Comerica is a real baseball cathedral. It is designed so that downtown Detroit, which has beautiful buildings, (albeit many unoccupied) is the full panorama of the outfield, and makes it ever so much more annoying that the Capitol cannot be seen from much of Nats Park. There are large tiger sculptures at many of the entrances – skulking, snarling – and there are tiger heads with baseballs in their mouths along several of the exterior walls which look like gargoyles or sconces, and the baseballs are lights.
One of the entrances of the park has a life size statue of Ernie Harwell, and a second flag under the largest American flag is white with EH in black letters. We were a bit surprised that a statue of Harwell was erected so quickly (Harwell had died a month or so before), but it seems that it was dedicated in 2002, we assume when he retired.
There is a monument park in the outfield, with six statues of Tiger greats, also done by Omri Amrany, and I expect pre-dating the ones at Nats Park. Three of these are Vishnu baseball, which I don’t care for – Willie Horton’s has only a bat handle at one iteration, and a full bat only at the last one – at least the ones in Nats Park are not missing pieces! There is also a display of retired numbers, which does not include Ty Cobb’s number – but we then realized that he played before numbers were used.
We did get filmed a bit while we were looking at the statues, as the cameraman said, because they wanted people with Nats gear on, and there were so few in the park. This surprised us because we thought we saw a lot of people with Nats gear – certainly not as much as Cleveland, but say more than in Philadelphia – looks like we Nats fans all gotta get out more! Anyway, we assume we were a part of some pre-game show.
The park has a lot of interior displays and foodcourts, so there is a lot to walk around and see. There is a small Ferris wheel, with baseballs as the cabins, and a carousel on which all the animals are springing tigers. There are large decade by decade displays of Tigers history, focused particularly on the Hall of Famers of each era. We were interested to see that for the 1960s that there was no mention at all of Denny McLain, and only a picture of Mark Fidrych down talking to the pitcher’s mound, but no commentary. One interesting aspect of the displays is that they are each mounted on four automobile tires which are appropriate for each era. An oddity of the playing field is that there is a dirt path from the pitcher’s mound to home plate, and the dirt space around home plate is shaped like home plate, not circular.
I don’t recall much about the two games that we saw, partly because I was talking to cousins at each game, and partly because the Nats were doing so badly – Livo really melted down the one inning where he walked more batters than I think he has done in his other games combined. There was a big round of applause when Pudge Rodriguez, who was catching for the Nats, was introduced. Other items of interest – when one of the Tigers hits a home run, the eyes light up on the large tigers atop the scoreboard. There are also fountains at the back of center field that go off for a Tigers win. The Tigers mascot, Paws, comes out to lead the seventh inning stretch, and seemed to be popular for pictures. At the start of the game they have a local returning serviceman deliver the ball out to the pitcher’s mound, to a standing ovation, quite touching.