On Friday, April 7th, Tigers Fans celebrate not just Detroit’s Home Opener but the start of a brand new season, a blank slate where anything is possible, in America’s Pastime.
Baseball is a curious mix of the old and the new. Every year brings a roster of returning veterans and hopeful rookies. Stats (some from the previous year, some going back a hundred-plus years) are batted around at the same time records are broken.
In 1829, The Boys Own Book, which recorded the rules of Rounders—the precursor to baseball—was published in, of all places, Boston. Played with balls, bats, and bases on a diamond the similarity to the game we call baseball today is unmistakable. But there have been significant changes—new strategies—to the way the game is played over the years.
One, which is currently making a comeback, is the infield shift.
Appropriately enough for this year’s Home Opener, this innovation in baseball is also known as the ‘Williams Shift,’ named for the man who inspired it—Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox. Williams, who enjoyed the nickname of “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived,” was a dead pull hitter—and he consistently hit to right field. So in 1946, Indians’ manager and player Lou Boudreau, did something that was nearly unheard of when he packed his infielders into right field. And promptly shut Williams down on his next at-bat.
So, you’re probably wondering: How does all of this relate to Opening Day in Detroit?
First, like America’s Pastime, Detroit itself is a mix of the old and new—history and change, tradition and innovation. Second, just like the Williams Shift allows the team to quickly move into position for the ‘Win,’ Detroit packs great restaurants and bars in close proximity to Comerica and one another—which lets you chalk up a ‘W’ by hitting all of these great places on Opening Day in Detroit!
Starting Pitcher: A good pitcher can throw some heat by slowing the game down. So start your opening day with both: some spicy BBQ at Slows! Get your game started with their Special BBQ Breakfast Sandwich, with House Sausage, Fried Egg, Cheddar & SC Mustard BBQ Sauce. Sounds like a winning slider to me! From 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. Slows is “‘teaming up with’ Founders Brewing Co. to welcome baseball back”!
Catcher: This guy takes a beating—up-and-down, up-and-down all game (and day) long…just like you’ll be when you’re jumping out of your seat to cheer on the Tigers! So you want to start out at Home Plate fully fueled for the day. I’m starting my Home Opener in a Very Berry good way right downstairs from my Detroit apartment at the Hudson Café, with friends and neighbors from The Lofts of Merchants Row. Oh, and if you live in the Lofts of Merchants Row, The Hudson Café also delivers…right to your door! But even if you’re just visiting and perhaps considering moving Downtown, this is the place to properly ‘manage’ the way you start your day!
First Base: Always a hit, the annual 97.1 The Ticket Opening Day Block Party in Grand Circus Park starts at 10 a.m. and is even bigger this year—taking over both sides of Woodward! Which is appropriate, since this position requires power and coordination, and you’ll have both being right across the street from Comerica Park with live music from Brena—and you can keep the party amped up with 98.7 AMP Radio after the game. Enjoy Ballpark Food, BBQ (more Slows!), Beverages (including the Bell’s Brewery Beer Oasis!), and Big Screen and multiple TVs in the View and Brew Tent, along with interactive games and Opening Day merchandise. Admission is FREE!
Second Base: You’ll ‘Hear the Roar’ at Harry’s Detroit from their covered rooftop patio or their heated tent! Be a part of ‘The Show,’ with DJ Just Nick at this Classic Detroit Sports Bar! With their great food and so many great beers on tap, this party will keep you nimble and let you do a quick turn to Comerica Park in plenty of time to make the play. FREE ADMISSION!
Third Base: Have a “clear and near view” of Comerica Park at Exodos Rooftop for their “5th Annual ‘Que and Brew” featuring CAPTN20 and DJ Whip! With their covered rooftop, heated tents, cold beer tubs, and full premium bar this Starting Lineup is a Winner!! There will be Live Music and Exodus’ Authentic BBQ ALL Day. Cost = $0. Experience = Priceless!
Short Stop: You’ll have the best field position at the Detroit Beer Company Opening Day Party. Just a block away from Comerica you’ll be right where all the action is! You’ll also want quick feet and good hands because this Opening Day Party will keep you ‘hopping’ as they offer 9+ taps of the craft beer they brew in-house! With great food and Guest Beers on Tap, this party will keep you in the field from 9 a.m. until the end of the ‘game’! Though you should consider visiting the ‘Clubhouse’ by joining the DBC Mug Club: you get your own mug, discounts on retail items, and exclusive invitations to events like the Mug Club Party (where members get their own mugs, discounts on beer, free swag, and annual parties where the signing bonus is free food and beer)!
Left Field: A lot of Detroiters have already experienced the frequent ‘pull to’ Grand Trunk Pub. “This year, [they’re] sticking with tradition and teaming up with New Holland for Opening Day”—though they also promise to open at 9am “with game day specials and a few surprises”!
Center Field: This position has more grass to cover, and the Detroit Home Opener Festival has you covered with over 15,000 sq ft of HEATED tents. After you’ve positioned yourself correctly (no problem with their lineup of live entertainment—like the Killer Flamingos), you’ll need agility and a good arm for all their Full Bars and Food Truck Rally. Broadcast LIVE on Channel 955 with Mojo In The Morning and Styles! When you hit this party at 440 Madison Ave, just like the player in this position, you get a clear view of the entire Opening Day field! From 9 a.m. on, they’ll have you singing, “Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play today…look at me, I can be Centerfield”!
Right Field: This position requires a strong arm, and you’ll be giving yours a power workout at The Town Pump Tavern’s Opening Day Tent Party where you get Two Parties On One Corner—Centaur Bar—is playing this position too! Enjoy Full Bars, with Tito’s Vodka, Griffin Claw Brewing Company (GCBC), and delish Bar-BQ! The ‘Tent Party’ opens at 8 a.m., with TVs inside and outside and DJ Zig Zag spinning! Sponsors include Hot Taco Detroit, Real Detroit Events and Stay & Play Social Club.
Designated Hitter: Since you only get this position in American League Parks, why not score with something you can only get in Detroit…Coneys from American Coney Island AND Lafayette Coney Island! Note, we say American and Lafayette, not American or Lafayette…!!!!
Closer: This position requires a ‘cool’ mindset…and there is no cooler place where you can nail down the night than ‘Opening Day at La Casa Detroit! While this clubhouse party is FREE for members (so join now!), you can close out the night (and spend the day) as a Guest for the day at La Casa, where for $35 you’ll have access to the VIP Lounge, great food, and live entertainment before, during, and after the game so you can close out the night with a walk off homerun and sudden victory!
With this roster, you can celebrate with tradition and create your own play to guarantee a ‘W’ on Opening Day (and all the game days) by shifting around to all the great bars and restaurants in Detroit!Posted on April 2nd, 2017 in: Detroit, Detroit Events, Detroit Food, Detroit Sports with the tags: , Detroit Tigers, Opening Day
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