Want to Buy a Baseball Stadium?
December 17, 2006 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Detroit's Tiger Stadium is for sale. A final walk-through opportunity takes place Monday, December 18, only for pre-approved corporate bidders. But it won't be re-purposed into condos. My childhood heroes played there, less than a mile from my house, as well as one of the best ever to play the game. After a long history of baseball on Michigan Trumbull (click the "More Photos" icon), the Tigers took their game to a new stadium in 1999.
posted by The Deej (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Awesome post Deej. I'm a Tiger fan from across the river and I'm still holding out hope something good will happen with Tiger Stadium.

Kilpatrick's regime doesn't inspire much confidence though. Hopefully an entrepreneur with real vision and loyalty to Detroiters' memories will appear out of nowhere.

Sadly, it just seems like a scheme to auction the seats off to the highest bidder.
posted by crowman at 8:46 PM on December 17, 2006

Thanks for the link, caddis!

crowman: Sadly, it looks like the place will be dismantled. Such is progress. I have so many memories there, and when I couldn't go to a home game, I could hear the crowd from my back porch.

I also spent a lot of time "across the river" in Windsor, and always enjoyed it, and was continually amazed at how clean it was!
posted by The Deej at 8:49 PM on December 17, 2006

I grew up watching the Tigers play at that Stadium. It's a landmark, an icon, and it would be a soulless shame if it were taken apart. I know there are a lot of factors at play, most of them financial, but it seems to me that there are any number of ways to use that place to make a good amount of money while still doing honor to the Tigers, the city of Detroit, and Baseball in general.
posted by JWright at 10:57 PM on December 17, 2006

Tigers Stadium > Comerica Park
posted by Dreamghost at 3:24 AM on December 18, 2006

Last time I watched the Tigers was in '84, I figure they haven't been the same since. Back then, you could walk from one end of the city to the other and never leave the sound of Ernie Harwell's voice. Every radio was tuned in, and folks left their windows open.

The new Park offers better views but I'm not excited about the parking situation over there. Michigan and Trumbull had enough vacant lots in the area, getting to the games was easier. Throw five bucks at the guy in the orange vest and call it good. :)

Now that big games aren't held at the old Stadium, that economic phenomenon is gone, and the area is suffering for it. It'd be nice if they could put a big attraction there, like a concert venue, that would bring some traffic and money back into the area. If the existing concrete and steel are the wrong shape for that, so be it. Build something new, so long as it's in the neighborhood's interest.
posted by Myself at 5:34 AM on December 18, 2006

Nice post! I'm sorry I never got to Tiger Stadium (though I did make it to Comiskey before they replaced it). I love old stadium photos, so I appreciated the "history" link; from one of the captions:

Parades to honor champions are not a recent phenomenon. Here adoring Detroit fans welcome their team back home on Oct. 7, 1908, after they won the pennant for the second consecutive year.

Yeah, but back then they didn't celebrate by burning down the city...
posted by languagehat at 6:02 AM on December 18, 2006

This is truly very, very sad (and I'm a Cardinals fan). I love old ballparks. Here are some YouTube videos of the stadium today: Urban explorers who joke about sanitation concerns for tonight's game and an official tour inside the stadium about the optimistic condo plans.
posted by zsazsa at 7:03 AM on December 18, 2006

I understand the nostalgia for Tiger Stadium, but I also think that it is misplaced. That stadium was abysmal for actually seeing a baseball game (as was old Comiskey). I grew up a White Sox fan in Chicago and moved to Michigan 28 years ago. As much as I congenitally hate the Cubs, I would rather see a game in Wrigley than Briggs/Tiger Stadium.

The CoPa is a great place to see a game--and even better when the team is winning. I saw two games there this season, both times in ultra-cheap seats and could actually see what was goinng on. In Tiger Stadium, it was like going to Catholic Mass in Hamtramck. You knew your sight lines would be behind a Pole.
posted by beelzbubba at 7:39 AM on December 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

Convert it to an actual tiger stadium. Viewers in the seats. Expendable wildlife roaming the field. Then set loose the tigers. And none of that Siegfried & Roy stuff, except for maybe the occasional mauling.
posted by pracowity at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2006

Agreed that it is not the best stadium for sitelines. I have been in some of those seats right behind a post. Amazing it was built that way.

But nostalgia can never be "misplaced." Tiger Stadium was a fixture in my life for the first 19 years. It's like saying "your nostalgia for your childhood home is misplaced! The roof leaked, and it was in the ghetto!"
posted by The Deej at 8:09 AM on December 18, 2006

Watching a game at Tiger stadium was like stepping back in time. The classic home unis, the old ballpark... it just oozed baseball tradition, obstructed view seats or not. Comerica Park is nice... but will it still be around in 50 years? I doubt it.
posted by crowman at 9:00 AM on December 18, 2006

Also, just knowing Ty Cobb played at on the same grounds is absolutely priceless to a real baseball fan.
posted by crowman at 9:04 AM on December 18, 2006

Deej, I came in to say about the same thing beelz did (well, he is my dad), over comments like "Tigers Stadium > Comerica Park." Sometimes, I marvelled at the perversity of the seating there, where it felt like you were paying to sit on the top tier, a pole in front of you, with your seat turned backwards. There were seats at old Tiger Stadium where you might as well just bring a radio and enjoy the $8 beers. I ragged on the Coma for the first couple of years, but after getting great seats cheap again and again, I've come to like it. Too bad it has a tragic name.

And yeah, I'd love to see something happen in Corktown, but Kwame's an idiot and has absolutely no vision for Detroit. He lets the "Hip Hop" supercede the "Mayor" in his self-applied nickname.
posted by klangklangston at 9:35 AM on December 18, 2006

For those who've never been to Tiger stadium, the nearest thing I can compare it to is a New York subway station -- with all the gritty, cramped discomfort, narrow seats, and big girders everywhere (also, in the old days, they used to sell hot dogs in NY subway stations, giving them a pervasive food odor, not unlike Tigers Stadium). When you went there, and experienced all that highly un-suburban discomfort, you understood how avid our fathers and grandfathers were for this wonderful game, that this place could become a temple of memory. It brought back what it was like to live in the Great Depression, and wear a fedora, and crowd together with other human beings to celebrate a great American passion.
posted by Faze at 10:06 AM on December 18, 2006

It's obvious that progress marches on. And comparing Tiger Stadium to Comerica Park objectively, well, it's obvious that the newer park will be superior.

My disagreement with beelz was purely on the grounds that you can't misplace nostalgia. Am I nostalgic for my house in Cass Corridor? Yes. Would I ever want to live in it again? No.

But with a facility as historical as Tiger Stadium, it's just a shame that something can't be done to preserve it somehow. But, I am as capitalistic and pragmatic as the potential buyers. I hardly think anyone will buy it just to look at.

Meanwhile, a new generation of fans will always think of the unfortunately-named Comerica Park as their stadium.
posted by The Deej at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2006

But nostalgia can never be "misplaced."

Deej, I don't think we really disagree. I agree that the memories that occurred in that place, even in spite of that place, are priceless. But I draw the line at venerating what was a charmless, dank, uncomfortable stadium as worth preserving as anything but a cherised memory. The physical remains belong on the trash heap of history.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:51 PM on December 18, 2006

beelz... well, the trash heap is where it will go.

The funny thing is, of all of memories, I don't have a single one if it being charmless, dank or uncomfortable (aside from the obstructed view seating.) I just wanted to see my heroes play. I wish I could figure out a way to own even a brick of that place. I will keep my eye on ebay.
posted by The Deej at 6:58 PM on December 18, 2006


I loved going to Tiger Stadium as a kid, and hitting Nemo's (which I am ecstatic to learn is still open) before and after the game with my dad. Once I saw Cecil Fielder hit one right out of the park.

Good times.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:48 PM on December 19, 2006

They're claiming that Tiger Stadium will be opened to the public one more time before the auction...

posted by yupislyr at 10:00 PM on December 19, 2006

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