To be honest, I don’t usually think much about accessibility when going places. I probably should as stairs without handrails are a major pain for me, but I don’t usually ask.
But I did ask about Comerica Park and the answers I received were surprisingly pleasant.
About mid-April, I began planning an outing to the ballpark. Since I no longer live in the Detroit area, the last time I went to a baseball game there, the Tigers still played at Tiger Stadium. But the plan was to take my grandmother to see the Tigers play on her 86th birthday.
Half the family thought I was crazy. A cousin asked if Grandma “could take” the ride down to the ballpark. My uncle quizzed my mother for 10 minutes to see if we had thought of everything -would she be in the shade, how could she get to her seat, what if there was an emergency.
Apparently, my uncle still thinks I’m 10 and can’t plan an outing.
Anyway, the journey began with a visit to detroittigers.com and then a call to their office regarding accessible seating. I was expecting to have to buy lower level seats, a very expensive proposition for the 13 of us who were going, in order to get wheelchair accessible seating. My grandmother uses a walker, not a wheelchair, but the idea of her having to climb stairs or walk a considerable distance was right out.
In the end, she had to walk as far as the ticket gate. Once there, the ushers got her a wheelchair and delivered her to her seat. When we were ready to go, after the Tigers won and the Friday night fireworks, the usher with a wheelchair arrived again and took her to the gate. Had she needed it, they would have even taken her across the street to the handicapped parking area.
There were some minor problems with the setup in that only one family member got to sit with her in the accessible seating. The rest of us were about 4 rows away. Still, we could pop in and check on her, take turns sitting with her, and watch from above while she enjoyed the game.
In fact, for the most part, I’m not sure she even cared that we were all there. When we asked if she was having a good time, she shushed us and told us to let her be, she was watching the ballgame. I’m sure that Comerica Park is not responsible for the perfect weather or even the Tigers win that night, but their accessible seating and Friday night fireworks helped make it a night of baseball that was perfect for my Grandma’s 86th birthday. Thank you, Comerica! It was worth every penny.