround the ballpark are a popular spot for fans to take a picture before the game, especially at the home plate entrance. Walk through this gate, and the next face you may see is the statue of beloved broadcaster, Ernie Harwell. He was truly one of the great announcers in the history of the game, spending 42 years broadcasting Tigers games. Harwell also has the distinction of being the only broadcaster to be traded for a player (back in 1948).
Take a left from the Ernie Harwell statue and enter Big Cat Court. Besides the great concession variety found here, is the carousel, popular with young fans. The cost for a ride is $2, although it is free on Sundays for kids.
From there, you can either take the escalator up to the upper levels, or see what the ballpark has to offer along the lower concourse. On the third base side you will find the baseball-stylized Ferris wheel. Take a few laps for just $2 per passenger.
Pass behind the massive scoreboard in left field and visit six additional statues of all-time Tigers greats. They include Willie Horton, Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser, and Al Kaline. All of them are absolutely beautiful action shots of the players, and really add to the historic ambiance of Comerica Park.
Continuing on, a kids area is in the right field concourse, featuring numerous test-your-skill type attractions. Upstairs from the kids area are a couple of bar options for the older crowd, The Jungle and the New Amsterdam 416 Bar.
For the best seats at a reasonable price ($32-$40), try sitting behind home plate in the upper deck. Section 327 is ideal for its skyline view, view of the game action below, and also a look into the Tigers spacious dugout.
There are many who will shutter at the very mention of Detroit. It is believed by many to be crime-riddled metropolis that no one would want to visit or spend time. The truth is that the neighborhood around Comerica Park, and more generally downtown Detroit, offers a plethora of fine options for those willing to put preconceived notions behind and explore a bit. That said, this is still indeed a city where you do not want to be careless with where you travel. Stick to the main streets and stay with the crowd when possible.
Detroit has plenty of options for eats near Comerica, starting with the Elwood Bar and Grill, a classic 1930’s diner right next to the park. Cheli’s Chili Bar is a fine place to spend some time, especially when the weather is nice and you can get a seat on their rooftop bar. The Hockeytown Cafe is also a very popular spot, and likely will only gain in stature once the Red Wings move into their new digs. Keeping to downtown, local American favorites are Republic (American cuisine on Grand River Ave), Wright & Co (gastropub on Woodward), and Michael Symon’s Roast (steakhouse on Washington Boulevard).
Few things go better together than BBQ and beer after a baseball game (or before). If this sentiment rings true to you, then try Slows BBQ in the Corktown neighborhood, the oldest part of Detroit. It’s a little over a mile from the ballpark, but could be walkable if you’re willing, and is a good place to park your car for free along Michigan Ave. I also like this option because it takes you past the old site of Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.
Sports fans will notice the home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field, is directly across the street from Comerica Park and is evident beyond the left field foul pole. Joe Louis Arena is also just a couple of miles away, and the 2016-2017 season will be your last chance to see the old venue when the Wings also become a neighbor to the Tigers.
Other attractions in Detroit include the Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit Opera House, taking a walk along the Detroit River, hitting up one of the nearby casinos, or going further afield to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.
Downtown Detroit has a great deal of hotel options, from the lofty Detroit Marriott, MGM Grand, and Double Tree Hilton, down to the more reasonable Holiday Inn, Atheneum Suite Hotel, Courtyard Detroit, Crowne Plaza, Greektown Casino, and Motor City Casino.
Cheaper options are found in another dozen or so hotels to the west in suburban Dearborn and southwest at Detroit Metro Airport. Those looking to treat themselves should check out the Inn at 97 Winder, an independent bed and breakfast in an opulent old Detroit mansion just a couple of blocks from the park.
Detroit fans love their sports in general, but baseball seems to hold a special place in their hearts. This may be Hockeytown, but if you asked Detroiters to name the sports team that they are most loyal to, my guess is you’ll hearing the Tigers as the slight favorite. The team was founded in 1901, so generations have grown up loving and rooting for the Tigers. They may have won only four World Series Championships in over 100 years (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984), but there has been a good balance of success and failure (most losses in a 162-game season in 2003 when the Tigers went 43-119), so fans can be called humble yet reasonably satisfied with the on-field success. Attendance continues to be strong, and the fans are interested in the game. You’ll see less walking around in the middle of an at bat compared to many MLB ballparks, and most of the conversation seems focused on the game and the sport.
It is easy enough to find parking around Comerica Park, but it can be a bit pricey. The main lots closest to the stadium cost $25, and you’ll find other lots within a few blocks with price tags of $20 or $15. Of course the further you get from the park, the less you’ll pay, but it will take you about a half mile or more to get far enough away to find free street parking. Public transportation isn’t great in Detroit, but you do have bus options to get to the ballpark. Take either the SMART or DDOT options to arrive at Comerica Park. There is also the Detroit People Mover, an elevated train which circles downtown. The closest stop to Comerica Park is the Station at Grand Circus (corner of Woodward & Park).
Inside the ballpark, the concourses are wide enough to handle even capacity crowds, and you can traverse the entire ballpark, with the only real downside being the walk behind the batters’ eye in center field where there is nothing to see.
Restrooms are clean and plentiful. Seats include plenty of legroom and drink holders, and are quite comfortable with green plastic seats throughout.
Return on Investment 4
The overall cost of attending a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park falls near the midpoint of game day experiences in MLB. There are certainly ways to save money, but if you end up parking near the stadium, take a seat in the upper deck, and grab a Polish sausage and a local beer, you’re looking at a price tag of about $80. Park and walk a half mile, and go for a cheaper seat, and you can easily work out a cost below the $50 mark. Overall, whichever path you choose, the cost is well worth the experience you’ll receive.
Certain other parks do get their venue right. Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, for example, practically scream the history that’s part of their parks’ DNA. The new Yankee Stadium’s stately bunting and cavernous Great Hall evokes that storied franchise’s proud and no-nonsense record. But there’s not another park in the majors that, for lack of a better term, buys into their concept so completely–and successfully. Other parks may have individual facilities that exceed their counterparts at Comerica, but none come close to getting the whole experience on the same level. Tigers, tigers, everywhere, for a start. If you ever have temporary amnesia, you’ll be quickly reminded by the tiger sculptures that guard each entrance and look down from the facade in rows with baseballs stuffed in their mouths.
The other most obvious feature of the park is the retired numbers sculpture garden in left field, featuring Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Willie Horton, Al Kaline, and Hal Newhouser.
Over in right field displays those honored without statues include managers and player-managers Hughie Jennings, Mickey Cochrane, and Sparky Anderson; players Harry Heilmann, Henie Manush, Sam Crawford, and George Kell; announcer Ernie Harwell; and, of course, Jackie Robinson’s 42. Legendary announcer Harwell is also honored with his own statue by the main entrance to the park.
Plaques outside the park commemorate the park construction, “Turkey” Stearnes, The College of Law (that previously stood on the location of the park), and Ty Cobb (in a plaque brought over from Tiger Stadium). The placard for the Michigan High School Baseball Hall of Fame is also tucked into the right field of the park. The Tigers utilize their long history throughout the park on their “Walk of Fame.” On the main promenade banners hang for each decade, punctuated by more substantial displays of the championship decades of the 1900s, 1920s, 1940s, and 1980s. The D Store, the expansive team store accessible from inside and outside the park (but closed on the outside once gates open), even gets into the act with a history of the Tiger’s iconic old English D. While looking in the past, the merchandise, at least, has one foot in the future, with a right field stand to get yourself 3D modeled into a Tigers figurine.
A stadium filled with tigers statues already has plenty of whimsy points, but it doesn’t end there. A giant tiger carousel dominates the Big Cat Court ($2/ride), and a small baseball Ferris Wheel can be found at the end of Brushfire Grill area ($2/ride), just past giant baseball topiary. The Chevrolet Fountain in center delivers high-tech “liquid fireworks” during appropriate moments during the game.
Suffice to say, Comerica Park is quite the experience, even if just to walk around.
Comerica Park provides an excellent ballpark experience. Whether you are going with the family, heading there with friends, or just want to sit in the stands with a scorebook and enjoy a game day, Detroit is a fantastic choice.
Additional reporting by Michael Rusignuolo.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
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I thought Comerica Park offered excellent value for money great park, friendly staff, and lots of history built in to the experience. I had no safety concerns in the vicinity of the park at all. I stayed nearby and had an easy walk to and from the game.