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The Tigers are back! And Detroit celebrates

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

The Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 8-3 at their home opener Friday.

More than 45,000 fans jammed Comerica Park to see the game—an opening day record.

But tens of thousands more came to downtown Detroit just to enjoy the festival atmosphere, in what has become a semi-official holiday in southeast Michigan.

Ian Witherspoon was among the revelers, wearing a skintight, spandex, zip-up Tiger costume. He’s hopeful about the Tigers’ 2013 prospects.

“They’re going to be fine. And I just want Detroiters, and Michiganders, to enjoy this summer,” Witherspoon said. “Because it’s going to be a good summer.”

Witherspoon says he wore his suit during last year’s World Series, which the Tigers lost in four games to the San Francisco Giants. He promised to retire the outfit if the Tigers lost the home opener.

The opening day festivities, and baseball season more generally, also means business opportunities for some.

Brent Mayberry and his family try to make a little money selling candy outside Comerica Park.

Mayberry says he’s a community college student with a criminal record—and this is one of the few ways he can make some extra cash to help pay the rent.

Mayberry says things can be really tough in this town.

But, “I’m glad to be in Detroit,” Mayberry said. “Despite what everyone says about it, it’s the only place I’ve ever known. It’s my hometown, and I love it.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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