Friday, August 25, 2017

New York Yankees 6 at Detroit Tigers 10 - August 24, 2017


My next stop on the minor league tour was Midland, Michigan, about 3 hours north of Toledo, where the Great Lakes Loons would host a game on Thursday evening. Detroit happens to be between these two towns, and the Tigers happened to have an afternoon game that day, with the Yankees visiting. Sharpy had never been to Comerica Park, and my last visit was in 2001, so we decided to stop in, knowing that we would probably have to leave early.



Comerica opened in 2000, replacing venerable Tiger Stadium, the site of my first Sports Road Trip back in 1986 (the Jays split two games over the weekend). It is one of the more spectacular parks, with giant tiger sculptures greeting you at the main entrance.



Just inside the main entrance is the Big Cat Court; a collection of food stands surrounding a carousel that costs $2 to ride.



Along the concourse are displays for each decade in Tigers history, with memorabilia and small descriptions of past stars and accomplishments. Take your time to wander around to see them all.



Another food area is the Brushfire Grill, which has a couple of hedge batters (above) as well as a small Ferris wheel for kids, also $2. I think adults can ride as well if they can hide their embarrassment.



More history can be found in the outfield concourse, where six statues of all-time Tiger greats can be found, including Ty Cobb (above).



Turn around and you get a good view of the overall stadium structure. You can see the separation between decks above first base; to the left are the 200 sections, while the 300s are to the right. There are club seats in the lower sections here, but they didn't seem to offer much in the way of amenities, other than some thin padding. The view from the topmost row behind the plate is below.



We bought tickets on the secondary market at the last minute and got a good deal to sit 10 rows above the Yankee dugout (view below).



Overall, I was very impressed by Comerica Park, which has aged really well. My initial impression 16 years ago was that it was trying too hard, but now I appreciated all the bells and whistles. With the surrounding neighbourhood enjoying a bit of a renaissance, Comerica is really worth a visit for any stadium traveler.

The Game

I had set a limit of 2.5 hours before we had to leave to make the two-hour drive to Midland. When the first three innings took just 50 minutes, I thought we had a chance to see the whole game. What a fool I am. The game slowed in the fourth, and in the fifth it nearly came to a stop. First, Tiger starter Michael Fulmer had trouble with a nerve injury, and he hit Gary Sanchez, who had homered earlier. There is some bad blood between these two clubs after a series in New York saw a couple of retaliatory hit batsmen, but no warning was issued. In the bottom half, Jaime Garcia, the struggling Yankee starter, was replaced by Adam Warren, who had problems with his control. The Tigers plated 4 runs to take a 6-3 lead after 5, and those two innings took well over an hour. When the Yankees did not score in the 6th, we decided to leave. After a pit stop, I walked back to the concourse to check out the Tiger sixth. With two outs, pitcher Tommy Kahnle threw behind Miguel Cabrera, and was ejected. Manager Joe Girardi raced on to the field to argue with HP ump Carlos Torres and was quickly tossed. Aroldis Chapman came in and took about ten minutes to warm up. I decided to stay to see if anything would transpire, and sure enough, as Cabrera returned to the batters box, he and catcher Austin Romine exchanged words, then a push, and then started fighting. Benches cleared and I scooted down to take a picture.



This was the second year in a row I've seen a brawl after last's years antics in Texas, and they are certainly not boring, but also not appreciated as they take a lot of time and the fighting is not that good anyway. Once things settled down, we left before the next pitch was thrown and listened to the rest of the game on the radio as we motored up I-75. There were two more hit batsmen, including James McCann getting dinged in the helmet, and several more ejections. The Yankees tied things at 6, but the Tigers got those 3 back and McCann added a homer to make the final 10-6 in a game that took a ridiculous 4:13.

Notes

The Yankees are idiots for playing this tit-for-tat HBP game when they are in contention for the playoffs. It amazes me how little they care about the wins and losses, paying more attention to getting even. There is the possibility of suspensions (Sanchez apparently sucker punched Cabrera on the ground) that could really hurt them. Their wild card lead is probably big enough to ensure that five games without Sanchez would not knock them out of the playoffs, but you never know. Here's hoping for some karmic payback.

Best,

Sean

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