Spring training is right around the corner as we continue our tour of all of the baseball stadiums I’ve been to over the years. Today we travel north to Michigan for the baseball homes of the Detroit Tigers. Between the two stadiums that have been located in Motown, I’ve seen 3 games. So, without further ado, let’s take a deeper look at my history with Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park.
Stadium Name: Tiger Stadium
Years in Service: 1912 – 1999
Tiger Stadium opened as Navin Field on April 20, 1912, the same date as Boston’s Fenway Park. It would serve as the home of the Tigers until the final game on September 27, 1999, an 8-2 Tiger victory over the Royals.
My one and only trip to Tiger Stadium was during its final season, on August 2, 1999, when rookie Kip Wells made his major league debut for the White Sox, picking up the win in the victory against the Tigers. The stadium reminded me of the old Comiskey Park, with the dark ramps and tunnels leading out to the glorious green of the field.
Stadium Name: Comerica Park
Years in Service: 2000 – Present
After 87 seasons at Tiger Stadium, the Tigers opened their new stadium in 2000 on a snowy afternoon against the Mariners. In contrast to Tiger Stadium, which had been considered one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball, Comerica Park is considered to be extremely friendly to pitchers. After years of irrelevance, the new stadium was one step leading the Tigers back to contention, which they achieved in 2006, making the World Series and being in the hunt more often than not ever since.
The White Sox were 3.5 games behind the Twins for the AL Central lead heading into a Labor Day holiday series against the Tigers in 2010. After they split the first 2 games of the series, I decided to head up to Detroit to take in the final two games, my first trip to Comerica Park. I had booked a room at the Caesars hotel and casino in Windsor, so I drove up to Canada and checked in prior to the night’s game back in Detroit. I booked a round trip on a bus back to the US which dropped me off near the park, where I took in the Tigers 5-1 victory. The next afternoon, I drove back to Detroit and stopped for the afternoon’s series finale, which the Tigers once again won.
The stadium itself was a vast improvement over Tiger Stadium. For the first game, I sat in the upper deck behind home plate and had a good view of the entire field. For the second game, I was right behind the White Sox dugout, which, while a bit pricey, did provide another nice view. The only disappointment, besides the play of the south siders, was the food. Since the Tigers owner also owns Little Caesars pizza, that is the food that is available. I remember making it through a few bites before leaving the pizza underneath my seat for whoever wanted it.