The very first thing Ali and I did when we arrived in the US was attend a Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox baseball game. My friend Erika had organised the tickets for us and many of our college friends. It was the first time we were seeing my friends and for Ali, the first time he was meeting Erika and her husband, Ehren. It was also Ali’s first baseball game.
I hadn’t been down to Detroit in years. We carpooled down with the Divozzos and the Wezemans, meeting the Ramirez at a local Irish Pub, located on Woodward Ave. Betsy went to school with the owner, so he opened his doors just for us and our mini-reunion and pre-game drinks.
We walked up Woodward Ave. after the drinks to Comerica Park. The hollowed out buildings and small group of attendees at the Jazz Fastival located right downtown were obvious statements of the devastation in the economy this city has seen over the years. With the economy barely afloat in Michigan, Detroit has suffered severely since the auto industry left the state. The city has been trying to rebuild itself through attractions like Comerica Park — the baseball stadium which replaced Tiger Stadium — and this summer a renovation of the Riverfront Walk. Before that it was the slew of Casinos along the riverfront that went in to make the city more appealing and financially sound. Although there are pockets of goodness and growth in Detroit, it’s still both eerie and sad to walk down a main street and see business buildings vacant with struggling shops below the once thriving companies.
While there, I barely watched the game, as I chatted and laughed with good friends in a sunny and warm atmosphere. We were surprised by the fireworks finale with the backdrop of the city lit up in the background. The view from Comerica Park was amazing and the stadium was packed with over 43,000 fans. It was the third largest audience since the stadium had opened. The Tigers won with a double header or grand slam — I can’t remember which — and Ali outfitted himself with a new Tigers Baseball Cap.
We had hoped to get back down to Detroit to explore the other little pockets many overlook, but didn’t have the time with all our other plans and short road trips. To see the rest of the photos from our day in Detroit, visit my flickr folder: Detroit Rock City.