Toronto and Detroit won’t disappoint baseball fans

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Citizen’s News contributing sports writer Ernie Bertothy at the Rogers Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays, earlier this summer. CONTRIBUTED

On the quest to visiting all 30 Major League Baseball parks, you get some surprises.

Detroit and Toronto are two of them. I found this out earlier this summer.

Despite all the bad press that Detroit gets, there’s at least one reason to go there: Comerica Park. Once inside the gates, baseball fans are treated to an iconic structure that breathes life into a city that desperately needs it.

I was fortunate to go on a Friday night and see the Tigers’ Justin Verlander—perhaps the best pitcher in baseball. It was a standing-room-only crowd.

But the players and the crowd are only part of the show. The park does an extraordinary job of honoring a franchise that’s rich in baseball history and showcasing some unique architecture.

Upon entering the park’s front gate, you are greeted by a 20-foot tiger ready to pounce. The stadium itself embraces the tiger and can be found everywhere you turn in some way, shape or form.

For the fan who appreciates history, you’re in luck. Comerica Park features six statues that line the centerfield area.

Perhaps you know some of the names on these statues—Cobb, Greenberg or Kaline? The park also sports a team Walk of Fame on the lower level concourse.

If you’re a casual fan, there are other things to draw your attention. Like many other newer ballparks, there are numerous food and beverage options.

For younger fans, there’s even a mini Ferris wheel and a carousel.

Those same younger fans might not remember when the Sky Dome opened. Twenty years later, it’s called the Rogers Centre.

It will always be the Sky Dome to me. It was the first park to have a fully retractable roof. There was a hotel attached to it.

On this day, the roof was closed for batting practice and opened for the game. It was about 90 degrees and sunny.
While the artificial turf is as anti-baseball as it gets, the park had a unique positive—sound.

The completely enclosed park with a partial roof—even with it open—keeps sound in the park.

The crack of the bat and the pop of the ball hitting the glove are all heard around the lower level of the park. And while they don’t have the history to flaunt like the Tigers, the Blue Jays have some recent names to boast—namely Roberto Alomar, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

The weekend trip had two unique parks: A brand new park full of history and an older park that ushered in the modern era.

If you’re a baseball fan, both are worth your time.