DETROIT (WWJ) – The excitement is building around Comerica Park, with plenty of early-bird tailgaters and an Opening Day Block Party underway all day at Grand Circus Park.
Clutching his Detroit Tigers Opening Day ticket, Jeff Alrich of Romulus told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas he’s ready for a long day, and he has a game plan.
“Tailgating ’til game time, and then more tailgating after… and I’ve been waiting a whole year for it,” he said.
Andrea Venigoni of Macomb said she wasn’t a bit worried about the rain.
“No, ’cause this is normal for us. We do this every year, so we’re good… it doesn’t matter. We’re all friends, we’re all fans, we thrive on this,” Venigoni said.
WWJ’s Mike Campbell spoke with a fan who drove nine hours to attend the game. She also wasn’t bothered by a little bad weather.
“We’re from the UP, so this doesn’t faze us… Marquette. We came down for (the game). This is new to us… We’ve never done this before… I love it,” said one young woman.
With a drink already in hand at 8:30 a.m., another fan told Mike she was “pacing herself,” so she could keep the party going until game time.
“It’s the first one. So, you just kind of, you know, ease your way into it,” she said.
Inside the park, vendors were gearing up for a concessions showdown. Will the Motor City coney dog beat out the classic Ballpark frank?
At Leo’s Coney island at Comerica Park, manager Paul Cassopolis said he expects to sell hundreds of Opening Day coneys.
“I’m expecting at least 750… that’s a lot of coneys, but we should be able to keep up. We’re pretty good at it,” Cassopolis said.
A fan himself, Cassopolis has high hopes as baseball season begins.
“I expect the Tigers to come in first (place), that’s what we planned. I expect us to do really good all year long,” he said.
Opening Day will feature, among other things, a Sparky Anderson flag raising along with a military flyover.
There will also be a moment of silence to recognize the passing of Bill Lajoie, Steve Boros, Cecil Kaiser, Woodie Fryman and those who lost their lives in the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The city is encouraging baseball fans attending the game to trust their cars, trucks and SUVs to municipal garages. Fans can park at the Grand Circus Park Garage, at the corner of Woodward and Adams, or the Premier Garage, on Woodward near Grand River. Prices range between $10 and $20. There’s also plenty of parking lots along the People Mover route.
Hear all of the action on 97.1 FM, The Ticket.
WWJ Newsradio 950, broadcasting live from Comerica Park, talked to several people involved with the Tigers organization before the game. – More on Opening Day at this link –