One of the biggest gripes that Detroit Tigers’ fans have had the last few seasons had nothing to do with the team. Comerica Park’s playing field, particularly in right and center fields, was horribly mismatched, leaving a patchwork of grass of differing shades.
That will all change once the rink for the activities of the NHL’s Winter Classic is disassembled. While the main attraction to the hockey event, the Detroit Red Wings taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be held in front of 100,000 plus fans at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, several events have taken place at Comerica, including college games and a pair of Wings-Leafs alumni games.
Much of the blame for the poor grass quality was given to the concerts held at the ballpark in the summer of 2012. Prior to the construction of the hockey rink and its infrastructure, head groundskeeper Heather Nabozny and her crew ripped up all the old Comerica Park turf.
When the ground begins to thaw sometime around March, 103,000 square feet of Kentucky Bluegrass will be installed. That will put the crew under the gun as Opening Day is March 31. Nabonzy said it can be quite unpredictable when the grass can be attended to during March. Some years they can cut the grass the first week of March, but last year the ground hadn’t fully thawed until around March 24.
This will be the first time since 2007 that Comerica Park has received new turf and marks the fourth turf for the park, which will begin its 15th season in operation in 2014.