False alarm halts Tigers-Yanks game
Emergency alert sounds at Comerica in bottom of eighth
DETROIT -- Most of the current Tigers weren't around during the first few years of Comerica Park, when one of the stadium's kinks included an emergency alarm system that seemed a bit sensitive. So when the sirens sounded in the eighth inning of Wednesday's nationally televised game between the Tigers and Yankees, everything and everybody seemed to stop, not just the game.
In these times, even when everybody suspects a false alarm, no one is sure whether to behave like it is.
"In this day and age, you take it very serious," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Fortunately, it was false."
The Tigers were batting in the bottom of the eighth against Yankees reliever Phil Coke when the alarms went off around the ballpark with flashing lights and a recorded message, advising fans to head toward the exits without using the elevators. There was no visible emergency, leaving fans, players and umpires looking around to decide what to do. Fans began to file toward the concourse, but many players remained on the field to wait for instructions.
"At first, I thought it was false," said Tigers leadoff man Curtis Granderson, who was in the dugout at the time. "But the fact [is] that I've been here since '04 and I've never heard anything like that before. Then I see the fans with no hesitation getting out. I see Johnny Damon getting ready to run off the field.
"I thought I was in a good spot with the cement dugout. If somebody was going to say to move, then I'd go ahead and take it from there. But you always have to kind of be cautious of something going on, especially the warnings that are being given."
All the while, the confusion played out on ESPN, which had the national broadcast as part of the Wednesday night package.
Home-plate umpire Brian Runge was ready to call the players off the field, Leyland said, until he called stadium personnel and was told there was no emergency.
Tigers vice president of communications Ron Colangelo said a fire alarm went off near one of the stadium concession stands. The way the system works, Colangelo said, one alarm triggers all of the alarms.
Once stadium security turned off the sirens, play soon resumed and many fans returned to their seats. Others kept on going and left. And the Tigers were given a not-so-subtle reminder that the alarm system worked.
"I wasn't sure it was false," Leyland said. "I mean, that's why they've got the alarm. So when it goes off, your first thought process is not that somebody's screwing around."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.