DETROIT (WWJ) – Comerica Park was lit up and rain was falling early Friday morning as the Detroit Tigers prepare to open their 12th season at the ballpark.
Opening day in Detroit is always a big party. Click here for more information about activities around the ballpark.
The first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. The Tigers will play the first of three games against the Kansas City Royals.
The tarp was on the field early in the morning as a light rain fell. There is a threat of rain at gametime.
The first grounds crew workers were spotted walking in from right field in their tan khaki pants and blue hoodies just after 7 a.m. Workers were wiping down seats in the upper deck around 8:30.
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.
A new Tigers memorabilia store, located at the northwest corner of the ballpark, is also celebrating its opening day on Friday. “The D Shop” will feature all new apparel, home furnishings and unique Tigers items. Click here to read more about The D Shop.
Restaurants at and near Comerica Park are gearing up for a busy day and weekend.
The owner of Leo’s Coney Island expects to sell at least 750 coney dogs on opening day.
Bud Liebler, who owns The Whitney restaurant north of the ballpark, says a statue of a tiger he purchased when he bought the restaurant is something he puts on display every opening day.
WWJ reporters ran into scores of fans who were out and about as early as 6 a.m. celebrating the game and what some refer to as a “Detroit Holiday.”
WWJ Newsradio 950, broadcasting live from Comerica Park, talked to several people involved with the Tigers organization before the game.
Listen below to WWJ’s interview with Tom Wilson, President and CEO of Olympia Entertainment.
Listen below to WWJ’s interview with Chris Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings.
Listen below to WWJ’s interview with Mike Healy, Vice President of Park Operations.