So far it has been a silent deadline for the Tigers — just as it has nearly been a quiet eight years for old Tiger Stadium. Closed at the end of the 1999 season, baseball at the corner has certainly been missed by all Tigers fans — after all, Navin Field/Briggs Stadium/Tiger Stadium was home to Detroit baseball for decades before being replaced by Comerica Park. CoPa is a marvelous park in itself, a place to create new memories for generations — in fact, the Tigers have now set a franchise ticket sales record for the 2007 season. They have already sold more tickets for the 2007 season than they have ever sold for an entire season before. The team beat the old record of 2,704,794 tickets set in 1984, the same year the team won the World Series. All of this in a ballpark with a lower capacity than Tiger Stadium, and just a stone’s throw past many years of gloomy, horrid baseball.
Once more at seems that Tiger Stadium is through. In a 5-4 vote, the Detroit City Council has voted in favor of a proposal to dismantle (that’s fancy politics talk for “demolish”) most of the stadium and auction off its parts. One can only hope that Mayor Kilpatrick’s plan that includes a preservation of the playing field in a supposed residential-commercial redevelopment plan can become all that it has been made out to be. It is hard to have faith in any part of the government in Detroit, yet it is the hope that Tiger Stadium’s memory can be preserved that makes the vote tolerable. While it has been painful to watch Tiger Stadium sit abandoned for so many years, it would be even more tragic for the structure to be erased from the landscape only to see its land go unused. By actually redeveloping the land with commercial and residential units, the field can be saved, and the memory can live on. Still, Tiger Stadium is with all of us. In photos, memories, and legacy, the park saw two World Series victories as it traveled through the 20th century with the city of Detroit. Last night I stumbled on a “Lego Navin Field” on Flickr, and it is a fitting tribute to our old stadium. The likeness in legos certainly saw much work go into it, and I enjoyed the photoset quite a lot. Though it may only be made of toys, it is in perfect condition, still with baseball being played. Time will tell what happens to Tiger Stadium, but through memories, and sometimes a box labeled “Lego,” it lives on.