(This article was originally published at DesigNate Robertson. Photos by the author.)
The Tigers came away victorious today on Opening Day over the dreaded Wes Welkaah Nation Red Sawx, 3-2 on a walkoff single by Austin Jackson in the bottom of the ninth. AJax was awesome today and so were Jhonny Peralta and Justin Verlander. Jose Valverde's consecutive save streak ended, yet he vultured a win when the Tigers walked off.
But you already knew all of that. What I'm here to tell you about is what you didn't see today if you stayed home and didn't attend Comerica Park for the opener like I did. How was it, you ask? Oh, I'll tell you.
If I could pick one word to describe it, it would be "awful."
I thought I knew what to expect coming in to today. I've been to two previous Opening Days and know that it is what I call "Amateur Hour," kind of like going to a bar on St. Patrick's Day. All the idiots are out and everyone's number one priority is getting black out drunk as soon as possible. Those days are behind me and I had said that I'd never go to an Opening Day again.
That was until my boss got tickets and offered me one and a ride up there for free. Okay, I'm in. We left a little after 9am from Toledo and picked up three friends of his that were going. We were making excellent time until we got to the CoPa exit off 75 and it's backed up literally for miles. We waited in that line for 45 MINUTES before deciding to head up the road a bit more and get off in Greektown. It was a good idea in theory, but we waited another half hour to get off at that exit.
We make it off the exit and there is NOWHERE to park. Every lot is full. We drove around for what seemed like days until finally just parking on a street a couple miles from the park in a ghetto somewhere. Wasn't my car…I didn't care. As I said, I've done two previous Opening Days and three playoff games in Detroit…I've never seen anything like this downtown. It was unreal. And every bar we passed is overflowing with idiots, beer bottles and cans are littering the streets…insane.
By this time, it's 12:40, I missed out on meeting up with a friend of mine, and I'm just wanting to get to my seat. First, I had to piss. Before the game, there's already a mile long line for the restroom. My biggest complaint about Comerica has always been the lack of men's restrooms. It's a nightmare and why I don't drink at games since I have the bladder of an infant. Screw the new scoreboard, guys, build us a dozen more pissers, for crissakes. When I finally get into the restroom, two toilets already have "Out of Order" signs on them…on Opening Day. Brilliant.
Anyway, we were in Section 148, Row GG, which is in left field right under the new scoreboard. By the way, I have to admit that the new board is outstanding. Here's a pic I took from behind the WAY TOO MANY standing room folks on the first base side of the stands.S
Very nice. So we get to our seats and it's freezing cold. I tried using my phone to access Twitter and can't because of the CoPa's insane invisible force field that makes most cell phones quit working. I wasn't receiving texts either. Jerks.
They did the player introductions and I was surprised at the alarming number of boos that Brandon Inge received. I remarked, "It only took these assholes ten years to boo him?" Turns out, my boss's friend's favorite player is Inge and he's next to me. So he starts yelling at me and I just wanted to kill everyone around me.
But who to pick? On my right were a pair of seemingly inbred drunks in their 30's, I'd say. They spent the game yelling NON-STOP at every hitter on both teams. From deep left field. Awesome. For some reason, they thought Delmon Young's name was "Deion." They were obsessed with Kevin Youkilis and how he bounces at the plate. It was creepy. In the bottom of the second, they asked me who Boston's pitcher was and then started attempting to taunt Lester loudly. Sorry, Jon. But their most annoying trait was one I'm sure you've dealt with before if you've attended a game in person. Every ball hit in the air, they thought was going to be a home run. Even foul balls hit back to the screen, they thought were coming right at them. These guys were unreal. And their slurring nonsense went on from the beginning of the game until the 8th inning. Remember that.
In front of me is this huge guy and his wife with an empty seat next to him. He took this as an excuse to sprawl out the entire game, and in doing so, kept putting his right arm behind the chair next to him…which was right in front of me. Now I'm 6'4 and have very long legs. So every time he did this, his hand and/or arm would touch my lap. Take a look.S
Finally, I'm like "DUDE!" He stops and we start talking a bit. He was a nice enough guy and it turns out we were at one of the same playoff games last year. Two innings later, his hand is back in my lap. Thank goodness Comerica doesn't allow us to bring in guns. But who could blame him? I have a very inviting lap, I guess.
Behind me is a pair of wasted women in their 40's, I'd estimate. One woman had hiccups for the first two innings and I considered strangling her with my belt so I could concentrate on being annoyed by my other neighbors. When the hiccups ended, I endured her disgusting potty mouth for the rest of the game. You really have to be a classy broad to offend me with your mouth.
Also, there was the drunken bunny lady a few rows ahead of me. Randomly, she would get up and just start doing this awkward, swaying dance by herself at odd times. The best was when they were playing some really heavy rock song and she got up and started slowly moving to this fast guitar riff. Nutcases everywhere. Oh, and why is she the drunken bunny lady?S
In the third, I got up to hit the Team Shop and get a new hat. I fought my way through the insane sea of people in standing room only and saw the longest bathroom line I've ever seen. It went from behind right field almost all the way to first base. Here's a pic of part of it. Sorry for it being so blurry.S
Walking past the immense line, there's a Red Sox fan standing there and he says "You don't see this kind of shit at Fenway." I turned around and locked eyes with him and I swear he looked like he was pissing his pants. He actually started stammering out an apology to me when I put my arm around him and said "The bathroom nonsense is the worst part of this park, brother. Don't worry about it." He smiled, shook my hand, and thanked me. Pussy Red Sox fans.
At this point, a female security person was screaming back and forth with some drunk guys about something or other. She was threatening to eject them from the park while they took turns making comments about her breasts and calling her colorful names. I just kept walking and tried not to get involved in anything that would end up with me arrested.
As a fun aside, despite all the pregame booing, everywhere I went, I somehow had this sight in front of me…S
I hate you people.
With two hats ($68), a program/yearbook combo ($15), and one bratwurst ($6!!!) purchased, I'm back in my seat and the game is moving along and JV is looking great. Then, around the fifth inning, a fight breaks out behind us. Two drunk kids in their twenties. An inning and a half later, another fight breaks out behind us. Two girls this time. I wish it had ended there.
In the ninth, the drunken inbred shitheads to my right got up and left. Awesome, I thought. But they were immediately replaced by two even more drunk kids in their 20's. Security had moved them from their original seats for almost getting into a fight, one told me. Almost right away, they began trading insults with the drunk women behind us. To top this off, Jim Leyland put Don Kelly and Clete Thomas into the game at the same time because he hates me. Then Valverde did his blowup. Meanwhile, the slurring, cursing, insult-filled babbling continues next to and behind me until the bottom of the 9th.
So there Austin Jackson is, up at the plate, with the game on the line. I'm standing and clapping, hoping that the kid comes through after taking so much criticism last year. But to my right, I hear one of the drunk morons tell one of the drunk tramps to "Shut the fuck up you fat cunt!" Austin swings and so does the woman.
The Tigers walk off and the place is going nuts. Meanwhile the idiot and the woman are fighting and she's landing blow after blow. Beer is spilled on me and guys are racing over to beat up the kid thinking he's attacking the woman. I said fuck it and just got out of the stadium. For all I know, they killed each other. Outside, the streets were littered with cups, cans, bottles, and trash everywhere. I feel bad for whoever gets stuck cleaning up that shit…if anyone ever will.
We walked back to the ghetto, the car was amazingly still there, and we hit the highway back to Toledo. And got stuck in construction for over a half hour. When it rains, it pours.
The Tigers aren't to blame for any of this, in my opinion (other than the bathroom nonsense). Sure, if the guys were telling me the truth, they should have been booted from the park instead of put next to me, but still, you can't babysit 50,000 idiots. I blame the fans themselves. At my youngest and drunkest, I wasn't as stupid as the assholes I dealt with today. And I only talked about a few of them here. There were so many rude, angry, horrible folks at the park today, I'm just thankful that I didn't make the mistake of bringing my son like so many other fans were silly enough to do today. It was a miserable experience from beginning to end. Fuck you, Tigers fans.
But I was still smiling when I exited the stadium. We're 1-0, after all. Undefeated, bitches!
So thank you Austin. You saved the day.
But I'm never going to Opening Day again. And I mean it this time.
For full coverage of Nate Robertson (and occasionally the Detroit Tigers), go to DesigNate Robertson.