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Good-bye Tiger Stadium?

Posted at 3:53 PM on July 18, 2007 by Tom Scheck

Are you mad at the Tigers? They got good. They got into the Series and they got Sheff! Well, you can take your frustration out on their old stadium. Apparently the city of Detroit is thinking about razing Tiger Stadium. Yes, THE Tiger Stadium that was built in 1912. The Tigers abandoned the old ballpark in 2000 when they moved into Comerica Ballpark which some say is for the birds.

It's a bit sad that the old ballpark may be on its way out but folks just know what to do with it. Some are suggesting a minor league team. Others are pushing to save the park. Unfortunately for those folks, there just isn't much use for an old stadium.

I've been to Tiger Stadium once. I think it was in 1999. My friend and I decided to see the old ballpark before it closed. I was a young (younger?) reporter in Indiana and heard Don Gonyea talk about his fondness for the ballpark on NPR. I sent the former Detroit NPR reporter (and now White House correspondent) an e-mail asking advice on where to eat, park, etc. I didn't expect to hear from him but he sent me a long e-mail giving me some advice. I always think of that when I hear him on the radio.

Anyway, it was one of the hottest weekends of the summer and my car didn't have air conditioning. We take off for Detroit and start sweating like you wouldn't believe. Imagine Detroit in the worst heat wave of the summer. Yikes!

So we get to the ballpark, take in the sites, drink some beer at the local establishments and head into the game. The Tigers were playing the Cardinals that weekend and it was during Mark McGwire's homer heyday. We sat in the upper deck but we went down to the left field stands during bp. Thwack, thwack, thwack. McGwire kept jacking them into the seats and the fans were on top of each other trying to get those balls.

We head up to our Upper Deck seats to watch the game. Little do we know, a guy sitting directly behind us has a drum and he's not afraid to use it. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! he's whacking this thing when the Tigers are up. He's whacking it when they need a defensive stop. He's whacking it to get the attention of the beer guy (who is doing his best to avoid the guy with the drum).

The Cards take control of the game early and it's clear the game is over. But we're the type who usually sticks the game out until the bitter end. Unfortunately for us, so is the guy with the drum.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! This guy didn't stop at all. My head is pounding and I'm not sure if it's from the drum, the old time stink from the stadium or if I'm dehydrated from the lack of air conditioning.

After the game, we walk around the park one last time. I remember telling my friend to wait up as I bought an old style Detroit Tigers t-shirt.

I saw that t-shirt the other day when I was going through some old clothes. It was tattered and frayed and clearly wasn't in usable condition. I put it back in the drawer beneath the more usable tees. Not because I'll ever wear it again but because it brought back such nice memories of batting practice, a long summer drive and an annoying guy with a drum. I'm not so sure the folks who want to save Tiger Stadium will be able to do the same. Hopefully they have their own memories.

July 2007
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