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Comerica Park / Detroit Tigers

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Comerica Park / Detroit Tigers
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Comerica Park is never going to be as beloved or as celebrated as Tiger Stadium. It is a ballpark Donald Trump might like because there seems to be an endless font of ways for people to spend money. Owner Mike Ilitch looked at his club’s past and decided it had merit as a first course to the main meal. Traditionalists may not like the place but c’est la vie. The Tigers have learned that you can’t win the pennant every year but you can always find a new revenue source. As long as the person buying it is happy, what’s the problem?

FAST FACTS

Capacity: 40,950
Owner: Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority
Architects: HOK Sport (General), Rockwell Design Group (Themed Architecture) Construction: Hunt-Turner-White
Dimensions: 345L, 370LC, 425C, 365RC, 330R
Original Cost: $300 million
Playing Surface: Grass
Website: mlb.com
Phone: 313/962-4000
League: American League
Parking: Lots near the ballpark charge between $5 and $20
Address/Directions: 2100 Woodward Av., Detroit, MI 48201. The ballpark is located in downtown Detroit, so basically if you head downtown via M-10 or I-375 you'll hit the ballpark.
Written by: Dave Wright
Photos by: Jim Robins

Succeeding a local legend is never easy. In 1992, Bob Rathbun and Rick Rizzs were announced as the new radio broadcasting tandem for the Detroit Tigers. Both were fine announcers with long pedigrees. Unfortunately, they were replacing the beloved Ernie Harwell, the Hall of Fame voice who had been behind the mike for decades as the Voice of the Tigers. (Harwell had been fired as part of a series of foolish moves instigated by then-team president Bo Schembechler.)

From the start, the pair was roasted in the press and in the public. Although they lasted three years together, the joy in town was immense when Harwell returned in 1995. (Rathbun now calls games for Atlanta of the NBA and Rizzs is one of the voices of the Mariners.)

It’s an instructive way to introduce the current Tigers’ home park. Judged on its own merits, Comerica Park, which opened for business in 2000, is a perfectly fine facility.

Yet, in the minds of many Detroiters, it suffers from the simple fact that it is not Tiger Stadium, where the club held court for 87 seasons.

In many ways, Comerica could be considered the anti-Tiger Stadium. It is as if team owner Mike Ilitch, who coughed up 62 percent of the ballpark’s $300-million price tag, gave the architects this instruction: Go to Tiger Stadium and take notes. If I see one thing that looks like the old park, you’re fired.