April 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Tony Paul

10 reasons to love Tigers Opening Day

Detroit — Merrrrrrrry Chr … err, Opening Day (or the home opener, for purists).

OK, it's not a holiday. But it should be, with the full scope of baseball fans — new and veteran, young and old, diehard and casual — coming together to welcome the Tigers home to Comerica Park.

When I was a child, I would rise before the sun on Christmas, eager for presents.

These days, like many vampire-like journalists, I only rise before the sun on one day a year — this day, eager for the dawn of a new baseball season.

With time to kill before the arrival of my omelet and hashbrowns at one of my favorite Detroit breakfast spots, here are 10 reasons to love the home opener:

1. No, it's not the official start of spring, though this year it might as well be. Gone are those frigid temperatures that overstayed their welcome this month and last. At least they got the hint — and took a hike just in time. Looks like a glorious day.

2. Where else can you have the privilege of paying 9 bucks for a beer?

3. Oh, the sights, sounds and smells of a ballgame — the first playing of Fogerty's "Center Field" blaring throughout the concourse, grass so green it glows, the ballpark franks sizzling on the grills. Heck, even the singing hot dog guy is tolerable. Today.

4. I can't make Mardi Gras ever year. This is as close as it gets 'round here.

5. Milwaukee is one of my favorite baseball towns. They tailgate every game. They don't do that here, except Opening Day, a day — long before I began working the event, for my bosses reading this! — over the years I discovered some of my favorite Detroit watering holes, like Harry's, Honest John's and others. Casey's, near The Corner, is the favorite.

6. The guys' bathroom lines always move faster than the girls'!

7. Detroit, bruises and all, rarely is so alive — not even for the Thanksgiving Day parade, not for a Kid Rock concert, not for the Wings opener (have they started yet?), not for a Lions playoff game (I assume!). They come out in droves, from all corners of the state, regardless whether they have a ticket. That's neat.

8. You can actually see cabs. Use them!

9. These days, it's turning into Opening Weekend — with Game 2 of the regular season often a tough ticket, too. Last year, the Tigers sold out their second home game of the season for the first time in 112 years of Detroit baseball. It could be a repeat tomorrow.

10. The Tigers usually send you home happy — 61 out of 112 times.

Will the Yankees' be victim No. 62? Eh, doesn't matter.

Russell Courville of Commerce Township fills in his lineup card on Friday, as the Tigers open their home season against the New York Yankees in Comerica Park. / Dale G. Young/Detroit News