The Detroit Tigers open their regular season home schedule on Thursday, April 4th at Comerica Park.
Opening Day in Detroit is almost a holiday, and even though you might still have to go to work that day and even though the Tigers are going to be on the losing side a lot in 2019, the excitement is high for this team.
If you’re planning to visit Detroit to see the Tigers this season, you’ll need to prepare. Here are nine tips to help make your visit to Comerica Park enjoyable.
1. Park and walk
Parking in official lots near Comerica Park are expensive, but they also rob more than your wallet – they rob your chance to see part of downtown Detroit. Park a block away or even further if your health allows (or of you could use the exercise). Several bars and restaurants nearby offer parking with purchase and even offer a shuttle to the ballpark if you want to do that.
2. Take the kids and ride the Ferris Wheel
Normally I’m not a big fan of the extra distractions at ballparks, I like to concentrate on the game. But this season, with 95+ losses staring at the Tabbies, go ahead and hop on the Ferris Wheel. The view at the top is great (perfect for a selfie if that’s your thing). If there was ever a time to bring the kids, it’s 2019, when the team is offering some affordable family packages to get butts in the seats. More on that below.
3. Eat, Drink, and Be Cheer-y
One of the joys of seeing a baseball game in person is the food and refreshments. Did you know the Tigers have a chef at Comerica Park? His name is Mark Szubeczak, and he has one of the best jobs anywhere. It’s Mark’s responsibility to come up with great food for us to scarf down at games. This year the Tigers have announced a few new menu items.
We’re excited to taste the new Bahn Mi sandwich, which according to the Free Press is “a thick slab of bacon topped with Asian slaw and sriracha aioli.” The team also added a Coney Dog Egg Roll(!) and a French Onion Burger.
Health conscious? This year you can get a Garden Salad Jars at Comerica Park. The perfect way to eat a salad at a ballpark: add dressing of choice and just hake it up and eat. Clever.
4. Choose game specials
If you’re going to be forced to see a team in rebuild mode you may as well get cheaper tickets or a giveaway.
Make plans for Miguel Cabrera bobblehead night (July 6th against the world champion Boston Red Sox), or one of the many other giveaways. You can get a Game of Thrones bobblehead featuring manager Ron Gardenhire. Star Wars Night (May 4th against the Royals), and even three days when you can bring your dog to the park (May 21st, June 25th, and September 16th) for Bark at the Park. The team will also host several college themed giveaways where fans will get a cap with a Tigers logo and a university logo on the side.
Special ticket prices are in effect for afternoon weekday home games and multi-game packages, also large groups can be accommodated by the ticket office. Visit MLB.com for details.
5. Watch baseball under the sun
The Tigers will play 38 home games (out of 81 total) during the day in 2019, most of them on Saturdays and Sundays, of course. Day baseball is the best, it’s the way the baseball gods intended the game to be played. The Tigers played all of their home games during the day until June of 1948 when they finally switched the lights on at old Briggs Stadium. A day game at Comerica Park is a treat, with beautiful daytime skylines to see beyond the outfield walls.
Want to play hooky from work or school? Grab a weekday day game, there are 18 in all: five in April, three in May, two in June, one in July, three in August, and four in September.
6. Don’t have high expectations
What;s the key to never being disappointed? Lower your expectations. Let’s be honest: the Tigers are in year three of a long-term rebuild. They freely admit they are going to be learning on the field, finding out who can play, who can’t. These are not your father’s Tigers. This is not a playoff team. It’s probably a last place team. Go into the ballpark with that in your mind and just enjoy the experience.
7. Get a scorecard
Can you tell Daniel Stumpf from Spencer Turnbull? Do you know Jody Mercer from Josh Harrison? Have you ever heard of Dustin Peterson? The Tigers will be using a lot of young, untested players in 2019. Let’s face it, they’ll probably break a team record for most pitchers used. A lot of these guys should have their photos on a milk jug, not a baseball card. Sure, you’ll recognize Miggy, but if you don’t know what the hell a Niko is or how to tell if your Baez is Sandy…you’re going to need a roster. Grab a scorecard or a yearbook to keep track of all these guys.
8. Appreciate Miguel Cabrera
Here’s one for you: how many right-handed batters in baseball history have amassed as many as 400 home runs, 1,500 runs batted in, and a career .300 batting average? The answer is seven: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Thomas, and Miguel Cabrera. Let that sink in. In order to be on that list you have to not only have power, but be a run producer and hit the ball well, making contact well enough to hit for a high average. Of all those players, Miggy is the only one with four batting titles and only Foxx also won a triple crown.
We’re lucky to have Cabrera in a Detroit uniform. Still lucky. Even though he’s battled injuries the last couple of seasons, Cabrera has given the Tigers an historic run in his 11 seasons in the Old English D. Would you believe there are fans who have turned on him? There are Tigers fans who are piling on Miguel Cabrera even after he gave them two MVP seasons, a triple crown, four batting crowns, and two home run crowns. This guy has played hurt, he’s played hard, and he is always smiling on the diamond. Shame on any Tiger fans who can’t appreciate his greatness.
Don’t take Cabrera for granted, enjoy him as he closes out his career. At 36 in 2019, I wouldn’t count this guy out. The great ones are greater for longer than anyone else. Cabrera is also approaching several milestones: he’s 324 hits away from 3,000, and also closing in on 600 doubles and 500 home runs. If all goes well, Miggy will reach those milestones in the next two years, and if he does he would join Aaron and Pujols as the only players with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, and 500 homers.
9. Shop in downtown Detroit and save
Have you heard about the renewal going on in Detroit? This city never buckles, and despite tough times in the last few decades and the loss of many people, Detroit is enjoying an exciting revival. New restaurants, bars, and shops are opening in downtown Detroit and the surrounding neighborhoods. Whether you want to grab a craft beer, buy a great new sweatshirt (stop by our showroom near the old site of Tiger Stadium in Corktown), or eat lunch, Detroit has something to offer. I hope you explore.
What do you like to do when you come into Detroit for a ballgame? Tell me in the comments section below.