Tigers fans make noise at Wrigley

Tigers fans make some noise at Wrigley

CHICAGO -- Detroit Tigers fans finally have something to cheer about, and they made their voices heard at Wrigley Field this weekend.

With the team off to its best start in 45 years, orange and blue was seen speckled throughout the stands all series.

Tigers fans made so much noise they had players guessing how many were actually in attendance.

Closer Todd Jones said he thought there were about 30-40 percent Detroit fans. Third baseman Brandon Inge said he thought it was more like 70 percent.

Whatever the numbers were, it was a bit of a shock to players.

"There's been a nice little following for us right now," said Jones, who has played at Wrigley as a visitor on several occasions. "In Chicago that's pretty rare, because it's mostly Cubs fans ... [The Detroit fans] are pretty loud, too."

Inge, who has spent his entire six-year career with Detroit, played at Wrigley Field for the first time this weekend.

"It wasn't the Wrigley Field experience I was expecting to get here, but a good surprise none the less," Inge said.

"As loud as it is, it seems like there's more Detroit fans. It's pretty amazing."

The Tigers players are excited at the chance to be a part of reviving the Detroit fan base.

"In 2003, we didn't have this much support in our own home stands," Inge said. "To have a turnaround like that in a couple years -- that's an accomplishment in itself."

Outfielder Curtis Granderson, a Chicago native, agreed that they haven't seen this kind of support on too many occasions.

"I was telling some of my friends last night that I haven't even heard that in Detroit -- 'Let's Go Tigers' chants at the beginning of the game, during the game and at the end of the game," Granderson said. "It's good to see that they'll support us as long as we continue to play hard, continue to win."

Detroit fans who have supported their team through the good and the bad said it's strange to see the overwhelming support.

"It's kind of odd," said Jason Lebanc, a life-long Tigers fan who traveled from Michigan to see the game. "We've always stuck with them no matter how bad they were. Now they're coming out of the woodwork. It's neat and odd at the same time."

Sam Pajkowski, who traveled from Detroit to see the weekend series, said you can see the bandwagon filling up around Detroit.

"There's a lot of negativity in Detroit about the Tigers," Pajkowski said. "So it's kind of like [fans] were holding back and holding back and it's starting to pick up now."

Granderson said he knew Tigers fans were out there somewhere.

"It's been there, they just had to have a reason to come out," Granderson said. "I've talked to a lot of people who have been loyal and diehard for a long time ... so they're there. They just have to have reason to continue to be loud and cheer, that's the big thing."

So far, supporting a first-place team appears to be as good a reason as any.

Ryan Crawford is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.