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April 11, 2000 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-11

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12 - The Michigan Daly -Wuesday, April 11, 2000

A

WHOLE

NEW BALLGAME

New era beginning for Detroit

By Jon Schwartz
1), d Sports Wrter
DETROIT -- Last year, the country
bid farewell to baseball at The Corner
and to memories of legendary Tiger
Stadium.
today, the city of Detroit introduces
itself to the new kid in town.
With Comerica Park's grand opening
today at 1:05 p.m., baseball as it was
known in the Motor City is done.
Cone are the obstructed views that
dominated most of the seating areas.
No longer will free-agent pitchers
pass up the hitter's stadium with power
alleys of only 365 feet.
Forgotten will be the cramped seats,
the dark concourses and the mad rush for
the few restrooms.
Comerica Park is both literally and
figuratively trying to fade the not-so-dis-
tant vision of Tiger Stadiumr from its
fans' views.
The structure is a state of the art dis-
play in every way imaginable.
There is a great distinction between
the old-style stadiums such as Cinergy
Field in Cincinnati and the new ones,
like Pacific Bell Stadium. where home-
runs hit to right field sink into the depths
of the San Francisco Bay.
Natural grass became a must when the
new trend began. Baseball is an outdoor
sport and artificial turf was unaccept-
able. Straight outfield walls with no
breeding points for triples became a
thing of the past.
But most importantly; baseball
became more than simply the game on
the field, a trip to the stadium became an
After putting the
finishing touches
on Comerica Park
in the last few
weeks, the Tigers
are ready to wel-
come fans for
Opening Day
AP PHOTO

experience.
There is something for everyone at
Comerica Park. Olympia Entertainment,
the company that runs concessions for
Joe Louis Arena and other main enter-
tainment venues around the city, joined
forces with the Tigers to revolutionize
the family experience on game day.
A ferris wheel with baseball-shaped
cars greets fans at one area of the park.
In another, a carousel of 30 hand-painted
tigers presents itself to the spectators.
There is a McDonalds in rightficld,
five other restaurants around the park, 21
concession stands, numerous merchant
cats with various concession items and
an exclusive VIP area - the Tigers Club.
The centerfield area is equipped with
liquid fireworks to celebrate homeruns
- with exploding colored water flying
150 feet into the air - and the biggest
scoreboard in the Major Leagues.
The Brushfire Grill offers hungry fans
a chance to leave behind the old-time
favorite hot dogs and dive into a roast
beef sandwich or grilled salmon.
And yes, there is even a baseball game
to be found on the field.
"Comerica is designed for the family,"
director of concessions John Baaki said.
"There's something for everyone."
The food choices are vast, spanning
from the simple and common french
fries to innovative assortments of ele-
phant ears, gyros and baked potatoes.
And while the prices are hardly cheap,
Baaki assured that they are competitive
with the new standard in ballparks --
places like Jacobs Field in Cleveland and
Safeco Field in Seattle.
But his favorite feature of the park is

that with so many choices and so many
stands, getting food will never be a prob-
lem again.
"You're never going to wait in lines,"
Baaki said.
But fans of the game and not the spec-
tacle will find something at Comerica
Park.
The new seats are three inches wider
and tilted to face towards home plate,
rather than making the spectator turn his
head to see the action.
Also, the vast outfield will make the
game more of a defensive struggle -
giving the Tigers more chances at sign-
ing top pitching prospects.
Even the traditionalists have some-
thing to cheer about. While Tiger
Stadium couldn't be replaced, the design-
ers of Comerica went to great lengths to
save some of the old palace's charms.
The old flagpole in centerfield is
back, as are the identical section signs
around the concourse. Also, Tigers'
heroes and heroic feats are depicted
through statues and monuments to the
team's glory days.
But throughout the project, what
shines through is the rejuvenation of the
city of Detroit. With no outfield stands,
the view behind the centerfield wall
makes the city gleam.
Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer
summed it up simply, deeming today
"Downtown Detroit's official Opening
Day," and encouraging residential and
commercial areas to post as much Tigers
paraphernalia as possible.
"All that you have to do is look around
and see that the city of Detroit is the real
winner," Archer said.

AP PHOTO
Fans who visit Comerica Park today for Opening Day will be greeted by two giant Tiger statues at the stadium's main entrance.

CoPa shoukc
By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Writer
DETROIT - Major League Baseball
traditionalists can be some of the sourest
people you will ever engage in conver-
sation.
The ball is juiced.'
'Interleague play is sanctioned
heresy.'
'The Mick never needed Creatine'
Comerica Park,
the new home of COMERICA
the Detroit Tigers,
will likely become
the next target for
criticism of baseball's most obstinate
purists.
Comerica Park is the next step in the
growing trend of incorporating other
elements of culture and entertainment
into baseball stadiums. Some of
Comerica Park's features (a Ferris
wheel, a beer garden, a McDonalds in
right field) will undoubtedly send the
traditionalists into a tizzy of ranting and
raving about the good old days.
One doesn't have to immerse oneself
in the theme park aspects of Conerica
Park to enjoy it. Fan friendly baseball is
still the theme to the stadium.

ln't offend Pi
But diversifying the entertaining
aspects of the Comerica Park experi-
ence will entice new Tiger fans.
The sanctity of the game will be in
tact. Regardless, complaint is the domi-
nant form of discourse for some of base-
ball's hard heads.
These are the men that spent their
developmental years during the Ruth to
Aaron era and their sons that inherited
the same mentality. They have an
extremely rigidly defined idea of what
comprises the essence of baseball.
In baseball's golden oldy days, the
sport was natural and the surroundings
were simplistic - at least that's the way
they are remembered. Men who grew up
attending games at Griffith Stadium,
Ebbet's Field and, of course, Tiger
Stadium expect their ballparks to reflect
this tradition.
Inevitably Comerica Park will make
these men grumpy.
But baseball is often compared to life,
and life evolves. The purists can't stop
the natural evolution of baseball.
Comerica Park is very sensitive to the
core game of baseball. Features have
been added to the new stadium to make
the spectator experience more enjoyable
and comfortable than it ever was at Tiger

Irists,

but...

Stadium. And the other hoopla was
carefully placed away from persons
intent on concentrating on the game.
Still, it's likely that just the thought of
the Tiger's new pad containing a merry-
go-round will perturb much of base-
ball's "old school."
But the ultra-entertainment multi-
media feel of baseball is one of the main
reasons the game has reached so many
new fans in the last five years. It will be
the carnival and mall elements of
Comerica Park that will draw in fami-
lies, even in August if the Tigers are 20
games out of the playoffs and playing
Kansas City.
In some ways, the timeline of base-
ball seems to be in a similar place as
American culture was in the tumultuous
sixties. Comerica Park would love to
play host to baseball purist for the next
hundred years, but if they want to be a
bunch of old bitties, baseball doesn't
need them to survive.
So if you find yourself longing for the
way it was, and can't come to terms with
the way it is, maybe you should turn to
Mr. Bob Dylan for a little advice.
"Please get out of the new one if you
can't lend your hand,"
Baseball times, they are-a-changin'.

Bells and whistles

7

Here are some of the features that
Comerica Park offers:
® 50-foot tall Ferris wheel and
carousel for entertainment
I Six restaurants and family restrooms
and 14 men's and 15 women's3
restrooms
0 Downtown Detroit Beer Hall featur'
ing a wide selection of local and inter-
national beers at a 70-foot bar
® The Tiger Den - premium area
with four or six free-standing wooden
padded seats and food and beverage
service
0 "Liquid fireworks" display in center-
field
* Big Cat Food Court - in the mode
of a mall eatery
d Five sculptures of Tigers heroes
® Six large "decade bat" monuments
in the lower concourse, each contain-
ing artifacts and photos
* 102 luxury suites

Comerica Park facts:
" Capacity: 40,000
Dimensions: Left: 335'; Left-Center:
398'; Center: 420'; Right-Center: 380';
Right: 330'
Largest scoreboard in the league -
202 feet wide, nearly 10 stories high
Cost of park: $300 million
Without outfield seats, stadium
looks out to downtown Detroit
0 Seats are four inches wider than
Tiger Stadium's and angled towards
home plate.
Opening day: April 11, 2000
i *

AUDITIONS FOR THE
ORIENTATION SUMMER TROUPE
Office of New Student Programs
Do you like your voice to be heard? Do you love performing in front of
crowds? Would like to get paid for making people laugh, think, learn? Res Rep
Theatre troupe (AKA Summer Troupe) is holding auditions for this summer's
orientation theatre program. This program performs to over 5000 incoming '
first-year students. For the last three years, it has been the top rated orientation
program.
Indivduals interested in being a part of this 10 person ensemble will not only
possess a passion for performing, but an understanding of how theatre can be
used to inform, enlighten and teach. Individuals in the ensemble will not only
assist in the development of the theatre piece, but will perform various roles
throughout the summer's 34 show run (Sunday through Wednesday evenings)
This opportunity is ideal for the student who either works or takes classes
during the day. This is an evening commitment from 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
NO previous acting experience required. Minorities are encouraged to audition.
NO audition material required. Be prepared to stay the entire audition time.
Auditions will be held Thursday, April 13, 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. in the Main
Lounge on the first floor of the South Quad (East side of South Quad) Lounge
and call-backs are scheduled for 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. in the same location on
Friday, April 14.
Performances are 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and
Wednesdays from June 4 through August 7"h except for June 25th and July 2-
4. Rehearsals begin in May.
Assistant Director Position: We are looking for an Assistant Director who
will assist with the oroduction of the group (i.e. scheduling rehearsals, taking

0

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