Yesterday, I, along with fellow contributor Michael Sicillia headed down to Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers home opener. This was the first time I went to the game as a season ticket holder and thanks to Mike, I took advantage of the deal the Tigers were offering.
This is no endorsement or anything of that sort of nature to purchase tickets but with COVID-19 still being a reality, both Michael and I wanted to recap the experience from Opening Day.
Opening Day Traditions
There have been many Opening Day games where I went and hung out with friends in the bars. Yesterday, as I walked towards the park, the faint music from a live band playing at the Tin Roof Detroit, the former Cheli’s Chili Bar, played off to the right so that familiar sound of people gathering and having a good time was present but it wasn’t as loud.
Two tips of advice that will help you get through the process quicker. 1. Have the MLB Ballpark app downloaded before the game and take the wellness test and 2. Have it ready to go when you go to the gate, they will be looking for the green checkmark that you completed the safety test. That will speed you through the gate quicker.
Once we got to our seats, the ones that were not in use were zipped tied so if you are thinking about hopping around the ballpark, those seats are closed off. In the row I sat in, no one was next to us.
Everyone I saw was masked up and already the crowd was cheering loudly as they could with the space that was around.
The Tigers did everything they could to make it feel as “normal” as possible with the in-between inning entertainment around Comercia Park with the various games like the ball cap shuffle for a Tigers cap. I did not do any concession stands, just hit up the gift shop for a blanket but I did see fans bring blankets in.
Overall, outside of Comerica Park feeling empty and quieter than normal, I still enjoyed the experience. Watching Miguel Cabrera going opposite field in the snow is probably going to be one of my favorite memories of all time at any game.
Attending a game: 1- Take the Wellness Check in the Major League Ballpark app, take a screenshot, and make it your lock screen. The attendants just look to confirm that it was done before you even get to emptying your pockets or showing your game ticket. This makes it easy to have the digital ticket pulled up in the app prior to walking up for entry and you won’t have to hold up the line fumbling around to open a picture and then find the app and navigate to the ticket.
2- Get there early. With just Gates A, B, & C open even a few thousand fans can cause a bit of a wait in somewhat close proximity. Avoid it by getting there early and enjoying a hot dog or the Team Store prior to the game.
3- The mobile ordering for food is nice but not necessary and wasn’t really reliable. Lines were short each time I went onto the concourse. I tried it out ordering a hot chocolate, 15 minutes went by and I never got a confirmation text. Then I got into the game and forgot all about it until I was walking to the parking lot. I cost myself 4 dollars trying to make to transaction easier when it just wasn’t necessary.
4- While we are at it with the food they are charging sales tax now so that’s an extra 6 percent you will be paying for food and beverage. There are no cash transactions so bring your debit card or apply for a credit card to finance your eating pleasures that’s going to cost you a little extra on top of the normal stadium pricing we all have come to love and expect.
5- The seats not being sold are all zip-tied together. It really is a safe environment they have created in the seating area. There is not ever a need to walk across anyone, making the 6 feet distancing guidelines easy to follow. Just don’t think you are easily going to slide into a different seat that you didn’t purchase.
6- The smoking section is closed entirely, so if you have that nicotine habit you have been forewarned. Take appropriate action.