TP20: Road Trip Recap

Author’s
Note: Due to a personal leave of absence for a few days immediately following
the Fan Club Roadtrip, I was unable to complete this post in its entirety upon my
arrival home from
Detroit. After some time, I’ve been back
and into the swing of things and have finally completed this post. You’ll
notice that it begins, in the first paragraph while en route to
Detroit and has been completed, in the
second paragraph and onward, back in
Toronto.

Glancing
into my rear view mirror as the sun set in the east, driving west along the
Gardiner Expressway, it dawned on me that this trip would check another ball
park off the list. The “list” is something my boyfriend and I made
not too long ago – to visit all 30 MLB ballparks before the age of 30. The
list, though mental, would combine our love of road trips and baseball and give
us the chance to see cities we wouldn’t have otherwise picked as a weekend
destination (
Cleveland for example is a bit of a dive, but
Progressive Field was fantastic). Well, turning 22 in less than 24 hours leaves
me eight whole years to visit 26 stadiums across the States that we have yet to
see. Numbers aside, we’re not doing it to simply say we’ve done it – visited
all thirty ballparks – but as self-proclaimed baseball enthusiasts, we delight
in seeing the way the game operates in different cities spread vastly across a
continent.

Much to my
excitement, I was able to cross
Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, off
the list this summer. About three months ago when I had been hired with the
Blue Jays, it was mentioned to me that – to my surprise- my help would be
needed on the Inaugural Official Fan Club Roadtrip in July. Faster than I knew,
July tore through which meant the Roadtrip arrived much faster than I had
thought. The preparations seemed daunting and my role on the trip was not specified
so I made a few videos throughout the weekend in
Motor City as well as a recap when I got home, chatting about the things I had experienced.


It’s August
now and the Roadtrip has come and gone, so here’s a recap of three things I’m
still talking about:

1. A ninety-seven year old man named
Art.
Even at
seventy-five years my senior, he was undeniably sharp regardless of the fact
that he couldn’t read a single thing and his eye-sight was failing. I made
friends with Art on the Saturday night of the Roadtrip, having sat beside him
on the way home from the ballpark. No one had spoken to him and most wondered
why he frequently delayed the traveling progression at every stop we made,
making a bus load of antsy people wait for him to finally arrive back in his
seat. They grew impatient with him for no good reason but having never spoken
to him, I decided to start up a conversation. Little did I know, he was a
retired political sports writer who worked for the London Free Press for over 20
years as well as for various papers in
Toronto. He had published three books
pertaining to his experiences in sports and the politics which ensued. Art
kindly presented me with his personal copy of his last book – which included a
photo of him holding his great-grandchildren – upon discovering it was my
birthday. He spoke so fondly of his time as a writer and recalled the smallest
of details to every tale he told. Though his eye-sight had grown to be
problematic he loved baseball games and though he was not a Blue Jays fan, he
enjoyed the company the Fan Club provided him. I have yet to encounter a kinder
soul in a complete stranger, someone whose stories I could have listened to for
hours. Though times have changed and the writing industry has evolved, it was a
pleasure to encounter such a personality that I would otherwise may never have had
the chance to meet. If I’m ever in
London, Art requested, to look him up,
because he would love to show my boyfriend and I around his little town. And if
I am, for whatever reason, that’s a phone number worth looking up.

2. Comerica Park. I always find it fun to see how
other’s teams treat their fans in their stadium; the concessions, the overall atmosphere,
and in-game entertainment – you name it, I notice it. Especially since working
in a marketing department and sitting in on pre-game production meetings. I
also found that I’m unnecessarily judgmental of other clubs and what they do, because
I see the work that goes into every single game at home. I digress. Outside the
stadium pre-game on Saturday was fun – a lot of people were at the local bars or
tailgating in nearby parking lots and having a good time pre-game. Seeing fans
like that, roughly 35,000 of them, was welcoming. Even the Tigers fans who
despised the Jays, were kind to me – a small, Canadian, who clearly supported
the team of her place of birth, as represented by the logos every article of
clothing visible. Comerica had some neat features and of course, being in an
outdoor park with post-game fireworks is always enjoyable. The outfield
waterfall was neat though I’d say the video board could use an update. The
staff was beyond friendly (to continue my restaurant-esk review of the
ballpark) and the ushers at every section even wiped off your seat before you
sat down. Overall, I’d go back and I give it a four out of five (since I’m
writing more of a review at this point). It’s tough to judge and compare parks
but I like to see them as little entities of their own, each boasting various
characteristics that set them apart from the rest. Though I’ve crossed this one
off my list, I’ll go back.

3. Detroit. After a lot of nasty looks and
comments at the mention of (gladly) spending my weekend in
Detroit, I’d like to say, it’s not what I
thought. Though, to be quite fair, I spent my time going to and from
Comerica Park twice and the other time in my
hotel room of a seventy-two floor hotel (it was no wonder Art got lost so often).
As mentioned about the area around the Park, it was friendly and lively before
and after the games. I don’t think I’d ever go back to
Detroit for fun in the baseball off-season
(unless it was for a Red Wings game) but it was unquestionably cool to see the
way baseball fans share their excitement in another MLB city. 

1 Comment

I also visited Comerica this year on a road trip that brought me and my family to Comerica, Wrigley and US Cellular. Some key aspects about the park worth sharing is that the seats are quite large and the space between them is very comfortable. I liked the statues of past Tigers like Cobb and Kaline in centerfield. The scoreboard was definitely a disappointment but the Tigers Club and Cigar Lounge were an excellent addition. Overall, Detroit did a good job at building a park with new amenities while holding onto to the classic charm of Tiger Stadium.

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