Comerica Park, located in the heart of downtown Detroit, really highlights team history with Tiger players and actual tiger statues hovering throughout the entire stadium. The ballpark isn’t the flashiest but is consistently solid in almost every category, which elevated it higher in the rankings than we had expected.
The Comerica Park design depiction of team and city history was fantastic. There’s a large pouncing tiger statue outside the main entrance with personalized bricks surrounding him. There are eight other massive tiger statues throughout the park, including two prowling on top of the scoreboard in left field. Along the brick walls outside the park are tiger heads with lighted baseballs in their mouths. The exterior is primarily red brick which complements the tiger color and city architecture well.
All through the main concourse, there’s a “Walk of Fame” featuring eight decade display cases and Tigers player banners. These share Tigers history via authentic artifacts, photos, and memorabilia. These were a really fun way to include an interactive “museum” throughout a stadium and incorporate the “MotorCity” into the design via the wheels.
At the left-center field concourse there are statues of all of the players whose numbers have been retired – Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Willie Horton, Al Kaline, and Hal Newhouser. These players’ names, along with the names of Tiger Hall of Fame players and broadcasters, are also on a wall in right-center field. Ernie Harwell, the team’s long-time radio announcer, has a statue on the first base side. There are Ty Cobb and Norman “Turkey” Stearnes plaques outside the stadium.
The center field flagpole has a long, famed history with Tiger Stadium and was restored and installed in Comerica Park. At Tiger Stadium, the flagpole was actually within the field of play, and at Comerica it’s right at the edge of the centerfield wall. If a ball hits the pole, the player who hits the flagpole is awarded a home run.
Comerica Park is currently the only ballpark in the MLB to feature a dirt strip (keyhole) between home plate and the pitcher’s mound. The home plate is also surrounded by a large dirt-shaped home plate.
The skyline view from the stadium is beautiful with the GM Renaissance Center looming and the top rings frequently changing colors. The tallest one looks like a massive Amazon Echo (Alexa) when it turns blue. Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, is also visible on the left side.
A large Chevrolet Fountain is located behind center field with the batter’s eye greenery right below it. The greenery had some dead patches so wasn’t super attractive.
The LED scoreboard in right center was pretty small and seemed very low. The upgraded video display in left field has good quality. The lineup font was a little small. Too much space is dedicated to ads on the border, which is extremely distracting. There’s a weird glare on the video screen during night games. The “Tigers” text is a video board that changes colors/designs throughout the game. The tiger stripes are definitely the coolest.
The functionality including ease of getting around and accessing main area was great. The concourses were very wide and we were able to easily access the entire main level. The Big Cat Court rotunda ramp was unfortunately closed that leads to the upper level picnic areas. The upper levels don’t go all the way around due to the gap for the video board and batter’s eye. The bullpen placement was disappointing, as they span the entire left field wall, limiting home run balls to catch during batting practice and the game. Beyond the left field wall is usually the best place to interact with players before the game but it was difficult with the bullpen buffer. On the flip side, it gave a very close up view of the players warming up in the bullpen. From a distance, the bullpens were an eyesore with their bright orange Little Caesars branding.
The stadium is located in Downtown Detroit in close proximity to many restaurants and fun venues. The main entrance is right by the Fox Theater and the Little Caesars Headquarters. A very lively Tin Roof is right next to the stadium. It’s a stone’s throw from Ford Field (home of the Lions), which can be seen on the left side. The Little Caesars Arena, home of the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings, is also nearby. There’s also a Buddy’s Pizza, creator of Detroit-style pizza, very close.
The stadium was easy to reach as we were able to walk from our hotel (Hilton Garden Inn). There were several large parking garages, so I expect it wouldn’t be too difficult to drive. There are also many Lime scooters around the area.
The area right around the stadium seemed safe, but we did hear about frequent massive brawls in Greektown right before our trip. Thus, we avoided that area during our trip.
The food quality and originality were so-so. There wasn’t anything really unique and the food was relatively bland.
The Little Caesars pepperoni slice was equivalent to two normal deep dish slices and tasted like their normal deep dish (Detroit-style), which was delish. Topping options were limited to pepperoni and cheese, which was disappointing because we had heard that they had a unique hot dog themed pizza at one point with sliced hot dogs and mustard as toppings.
The Big Cat Court is near the main entrance and offers a wide variety of food choices including fresh squeezed lemonade, elephant ears, ice cream, French fries, handmade pretzels, deli sandwiches, gyros, frozen daiquiris, street tacos/nachos, and coney/Chicago-style hot dogs. The Street Nachos with Barbacoa, cojita, salsa, sour cream, jalapeños, queso, and optional sriracha were decent but the chips were really thick and didn’t taste particularly fresh. The meat portions were generous. Detroit Snap Dog from Detroit Coneys was loaded with grilled onions and mustard. It was really messy, but I enjoyed it! Scott thought the hot dog was kind of skinny, but I prefer mine that way.
The cinnamon sugar elephant ears were only $5.50 and was like a crunchy, flat churro. It was good but no comparison to the churro dog at Chase Field we recently had. The Detroit Grand Slam coffee-flavored waffle cone was okay – the two scoops were puny, but the coffee flavor was yummy. Scott definitely didn’t want to share it!
The Bushfire Grill picnic area includes a ferris wheel, baseball player topiaries, and a fountain with a floating baseball, but unfortunately all were closed.
The beverage quality and variety were decent. There were a good number of beer options and dedicated Daquiri bars. Scott got the Bell Oberon wheat beer, which was good. The Atwater Dirty Blonde Ale was very similar to Blue Moon and had strong orange peel and coriander notes, low IBUs, and was refreshing on a warm day. The frozen Tiger Daiquiri was a really fun orange color but overly sweet and artificial tasting. Bars to get drinks or hang out were plentiful and included the Michigan Craft, Blue Moon Brewhouse, Blue Moon Bistro, Chevy Pavilion, Beer Hall, Coppercraft Distillery Bar, Miller Lite Market, Miller Lite Pitcher’s Bar, and MotorCity Casino Hotel Long Bar. Not all of the bars were open during our visit.
The overall value for the money (i.e. bang for your buck) wasn’t great. The cost for the cheapest nosebleed seats for a day game were $30. Rather than purchase expensive seats, we just moved around throughout the two games we attended, which seemed to be the norm. Plus, there were no happy hour specials for drinks or food.
Free special terraces/hang out areas included the Pepsi Porch/Coppercraft Distillery, Kaline’s Corner, Chevrolet Pavilion, Miller Lite Pitcher’s Pub, Corner Tap Room, and Blue Moon Brewhouse. The Pepsi Porch, Kaline’s Corner, and Pitcher’s Pub in right field feature a picnic deck and fire pits on 100 and 200 levels.
Comerica also features many other premium, ticketed seating areas including the Tiger Club, Tiger Den Lounge, Jim Beam Champions Club, On-Deck Circle seats, Beer Hall, and MotorCity Casino Hotel Tiger Club. You can see most of the entrances from the interior or exterior of the stadium, but special tickets/membership are required.
Family friendly activities (i.e. stuff for kids) consisted the Fly Ball Ferris wheel with 12 cars designed like baseballs (behind the stands from the third base line). A carousel, featuring tigers, is located inside the Big Cat Court. Unfortunately, these were closed during our visit due to the pandemic.
Restroom quantity and quality were typical. The paper towel dispenser wasn’t working in the men’s. Many of the restrooms were unidirectional, which I prefer.
Seating comfort including leg space and ease to reach was decent. The front part of the upper decks have cushioned seats, but the 100 level didn’t, which was surprising. All seats had cup holders. Lower level seats were angled towards home plate. Surprisingly there were no bleacher seats.
The team store was a decent size with smaller ones throughout. There was small authentics section in one store and an authenics booth in the concourses. The Detroit Tigers museum was represented throughout the entire concourse with the “Walk of Fame” decades displays.
The overall atmosphere including music, sound, and fan activities was very lively and fan engaging. “Welcome to the D” and “We Heart D” (TWSS) was showcased on the video game and the Detroit “D” used in a lot of the advertising. A Chevy truck painted like a Tiger shoots t-shirts out a cannon and blows smoke.
The integration of franchise history in game and design was one of the best we’ve seen. They had the following games on the large video screen during breaks: Detroit player matching game, Ask the Tigers, Cap shuffle, Who has more? – featuring questions about Missouri/Cards vs. Michigan/Detroit, Trivia Dog Row, Vote for Sing Along Song, Vote for Favorite Fan Pic, and History Mystery.
Fan enthusiasm was great. There were a good number of fans in the stands for both the night game and the day game. The fans weren’t unfriendly, but didn’t really interact much with the Cards fans. The fans were able to get the wave to go all the way around multiple times, despite the gap in center field.
We ran into Paws, the Tiger mascot, near the Big Cat Court.
The celebration of monumental moments (i.e. home runs, wins) included Liquid Fireworks with the fountain going off over the center-field batters eye, the video board flashing, the “Tigers” logo changing colors, and tiger growling. The liquid fireworks were supposed to synchronize with music and change colors, but we were unimpressed. The tigers’ eyes are supposed to light up after a Tigers home run / victory, but we couldn’t see this during the day or night. We also enjoyed that “Yaba Daba doo” from the Flintstones played when Baddoo made a good play. They also played “The Candy Man” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for Lars Nootbaar’s MLB debut, which was awesome that they did this for a visiting player.
Summary & Scoring
Date Visited: June 22, 2021 and June 23, 2021
Game Played: Cardinals 2, Tigers 8 – Lars Nootbaar’s MLB debut and he got his first RBI via a sac fly. Schoop HR and Rogers had 3 RBIs. Boxscore
Cardinals 2, Tigers 8 – Lars Nootbaar’s first MLB hit with a triple. Arenado, Cameron, and Schoop HR. Boxscore
Design: – Tiger players and actual tiger statues and “Walk of Fame” throughout stadium. Keyhole and flagpole from Tigers Stadium maintained.
Location: – Downtown Detroit near Fox Theater and Tin Roof and walking distance to hotels and Greektown
Concessions: – Detroit-style pizza (Little Caesars) and hot dogs, local brews, custom Tiger daiquiris and ice cream
Amenities: – Ferris wheel, carousel, and many free picnic areas to hang out
Culture: – Lively fans that started the wave, many activities on video screen that engaged fans
Overall: – Aside from the tiger statues, there’s no real “wow” factor to this ballpark. Yet, it’s at or above average in almost every way. It’s a surprisingly nice ballpark and atmosphere with plenty to do and see.
Lars Nootbaar’s first MLB hit:
We got four batting practice balls between the two games we visited:
- One from Genesis Cabrera, who threw Sarah one from the bullpen (the second time he’s given her one)
- One from Adam Wainwright, who threw Sarah one from a long way away after warming up on the field
- A batting practice home run by Lars Nootbaar on the day of his major league debut that Scott caught
- One from Paul DeJong, who threw it to Scott on a bounce after warming up in game two