Tiger Stadium segment from “The Story of America’s Classic Ballparks”

Well, it seems as though Detroit’s politicians did what politicians do best yesterday: nothing.

Tiger Stadium, at least a portion of it, has been granted a little more time (March 1, 2009, to be exact) before the city says it will officially be toast.  The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, which met its first hurdle in raising nearly $400,000, has been given a mountain to climb: it has to raise $15 million in the next seven months.

What is so disheartening to me, and has been for many years, is how silent many in Detroit’s sports and business communities have been in regard to the stadium.  There is a common understanding between the powers-who-be in Detroit that the Tiger Stadium issue is taboo because the Ilitch family, the owners of the Detroit Tigers, is against any form of preservation.

That’s why you’ll never hear Al Kaline say something like: Yeah, I wish Ernie Harwell the best of luck.  I’d love to see Tiger Stadium preserved.  You won’t see Detroit-native Willie Horton (a self-professed Tiger Stadium lover) testify at a City Council meeting to explain the role Tiger Stadium played in his life and how he’d like to see it memorialized in some way.

No, you’ll hear none of that.  Not from the Ilitches, not from the former players, not from the business community.  The company line is being towed by the entire establishment — and that line is to say and do nothing.

That’s where the Internet comes in handy.  There was a time — and not that long ago — when powerful people in Detroit used to say very nice things about Tiger Stadium.  Click on the link below to hear Kaline and George Kell gush about Tiger Stadium — along with a host of baseball enthusiasts from across the country.

It’d be nice if a few of these guys would have the integrity to stand alongside Ernie Harwell and lend him a hand.  What do they have to lose?


One reply on “Tiger Stadium segment from “The Story of America’s Classic Ballparks”

  • Jimmy Kemp

    Well said, I’ve lost a lot of respect for Al Kaline and Willie Horton, they have put being on the Ilitch payrol over integrity, espically Willie Horton that man was in tears during the last game at Tiger Stadium. It pisses me off the way this has been handled, one Ilitch builds a park that is nothing like Tiger Stadium then wants to see the old park torn down and forgotten. I’m glad Ernie has the integrity to stand up for whats right, Ernie Harwell now has to be my favorite person in baseball of all time now.

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