Comerica Park is an open air ballpark located in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It serves as the home of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball's American League, replacing historic Tiger Stadium in 2000. Comerica Park is located next door to Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions.
The park is named after a corporate sponsor, Comerica Bank, which was based in Detroit at the time the park opened, and which paid for the naming rights. Comerica has since moved to Dallas, Texas.
for a new ballpark to replace Tiger Stadium for the Detroit Tigers was held on October 29, 1997 and the new stadium was opened to the public in 2000. At the time of construction, the scoreboard in left field was the largest in Major League Baseball
The first game was held on April 11 against the Seattle Mariners
. The new stadium is part of a downtown revitalization plan for the city of Detroit, which included the construction of Ford Field, adjacent to the park. In December 1998, Comerica Bank agreed to pay $66 million over 30 years for the naming rights for the new ballpark. Upon its opening, there was some effort to try to find a nickname for the park, with the abbreviation CoPa
suggested by many
, but that nickname has not gained widespread acceptance. It is often referred to simply as Comerica
. The first playoff game at Comerica was played on October 6, 2006 against the New York Yankees
Comerica Park is considered to be extremely friendly to pitchers. Except for dead center— versus Tiger Stadium's —the outfield dimensions were more expansive than those at Tiger Stadium. This led to complaints from players and fans alike, and engendered the sarcastic nickname Comerica National Park.
Although a few public figures—notably radio announcer Ernie Harwell—supported the dimensions, most agreed that the left-field wall, in particular, needed to be brought closer to home plate. Before the 2003 MLB season the club did so, moving the distance from left-center field from . This also removed the flagpole from the field of play, originally incorporated as an homage to Tiger Stadium. Two years later, the bullpens were moved from right field to an empty area in left field created when the fence was moved in. In place of the old bullpens in right field, 950 seats were added for a new capacity of 41,070.
The stadium also includes many baseball-themed features, including a "Monument Park" (similar to that of Yankee Stadium) in the deep center field stands, complete with statues of former Tigers, including Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, and Willie Horton.
The first game at Comerica Park was held on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 with 39,168 spectators attending, on a cold snowy afternoon. Grounds people had to clear snow off the field from the night before. The Tigers defeated the Seattle Mariners 5–2. The winning pitcher
, like in the final game at Tiger Stadium
was Brian Moehler
Original plans called for an F-16 flyover from nearby Selfridge Air National Guard Base and a parachutist carrying the first pitch ball and the rosin bag. Unfortunately, the weather caused a scratch of both occurrences. Nonetheless, there was a passing of the flag to the flagpole in center in reverse order as there was to take it down from Tiger Stadium. Elden Auker, who had received the flag at Tiger Stadium and given it to Brad Ausmus, passed the flag along a line of players to the flagpole in center. The unfurled 150x300 American flag is the largest in the nation, for the singing of the national anthem.
In 2005, Comerica Park hosted the 76th MLB All-Star Game
, the first to be played in Detroit since 1971. In the Home Run Derby
, held the day before, Bobby Abreu
slammed 24 home runs in the first round, breaking the previous record of 15. Abreu won the Derby over Tiger Iván Rodríguez
and hit a record 41 homers during the event. In the All-Star Game, the American League won 7-5 with Miguel Tejada
winning the game's MVP
On October 21, 2006, Comerica Park hosted the first World Series
game in the history of the ballpark (Game 1 of the 2006 World Series
On June 12, 2007, the first no hitter
was thrown at Comerica Park by Justin Verlander
. The Tigers won the game 4–0 against the Milwaukee Brewers
. It was also the first no hitter thrown by a Tiger in the city of Detroit since Virgil Trucks
accomplished the feat in 1952.
On May 24, 2008, the tiger statue at the main entrance to the ballpark was dressed with a Detroit Red Wings
jersey as the Red Wings were playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins
in the Stanley Cup
finals during that time. The jersey is usually worn by the Spirit of Detroit
, but was undergoing restoration during that time.
Comerica Park has played host to major recording acts in concert such as Eminem
(2005), The Rolling Stones
(2005), Bruce Springsteen
and the E Street Band
(2003) and Bon Jovi
(2003). The first act to play the venue was the Dave Matthews Band
in the summer of 2000. In full-stage shows fans actually are seated on the infield diamond and the stage is in the outfield grass. Tiger players and former manager Alan Trammell
complained about the quality of the playing outfield in 2005 after successive concerts by Eminem and The Rolling Stones; however, concerts at the venue are popular for Detroiters since Comerica is one of the only outdoor concert venues in the city of Detroit, along with Chene Park
and the DTE Energy Music Theatre
in Clarkston, Michigan
, approximately north of Detroit. On July 27, 2007, Comerica hosted a stop of the 2007 Warped Tour
Outside of the main entrance to the stadium there is a tiger statue that is approximately in height. There are eight other heroic-sized tiger statues throughout the park, including two prowling on top of the scoreboard in left field. These tigers' eyes light up after a Tigers home run or a victory and the sound of a growling tiger plays as well. The nine tigers were created by New York Sculptor Michael Keropian Along the brick walls outside of the park are thirty-three tiger heads with lighted baseballs in their mouths.
At the left-center field concourse there are statues of all of the players whose numbers have been retired by the Tigers (with the exception of Jackie Robinson, whose number was retired in every MLB park in 1997). They include Al Kaline, Charlie Gehringer, Hal Newhouser, Willie Horton and Hank Greenberg. A statue of Ty Cobb is also there, but he does not have a number, as he played baseball before players began to wear numbers on their uniforms. These players' names, along with the names of Hall of Fame players who spent a significant part of their career with the Tigers, are also on a wall in left center field, and to them is added Ernie Harwell, the team's long-time radio announcer. Harwell has a statue just inside the stadium on the first base side.
The field itself features a distinctive dirt strip between home plate and the pitcher's mound. This strip was common in early ballparks, yet very rare in modern facilities (the only other current major league stadium to feature this being Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.)
In the northeastern corner of the stadium behind the stands from the third base line is a Ferris wheel with twelve cars designed like baseballs. In the northwestern corner of the stadium behind the stands from the first base line is a carousel.
The flagpole located between center and left fields was originally in play, as was the flag pole in Tiger Stadium. However, the left field wall was moved in front of the pole before the 2003 season. A ball that hits the pole is now ruled a home run.
The right field of the stadium features the Pepsi Porch that has been graced by home runs from only the best lefty batters. This area also features "Kaline's Corner", a seating area in honor of Hall of Fame right fielder Al Kaline.
An LED scoreboard was added to the right-center field wall, and the upper deck fascia for the 2007 season.
The ballpark is located near several downtown churches, including St. John's Episcopal Church and Central United Methodist Church. On the roof of St. John's there is a banner that says "Pray Here For the Lions and Tigers!"
Other features include:
- After Friday and Saturday games, there is an on-field fireworks display for the fans to enjoy.
- Whenever the Tigers score a run, the sound of a tiger growling is played through the public address system.
Replacing popular Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park faced high expectations upon its opening, and many fans have criticized it.
Complaints about Comerica include its dimensions, an upper deck that sits significantly farther from the action than at Tiger Stadium, and a lack of cover for most seats, which can leave fans exposed to the elements. The park also faces south, with a good view of the downtown skyline, but this means the setting sun is in the faces of a large percentage of the crowd.
Some of the more traditional baseball fans have criticized the amount of non-baseball attractions at the park, notably the inclusion of a Ferris wheel and Merry-go-round.
In addition, the stadium has been cited as an unsatisfactory replacement of historic buildings demolished for it, such as the Wolverine Hotel and YMCA and YWCA buildings.
General Motors promotions
Fountains behind center field are set off whenever the Tigers score, and also between innings. The water show is also played pregame and postgame, and can be set to music. General Motors
purchased the naming rights to the fountain, which is also referred to as Liquid Fireworks. Two GM vehicles are placed atop the fountain.
References and further reading
- Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1891143247.