The sightlines at Comerica Park are characterized by good proximity to the field due to the decking structure, despite being pushed back too far. The seating geometry is generally average.
Sightlines are generally good throughout the ballpark, with no significant obstructed view seating. I do feel like the seats down the lines could have been angled a bit more in some areas, but it’s generally fine. I’ve heard some substantial complaints regarding the seat angles, but it’s no Progressive Field. Unfortunately, there also appears to be more foul territory here, especially behind home plate, but its not significant.
Another legitimate criticism is that the spread out design results in a low, gentle slope in the lower deck. More than any other park, fans are likely to have blocked views if the fan in front of them is tall. But it’s a trade-off I guess.
The most common criticism regarding the sprawling seating design is the lack of overhang of the upper deck. While I certainly would have advocated the use of more aggressive cantilevers, the two-deck design inevitably places the fan pretty close to the action, in comparison to some of the newer ballparks. It could have been done better, but people are mostly wining because it’s not Tiger Stadium.
I also noticed an interesting tidbit from the upper deck in comparison to PNC Park. For back-to-back games, we had the exact same seats: row two in the lower upper deck. The view was virtually indistinguishable.
While PNC’s upper deck is lower, both ballparks have similar proximity to the action. The right field upper deck of Detroit, unencumbered by suites, is the closest in baseball. Comerica’s upper deck is in the same conversation with the notable intimacy of PNC’s. But you’d never know it based on the perception.
The seats at Comerica certainly meet all of the standards and then some. Every seat, minus bleachers, is equipped with cup holders. Compared to predecessors and peers in 2000, Comerica seems to have made comfort a higher priority.
Other than Busch and New Yankee Stadium, Comerica Park has the highest proportion of padded seats. The lower part of the upper deck, labeled “club seats,” feature regular padded seats. But the Tiger Den takes the cake. The fact that Comerica has the most comfortable seats in baseball puts them over the edge. As a side note, some of the Tiger Den seats were replaced in recent years down the lines with non-premium “terrace seats”. The stadium seats that replaced them are padded (theatre style) and have tables as well.
Comerica Park sports one of the most well designed main concourses in baseball, both aesthetically and functionally. In many ways, the park really benefits from having an expansive footprint.
Along with Safeco Field, you’ll note that it’s one of the first ballparks to have such an expansive selection of standing room areas. The concourse is open throughout the main level, and fans are invited to get out of their seats and watch the game from the “wall of fame”, the Pepsi porch, or other standing room areas.
You’ll also notice that the concourses are considerably wider than most ballparks throughout the majority of the lower level. Its minimum width (40 ft) is on par with the 2010 minimum standard for concourse width. So even 10 years later, it’s on par with new ballparks being built. It should be noted that they might get crowded in some areas, due to the large number of seats in the lower bowl.
Note the brickwork of the suite level above, along with the green iron warehouse design. Note the walk of fame and the “decade bats”. You know where you are just based on the concourse. You’ll be taking pictures of the concourse at every corner. Don’t forget about the Ferris wheel and carousel. And despite the food court and other distractions, it doesn’t feel too much like a mall, but a festive baseball-oriented state fair.
Make sure to check out the Brushfire Grill, a patio area off the concourse. With its baseball fountain, ballplayer topiaries, and Tiger emblems, it’s unexpectedly gorgeous. I can’t believe I hadn’t seen a picture prior to visiting the ballpark.
Despite not quite reaching the brilliance of Safeco Field, nor meeting new standard of open concourses in the upper deck, it’s pretty much perfect.
Before 2012, Detroit had the weakest scoreboard system in terms of design, use, and quality. A medium sized matrix board and a small matrix board accompany the small sized video board. Not only was the system outdated, but it’s too cluttered as well. Like Cleveland, it was hard to distinguish the boards amongst so many ads.
Everything that the old one did wrong, the new one does right.
No longer does it look cluttered, and they supply all the information anyone could need. Most significantly, the left side of the scoreboard is no longer obstructed for many fans down the line, as they now center the video system properly.
Local Scene: 4.5/5
Exterior Design: 7/10
Interior Aesthetics: 12.5/15
Panoramic View: 5/5
Seat Comfort: 4.5/5
Signature Food: 1.5/3
Premium Services: 4/5
Historic References: 5/5
Ballpark Policies: 2/2