Occasionally the thought of a small road trip enters my mind and refuses to leave. The only way to banish the idea from my head is to act on impulse and, in this case, travel to Detroit. This would mean augmenting my previous plan to see the Brewers/Phillies at Miller Park on Sunday, leaving Milwaukee mid-morning Monday, stopping in Chicago to pick up my brother and a friend (Cubs fan, actually), and hauling sweet ass over I-94 in order to see the first pitch at 7:05 local. Originally I wanted to write a better and more thorough piece, as has been done recently with other ballparks in the AL Central, touting the features and snares of Comerica park. However, the game was postponed, as many of you were happy to see (the Sox managed to not lose!), as stated on the game thread. Despite not seeing a our beloved Sox, I still want to write about Detroit. I know it's a day late; deal with it.
The last hour of the drive in to Detroit was traffic-heavy and rain-soaked, but we held out hope of seeing some baseball, and on time. A few blocks from the park and a few minutes before 7, however, streams of people could be seen walking away from the bright lights. It didn't look good. Either way, we had to pick up the tickets from will call for future use or sale (yes, I'm thinking of going back), so we parked and walked up to the park. Postponed. Tickets in hand, we figured to have a look around anyway.
via i989.photobucket.com. Picture this, but gray and depressing. Tigers are scary!
Comerica looks very unassuming from the outside. It's low to the ground, with the playing field below street level, unlike the huge imposing walls and ramps of Comiskey. The outside is brick, which is nice enough, and decorated with cement busts and statues of, well, tigers. Kind of odd, but it works. Immediately upon entry to the park, at the first base entrance, is a food court with pretty good variety; some Chinese, Mexican, ice cream, etc. The concourses are wide open, with a view of the field from every angle of the lower deck (didn't see the upper deck; we were in danger of being, and eventually were, herded out). Small kiosks feature old-tyme pictures and articles celebrating different seasons in Tigers history; that's something I would like to see at Comiskey if the concourse space could be found (except, you know, for the Sox). Behind home plate is a couple of posh sections, with wide padded seats and small tables between them, like the scout seats but more of 'em. Nice. We didn't actually get to try any food or drink, but the selection seemed pretty straightforward, dogs and burgers and such. I was hoping to see some Bells on tap (Progressive Field in Cleveland has Great Lakes flowing freely, and I think that is just... well... the best thing ever). Nope, bottles only, and only at a couple of stands. Oh, and the prices. Holy shit. Twenty ounce bottles of domestic beer is eight-fucking-fifty. I thought Sox prices were getting ridiculous. One would think, in a recession, in Detroit of all places, they'd be a little easier on the fans. A franchise could support Mags' contract on beer sales alone. Anyway, Comerica itself seems like a pretty good place to watch a game.
The surrounding area, however, not so much. The couple bars we checked out near the park were crappy and almost as expensive as the ballpark. First was Hockeytown, a massive restaurant/bar with Red Wings and Tigers memorabilia splashed all over the place (...and me in my Sox hat and Duncan Keith shirt). The first two floors (there's a basement, too) were overrun with Tigers fans, not a seat available. Crappy dance music blared (at an enormous sports bar? Why?) and, combined with the heightened crowd noise, gravely threatened my sanity. The third floor was quieter and more relaxed, but the eight dollar beers guaranteed we didn't stay long. Across the street exists Cheli's, owned by Chris Chelios, and it wasn't much better. We got there soon before last call. At nine p.m. Highlight of the bar was walking to the bathroom and seeing a girl in a black Jenks jersey; simultaneously we said "nice shirt." Besides the two large bars, there really seemed to be jack crap to do in downtown Detroit. And it's not a good looking city, either. We headed back west, fast.
After mentioning my planned trip on a game thread, and asking for advice concerning the park and area, immediately people said "don't go." I'm not admitting that they were right, but I'll also say that my extremely modest expectations were unmet. The trip saver, ensuring the journey wasn't a bust, was stopping at an unbelievably cheap bar in Ann Arbor on the way back. It's tough to go wrong with dollar beers and free pool. If nothing else, the ugliness of Detroit provided a hell of a reference point to Chicago; rarely has Chicago's skyline looked so damn good while driving up the Dan Ryan and Lake Shore Drive, the sun rising over the lake into a perfectly clear sky. Living in a real city is a good thing.
Yeah, wordy, I know. Fuck off. Still tired from the ride back. I didn't see much of the game today, but it's good to see the Sox swept the series, 1-0.
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