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New Comerica Park lights installed; fence move still debated

Detroit TigersWe’ll see new Comerica Park lights for Detroit Tigers games in 2023, but a potential move of the outfield fences is still under study by team management.

With the industry moving to cheaper, better LED lighting at both the MLB and MiLB levels, it’s no surprise the Tigers are going ahead with the upgrades, designed to use less energy and create less glare on the playing field. The old light fixtures are coming down, while 472 new LED fixtures are set to be installed in 2023. The new system will also feature the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect with modern LED systems, including choreographed displays for important game events like homers.

“This upgrade is a significant one because of the impact it will have to all who watch Detroit Tigers baseball,” Ilitch Sports and Entertainment president/CEO Chris McGowan said in via press release. “From improving playing conditions and ball tracking to innovative light shows that will help enhance the energy and buzz at the ballpark, this project was a focus for us to continue providing a first-class fan experience at Comerica Park moving into 2023 and beyond.”

Meanwhile, management is still debating whether to move in the fences for the 2023 season. A look at the park factors indicate Comerica Park is a pitcher-friendly park, but just barely despite the perception that the outfield is a place where long flies go to die. (Baseball Reference lists the park as playing fairly neutral.) Here’s what Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris had to say at the Winter Meetings:

“My general opinion on dimensions is that I would prefer to be on one side of the aisle or the other,” he said. “I would prefer to have the opportunity to have some asymmetry in the environments that we’re playing. Whether we are on one side of the aisle as a pitcher’s park, or on the other side of the aisle as a hitter’s park, we have the opportunity to build a team a certain way to take advantage of the dimensions 81 times a year, because we are the only team that plays in our environment 81 times a year. So I would prefer not to be right down the middle.”

There are plenty of times when the advanced stats don’t match the public perception of how a park plays, with impressions formed by anecdote rather than analysis. Such is the baseball world these days.

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