Downtown Detroit deserted on what should have been Tigers’ Opening Day

Detroit Tigers were scheduled to play first home game Monday

DETROIT – Monday was supposed to be the first game of the season at Comerica Park, as the Detroit Tigers hosted the Kansas City Royals. Instead, Downtown Detroit was eerily quiet as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues.

The game would have been over by late Monday afternoon, but the party would have waged into the evening. Instead, the area was deserted.

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Comerica Park likely would have had 40,000 fans packed inside to celebrate the opening of another Tigers season.

Brandon Jordan said he would have been there, as he always is.

“I’ve been to 20 straight Opening Days,” Jordan said. “This would have been my 21st.”

It’s a tradition for his whole family to go downtown and enjoy the game, as well as the city.

UPDATE -- MARCH 30, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 6,498; Death toll now at 184

“There’s something special about Opening Day,” Jordan said. “There always has been. Opening Day in Detroit is different than almost any other place.”

Jay Lambrecht is the co-owner of Bookies Bar & Grille downtown. Opening Day is usually huge for business.

“For us, we always throw a huge party -- probably the biggest party in Metro Detroit,” Lambrecht said. “We spend months planning this event.”

Lambrecht said on Opening Day, Bookies has 3,000 people or more at any given time.

“It’s definitely different not having this experience this year,” he said.

As for the players, they said baseball will be back at some point.

“It’s a big bummer,” Tigers catcher Grayson Greiner said. “Obviously, with the Tigers, we (wish we) were there in Detroit playing. The times don’t call for it. The No. 1 priority is the safety of our country and our world.”

One silver lining: The new Opening Day in Detroit -- whenever that is -- should be the warmest on record.

A few days ago, MLB owners and players ratified an agreement dealing with the possibilities of a shortened or canceled 2020 season, so they’ll be ready to play or cancel, when the time comes.

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