Rain delays Tigers’ Opening Day until Friday

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
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Put the party on hold for 24 hours.

Pam and Tony Rinna of Southgate still have the spirit  at Comerica Park as the home opener is rained out on Thursday.

Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers will be postponed until Friday due to inclement weather, the Tigers announced Thursday morning. First pitch will come early Friday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. 

The pitching match-up — Jordan Zimmermann vs. Ivan Nova  —  is expected to remain the same.

All paid tickets from Thursday will be honored on Friday. Or, they can be exchanged for a future regular season game.

Fans said Thursday they were disappointed by the turn of events but were going to continue to tailgate for a bit since they already had made the trip downtown.

Linda Clayton, 57, of Wyandotte, said she was among them. 

“But we’re still staying,” she said while tailgating outside of the stadium. “I took the day off from work to be here.”

She and a group of her friends have come to the parking lot on the corner of Adams Avenue and Witherell Street next to the ballpark to party before the game for the last three years.

Shaun Lathrup, 28, of South Rockwood,who was among Clayton's group, said he didn’t really care the game was postponed.

“I wasn’t going anyway,” he said. “I was just here to have a good time.”

Across the parking lot, Kiser Roberts, 67, of Southfield, said he was mad to hear the game has been postponed. He was tailgating with a group of friends.
“I’ve seen them play in worse weather than this,” he said. “It’s only 9 o’clock and they’re not playing until one. I’ve seen them play in the snow. If you look up what Opening Day had the worst weather, it wasn’t today.”

Roberts said he's a long-time Tigers fan who goes back to the team's Briggs Stadium.

"I'm a fan from way back," he said. "And Opening Day is my favorite day."

Buddies Sean Matela and James Millar of Troy were sipping a few cold beers inside the Fillmore Detroit on Woodward where a free party hosted by 101.1 WRIF-FM was drawing revelers looking to stay dry.

“The original plan was to come down here and see (radio hosts) Dave and Chuck the Freak broadcast ... and then kind of hop around town and enjoy the festivities,” said Matela, 30.

“We call it checkpoint life,” interjected Millar, who was Metela’s best man at his recent wedding. “Just get to the next checkpoint and figure it out from there.”

For them, the next checkpoint is likely another bar or maybe a tent party. They’re banking on fewer crowds and maybe cheaper cover at some parties. And why not, they already took the day off work.

“We just get two Opening Days out of it,” said Millar.

August Gitschlag of Hamtramck didn’t let the bad weather or canceled game hamper his party plans.

“I got here from Hamtramck in 10 minutes with a $12 Lyft ride,” he said from inside the Fillmore before he headed to the tented party next door.

“I have friends that are staying in town no matter what, staying in hotels, we’re going to hang out, enjoy Detroit. We got our rain gear anyway," he said. “I don’t have tickets to the game anyway,” he added. “I was coming down, this is one of Detroit’s best days.”

Courtney Low, left, of Wyandotte, stays dry in the tent at Harry’s Detroit with Rachel Adler and Jackie O’Connor, both of Riverview.

Ahead of lunchtime on Thursday, Harry’s Detroit at Clifford and Henry was full of Tigers fans both upstairs and down, with a bit of the party spilling out into the tented parking lot. The kitchen was pumping out hot dogs, soft pretzels, mac and cheese, and other bar-friendly comfort foods.

Owner Henry Kefalonitis said they’re doing well today and they plan to do it all over again Friday.

“You have to call the staff, the DJ, the tent ... remobilizing again, but for us, it’s good,” he said, adding that people came from outside the tri-country area to hang out and were ready to party when they opened at 7 a.m. He says they get busy early and stay busy because they don’t charge a cover.

He does take issue, though, with his new neighbor, Little Caesars Arena. The new sports venue has a party today, too, but has blocked off the access near Harry’s.

Kefalonitis said the arena told him it was a security measure, but he takes issue with the road being blocked. He says it prevents the flow of foot traffic to his front door.

But business wasn’t hurting Thursday and Kefalonitis doesn’t expect it will be hurting Friday, either.

“I fully expect to be full again because it’s Good Friday,” he said, adding that people are celebrating the holiday and the end of winter. “That feels good.”

Super-fans Pam and Tony Rinna were decked out in their finest Tigers-wear and had their faces painted orange and white with black stripes for Opening Day. They said they plan to do it again Friday.

"The makeup artist who did this for us said she'd do it again for us tomorrow if the game was rained out," said Tony Rinna of Southgate.  


Staff Writers Charles E. Ramirez and Melody Baetens contributed. 


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