My first game at Comerica Park came in its opening season 15 years ago. We sat at the very top, in the last row. Seats were hard to come by as Tigers fans from across the state flocked to 2100 Woodward to see what the new, modern ballpark had to offer.
I had never seen that many people at a baseball game before.
I went with my parents and grandparents as two generations of Tigers fans bequeathed a new era of Tigers baseball onto the next. And all that my brother and I heard was how nothing will be like Tigers Stadium; how the corporatization of the new stadium was symbolic of all of the troubles we had to look forward to dealing with in Detroit’s future. And, of course, the hampering sentiment that nothing will be better than yesterday was cemented in our minds.
Yet here we are, with a decade and half of Comerica Park under our belt, witnessing the continued renaissance of vital economic growth and positive change within the confines of Downtown Detroit.
Soon, the Red Wings will join in on stadium row, building their own home not far from the Tigers and the Lions. The question buzzing about the community now is: Will Tom Gores and the Pistons follow suit?
Because while all of us were sad to see the Tigers leave The Corner, time has taught us that a new stadium across from the Fox was the correct move. There’s no doubt in my mind that the establishment of Comerica Park and Ford Field helped bolster Detroit’s self-perception. Within the first ten years of the new stadiums, Downtown Detroit saw Thanksgiving football, an MLB All-Star Game, a World Series, a Super Bowl, and an NCAA Final Four. I can speak for my generation when I say that Comerica Park and Ford Field gave us a much different, encouraging idea of what it meant to “go Downtown” than our parents did. And that’s the same generation at the helm of the nu-wave Downtown Detroit we now know and love.
It’s a move that seems as important to the community as it would be sensible to the organization. Times have changed so much since the Pistons’ last Championship in 2004. Our values have changed. The way we celebrate have changed. The perception of what it means to bring a championship to Detroit has changed.
In the near future, when the Pistons are brought back to relevancy, we want our relationship with the team to be equally relevant.
Bringing the Pistons back to Detroit would help ensure that future generations have an even richer sense of what it means to “go Downtown” than mine has.
You can catch all of Kale’s pop culture opinions at woodwordsdetroit.com.