DETROIT (WOOD) — As daylight began to appear over Detroit Thursday morning, Jared Pitsch and Andrew Postma were headed east out of Grand Rapids.
“We left at 5:30 (a.m.), so we got here… probably 8 o’clock, I think,” Postma said outside Comerica Park ahead of the Tigers’ opener.
Opening day is a tradition they missed out on last year, so they weren’t about to miss this one.
“We’re running over a year now where we haven’t been able to go to sports,” Pitsch said.
Baseball is back.
September of 2019 was the last time fans were allowed in to Comerica Park. Opening day Thursday brought hope that things are on their way to returning to normal, though it was different that it usually is.
When fans did enter the ballpark, there were changes. Comerica Park has gone cashless for concession and parking. Tickets buyers have to fill out a health evaluation form. Masks are required on the concourse.
“We’ll be encouraging them to wear them, communicating friendly throughout the concourse to make sure people are doing that as well,” Tigers Vice President of Park Operations Chris Lawrence said.
The biggest changes fans noticed was seating arrangements. Zip ties will keep you from grabbing a better seat. Seats are cordoned off in blocks of two, four or six, with each block 6 feet apart.
“So the whole park will be used. You’ll see large groups. Obviously smaller groups, but you’ll see separations between them in every section, in every row,” Lawrence said.
For fans longing to hear the crack of the bat in person, the changes are worth it.
“It’s definitely different,” Pitsch said. “Still Tiger baseball, so we’re here for it.”