I spent Thursday evening at historic Fenway Park in Boston. On Friday I returned to Michigan to read that Detroit has made plans to tear down historic Tiger Stadium. Both stadiums opened in 1912 but Fenway Park has a bright future while Tiger Stadium is destined for the wrecking ball.
And it’s sad.
As a season ticketholder the new Tiger stadium I love my nice padded seats, spacious aisles, and variety of modern concesssions. But sitting in Fenway Park I felt nostalgic for old Tiger Stadium. I noticed that Fenway has the same type of pillar construction that results in some obstructed views and tiny seats with little leg room. I recalled all the great players who had played there and history that the place represents. It along with Yankee Stadium (slated to be replaced in the next decade) and Wrigley Field are truly cathedrals of the game.
The Tigers did a great job of convincing the public of the need for a new stadium. They stopped doing basic maintenance the last few seasons and let people convince themselves that cracked paint somehow proved that the old stadium was unable to be saved. Make no mistake- the decision to replace Tiger Stadium was a choice and different ownership could have made a decision to renovate rather then build new.
Sitting in Fenway and seeing an old ball park meticously preserved reminded me that the decision to leave Tiger Stadium for the gleaming new park says more about us as sports fans than anything else.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said today that tearing down old Tiger Stadium gives the surrounding neighborhood the best chance to rebound. No Mr. Mayor, the best chance for the surrounding neighborhood was to not desert Tiger Stadium in the first place.