Friday, April 6, 2012

Opening Day Comerica Park!!

Opening Day!!! It’s finally upon us.  For every fan today is Christmas.  For me this was Christmas, my Birthday, and Columbus Day all wrapped up in one!  The official start of my trip, even though I don’t leave home until Saturday morning. 

A few days ago I got a call from my buddy who was supposed to go with me to Opening Day.  His father had gotten sick and he had to take off to New Jersey.  After he informed me that he could not go to the game I instantly started sending out messages, text messages, and posting on Facebook to see if I could get a replacement.  I had plenty of people let me know they were interested but for the tiny cost of $130 they weren’t that that interested.  As a last option I was going to sell it to a scalper and hope to get at least a little bit of my money back.  That’s when my friend Chloe told me she would like to go to the game.

Chloe had never been to a baseball game before.  In fact she said that she had never been to a professional sporting event before.  She was also not very familiar with Detroit.  This morning she had texted me and informed me that she was running late and she wouldn’t be able to make it to Detroit until 11:30.  I was planning on being in the park at 11 but I decided I could push it back a little further.  No big deal.  We had timed it out and both hit game day traffic at the same time.  Geeze, was this traffic bad.  I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world so I hopped off the highway one exit too soon and navigated my way closer to the park.  That is where I ended up in that awesome Detroit entertainment district traffic.  I was stop and go for what seemed like forever.  Every lot that I passed was already filled up.  I was getting incredibly frustrated.  I circled back on Woodward past the stadium and started heading towards Wayne State University.  There was nowhere to park and Chloe called me she had found a place to park closer to the stadium.  Now she was waiting on me and time was ticking away.  I parked in a parking garage at Wayne State and made my way towards Comerica Park. 

After a ten minute walk I had finally made it to the park.  Now I just needed to find Chloe.  We were on the phone playing the, what are you wearing, I’m standing right here, no you’re not I’m standing right here game.  After about ten minutes I found her and we made our way towards the gate.  10 minutes until game time and I wasn’t in the stadium yet!  I was swearing in my head.  I could see them introducing the team on the amazing new score board.  Getting into the game took FOREVER because they didn’t have all the gates open.  As we were standing there I counted five closed gates.  Five.  You think it being one of the busiest games of the season they would have them all open.  I wanted to go to will call and attempt to exchange my printed ticket voucher for an actual ticket but I didn’t have the time.  I was rather disappointed in that but figured I could get an actual ticket when I return for a game at Comerica on June 15th.  The promotional give away for Opening Day was a DVD of Justin Verlander’s second career no-hitter.  They were only available to the first 20,000 fans and I was not one of them. 

We got into the park and I immediately walked to an area where I could see the field.  It is always the very first thing I do when I get into a baseball game.  I wanted to walk around and see the park but I also wanted to watch the game.  We decided that we would make our way up to the third deck and find our seats.  Before getting to our seats I had to stop for a bathroom break, I didn’t want to have to get up if the game was getting good.  I also stopped by one of the many concession stands and got two tall Labbat Blue Lights for $17.50.  The seats I had purchased off of were in section 342 row 5 seats 8&9 and I had paid $125 apiece for them.  The view from that high up is just simply amazing.  I love that.  It’s nice to be at a game at the field level but being up top is just as good.  We got to our seats and there were two gentlemen sitting in them.  We informed them that they were in our seats and they kindly moved.  The group that was around us seemed like a lot of fun.  They were razzing each other and throwing peanuts around.  They told us that the guy who was supposed to be sitting next to me was drunk out of his mind.  Luckily the man was not in his seat at the moment.  The two gentlemen who were originally in my seats, I never got their names, turned around and offered us their tickets.  They told us their seats were in a better section and they wanted our seats because they were friends with the surrounding group.  The man grabbed his ticket from his pocket to show me where he was sitting and I instantly noticed that it was an actual ticket.  It also appeared to be the style of ticket that is given to season ticket holders.  I told him that I would love to trade him tickets.  I told him I would move seats but only after I finished watching the half inning.  His friend reached into his pocket and grabbed out the Justin Verlander DVD and offered it to me.  Of course!  This day was certainly turning around for me.  That is when the drunk guy returned to his seat.  He was completely impaired and appeared to be having a difficult time with basic functioning.  The inning ended and I was more than happy to get out of there. 

We made our way to section 334 row E seats 9&10.  Our new home for the rest of the game.  They were pretty good seats and we were surrounded by families.  It was a pretty quiet section and I enjoyed sitting there.  It was half way down the third base line and I had an excellent view of the park.  I also had a great of the new screen.  It is pretty awesome.  I kind of have a thing for TV’s.  It’s a bit of a weakness, but hey, at least it’s not drugs!  The screen is crystal clear and the Tigers screen/neon sign lights up with fire graphics during the game. 

Not only was there excitement in the air because it was opening day but, Verlander was on the mound.  He pitched a great game and made it through 8 innings without allowing anybody to score.  There was no score until the bottom on the 7th when the Tigers got a run followed by another run in the 8th.  Top of the 9th Jose “Papa Grande” Valverde came in to attempt to finish off the Red Sox.  The Sox were right at the heart of their lineup and the capitalized on it scoring two runs.  At this point I had to go to the bathroom so bad I just couldn’t wait any longer.  I moved as fast as I could to the bathroom and had to wait in line.  Just my luck I got stranded behind two older gentlemen who moved like any sudden movement would notify the Grim Reaper of their location.  Luckily in the bathroom they had Tigers radio playing so I wasn’t really missing the action.  I, like everybody else in the park, was on the edge of my seat.  The bottom of the lineup came through for the Tigers and were able to load the bases.  Austin Jackson stepped up to the plate and hit a line drive past Jacoby Ellsbury at third for the win.  The crowd went wild.  Such an amazing end to the first game of the season and it only has me even more excited about the 2012 season. 

I stayed in the upper deck and took pictures while the crowd filed out.  I went to the team store and looked for a post card to send to my friend, Rachel.  Unfortunately there were no post cards to be found anywhere.  I asked a woman who worked there and they said that they don’t carry them.  The mail is kind of a lost art these days.  I made my way to the bottom level and walked around the park.  I love all the amenities that Comerica Park has to offer.  The Ferris wheel and merry-go-round for kids.  There are numerous restaurants and bars.  One of my favorite things about Comerica is how they proudly display Tigers history at every turn.  Walking through the main corridor you notice that every so often there is a pillar that’s dedicated to a decade of the Tigers with pictures and other memorabilia.  I went over to the statues of the Detroit Tigers legends and took pictures.  I visited one more gift shop in hopes of finding a post card they had none.  My last stop as I left the park was the giant tiger statue.  Everytime I come to a game at Comerica I have to take a picture at that tiger. 

View Pictures Here

Keep On Smilin- It's Baseball Season!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome write up! I too had a great time thanks for switching seats with us. My name is John and enjoy the DVD. Ill be sure to keep reading some more of your journey.