For those that have never set foot in Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, I highly recommend going to a game -- once. It's very impressive, fancy scoreboard and all and, unlike the old Tiger Stadium, any fan in attendance can walk all the way around the stadium on the mezzanine level, peeking at the actual game as they do so.
Making the circuit on the mezzanine is like experiencing a miniature version of the Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey circus. From small children, to teenagers, to middle-agers, to retirees -- they've got something for everybody. Make your kids happy and step right up yourself -- all for a nominal fee -- of course. Everybody has a good time, but the next day it just might be that mom and/or dad are wondering why the blew so much money, and how they're going to make ends meet elsewhere.
Let's look at a few realities. Other than the players themselves, I doubt many objective people would question that major league baseball players, amongst some others in pro sports, are ridiculously overpaid for what they actually do. How it got to this point could be debated forever, but it is what it is, and it's certainly reflected in what the average fan has to pay to attend a game.
The Detroit Tigers themselves are nothing special. Even the "homers" in the local media will begrudgingly admit that. They have one great starting pitcher in Justin Verlander, and a couple sluggers named Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Beyond that, what do they really have?
The other starting pitchers and their bullpen are a crap shoot. No position player is even better than average defensively, and they have almost ZERO team speed. Let's not forget the manager, Jim Leyland. Despite the local media fawning over his every word, he's nothing more than a journeyman manager. Leyland's been around a long time with a lot of teams. After over 3200 games running a dugout -- his record stands at .500. The epitome of average.
But the local pundits are right in one respect. The Tigers will win the American League Central Division. As average as the Tigers are, the rest of the teams in that division are worse. They won't be able to keep up over a full 162 game season. While many better teams in other divisions are slugging it out all season long for a spot in the "postseason", the Tigers will likely qualify by default, and that's nothing to be proud of.
So if you have nothing better to do, and a few C-notes you don't care about -- go to another Tiger game with your family. Make sure to look up at the luxury suites you can't afford, and which are mostly sitting empty when a team like Minnesota or Kansas City is in town.
Which brings me to the absolute best and worst scenarios. The best would be if the Tigers somehow made it to the World Series. The worst is, if that happens, even if you're a season ticket holder, you're going to get put in a "lottery" for tickets to the games.
Entertainers and politicians will get the best seats. Even if you're lucky enough to win the lottery, the prices of any seats (likely not your own) you can get will at least quadruple. We're talking house payments here. Why would the average fan want to do this when they can sit home, or in a sports bar with big screen TVs, catch all the replays, and save themselves a bundle?
Nothing like a ball-park frank? Baloney. They're terrible, as are the buns, onions and relish to go with them. Anything with liquid cheese on top is pretty nasty too. Ask yourself this -- would you eat that crap at home?
Yep, experiencing Comerica Park is pretty cool -- once.
If you keep going back, the above-mentioned Phineas Taylor Barnum had it right.
There's one born every minute.