(WWJ) A special tribute will take place on the Detroit Tigers Opening Day at Comerica Park today for Mike Illitch, the late and much beloved team owner.
Prior to first pitch, there will be a ceremony, but fans can also see a tribute written into the very grass on the field. A huge “Mr. I” is cut into the grounds of the outfield.
How did they make it happen?
“We started it last Saturday,” Heather Nabozney head grounds keeper at the park said live on WWJ. “We got all the measurements … started rolling it in on Sunday and the first roll was like ‘we can see it!’ Ever since, we’ve been rolling it a couple of times a day.”
Nabozny says her crew worked so hard on the tribute and they did a fantastic job. They used a stencil to make it the exact right size for fans to spot easily. It ended up being 150 wide by 66 feet tall.
And no, she’s not worried about what Detroit’s windy, rainy opening day will do to her masterpiece.
“The field drains really very well,” she said. “We’ve got a 10 inch root zone that’s all sand, then pea stone and then miles of drain tile so it flows down very quickly, the sand’s real stable so it’s not like a native soil home lawn where you’ll get ruts.”
A pre-game tribute will also honor Illitch, and players have a “Mr. I” patch on their uniforms.