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 Tiger Stadium News

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PostSubject: Tiger Stadium News   Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:30 am

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Board votes to demolish Tiger Stadium
louis aguilar / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- All of Tiger Stadium should be demolished, the board of the Economic Development Corp. voted this morning.

The EDC, a branch of the quasi-public Detroit Economic Growth Corp., voted today to request Detroit City Council approval to demolish the entire stadium after finding that preserving a portion of the ballpark would not be feasible.

The letter to be sent to the council states that the group has met several times with the nonprofit organization attempting to save the baseball diamond, dugout area and 3,000 seats.

"Unfortunately, the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy has not been able to demonstrate any commitments of funding for construction and operation or a feasible plan to obtain such commitments," the letter states.

The group was given an Aug. 1 extension by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick recently, but the EDC board noted that the council will be on recess during that time, which prompted its vote today.

You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or laguilar@detnews.com
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:32 am

Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Would-be Tiger Stadium saviors: Cash is pouring in
Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

The group working to save part of Tiger Stadium says it raised $200,000 in the few hours after The Detroit News broke the story the city was being asked to OK demolition of the entire historic ballpark.

The nonprofit Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy said Tuesday afternoon it had raised $200,000 for its preservation effort as soon as supporters heard the city's Economic Development Corp. voted Tuesday morning to ask the Detroit City Council to approve plans to turn the entire stadium to scrap.

The EDC, a branch of the quasi-public Detroit Economic Growth Corp., said that after meeting with the nonprofit, it found the group's plan for preserving a portion of the ballpark was not feasible.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell said the nonprofit hopes to raise $400,000 during the next few days and prove it has another $2 million secured for the first phase of an attempt to save the old Tiger Stadium baseball diamond, dugout area, 3,000 seats and build a 20,000-square-foot museum to house Harwell's collection of memorabilia.

"It's a sacred place and were going to do everything we can," Harwell said Tuesday afternoon.

The letter the EDC is sending to the City Council states that EDC staff members have met several times with the nonprofit group.

"Unfortunately, the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy has not been able to demonstrate any commitments of funding for construction and operation or a feasible plan to obtain such commitments," the EDC's letter states.

The group was given an Aug. 1 extension by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, but the EDC board noted the council will be on recess during that time, which prompted its vote Tuesday.

Partial demolition of the stadium began last week. The ballpark has been empty and moldering since the Tigers left for Comerica Park after the 1999 season. Since than, at least a dozen ideas to rescue the stadium have struck out.

If the nonprofit fails, all of the stadium will be demolished and much of it sold for scrap; the price of iron, copper and steel are high at the moment.

The city still owns the stadium property and, after demolition, will seek development proposals for the land.

The nonprofit is racing to prove it can raise $12 million to $15 million for its partial preservation effort. The group's most recent plan rests on the ability of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, to secure about $15 million from the federal 2009 budget. Levin has requested the money, and the request is in the appropriations committee.

You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or laguilar@detnews.com


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:34 am

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Detroit approves $27M plans for old Tiger Stadium
Ben Leubsdorf / Associated Press

DETROIT -- The city of Detroit has granted preliminary approval to a nonprofit group's plans to preserve the remaining portion of historic Tiger Stadium.

The city's Economic Development Corp. approved a plan and budget by the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy in a letter to the group dated Friday.

The conservancy wants to develop the old ballpark as a commercial and community space at an estimated cost of $27 million.

The conservancy must show by March 1 that it can provide the funding or the stadium will be completely demolished.

Tiger Stadium was built in 1912, and the last major league game was played there in 1999. Demolition began last year, but a wedge extending from dugout to dugout has been left standing while preservation advocates race to save it.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:35 am

02/26/09 8:29 PM EST
Tiger Stadium earmark passes House
Senate expected to consider the spending plan next week

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy cleared one hurdle towards getting a Federal earmark for its plan to preserve and redevelop what's left of the old ballpark. Now a U.S. Senate vote and a Detroit city deadline await.

The House of Representatives has approved a spending bill that includes $3.8 million in funding for the project, viewed as historic preservation. Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin, a supporter of the conservancy's plan, included the earmark in the bill.

The Senate is expected to consider the $410 billion Federal omnibus appropriations bill next week.

"We are hopeful and guardedly optimistic that it will pass the Senate," conservancy board member Gary Gillette said Thursday evening. "If we get the earmark, we think this is going to trigger a series of positive events."

The conservancy has been counting on the earmark as part of its plan to fund the project. Estimated have tabbed the cost as high as $27 million. The conservancy faces a March 1 deadline to present details on how to fund the project to the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a private-public partnership between area business leaders and the Detroit City Council.

Additional money is expected to come through tax credits and grants, including state historic tax credits that are tied to the earmark, as well as possible stimulus funding through the state. The conservancy has also done fundraising efforts since being granted non-profit status last year.

The DEGC has already reviewed and approved the designs of the redevelopment, which would preserve the playing field and lower-deck seating of the stadium between the dugouts while creating commercial and retail space along the concourses as well as a historic exhibit. If they approve of the financing plan, no further vote from Detroit City Council is necessary, and the project can proceed.

Originally called Briggs Stadium, the ballpark served as the home of the Detroit Tigers from 1912 through 1999, after which the team moved into Comerica Park. It also hosted the NFL's Detroit Lions until 1974. The stadium remained vacant after the Tigers moved out, while the city and various groups debated on what to do with the facility.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:35 am



"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson


Last edited by TigersForever on Mon May 09, 2011 7:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:36 am


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"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Mon May 09, 2011 7:41 pm

Spirit of Tiger Stadium lives on
Despite weeds, Detroit's old baseball home evokes passion
By Anthony Castrovince | MLB.com Columnist | Archive 05/09/11 10:00 AM ET

DETROIT -- It is a little more than an hour before first pitch at Comerica Park. The gates have opened for an afternoon game between the Tigers and Yankees, and the fans are entering this building that, aside from its enormous outfield dimensions, is the epitome of the modern "mallpark."

Comerica opened in 2000, a year that always sounded so ... futuristic. Along its outer walls, 33 sculpted stone tiger heads clutch baseballs in their mouths. Inside, as you walk the wide concourse, you come across, at separate points, a carousel and a Ferris wheel. There are nods to the past, via the Tigers Walk of Fame, but everything about this place feels like the present. It is a ballpark built for the modern fan and family, and it certainly serves that purpose.

But on this day, the spirit moves us to another place entirely. As the fans filter in, we shuffle out into the street and into the car. The trip back in time takes about five minutes. A left on Woodward, a right on Michigan. Just past Nemo's Bar -- still bursting with pregame energy after all these years, thanks to the school buses that transport its patrons to and from Tiger games -- we come to one of the most famous intersections in baseball history:

Michigan and Trumbull. Otherwise known as "The Corner" ... and the home of Tiger Stadium.

For a long while, the remains of the Tigers' old stomping grounds still stood, slowly deteriorating with time. In the years after the final out was made in 1999, the building hosted a Super Bowl party and some fantasy camps, and even served as a suitable stand-in for Yankee Stadium in the filming of the Billy Crystal movie "61*."

Eventually, though, the wrecking ball hit, mercifully putting Tiger Stadium out of its misery. And on the 9.4-acre lot where the building stood, where the likes of Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, Hal Newhouser, Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker and so many others once made their magic was reduced to rubble and weeds.

That's what you'd expect to find here. But not today.

No, today we peer inside the iron gates left standing after the demolition and find that the soul of Tiger Stadium -- and baseball itself -- lives on.

It lives, in this moment, with each ping off the aluminum bat of Jeff Modert as he hits ground balls to his sons, Vincent and Michael, on a recently refurbished field. The stands that once held more than 50,000 fans are long gone, but on the wooden bench sitting on the third-base side, we see Jeff's wife, Lisa, and daughter, Danielle, taking in the action, with Lisa hoisting a handycam to preserve this little practice session for the home movie archives.

The family from Holland, Mich., has tickets to the Tigers game and will soon venture off to the contemporary confines of Comerica -- a place the teen-aged Vincent and Michael, fittingly, much prefer. But they stopped here to pay homage to what once was before venturing off to what is and will be.

"This is where it all happened," Jeff says. "You think about the All-Star Game of '71 and Reggie Jackson hitting that towering home run that hit the lights. Ty Cobb played here. Babe Ruth played here. Mickey Mantle supposedly hit a home run that landed where that Ace Hardware store sits across the street. Jack Morris pitched here. Right here! They all stood right here!"

Just one year ago, it would have been pretty difficult for this spot to engender such enthusiasm. Last Mother's Day, Tom Derry of nearby Redford Township trespassed through the iron gates and couldn't believe his eyes.

"There were weeds and garbage everywhere," he says. "There were monster weeds where the stands were. Some of them were six to eight feet high. It was disgusting."

Through his disgust, though, Derry saw opportunity. The next time he showed up at Michigan and Trumbull, he brought a group of friends, a bunch of rakes and garbage cans and a riding mower.

They dubbed themselves the Navin Field Grounds Crew, after Tiger Stadium's original name, and they went to work cutting grass, pulling weeds, removing stones and picking up litter. Through the weeds, they found the pitcher's mound and home plate areas intact, and they measured off the dimensions of the infield to ensure accuracy.

This was good, hard, yard work done with a purpose and done despite a deterrent. For each time the volunteers who make up this so-called grounds crew stepped on the field, they were trespassing on city property. And the police, fearing liability issues, were and are quick to kick people off.

"It happened again just a couple weeks ago," Derry says. "The officer didn't want to kick us off. He felt bad about it. He was just doing what he was told. But we've been having some meetings with the city the last few weeks to discuss the liability issue. They're concerned about somebody getting hurt on the field. We have another meeting Thursday, and we'll see what happens there. But regardless of what happens, we plan on continuing to clean up the field. There are so many people who are really passionate about this."

That passion stems from the many memories that were made at this site over the course of more than a century of baseball.

"The place means so much to so many people," Derry says. "The Tigers started playing there professionally [at Bennett Park] in 1896, when Detroit was in the Western League. I don't know any other spot in the state of Michigan that brought more people together than that corner."

And thanks to the work of Derry and the other members of the Navin Field crew, "The Corner" still brings people together. Stop by before a Tigers game and you're liable to find pickup games, fathers and sons playing catch or folks just standing and reflecting on all the memories that were once made here. The 125-foot flag pole that once stood in play in center field might be the last physical element of the field that remains, but the spirit is alive and well.

The field and the surrounding area is not what you'd call pristine. The weeds remain difficult for Derry and company to keep up with. One would hope the city will get behind the cause and help to preserve this place for families like the Moderts to keep coming back.

"These guys all disagree with me," Jeff Modert says, pointing to his kids. "They like Comerica Park better. And no question, it's a beautiful stadium. But this place? This place is great."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger Stadium News   Mon May 09, 2011 7:45 pm

DBusiness / May-June 2011 / A New ‘Field of Dreams’ for Detroit

A New ‘Field of Dreams’ for Detroit
Reinventing the Corner of Michigan and Trumbull.
By Jeff Samoray



In Detroit, what’s old is often considered disposable — it’s the flashy new vehicle that counts, not last year’s model. We all know about the landmarks and historic structures the city has razed or left standing in ruin.

But within this context, Detroit has an extraordinary opportunity to resurrect a piece of its past at a historically significant site. If done right, the project could stand as a progressive model for urban revitalization. It would be an unprecedented example of historic reconstruction never before attempted by a major American city.

The northwest corner of Michigan and Trumbull stands empty — an eerie and bizarre sight for Detroiters accustomed to Tiger Stadium’s familiar confines. Ghostly traces of the infield and pitcher’s mound remain. So does the center field flagpole. Thick weeds grow where generations of fans once cheered the Tigers. A few enterprising locals continue to mow the infield so they can hit grounders and play a game of catch.

Tiger Stadium has been lost. But with the site cleared, an earlier version of an historic ballpark that once stood there could be rebuilt.

Bennett Park — a single-deck wooden structure that originally held about 5,000 fans — was the Tigers’ home from 1896-1911. Some of the game’s earliest stars shined their brightest on this field. Ty Cobb first flashed his spikes at Bennett Park in 1905. Other legends who threw strikes and scored runs include: Sam Crawford, Cy Young, Frank “Home Run” Baker, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Honus Wagner, to name a few. Bennett Park hosted World Series games in 1907, 1908 and 1909. Make no mistake — baseball enthusiasts know that this patch of earth is sacred ground.

Plenty of photographs, illustrations, land surveys, fire insurance maps and contemporary accounts of Bennett Park exist. From these sources, developers could completely rebuild the park, from the exact configuration of its L-shaped stands to the vintage “Bull Durham”-style ads on its outfield walls.

A reconstructed Bennett Park could draw considerable interest from vintage baseball teams across the country. Each year, The Henry Ford hosts dozens of teams that play by 19 th-century rules for its “World Tournament of Historic Baseball.” That tournament and others could be played at Bennett Park. What member of the “Columbus Capitals,” “New York Mutuals” or Dearborn’s “Lah-De-Dahs” wouldn’t want to play on the very site where Cobb rapped out his first major league hit? Not to mention youth, college and semi-pro teams. The ballpark could serve as a living history museum and be a destination for thousands of fans who long to see the sport as it once was played, well before the advent of luxury suites, electronic scoreboards and multi-million dollar free agents.

Proper planning and responsible financing could make the Bennett Park project relatively affordable. The site is a tax-free renaissance zone and the federal government has earmarked $3.8 million for redevelopment. An approved brownfield plan offers additional financial incentives.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. has rejected several redevelopment proposals for the site over the past year, citing a lack of “financial feasibility.” The most prominent submission was a $65.3 million plan calling for a charter school, retail shops, housing, headquarters for two nonprofits and a rehabilitated ball field. Constructing and maintaining a small wooden ballpark and less expansive field (Bennett Park originally occupied about half of Tiger Stadium’s 9.5 acres) would be much more practical.

Detractors might say there wouldn’t be enough Return On Investment to make the Bennett Park project feasible. Long-term sustainability is debatable, but one could reference the Westin Book Cadillac as an example of a successful renovation project in Detroit. If the Book Cadillac can reopen, surely the Bennett Park project (which would require only a fraction of the hotel’s $200 million renovation costs) is feasible. And with the right visionary and investors, Detroit need not commit significant resources to the project.

Tiger Stadium is gone and we’ll never really be able to go back. What remains are ripe opportunities to celebrate Detroit’s past and create a new attraction by rebuilding Bennett Park. Vestiges of some historic major-league ballparks remain, such as a portion of a wall from Cleveland’s League Park. But no other major American city has yet attempted to reconstruct a classic ballpark. In nearly all cases, it would be impossible to rebuild on the same site anyway, since the land has long since been redeveloped.

Call it “back to the future” or the ultimate recycling project — Bennett Park could be brought back to life because the land is open, unused and available. The $3.8 million in federal funds sit on the table. A reconstructed Bennett Park could be a symbol of hope and a sign of what’s possible for Detroit.

Instead of paving a parking lot, let’s consider recreating baseball paradise in Detroit.

Jeff Samoray is principal of Samoray Communications LLC, a copywriting and creative consulting business. He is also a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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