Documentary “Stealing Home” tells story of Navin Field Grounds Crew’s efforts

The documentary "Stealing Home" was produced and directed by Jason Roche, and it examines the current state of the field at The Corner in Detroit.

The documentary “Stealing Home” was produced and directed by Jason Roche, and it examines the current state of the field at The Corner in Detroit.

Stealing Home, a new documentary film on the efforts of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, the group of devoted fans who have maintained the baseball diamond at the abandoned site of Tiger Stadium, will have its Detroit area premiere this Friday, October 25th at 7 PM at the Detroit Historical Museum.

Produced and directed by Jason Roche, a professor of Communication Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy, the 90-minute film includes interviews with Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Denny McLain, Tiger announcer Dan Dickerson, and Tom Stanton, award winning author of The Final Season. Film goers will also be treated with extremely rare footage taken by a fan at Navin Field and Briggs Stadium, including footage of the 1934, 1935, and 1945 World Series.

“I have played the movie for some of my friends who are producers and their reaction is exactly what I don’t want,” says Roche. “They ask, ‘What is wrong with the City of Detroit, why won’t they let them maintain and preserve this famous site?’ “I am hoping people will see that this is a city that people care so much about that even though it does have problems it is still worth fighting for,” says Roche. “It is a city we are hopeful about and one we want to preserve. The Navin Field Grounds Crew embodies that spirit.”

Roche, who has shot close to 100 hours of footage and has worked on the film for 2 ½ years, was inspired to tell this unique story after speaking to a friend at work.

“One day we were talking about Corktown, because she lives in the Briggs Community on the other side of the freeway near the ball diamond,” says Roche. “When she told me about these volunteers who maintain the field, I became so impressed that I thought this story needed to be told.”

Roche, who plans to enter the documentary in film festivals and hopefully have it broadcast before a DVD release, says he avoided the name calling and politics behind the controversy and instead has taken a more positive approach that he hopes will be more influential in garnering support for preserving the historic site.

The Detroit Historical Museum is located at at 5401 Woodward Ave. across from the Detroit Institute of Arts.

For more information on the film, and buying tickets, visit the film’s website.

Check out the film’s trailer for a preview:

9 replies on “Documentary “Stealing Home” tells story of Navin Field Grounds Crew’s efforts

  • Bill Murchison

    Really sad to see no understanding at all by the police or the city in discouraging people from simply coming to the site. My admiration goes to those who are trying to keep alive the glorious history of this small piece of land. But, nothing works out in Detroit anymore. Nothing should surprise you when Detroit’s leaders become involved.

    My strongest feeling watching this story is… I should be there with those good people who appreciate the “corner’s” wonderful history.

  • Tony Pivetta

    Why avoid politics altogether? The demise of Tiger Stadium can be laid entirely at its feet.

    Mike Ilitch wasn’t going to spend his own money for that monstrosity he calls a stadium. He demanded access to the public bourse. The politicos proved all to happy to grant it to him.

    So there you have it. A massive transfer of wealth from working and middle-class people to the state’s richest man ensued. Ilitch got Death-to-Comerica Park; the rest of us got a Field of Broken Dreams.

  • mike

    Why is Ilitch so celebrated? He bought the team and let it languish for over ten years before it became an absolute laughing stock of pro sports. Only the did he decide to actually pay attention to the team instead of his glorious new stadium. I have been around the country visiting many other ballparks and really nomerica pales beside most of them. Tiger stadium could have been a tourist draw rivaling Wrigley or Fenway if Ilitch and the city desired it. Detroit is an utter joke and the whole stadium fiasco and this latest attempt to hinder the Navin group is another example of the backward,political hypocrisy that has ruled the city since as long as I can remember.

  • Rick

    Wow, for people to bad mouth Mr. Illitch for all he has done for the great city of Detroit is a shame. Yes it’s true he did not spend a lot of money before Comerica opened. But, what many may not realize is just how much Bud Selig and MLB may have played in the demise of the grand old lady at the corner. Remember these are billionaire business men who really don’t care about fans. I’m sure the money the Tiger’s have made since Comerica opened is a ton and let’s be honest although just a few miles away not many people were feeling safe going to the old stadium. And another thing Mr. Illitch funded
    over 100 million dollars of his own money for the new park. Yes, it would have been great if they had stayed but there were a lot more people involved from different area’s of life that had a say in that. It was not all Mike Illitch. One last thing. Without Mike Illitch we may not have the Tiger’s still in Detroit today!

  • Bill

    Sorry but if Mike Ilitch can pay $240 million for Prince Fielder ($110,000 a game) he should pay for his own stadium and hockey arena.

  • J.D.

    Amen Bill, and KUDOS to the Navin Field Grounds Crew. GREAT PEOPLE ANN REAL TIGER FANS. The team’s best years will always be those played “At the Corner”.

  • J.C.

    We never should have let Tiger Stadium go. We had a national treasure the likes Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. The complete upper deck seating of Comerica is a joke unless you’re fond of nose bleeds or watching ant farms. Kudos to the folks for keeping up the old field.

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