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What's the deal with ...
David Epstein
June 25, 2007
Comerica Park's Seagulls
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June 25, 2007

What's The Deal With ...

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Comerica Park's Seagulls

ANYONE WHO saw highlights of Justin Verlander's no-hitter on June 12 probably noticed that Detroit's Comerica Park had more fowl territory than usual. For much of the Tigers' home stand against the Mets and the Brewers, the place looked like the set of a certain Hitchcock movie: Scores of seagulls buzzed players and waddled in the outfield. At one point Detroit pitcher Jason Grilli had to shoo one off the mound.

It turns out the Tigers had a bug problem, not a bird problem. Storms blew thousands of armyworm moths into Detroit from the southern U.S., and the bugs fell in love with Comerica's lights, which they could see from miles away. The moths alighted in the stadium's grass, where they were easy prey for seagulls.

Plastic owls and dogs were used to try to scare the gulls away. Neither tactic worked, though as the moth population dwindled, the seagulls dispersed. If they return the best bet to get rid of them might be a Tigers winning streak. "They moved when the crowd roared," says team spokesman Rob Matwick. "They'd get scared and scatter."