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The boys are back in town! 

The Detroit Tigers kick off their season at home today, and despite the less-than-perfect weather, fans are gathering in droves at Comerica Park and surrounding businesses and block parties. 


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'A national holiday'

Longtime developer Mike Higgins and his assistant Karyn Brown know how to throw an Opening Day party — at the top of the Broderick Tower.

“It’s a national holiday!” says Brown, who has been hosting the penthouse party for about five years. “Concerts actually sound better up here.”

“You really feel like you’re floating over the stadium, it’s a bird’s eye view,” said guest Kelly Elliott. “It’s exciting to be up here.”

“You get a whole different perspective of the development of the city from this view,” added her husband Dean Elliott.

— Melody Baetens

'It's a great party!'

As game time got closer and the chilly wind continued, fans looked for shelter and a place to watch. A line grew outside of the tent near Music Hall, which was blasting '90s hip-hop.

The party at Elwood Bar & Grill spilled onto the patio and also the parking garage next door.

Nearby, Punch Bowl Social was packed with party people taking advantage of the attractions here, which include bowling, video games, darts and private karaoke rooms.

For Opening Day, Punch Bowl was boasting shareable dishes like a “sheetload” of nachos or a platter of chicken wings.

Rachel Breeding from Commerce, who was celebrating a birthday Thursday, stopped in before heading off on a pedal pub with Lacy Lobenstein from Clarkston.

“It’s a great party, it’s everyone celebrating the start of baseball season,” she said.

“If we weren’t going on the pedal bar we would stay here,” said Lobenstein. “They’ve got a good variety of beers and drinks.”

— Melody Baetens

A cold one on a cold day

It was a standard Opening Day timeline for Mike Bowdell of Allen Park:

Leave home at 7:30 a.m., arrive in Lot 1 at Comerica Park at 8:15 for the 10th year in a row, crack the first Coors Light at 8:30.

Bowdell, 52, expected to have 20 to 25 friends and relatives cycle through the white tent he set up behind his red Ford Expedition. 

“It’s a tradition,” he said, working on Coors Light  No. 3 at 10:45. “It tells you spring is on the way .”

Last year, Bowdell and friends were having such a dandy time they didn’t know until well after the declaration that the game had been postponed. Thursday, America was blasting from a speaker atop the Expedition, helping to keep the chill at bay:

“Ventura Highway, in the sunshine ...”

— Neal Rubin

'Celebrating a win'

The tent at Beacon Park had several things going for it on Thursday morning. Besides being free to enter, the heated, clear-sided structure let the sunlight in. A big screen for the game was set up in front of plenty of couches, benches and high top tables.

DJ L BooG was spinning danceable pop hits inside while kids played on a bounce house and took pitches in an inflatable batting cage outside.

“We’re celebrating a win today,” said DJ L BooG. “Detroit, let’s go!”

The Beacon Park tent party runs through 6 p.m.

— Melody Baetens

New season, new era

After being sold several months ago, long-standing sports hangout Anchor Bar held its grand reopening on Thursday to coincide with the Tigers home opener.

The bar has benefited from a cosmetic refresh of the walls, seating and light fixtures plus updates to sound system and menus. New owner Zaid Elia, who was on hand Thursday morning said he couldn’t sleep last night anticipating the day.

“Our Opening Day party is about me carrying the torch for (previous owner) Vaughn (Derderian) and his family,” said Elia, who wanted to preserve “the bones” of the Anchor and keep it an affordable spot. “I didn’t sleep all night because I was hoping I would open the doors and people would come in and be excited and the good thing is that they are.”

Ashley Morgan of Oak Park and Bobby Webb of Allen Park heard about the Anchor’s reopening party from Instagram.

“It’s really aesthetically pleasing,” Morgan said. “I love the staff. Everyone is really nice and talkative.”

Morgan said she loves the vibe downtown on Opening Day because everyone is in a good mood.

— Melody Baetens

Take me out to the ballgame 

Sylvie Demers of Highland Park pedals part-time for Motor City Pedicab. 

She took the day off from her regular job, figuring the ballgame would be a tip-heavy event. 

Bundled in a parka, scarf and hat, she was awaiting her first fare at Woodward and Gratiot. It arrived at 9:50: two women asking if they could get a lift to work a few blocks north. 

“Sure!” said Demers, 28. A fare is a fare, and there would be other chances for the home opener to drive business. 

— Neal Rubin

Fun for the family

Dan Vought of Shelby Township has only missed two Opening Days since 2000 — one when he took his kids to Disney World, and last year when rotten weather forced a one-day postponement. 

By the time the rescheduled game started, he was flying to San Antonio, Texas, to see Michigan play in college basketball’s Final Four. 

Vought, 41, brought his kids for the first time Thursday, which presented a logistical problem at 9 a.m. Alexis, a student at Central Michigan University, is 18. Jacob is 17. 

“What do you do when they’re not 21?” Vought asked. “We’re still figuring that out.”

To start with, each had a carry out cup of coffee. Alexis, wearing double layers but no jacket, was shivering anyway. 

Vought offered her a sweatshirt. It was a kinder gesture than an I-told-you-so — “and besides, that way I don’t have to carry it.”

— Neal Rubin


Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire met the media Thursday morning at Comerica Park, on Opening Day in Detroit. Tony Paul, The Detroit News

More coverage:

Play ball! Tigers appear to dodge bad weather for home opener

As Comerica Park kicks off 20th season, here are 20 classic memories

Tigers head home winners following heroics of Gordon Beckham, Matthew Boyd

About the time Spencer Turnbull walked onto the mound in Durham and nearly got arrested

Gardenhire wary of protecting psyche of Tigers rookie Christin Stewart

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