I went to Comerica Park and it was good

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On Friday I detailed my trip to old Tiger Stadium and mentioned that I was heading off to Comerica Park. And there I went, for all three games of the Tigers-Indians series. The baseball speaks for itself — RIP Indians and my condolences Indians fans — so let’s talk about the park.

I really, really like Comerica. It’s a great place to see a game.  It was packed all three days and it’s an enthusiastic and knowledgeable  crowd.  The design is excellent. Some of the new-era ballparks are something of a pastiche. This design feature here, that design feature there and some quirkiness sprinkled around all willy-nilly.  That is not the case at all with Comerica.  It feels like a much more coherent kind of design. Even the features that got a lot of derisive attention back when it first opened — the ferris wheel and carousel — are well-integrated to the design of the place and are not at all obtrusive or superfluous.

The outside of the place is pretty swell too. A lot of people write and talk about the giant tiger statue and the million tiger heads carved in the side, but I think the most striking aspect of the park is how it doesn’t loom over the surrounding area like a lot of ballparks do. From Woodward Avenue it seems almost quaint, size-wize, thanks in part to how deep down the field of play is apparently dug from street level. Also thanks to the fact that Ford Field — the Lions stadium — is right next door and is, of course, gigantic.  Anyway, Detroit obviously has some issues with downtown development, but if ever the day comes when the place is hopping again, Comerica would fit in, in terms of scale, not unlike a lot of the old timey downtown parks of yore.

I had pretty sweet seats for two of the three games. Tiger Den seats on Friday, which are equivalent to club seats at other ballparks. Comfy chairs, waiter service and that sort of thing. I could get used to that. On Sunday we sat in the Terrace section along the right field line, which is in the upper reaches of the lower deck, just under the overhang. Those were swell as well, with the added bonus of being in the shade on a hot sunny day.  On Saturday I sat with a group down by the left field corner. Despite it being far away, they were still excellent seats which somehow seemed closer in to the action than comparable seats at other ballparks. Maybe it’s just a good sight lines thing.

The concourses were really congested. I guess that’s part of the deal when you get more than 40,000 people in the joint all three games. Still, I’d like to see what it’s like when it’s a little less hectic. There are these really cool kiosks detailing decade-by-decade Tigers history. I would have liked to spend more time checking them out but the crowds make it kind of difficult.

Beer was kind of frustrating. There is great beer there — Bell’s and Atwater brewery have kiosks and/or counters — but they’re relegated to the right field concourse. If you want beer without a walk, you have your choice of Miller Lite, Miller Lite or Miller Lite every ten feet, with some Labatt’s thrown in for, um, diversity.  Make the walk to right field if you want good beer.

Food: again, there is good stuff to be had — the food court between home and third place had a lot of options — but it’s mostly your standard hot dogs and pizza kind of place. Pfun Pfact: the Little Caesar’s $5 Hot and Ready pizza they advertise all over the park is $18 in Comerica Park. It’s way easier to justify eating that stuff for $5 than it is for $18.

Anyway: for a guy who was prepared to find fault with Comerica Park due to his irrational love of old Tiger Stadium, no real fault could be found. It’s a great place to see a game. As far as the new era parks go, I’d place it a notch below AT&T Park (it’s impossible to top that setting) but above Camden Yards and Progressive Field, both of which I really, really love.

If you’re anywhere close to Detroit, I highly recommend a visit.

UPDATE: Forgot two things:

1. Yesterday I was all fancy and had brunch in the Tiger Club before the game, sitting along the window overlooking the field. I’m pretty sure that drinking champagne while eating tasty omelettes, prime rib and the like disqualifies me from ever talking about baseball purism again; but

2. I had some karma to burn because on Friday night I left the park and bought a t-shirt from a dude in the street that says “Detroit Fu**in’ Michigan” on it, which felt like the right thing to do. No, I have no idea where I’m gonna wear the thing. I’m guessing the kids’ parent teacher conferences would be a good place, but beyond that I’m blanking.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 16, Twins 8: Most of the time, if you take an 8-2 lead into the eighth inning, you’re gonna win that game. But just most of the time. Some of the time your bullpen is gonna give up 14 runs in the final two innings like Minnesota’s did here. Eleven of those runs came in the eighth, thanks to eight hits, two walks, a hit batter and a balk. Two of those eighth inning hits were from Carlos Beltran who singled and later hit a three-run homer. The Twins played a 15-inning game on Sunday so that pen was taxed already, but this was kinda ridiculous. Houston has won five in a row and has the best record in baseball.

Nationals 3, Giants 0: Fisticuffsmanship! As you’ve seen by now, Bryce Harper charged the mound and tussled with Giants reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a pitch in the eighth inning and both were ejected. What you may not have seen is just how “nah, not my problem” Buster Posey and Strickland’s teammates were about it all when Harper went after their man:

After the game Posey said he wasn’t going to get into the middle of a bunch of big guys tumbling around, but you have to figure that part of it was disapproval of Strickland plunking Harper over what seems to be a three-year old grudge over Harper hitting a couple of homers off of him him in the playoffs. Which is about as immature as it gets. A close second on the immaturity scale: Strickland having to be dragged off the field by his teammates like he was:

You have to figure that a lot of Giants vets are not too pleased with Hunter Strickland this morning.

White Sox 5, Red Sox 4: Melky Cabrera hit a three-run homer and knocked in a fourth run — the go-ahead run — with an infield single in the seventh. For Boston, David Price made his season debut and was meh, allowing three runs in five innings. Dustin Pedroia sprained his wrist and is heading back to Boston for tests. In other news, while I am aware that David Price and Dustin Pedroia are big stars and the events surrounding them in this game is news, it is rather odd to read a game story about a White Sox win in which a White Sox player drives in four runs and not have a single mention of the White Sox until the seventh paragraph. 

Dodgers 5, Cardinals 1: Rich Hill made his second straight start against the Cardinals. This one went better than the last one, in which he gave up five runs in four innings. Here he allowed only one run on two hits over five. He’s still not super efficient as he’s trying to adjust his mechanics to accommodate his blister issues, but he was effective. In other news, I was watching this one with my wife. Chase Utley comes to the plate and we talk about him some. I say something to the effect of “he’s been heating up lately, but I think he’s kind of toast at this point.” Literally four seconds after I finish the thought Utley hit a homer. Cody Bellinger and Logan Forsythe homered too, but their timing wasn’t as good.

Mariners 6, Rockies 5: It’s not often that you use seven pitchers in a game and still win it, but that’s what Seattle did with rookie Sam Gaviglio and six of his friends getting it done, more or less. They had help from Danny Valencia, who had three hits and Kyle Seager who knocked in two with a double.

Orioles 3, Yankees 2: The O’s snap a seven-game slide thanks to seven strong innings from Dylan Bundy and a couple of runs knocked in by Jonathan Schoop.

Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 3Chris Iannetta of the Dbacks tied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-run homer to left off Pirates closer Tony Watson, but then Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the ninth with a walkoff homer. From deflating to elating in the space of mere minutes.

Indians 5, Athletics 3: Carlos Carrasco took a shutout into the seventh and ended up allowing two runs while striking out seven over seven. The Tribe got homers from Austin Jackson, Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion is hitting .348 and has three homers in the past week, so people freaking out about that signing being a bust can relax some.

Mets 4, Brewers 2: Robert Gsellman allowed two runs — only one earned — over seven innings. He also drove in one via a sac fly in the fifth and another by drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the sixth. That walk was issued by Milwaukee reliever Rob Scahill, who just prior hit a guy to load the bases. The run from the walk wasn’t charged to Scahill, who wasn’t the guy who put the guy who scored on base, but boy howdy that’s some less-than-stellar relief work.

Padres 5, Cubs 2: Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam that helped send the Cubs to their fourth straight loss. Weird stat: the Cubs had only three hits but they drew 10 walks and had two batters hit by pitches. Only scoring two runs with fifteen base runners to work with is bad, but so is a team allowing 15 bases runners in that fashion. Even in victory the Padres make you smack your head.

Tigers 10, Royals 7: The Tigers’ late rally wasn’t as impressive as Houston’s, but they were down 7-6 in the eighth and put up a four-spot. Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run single that inning and reached base four times. One of the times came when he walked with the bases loaded in a six-run Detroit fifth inning.

Blue Jays 17, Reds 2: This was a bloodbath. Troy Tulowitzki hit a grand slam, Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run shot. Toronto had 23 hits. Their franchise record for hits in a game is 25, which came against Texas back in 1999.

Marlins 4, Phillies 1: Edinson Volquez got his first win of the season after seven losses, allowing one run and three hits in six innings. Derek Dietrich hit a two-run homer and Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton each drove in a run.

Rays 10, Rangers 8Tim Beckham hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the Rays’ five-run seventh inning. Colby Rasmus hit a two-run double in that same frame. Steven Souza had four hits and scored four times.

Braves 6, Angels 3Matt Adams and Danny Santana each had two-run doubles during Atlanta’s six-run third inning. The Angels were probably catatonic anyway, as they learned before the game yesterday that they’re going to be without Mike Trout for an extended period. Dead Team Walking.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.