The Detroit Tigers meet the New York Yankees in the home opener at Comerica Park on Friday, April 5, and after a long winter the Motor City is ready to welcome back the 2012 American League Champions.
More than 41,000 fans will fill Comerica Park for the opener, but there will be thousands more crowding nearby bars and parking lot tent parties, or just roaming the streets within earshot of the roar of the ticket-holders inside the gates. It’s a time for roster debates, wearing of the “D,” Friday night home game fireworks, World Series hopes, peanuts, $8 beers, and idle chatter during lulls in the on field action.
Did you know…
- The promotional giveaway to the first 10,000 fans on Saturday, May 25 is a 1968 Tigers 45th anniversary commemorative coin?
- You must be present to receive one of the giveaways? (really, this is in the fine print).
- Artist Omri Amrany of Illinois created the larger-than-life statues of Tiger greats Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenburg, Willie Horton, Al Kaline and Hal Newhouser at the left centerfield wall, as well as the likeness of broadcaster Ernie Harwell at the park’s Gate A entrance?
- Butterfly nets are not permitted in the ballpark?
- The 400-page Tigers Media Guide is now available to the world beyond the press box? Any fan or stats freak with $15 can buy one.
- You can go for a spin on one of 30 cats on the carousel or climb into a giant baseball-shaped car on the 50-foot high Ferris wheel inside the park? Rides are $2 each; on Sundays kids 14 and under get a free spin.
- Kids Run the Bases after Sunday games (weather permitting)? Take your 14-and under youngsters to the area under the left field scoreboard for take-off.
- You can make like the Four Tops, who will sing the National Anthem at the opener, and perform the Star Spangled Banner at a future game? Just send a demo to the Tigers for consideration.
- First time visitors to Comerica Park can pick up a certificate to commemorate the occasion at a Guest Service Office (behind sections 130, 210 or 330)?
- The Kentucky Bluegrass of the playing field is mowed daily (in season), takes five hours to mow, and is double cut on game days?
- You can request an appearance by PAWS, the Tigers mascot, at least four weeks before your event at Paws@detroittigers.com?
- Ball Park Franks were born in Detroit? In 1957 Hygrade Foods held a contest to name the hot dogs the company supplied to Tiger Stadium; Mary Ann Kurk cooked up the winning “Ball Park Franks.” Sara Lee bought Hygrade but the tube steaks are still served at Comerica Park.
- “Ernie,” the play about the legendary, late baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell, returns to the City Theatre (inside the Hockeytown Cafe) June 6-July 7?
Written by Mitch Albom, the tw0-man play stars Will David Young as Ernie and TJ Corbett as “Boy.” The show debuted two seasons ago and performances have typically sold out. Tickets are still $20 and $25 at OlympiaEntertainment.com and Ticketmaster.com; proceeds benefit the Ernie Harwell Foundation.
I saw “Ernie” when it premiered in 2011 and recommend it, whether you’re a baseball fan or not. Check out Ernie Earns Applause, and get your tickets before they’re looooong gone.