Detroit Tigers: Review of TigerFest 2016

Wall of Decades in the Detroit Tigers Clubhouse during TigerFest 2016. Photo by Kristen Bentley
Wall of Decades in the Detroit Tigers Clubhouse during TigerFest 2016. Photo by Kristen Bentley /

TigerFest 2016 has come and gone. Autographs have been signed, photographs have been taken. Was the Detroit Tigers annual event, TigerFest a success? It all depends on who answers the question.

Too many lines, too many levels, and too many scheduled events.

The tickets went on sale December 11, 2015 and they sold out in approximately 20 minutes. The tickets were $28 for adults and $14 for children age 12 and under. This year was the 21st annual TigerFest and it was certainly bigger than any other years. But, bigger is not necessarily better.

All of the players that everyone wanted to see were at the event. The only problem was that there were simply too many people at the event to see all of the players. There were too many lines, too many levels, and too many scheduled events. And, many of the scheduled events did not go as planned. So for many fans, including this one, TigerFest was somewhat of a failure.

I attended the event with my husband and two children (15 and 12). Parking was easy to find, even with the Detroit Auto Show happening at the same time. But, when we go to the park 30 minutes before the gates opened, we were shocked at the size of the line. Of course, fans with season tickets (the real SEASON tickets) got in early, but the rest of the 7,000+ fans were in one long line. Once the gates opened, the line moved quickly, but the other lines – in the park were already immensely long.

They were so long, in fact, that the attendants at the end of the lines were telling people to get in other lines.

The first event we attended was at the Main Stage inside of the Brushfire Grill. Considering it was a 26°F outside, being inside was nice. Dan Dickerson was on the mic for the radio station on the stage and Justin Verlander was scheduled to be the first guest. But, JV wasn’t there. Instead, Miguel Cabrera was. That was a nice surprise. Of course, Miggy is always a joy to listen to and his stories about trash talking the umps is the stuff of legends. Miggy said, “It’s not hard to call a game,” as he expressed his frustrations with umpires who try to influence the outcome of a game by thinking they are the ones with the Triple Crowns.

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The view into Brad Ausmus‘s office during TigerFest 2016. Photo by Kristen Bentley. /

After Miggy left, Dickerson was left on the stage. So, we left the Main Stage and headed to other parts of the park. The maps were less than helpful and so were the signs pointing the way inside of the concourse. The lines were so long, that is was difficult to tell what they were for. After asking some of the fans who were in the lines what they were waiting for, some did not know.

We managed to find the line to the basement so we could tour the Tigers dugout, clubhouse, and batting cages. This was my favorite part of the event. Since we do not get media credentials at MCB (imagine my big frowning face), this was my first (and probably my last) time in the clubhouse. It is posh. But, all of those pictures you see of fans posing with Tigers players – those are rare. No Tigers were in the Clubhouse when we were down there. No Tigers were in the dugout either. But, I did get to see where J.D. Martinez put his bat last season. And, some Tigers, like Andrew Romine, had to share his bat box with other players. No Tigers were in the batting cages either.

But, we did get to see Brad Ausmus’s office, the rosters from all of the teams that played in Comerica Park, the kitchen with lots of treats for the players, and the little basketball hoop that Nick Castellanos uses to work on his dunks. We also did get to see where Justin Verlander hangs his jerseys, which happens to be right next to Daniel Norris – could there be a possible mentoring situation happening there?

And, the Tigers have two massaging chairs in the clubhouse.

Miguel Cabrera at TigerFest 2016. Photo by Kristen Bentley.
Miguel Cabrera at TigerFest 2016. Photo by Kristen Bentley. /

As we made our way out of the clubhouse area, we ran into Miguel Cabrera. He was on his way to the beginning of a line we were not in, but on his way there, he stopped and gave my son a high-five. Of course, no one got a picture of it, because it happened so fast.

The rest of the day was a day filled with lines. Very. Long. Lines.

While waiting in the lines, I spoke with other people waiting in lines. Many of them had attended past TigerFests. They all said that this was the worst one they had ever attended. They commented on how many more people were let in and how no one knew what any lines were for. Some commented that they probably won’t attend in 2017. The lines were for autographs and photos with the players. Some of the lines

The lines were for autographs and photos with the players. Some of the lines were over two-hours in length. If fans wait in line for two hours to get an autograph or a photo with one or two players, that means that there is no way to truly enjoy all that TigerFest had to offer. Fortunately, since I have a 12-year-old son, he and I could go in the one line that moved – The Kids’ Line. But, in order to get autographs from Drew VerHagen, Wynton Bernard, Jeff Ferrell, and Kyle Ryan we waited in that line twice for about a 90 minutes total.

My goal for the day was to see Justin Verlander, Brad Ausmus, Miguel Cabrera, and at least one Martinez. Of the group, I saw Cabrera three times during the event and no one else. My husband watched Ausmus read Cabrera’s children’s book while I was in line with my son.

Next: Eyebrow Raising Detroit Tigers Player Transactions

I think in 2017, I’ll skip TigerFest and use the money for another game.

I also want to know where to buy one of Miggy’s Triple Crown baseball caps.  Anyone know?