The Brat Patrol | A Long Time Ago, In a Neighborhood Far, Far Away…

Tiger Stadium Is No More

Today, the demolition of Tiger Stadium began. I’m no sports fan (apart from autosports), but I still feel the loss of this landmark… and part of my childhood.

Tiger Stadium demolition begins.

Papa Thomas, my friend Joey’s grandfather, would sit on his front porch and listen to the Tigers game on his handheld AM radio. We would crowd around him and get the translation of Ernie Harwell’s play-by-play (we didn’t know a lot about the sport at the time). Papa was a diehard fan. On the hot summer nights most of the neighborhood could be found outside, on a porch, in a pool, or in each other’s driveways talking. In 1984, most of that talk was about our soon to be champion Tigers. When Joey flew in for the summer from California he proudly wore his Tigers ballcap. He was the first person I knew to have a fitted cap. Impressive. Tigers baseball was all I knew and Tiger Stadium was the Mecca of it all.

I went to my first ballgame at Tiger Stadium with my Dad and my cousin’s husband: Rich. I didn’t really know any of the players or what was going on. When everyone started cheering “Lou, Lou, Lou, Lou” for Lou Whittaker, I misheard them and joined in: “Boo, boo, boo, boo!” (I thought we were taunting the other team.) Rich and my Dad straightened that out pretty quickly. Rich tried to explain the scoresheet in the back of the program to me, but defaulted to just the simple score. The guy sitting in front of us figured out it was my first game and introduced himself as “Jose”... and told me that they start every game by singing to him: “Jose, can you see?...” I wonder how long he was saving that one… Rich passed away unexpectedly last year. I can count the number of times I visited Tiger Stadium on one hand. Yet, the only time I remember anything about was my first trip with Rich and my Dad.

Tiger Stadium had a genuine feel about it. I’ve only been to the new park (named after a bank that gave up on Michigan a few years ago…) two times. It’s big, impressive, and commercial. The view is a little better… even from the cheap seats… but it’s a sellout: designed to make families happy and sell watered-down beer and overpriced hotdogs.

Today we loose Tiger Stadium. We loose a legitimate part of Detroit history. We loose a landmark. One thing I (and many other Detroiters) will never loose are the memories of good times with our families and friends at Tiger Stadium.

(Sorry if I seem to be rambling with this update… I’m a bit out of sorts thinking about the stadium…)

Add comment July 9th, 2008 by duane


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