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Throughout the Detroit Tigers season at Comerica Park, nearly 1,000 individuals on the event staff enthusiastically commit their time and energy to make each game day a memorable experience for fans – and many of these colleagues have been part of the organization for multiple seasons. To thank them for their incredible service, Ilitch Sports + Entertainment leadership hosted colleagues for a special evening at the ballpark in October, filled with laughter, camaraderie, and a shared love for the game.

“We appreciate all that our part-time colleagues do to make every Comerica Park experience inspiring for our guests,” said Tim Padgett, Senior Vice President, Venue Operations for Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “As the ballpark season came to a close, we wanted to invite our colleagues and their families in for an evening of fun as a way to express our gratitude.”

The News Hub team caught up with a few colleagues during the Comerica Park event and asked what their favorite part of their job is. Here’s what they had to say.

Carol Szwabowski, Usher, 11 years: 

“I love interacting with people. I love the game of baseball. It’s just an all-around fun job that you really get to sit down, enjoy the weather outside, enjoy the team, enjoy the fans. It’s just a great place to work. I love it.”

Steve Nelson, Usher, three years:

“It’s clearly the interaction with the fans. The Tigers are a big part of my life. They have been my whole life. So to be able to come here and work and hopefully instill that same kind of passion for the team and the city that I developed following the team for all these years, that’s my biggest joy.”

Jeffrey Nowosielski, Usher, one year

“The atmosphere of a sporting event is exciting, and I love to help bring that every time. I’m always smiling when I’m here. The energy is insane. Even when there’s 15,000 people, there’s always someone here, a young kid or an older person that just might be their first baseball game. I try to bring excitement, even if just a smile, to the fans.”

David Young, Janitor, seven years

“I like the access. A memorable event was two years ago. I’m doing a concert, Guns ‘N Roses, and everybody knows that Slash is my favorite. I got a chance to help set up for the event. When I went downstairs, I saw Slash’s furniture, and I saw him at a distance with his crew. I almost fainted.”

Dave McNamara, Usher, 17 years: 

“It’s been a great 17 years. We had the World Series here. We were here on a 42-degree night. Zooey Deschanel sang the national anthem. I worked in the lower bowl for about 12 or 14 years. I have so many special moments and memories. I love it.”

Stephanie Ruthenburg, Usher Supervisor, six years: 

“I like to help. If someone says, ‘Hey, my aunt is here, it’s her first time at the ballpark.’ I say, ‘What can I do for her?’ Let’s go over there. Let’s get a first-game certificate. Let me go into the ‘magic closet’ and see if I can get a baseball for you. I get to make people smile.” 

Cathy Grzecki, Gate Supervisor, 21 years: 

“Absolutely the fans are the best part of the job, and the overall ballpark experience. My favorite memory was when we won the ALCS. I was working right behind the Tigers’ dugout when Miggy hit the home run, and fans just kind of crashed into this stadium and celebrated the team. It was just electrifying.”

“Our colleagues are a vital part of why Comerica Park is such an amazing place for Detroit sports and entertainment fans,” Padgett said. “We’re grateful that they continue to help us amaze, inspire and unite our guests at every event.”