Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Outlander at Comerica Park, Detroit


I've tried to be productive during the All Star Break - and finally got around to downloading a ton of pictures from several trips. I realized that I had never posted on any of my trips in summer 2008 - so look for those shortly. In the meantime, here's a little bit about my trip to see the Sox play the Detroit Tigers June 2-4, 2009

I actually went up to Detroit a day early, and met some old friends from my days at the U of Michigan. We went over into Greektown for dinner - it was yummy and we had a lot of laughs. Then my wonderful travel buddy, Kelly, arrived on Tuesday. We were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, just a few blocks from the park - a great spot that I recommend. Kelly and I ended up having lunch at Hockeytown - the Stanley Cup finals were going on then, so you can imagine that a hockey bar would be a hot spot!

We had great seats for all three games. Tuesday night, we were 4 rows behind the Red Sox dugout - the perfect vantage point to watch a crazed squirrel roaming the outfield during two different innings. The climax occurred when the Grounds Crew chased it into the RS dugout - you should have heard and seen the mad scramble among the players and photographers! NESN had some great video of it - but it seems to have been removed now. Oh well.

As for the game, Daisuke got his first victory - only pitched five innings, however. Papelbon nearly had a meltdown in the 9th - gave up three singles before striking out the side. Gasp! Final score: 5-1

Wednesday, we literally stumbled upon a great little spot for breakfast - crazily enough called the Detroit Breakfast House! It was on a forlorn block of Woodward - really the only thing that seemed open. Detroit has been hard hit by the economic slump, and it's really sad to look around at all the empty storefronts and out of work folks on the streets. But we had a great breakfast - as did Manny DelCarmen and his family, sitting at the next table! We explored the downtown a bit - rode the People Mover, which takes you on a circuit of the area. We actually saw a bunch of the players on their way to the park, which was very cool. On our way back, we stopped in at a place we found post-game the night before, the Detroit Beer Company. Great micro brewery - one that we managed to visit every day!

We discovered that if you purchase a game ticket for over $59, you can get early admission to Comerica through the Beer Garden or the Tiger Den - they open a half hour early for refreshments, then you enter when the gates open. So we took advantage of that!

The Wednesday game was terrific. We sat on the opposite side from the previous night, this time behind the home dugout. Beckett was very strong - had a no-hitter going through 6 2/3 innings. I had to go the bathroom from about the 3rd, but I refused to disturb the mojo! Youk got run over by a base runner in the 8th and had to come out - but was okay. And Lowell got tossed in the 9th - very rare for him. The 8th wasn't pretty - the Tigers scored 5 runs. But the Sox managed to hold on and won, 10-5 And we got a text in the early innings to say that our buddies had seen us on NESN!

Thursday was "get-away" day - meaning an afternoon game so that both the Sox and Tigers could head out afterwards for their next road game. We hit the Tiger Den for "breakfast" = a chili dog and beer! Not staying the WW program, obviously! We had great seats again - right behind the Tiger dugout. And it was another gorgeous day for baseball! The game marked the return from the DL for Dontrelle Willis - but it wasn't a great outing for him - only 2 1/3 innings and 5 earned runs. For us, Wakefield had another strong outing - the second time I've seen him pitch this summer! The Sox won, 6-3!

After having a beer at the Detroit Beer Works ($1 drafts with your Tigers' ticket!), we were steered to a great pub by the bartender, Foran's Irish Pub. A whole array of craft beers, and nice Irish fare.

I really liked Comerica - it's another in the retro line of ball parks. Kind of an old-fashioned feel, but with plenty of amenities to make it comfortable. Wide open concourses, so you never have to miss any of the action. Some cool things for kids to enjoy - the tiger carousel and a little Ferris wheel with baseball shaped carts. Celebrations of their past - statues of the great players like Kaline in the outfield. I was amazed when I first saw it, because it is shoehorned into a city block next to Ford Field, home of the football Lions. But once inside, it doesn't feel crowded.

Here are a few photos from another great road trip!

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