Because it became one of only two outdoor concert venues in the city Detroit–and by far the larger—and the next closest is 40 miles away, Comerica Park has hosted Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, The Rolling Stones, local hero Eminem, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, two stops of the multi-act Vans Warped Tour, local favorite Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice In Chains and Cypress Hill. For large shows such as these, the stage is on the outfield grass and fans sit on the infield. Tigers players and former manager Alan Trammel were not happy with the quality of the outfield after back-to-back concerts by Eminem and The Rolling Stones.
The 2005 All-Star Game was the first in Detroit since 1971. In 2006, the Tigers had a postseason run that took them to the World Series. They split Games 1 and 2 at Comerica before losing the next three in St. Louis. On June 12, 2007, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander tossed a no-hitter at Comerica, the first thrown by a Tiger in Detroit since 1952 (Virgil Trucks).
Considered a pitcher’s park, the dimensions are 345 feet and 330 feet down the left and right field lines, respectively. Left center field was 395 when the park opened but was moved to 370 in 2003 after many complaints about the outfield’s vast area led to the nickname Comerica National Park. Center field is closer to home than was Tiger Stadium’s (420 feet now, 440 then), while right center is 365 feet.
When the left center wall was moved in, the flagpole from Tiger Stadium that was in play, as an homage, moved behind the wall. In 2005, the bullpens moved from right field to a spot created in left field when the fences crept in. Nearly 1,000 seats took the place of the old bullpens.
When it opened, the stadium housed the largest scoreboard in baseball, and is one of two parks in the majors to have a strip of dirt from the mound to home plate. The strip, called a keyhole, was common in baseball’s early days. There are tigers everywhere: nine 15-foot tiger statues can be found throughout the park, from the entrance to a pair on top of the scoreboard. The scoreboard tigers’ eyes light up after Tigers victories and home runs, accompanied by the sound of a growling tiger. Along the brick walls outside the park are 33 tiger heads with lighted baseballs in their mouths.
There are monuments to distinguished Tigers: in the left center field concourse are statues of all the players with retired numbers—Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Charlie Gehringer, Hal Newhouser—plus one who played before players wore numbers, Ty Cobb. Those names, along with the names of players who were Tigers but didn’t go into the Hall of Fame as Tigers, are on a wall in center field. Late Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell’s name is there, too, as is a statue of him inside the stadium on the first-base side.
Behind the stands on the third-base line is a Ferris wheel with 12 cars shaped like baseballs. Behind the first-base line stands is a carousel. Beyond the right field wall is a fountain that activates jets of water when the home team scores and between innings.
There have been plenty of growls and fountain displays in recent years, as the Tigers have been American Central Division contenders since their World Series appearance in 2006.