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The opening of Comerica Park in 2000 was met with a great deal of resistance by Tigers fans who had developed a strong bond with Tiger Stadium at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull. In many ways, Comerica Park was the antithesis of the old home of the Tigers. It was criticized for being too much of a carnival atmosphere, lacking the classic charm of the old navy-colored ball yard.
The criticism of Comerica Park has been unjust. It is a completely fair sentiment to miss Tiger Stadium (especially now that it’s been demolished), or to believe that the Tigers should have never moved, but Comerica Park is of itself, a really wonderful stadium. Sentimentality aside, a trip to see the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park should be on the list for any fan of America’s Pastime.
The Tigers are one of the founding members of the American League from 1901, and the only one of the eight teams that has never changed their home city or nickname. The history is certainly there, the modern and comfortable ballpark is there, and the team itself has been rather good for the past several years, so this is a great time to see what Detroit has to offer.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There is an abundance of both selection and number of stands within Comerica Park. I love a ballpark that you could visit all season long and never have to eat the same thing twice. That said, I have found myself going back to the classic items when I attend a game at Comerica Park, and staying away from the glitzier high priced items. Part of it is the ambience of blue collar that Tigers games have always inspired for me, and part of it is that some of the specialty stands just don't live up to the higher price tags.
One example is the Food Network stand, found along the third base concourse. They offer a Detroit Steak Sandwich (steak, feta cheese, hot peppers, and mayo), but for $12, I would rather spring for a beer ($8.75) and kielbasa ($6). My recommendation is to stick to the classics at Comerica Park, although the bacon wrapped hot dog ($6) is pretty tempting if your cardiologist approves.
Little Caesars pizza is popular ($5.75 per slice or $18 for a large pizza). The prices seem high, but the portion size is better than what you would normally see. Two slices for me and I would be set for quite a while (and it would still be less than the $12 steak sandwich). Tigers owner Mike Illitch is also the owner of the Red Wings and Little Caesars so Tigers fans may feel more obligated than usual to spring for a pizza to help pay Prince Fielder's salary.
Surrounding the Comerica Carousel near the home plate concourse is Big Cat Court, where you can find a number of stands offering hot dogs, Mexican food, cotton candy, chicken fingers, ice cream, and pizza. There are some tables there so families may want to stop here for a bite before or even during the game.
For the older crowd, there is a beer hall closer to the Ferris Wheel. Here you'll find a good selection of local beers along with the typical brands you find elsewhere. You'll also find gluten free options in this area at the Brushfire Grill. The Tigers have a good map of their concession layout on their website, so if the proximity of a certain food to your seat is important to you, then look ahead.
I love the approach as you walk towards Comerica Park. It is right in Detroit, so you experience the urban energy that you expect from a metropolitan ballpark, but there is also enough open space near the gate behind home plate to generate some of that anticipatory excitement that you want before a big league game.
You have the giant Tigers guarding the gate, which makes for the perfect meeting spot and photo opportunity. Then, inside the gate, you are greeted by the familiar name and statue of Ernie Harwell. I really wish that the Tigers would add some sound to the statue so you could also be greeted by Ernie's familiar voice as well.
Hang a left from the Ernie Harwell statue and take a walk around the concourse. You'll see the Comerica Carousel, the Ferris Wheel, and eventually the collection of statues in the left field concourse. Tiger immortals like Ty Cobb, Willie Horton, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Hal Newhouser, and Al Kaline are here. Each of the statues are quite striking, and I am especially fond of the slide of Ty Cobb.
The criticism that this ballpark is too carnival-like is ludicrous. Just because there is a carousel and Ferris Wheel does not in any way detract from the experience. It is great for families. The Ferris Wheel is unique. And it's not like they are on the field of play.
Speaking of the field of play, Comerica Park was originally opened with massive outfield dimensions. The original outfield was larger, but the fences were moved in prior to the 2003 season to make the dimensions left to right 345-370-420-365-330. Unfortunately, the flagpole is not in play as it was during the first three seasons at Comerica Park (an homage to old Tiger Stadium).
Once you arrive to your green plastic seat, you can expect to have above average legroom, a cupholder, and an unobstructed view. I prefer the lower level when I go to Comerica Park, although the upper deck is also a great vantage point with the view of the Detroit skyline and my preferred view for watching baseball.
The scoreboard is absolutely enormous, so unless you sit in the left field bleachers, you'll have access to all of the stats and information you need. The video screen is 42 by 24 feet, and the two distinctive tigers that ferociously sit atop the scoreboard are certainly distinctive as well.
With the opening of Comerica Park and Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, downtown Detroit has often been referred to with the cliché of "revitalized." It's true that the vibe of Detroit is distinctly different than when I began going to Tiger Stadium as a kid back in the 1980's, but what's important to your ballpark experience is whether or not you want to spend time in Detroit beyond your trip to the park.
The answer to me is a definite yes. I really like the options available. In the immediate vicinity you can stop into the casual Cheli's Chil Bar and get some waffle fries and some chili of course. Chris Chelios is the owner and stops in from time to time so you may be able to rub elbows with the hockey great. Down the street a ways is the Hockeytown Café, a very popular spot for Detroit sports fans. They have some really good outdoor seating on hot summer days, but plan to arrive early as there can be a bit of a rush, especially on the weekend.
My favorite spot before or after a Lions game is R.U.B. BBQ. As you might expect, they have amazing BBQ and a wide selection of Michigan beers. They are just about a block away from Ford Field. This is definitely the spot you want to be when you go to a Lions game.
Another option that is worth looking into is parking in Greek Town and taking the People Mover to the park. Detroit has a great Greek heritage and there are several excellent restaurants, including New Parthenon, which is where I like to order octopus before a Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena. If you like to gamble, then the Greektown Casino is also in the area.
There may be an option to see a game and a show at the Fox Theatre or Detroit Opera House, so keep those options in mind as well. Don't discredit the many options in Detroit, and please don't feel like you need to scoot out of town right after the game as there is plenty to explore in Motown.
Attendance at Comerica Park has been in the top half of the league ever since their strong 2006 season, and expectations are high for the current team, so Comerica will likely remain a Top 10 draw for Major League Baseball. It's an overgeneralization to call this crowd blue collar, but there is certainly a bit of that feeling as you walk the park. Many of the fans are in the lower middle class economically, and are true blue Tigers fans. Sometimes they are even third, fourth, or even fifth generation.
This long standing love affair ensures that there is a propensity to hear a story about the 1968 World Series, or a debate of which Fielder (Cecil or Prince) is the more prolific home run hitter. You'll also hear plenty of boos and harsh words when things don't go Detroit's way.
Parking will cost as much as $25 if you opt for the lots nearest the stadium. I recommend the parking lot at the corner of Woodward and Henry, which will cost you only $10 and is a reasonable 2-3 block walk. In between these two options you'll find parking for $15-$20, but prices may increase for higher profile games or if there is a major concert happening. I attended a Saturday afternoon game once when Taylor Swift was playing at Ford Field, and nearby parking was going for as high as $50. The lesson is have a few options in mind and wear comfortable shoes.
Inside the stadium, you'll find wide concourses, good leg room in the seats, and clean bathrooms.
Top tickets for a Tigers game are only $75, which is very reasonable by today's MLB standard. I would be very happy with outfield box seats ($37), or Upper Box Infield seats ($24). Some games are listed as "premium" and the price increases. Based on the 2011 Fan Cost Index, the Tigers are just above league average for their ballpark experience, but I think that everything is just about the right price.
All of the statues in left field and around the ballpark are a huge plus. They are some of the best in the majors. The Tigers have retired seven numbers in their history including; Charlie Gehringer (#2), Hank Greenberg (#5), Al Kaline (#6), Sparky Anderson (#11), Hal Newhouser (#16), Willie Horton (#23), and of course Jackie Robinson (#42). Ty Cobb wore no number so there is nothing to retire. One wonders if the team will honor some of the stars of the 1984 World Championship team in the future. Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Kirk Gibson, and Jack Morris all would be potential candidates. I would also like to see the club add a statue honoring Sparky Anderson now that his number has been retired (in 2011).
The family-friendly atmosphere of Comerica Park is a huge plus as well. I remember the tension of my father when he took me to games as a kid, and I have none of that feeling now taking my own son to a game.
Another extra point for the long and storied history of the Detroit Tigers. The team has won four World Series (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984), and six additional American league pennants, and have several all-time greats of the game.
The sign of a good ballpark is whether you like it just a little bit more each time you visit. This is true of Comerica Park. Every time I go I find the experience just that much better. Maybe it has to do with the product on the field, at least in part. I think that much of it is due to an attention to detail and striving to improve the experience. There is no doubt that this is one of the better overall experiences in Major League Baseball.
Completed in 2000, Comerica Park ushered the Detroit Tigers into the 21st century. A stark contrast from rustic Tiger Stadium, Detroit's new wide-aisled, well-decorated home features many amusements for both adults and children.
Tiger Stadium was my first ballpark experience, and while I miss the old classic park, Comerica is really a great place to see a game. The field is slightly raised, giving those people with seats near the field amazing views. I will definitely be making a trip to Comerica this year.
Just took my 3 year-old son to his first Tigers game yesterday. He loved the experience, and it was clear that the Tigers have made family-friendly a priority. I thought that food & beverage was fine, but a bit overpriced. I do love the Little Caesar's pizza, and it tastes extra good there to me. The atmosphere is great, and they do a good job of combining the tradition of a 100+ year old team, with a new, and fun stadium.
The neighborhood has gone from abysmal to passing to above average in the past decade. The fans are above average and the park is very easy to get to. Bathroom lines were a bit long later in the game, and not as clean as I would like.
Costs are a little high on all counts., bu tnot unreasonable.
Extra points for the baseball ferris wheel, and Tigers carousel. Also for the great statues in left field, and newer statue of Ernie Harwell in the concourse behind home plate.
I'm glad you and your son enjoyed yourselves in my home away from home.
I hope you visited one of the several baseball card stands in the concourse. A newer feature, you could have jump started your son's baseball card collection, while giving him his first Detroit baseball experience.
Food and Beverage -
The food and drinks here are mostly ballpark fare, and since the Tigers are owned by the Illitches, Little Caesars is crammed down your throat when you are there. There are a few upscale bars and clubs inside the ballpark if it tickles your fancy, but the concourse food and beer (Budweiser and Labatt products, $8.50 a 24 oz can from vendors) is pretty in depth and on the pricey side as well. I'd recommend eating at a restaurant or bar (Nemo's is my choice - down across the street from where Tiger Stadium was) before coming to the game. If you can find them, the church right next to CoPa will frequently sell peanuts for cheap outside the ballpark.
Tiger fans know their baseball, and the majority of them are the blue collar "tell you like it is" fans and absolutely hate the Yankees and White Sox (and the Twins recently) with more passion than usual. Gameday atmosphere is usually pretty good unless the Tiggers are awful or the game is meaningless.
For being in downtown Detroit, the neighborhood surrounding the ballpark isn't bad at all. There are many Detroit landmarks within walking distance, such as the Fox Theatre, Ford Field and Hockeytown Cafe which are all across one street or another. There's a Cheli's Chili Bar and an upscale bar over by the Detroit Athletic Club, but I wouldn't traverse too far north, east or west as everything quickly deteriorates the farther away you get from the stadium district.
Detroit fans are some of the best fans and most diverse of any sport that I have seen. There are always a contingent of baseball-smart guys, the boyfriend-girlfriends just out for a game, drunks and rich people. The fans overall are great, smart and yearn for a winner more than any other sports team in Detroit.
Comerica Park is right off of a few highways and can be spotted from a couple miles away on the highway. Parking is not a problem, and it's the "closer to the stadium the more expensive it is" variety. The Tigers advertise $5 dollar parking as part of their "Always $5" deals (others being hot dogs, and skyline (upper deck left field next to the scoreboard)), but it's pretty iffy as to security.
Return on Investment -
Every time I go to a ballgame here, I always feel like I have a good experience, but I'm not ecstatic about the prices. At least they base the ticket prices on who they are playing and what time of the year it is. The ticket prices are quite reasonable, it's just the concessions that I'm not a fan of. The ballpark is not the same as Tiger Stadium, but that's not necessarily a terrible thing.
Extras - I'll give one star for how nice it is to walk the concourse before or after the game, and one for the nice Tiger carosel and baseball ferris wheel.
There are so many extras to entertain the kiddos that I think this park can really make for a great day out with the whole family.
So, I've never thought of this before, but if you are attending a game at Comerica Park, make sure you check to see if there are any event sat Ford Field the same night. I went on the night that Taylor Swift was playing at the home of the Lions. Parking was a nightmare, and costly ($30). Luckily the game ended before the concert.
Food and Beverage 3/5
They have all the basic ballpark food items. They do try to put little ceasers down your throat. They had a good deal on a hot dog combo for $5 that came with a hot dog, a soft drink, and a bag of chips. Had a decent selection of beers. Overall, prices were average, the food selection was above average, and the food quality was average.
There really wasn't a buzz around the ballpark before the game other than the Taylor Swift concert that was across the street. There was hardly any tailgating for the game. There's a few nice bars in the area like Hockeytown and Cheli's. The area around the ballpark felt safe. The workers inside were very friendly and probably the friendliest out of all the ballparks I've been to (I've only been to 4).
Not much of a downtown to explore in detroit. Seeing the skyline during the game was good, but I know that other staduims have a better skyline. I wouldn't venture out too many blocks of Comerica Park. During the game there's a heavy police presence outside of the ballpark.
The fans we spoke to were friendly. The fans were involved in the game. They all seem to love Brandon Inge.
The ballpark is right of the highway and was easy to get to the stadium and to get out of the stadium. I'm just grateful that the Taylor Swift concert didn't get out at the same time as the Tigers game.
Return on Investment 4/5
We got great tickets for a decent price. I'm from the Chicagoland and used to paying a lot for a good seat. There was fireworks after the game which was a bonus.
They have a ferris wheel in the ball park which is unqiue, but there's not much else to the park. The team has good talent with Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.
Being a City of Detroit native and having attended several games at Tiger Stadium during the World Series winning 1984 season, I was very sad when they tore down the old stadium and built a new stadium. The minimalist, proletariat Tiger Stadium had a tough love quality that always appealed to me. So on my first visit to Comerica Park I was primed to be disappointed. Indeed, I found the giant cats in the entry way to be cheesy and a tad vulgar. We had the worst seats possible that night, top deck- which should've sealed the deal..... however, the beer venders came frequently and were friendly, the Tigers won that game and there were free fireworks afterward. Getting in and out was easy, and parking was nearby and not very expensive. Darn Comerica Park won me over! On my second visit, we had much better seats, and as a Mom-to-be I appreciated all the kids' activities. I reluctantly enjoyed that visit even more than the first. Though I will still take my kids to see the old home of Tiger Stadium in Cork Town, I will definitely take them to Comerica Park for a game, too.
Back in 2001 when I attended Comerica park for the Tigers/Yankees game, I was amazed at the features it had in it. And now, I literally can't stop thinking about going again. It has a ferris wheel and a carousel, the food's delicious and the view of Detroit from the upper deck is picture perfect. The atmosphere is very electric and they offer great things for kids including the "Tigers kids club", their mascot "PAWS" who can be seen throughout the park at all home games and other neat things. It's inexpensive and a great time waster. So come on down to the cheer on Motown.
I attended a game recently against the Rockies, and I have realized how much better the food selection is on the lower concourse. If you have upper deck tickets, which is my preference, be sure to buy your food on the lower concourse before ascending to your seats.
It took a lot of guts for Mike Illitch to knock down beloved Tiger Stadium and build Comerica Park, but I'm glad he did. Tiger fans of all ages can venture to this ballpark and be visually amazed at this masterpiece of a stadium. The most notable features of the field of play are the keyhole (the strip of dirt from home plate to the pitcher's mound) and the dirt around home plate being shaped like home plate.
Comerica Park's main appeal is the attention to detail inside and out. From the ornate tile, brickwork, and sculpted tigers on the outside of the stadium to the tiger carousel and baseball ferris wheel, this stadium has the best design in all of MLB. The statues honoring Tiger greats are beautiful, the scoreboard is massive, and the gameday atmosphere is electric. Even the metal drain covers underneath the General Motors fountain in centerfield have the Tigers logo on them!
I miss the stadium of old, RIP Tiger Stadium, but Comerica Park will always be a great place to watch baseball and the occasional concert.
Attended the Tigers/White Sox game on Sunday night, 9/2/12, with Verlander vs Sale and it was an absolute playoff atmosphere with over 42,000 in attendance. This really is a fantastic park, with good food, good fans, an improving neighborhood and wonderful sightlines. Every time I go, I like it a little more.
I took my five year old son to his first playoff baseball game at Comerica this season. It was Game 1 of the ALDS against Oakland. One thing that you need to know about playoff games is that you need to be entering the ballpark earlier than usual. Most fans paid a lot of money and they don't want to miss a pitch. It took us about 20 minutes to get in the main home plate gate.
We were able to make it in time for the first pitch, and seconds later Coco Crisp took a Justin Verlander pitch out to right field. It turned out to be the A's only run of the game, but it sure did instantly take the noise level down.
That aside, fans are amazing at a playoff game, as is the atmosphere, We sat in the fourth row of the upper deck near first base for $80/ticket. Well worth the money.
If you can go to a playoff MLB game, don't miss out. You won't regret it.
Anybody who has been to Comerica Park after going to Tiger Stadium for years will give it an unfair grade. Tiger Stadium was a classic park that to this day should not have been exposed to the wrecking ball. With that said, Comerica Park is a gem. I think most fans hate Comerica Park because it replaced Tiger Stadium and nothing more.
Yes, Comerica Park is pretty much the polar opposite of Tiger Stadium in every manner (away from the field of play, HR's hard to come by, and the baseball atmosphere isn't as there as Tiger Stadium as well as needless points of a Ferris Wheel and a Carousel), but some of it is good: better variety of food, sightlines and a lack of an overhang, and the area they put it is by far better than Tiger Stadium.
Games at Comerica seem to have a little more intensity now the Tigers have returned to near the top of the baseball world. The neighborhood has a few more things to go eat at and you won't have to avoid getting mugged/murdered as you feared might happen at Tiger Stadium. Parking is still sketchy at times, but not in a jam like it was at the old ballpark.
But it seems like there is something for everybody at the game, and that is quite all right with me.
2301 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
1526 Broadway St.
Detroit, MI 48226