Comerica Park

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Comerica Park
Comerica Park.svg
Tigers opening day2 2007.jpg
Address 2100 Woodward Avenue[1]
Location Detroit, Michigan[1]
Coordinates 42°20′21″N 83°2′55″W / 42.33917°N 83.04861°W / 42.33917; -83.04861Coordinates: 42°20′21″N 83°2′55″W / 42.33917°N 83.04861°W / 42.33917; -83.04861
Public transit

DPM icon.png Grand Circus Park

M-1 RAIL logo.png Montcalm Street
Owner Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority[2]
Operator Olympia Entertainment
Capacity 40,120 (2000–2002)
41,070 (2003–2007)
41,782 (2008)
41,255 (2009–2013)
41,681 (2014)[3]
41,574 (2015)[4]
41,297 (2016)[5]
41,299 (2017–present)[6]
Record attendance 45,280 (July 26, 2008 against Chicago White Sox)[7]
Field size Left field – 345 feet (105 m)[8]
Left-center – 370 feet (113 m)[8]
Center field – 420 feet (128 m)[8]
Right-center – 365 feet (111 m)[8]
Right field – 330 feet (101 m)[8]
Surface Kentucky Bluegrass[9]
Construction
Broke ground October 29, 1997[10]
Opened April 11, 2000[16]
Construction cost $300 million
($417 million in 2016 dollars[11])
Architect Populous (then HOK Sport)
SHG, Inc.
Rockwell Group
Project manager International Facilities Group, LLC.[12]
Structural engineer Bliss & Nyitray, Inc[13]
Services engineer M-E Engineers Inc.[14]
General contractor Hunt-Turner-White[15]
Tenants
Detroit Tigers (MLB) (2000–present)

Comerica Park is an open-air ballpark located in Downtown Detroit. It serves as the home of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, replacing Tiger Stadium in 2000.

The park is named after Comerica Bank, which was founded in Detroit and was based there when the park opened. Comerica's headquarters have since been moved to Dallas, though the bank still retains a large presence in Detroit. The stadium's seating capacity is 41,299. Downtown public transportation for the park is available via the Detroit People Mover station at Grand Circus Park, and the QLine at the Montcalm Street station. Comerica Park sits on the original site of the Detroit College of Law.

History[edit]

Construction[edit]

Since their founding in 1901, the Tigers had played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenues in Detroit's Corktown section. For the last 88 of those years, they played at what eventually became Tiger Stadium. By the mid-1990s, it had become apparent that the much-beloved ballpark could not be renovated any further.[17]

Groundbreaking for a new ballpark to replace Tiger Stadium for the Tigers was held on October 29, 1997.[10] At the time of construction, the scoreboard in left field was the largest in Major League Baseball.[18] In December 1998, Comerica Bank agreed to pay $66 million over 30 years for the naming rights for the new ballpark.[19][20] It was part of a downtown revitalization plan for the city of Detroit, which included the construction of Ford Field, adjacent to the ballpark.[21] The first game was held on April 11, 2000, against the Seattle Mariners.[16] Upon its opening, there was some effort to try to find a nickname for the ballpark, with the abbreviation CoPa suggested by many.[22] It is often referred to simply as Comerica.[23]

First game[edit]

The first game at Comerica Park was held on Tuesday, April 11, 2000 with 39,168 spectators attending, on a cold snowy afternoon.[16] The temperature that afternoon was 36°F.[24] The Tigers defeated the Seattle Mariners 5–2. The winning pitcher, as in the final game at Tiger Stadium, was Brian Moehler.[16]

Features[edit]

Comerica Park panoramic.

Entrance to the ballpark is located across the street from the Fox Theatre and between two historic downtown churches, St. John Episcopal Church and Central United Methodist Church.[25][23][26] Outside of the main entrance to the stadium there is a tiger statue that is 15 feet (4.6 m) in height.[27] There are 8 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.[28] The tigers were originally created by sculptor Michael Keropian and fabricated by ShowMotion Inc. in Norwalk, Connecticut.[29][30] Along the brick walls outside of the park are 33 tiger heads with lighted baseballs in their mouths.[29]

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).[31] They include Al Kaline, Charlie Gehringer, Hal Newhouser, Willie Horton, 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. Added to the list of names are two other major Tigers figures. Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson, who led the Tigers to victory in the 1984 World Series and spent the majority of his managing career in Detroit, also has his number retired, but does not have a statue in the park. The other name on the wall is that of Ernie Harwell, the team's long-time radio announcer and a recipient of the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. Harwell has a statue just inside the stadium on the first base side.[28][32][33]

The field itself features a distinctive dirt strip between home plate and the pitcher's mound. This strip, sometimes known as the "keyhole", was common in early ballparks, yet very rare in modern facilities (the only other current major league park to feature one is Chase Field in Phoenix).[28][32] Additionally, the home plate area is in the shape of the home plate itself, and not as a standard circle.[34]

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 where guests ride on tigers instead of horses. The flagpole located between center and left fields was originally in play, as was the flagpole in Tiger Stadium.[28] However, the left field wall was moved in front of the pole before the 2003 season.[28] A ball that hits the pole is now ruled a home run. The right field of the stadium features the Pepsi Porch, a picnic deck between the 100 and 200 level seating bowls. Also in right field, and part of the 100 level seating bowl, is an area of seats known as "Kaline's Corner" an homage to Hall of Fame right fielder Al Kaline who once played for the Tigers when the team played in Tiger Stadium.

An LED scoreboard was added to the right-center field wall, and the upper deck fascia for the 2007 season.[18]

The center-field fountain, now known as the Chevrolet Fountain, was originally called the General Motors Fountain when the park was built. This picture was taken in 2009, when the Tigers added the logos for Chrysler and Ford as a show of support for the struggling automotive industry. Directly behind the fountain is the Detroit Athletic Club.

A giant fountain is located behind center field; playing displays during pre and post-game activities, between innings, and whenever the Tigers score. General Motors sponsored the fountain from 2000 to 2008, and used the area to showcase GM manufactured vehicles as well. While GM dropped its sponsorship for the 2009 season due to financial issues, the GM branding was not removed from the fountain. Instead, signs for Chrysler and Ford were also added to the display, along with the message "The Detroit Tigers support our automakers."[35] In 2010, GM returned to sponsoring the display, now known as the Chevrolet Fountain.[36]

A completely redesigned and upgraded left field video display debuted for the 2012 season.[18] The serif "TIGERS" letters were removed, replaced by light-up cursive lettering.[18] The tigers were taken down, sent for cleaning and polishing, and were placed in similar spots.[30] The analog clock was removed completely. A high-definition LED display was installed, which was much larger than the three displays that had existed there previously.[18] The previous scoreboard utilized light bulbs - still a popular scoreboard technology around the time the park opened, though they were quickly aging as LED displays became available and were installed around other Major League ballparks.[18] The scoreboard was also raised 16 feet in an effort to address complaints that the scoreboard was too far left and thus obstructed by the left field upper deck.[18] Along with the replacement scoreboard, all remaining bulb fascia scoreboards were also upgraded to LED.[18]

In 2014, the Detroit Tigers announced a $4 million renovation to Comerica Park's Pepsi Porch. This renovation included the removal of the bleachers that once occupied this space and the addition of new stadium seats. The plan also included new high top tables, a new bar in the middle of the porch, couches and lounge chairs, as well as a fire pit. The bleachers that once occupied this area was moved to the space above The Jungle restaurant and bar.[3]

After Friday and Saturday games, there is an on-field fireworks display for the fans to enjoy.[37]

Dimensions[edit]

Tiled Tigers logo outside of the front entrance.

In contrast to Tiger Stadium, which had long been considered one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball, Comerica Park is considered to be extremely friendly to pitchers. Except for dead center field—420 feet (128 m) versus Tiger Stadium's 440 feet (134 m)—the outfield dimensions were more expansive than those at Tiger Stadium. This led to complaints from players and fans alike. Most famously, Bobby Higginson sarcastically referred to the venue as "Comerica National Park".[38]

Before the start of the 2003 MLB season, the club moved the distance from left-center field from 395 to 370 feet (120 to 113 m).[8] This also removed the flagpole from the field of play, originally incorporated as an homage to Tiger Stadium.[28] 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.[39] This made one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks transform into the third most batter-friendly (with extra bases also taken into account).[40]

Also of note, the current layout of the playing field at Comerica Park means that when a player is at bat, the direction he is facing looks farther to the south than at any other Major League Baseball park.[41]

Stadium use[edit]

Downtown Detroit skyline as seen from upper deck.

Baseball[edit]

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.[42] In the All-Star Game, the American League won 7–5 with Miguel Tejada winning the game's MVP Award.[43]

The first playoff game at Comerica Park was played on October 6, 2006 against the New York Yankees.[44][45] 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).[46]

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.[47]

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. Detroit defeated Pittsburgh in 6 games for the Stanley Cup. The jersey is usually worn by the Spirit of Detroit, but it was undergoing restoration during that time.[48]

On August 15, 2011, Minnesota Twins slugger Jim Thome became the 8th player in baseball history to hit 600 career home runs.[49]

Comerica Park hosted its second World Series in 2012, with the Tigers getting swept by the San Francisco Giants.[50][51]

Concerts[edit]

Date Artist Opening act(s) Tour / Concert name Attendance Revenue Note(s) Reference(s)
July 5, 2000 Dave Matthews Band Ben Harper
Ozomatli
43,822 $2,037,723 The first act to play at the ballpark. [52]
June 3, 2001 Dave Matthews Band Macy Gray A second show was added. [53][54]
June 4, 2001
June 29, 2001 NSYNC PopOdyssey Moved from the Pontiac Silverdome. A second show was later added. [55][56]
June 30, 2001
July 19, 2003 Bon Jovi Goo Goo Dolls
Sheryl Crow
Bounce Tour 32,507 / 40,330 $1,969,069 [57]
September 7, 2003 Kiss
Aerosmith
Ted Nugent
Saliva
Rocksimus Maximus Tour/World Domination Tour 41,000 Postponed from August 15, due to the Northeast Blackout of 2003 that occurred the day before. [58][59]
September 21, 2003 Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band The Rising Tour 27,728 / 37,437 $2,048,816 [60]
August 12, 2005 Eminem
50 Cent
G-Unit
Lil' Jon
Lil' Scrappy
Limp Bizkit
Papa Roach
Anger Management Tour [61]
August 13, 2005
August 31, 2005 The Rolling Stones Maroon 5 A Bigger Bang [62]
July 17, 2009 Kid Rock Lynyrd Skynyrd
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Alice in Chains
Cypress Hill
Rock N' Rebels Tour 2009 A second show was added. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Robert Randolph and the Family Band opened the first show, while Alice in Chains and Cypress Hill opened the second show. [63]
July 18, 2009
July 30, 2010 Sum 41 Screaming Bloody Murder Tour This concert was part of the Vans Warped Tour 2010. [64][65]
September 2, 2010 Eminem
Jay-Z
B.o.B The Home & Home Tour Special guests with Eminem: 50 Cent, D12, The Alchemist, Trick Trick, G-Unit, Drake, and Dr. Dre. Special guests with Jay-Z: Memphis Bleek, Bridget Kelly, and Young Jeezy. [66][67]
September 3, 2010
July 24, 2011 Paul McCartney DJ Chris Holmes On the Run Tour 37,854 / 37,854 $3,470,134 [68]
July 28, 2012 Jimmy Buffett Lionel Richie Lounging at the Lagoon Tour This concert was one of the first times Jimmy Buffett and his band had played in such a large venue, and outdoors. [69][70]
July 20, 2013 Jimmy Buffett Jackson Browne Songs from St. Somewhere Tour [71]
May 30, 2014 Dierks Bentley Chris Young
Chase Rice
Jon Pardi
Riser Tour This concert was a part of the WYCD Hoedown. [72][73]
July 26, 2014 Jimmy Buffett John Fogerty This One's For You Tour James Taylor was a special guest on “Mexico”. [74]
August 22, 2014 Eminem
Rihanna
Monster Tour 105,092 / 105,092 $10,598,888 [75]
August 23, 2014
July 8, 2015 The Rolling Stones Walk The Moon Zip Code Tour 36,712 / 36,712 $6,282,151 [76]
September 12, 2015 Zac Brown Band Drake White Jekyll and Hyde Tour [77]
July 12, 2017 Metallica Volbeat
Avenged Sevenfold
Mix Master Mike
WorldWired Tour 40,573 / 43,159 $4,501,650 [78]

Hockeytown Winter Festival[edit]

On February 9, 2012, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that Comerica Park would host many events leading up to the 2013 NHL Winter Classic. These events would have included the NHL alumni game, as well as outdoor games from all levels, including youth, the Ontario Hockey League, the American Hockey League, and the Great Lakes Invitational. Due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout, the event was cancelled.[79][80][81] Instead, the festival took place in December 2013 where an outdoor rink was set up on the infield of the ballpark for public skating and hockey games.[82][83][84][85][86][87][88][89]

Soccer[edit]

On July 19, 2017, Comerica Park hosted its first ever soccer game between Roma of the Italian Serie A League against Paris Saint-Germain of France's Ligue 1 in the 2017 International Champions Cup tournament.[90][91]

Date Winning Team Result Losing Team Tournament Spectators
July 19, 2017 France Paris Saint-Germain 1–1
5-3 (pens.)
Italy Roma 2017 International Champions Cup 36,289

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Fisher, Dale (2003). Building Michigan: A Tribute to Michigan's Construction Industry. Grass Lake, MI: Eyry of the Eagle Publishing. ISBN 1-891143-24-7. 

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Tiger Stadium
Home of the
Detroit Tigers

2000 – present
Succeeded by
current
Preceded by
Minute Maid Park
Host of the
All-Star Game

2005
Succeeded by
PNC Park