Yesterday I wrote of MLB’s proposal to put an Urban Youth Academy on the former site of Tiger Stadium that it was “not clear whether they’ve talked seriously about it to the city of Detroit.” I was slightly unsure of that, since the Fox Sports article I linked to had MLB VP Darrell Miller saying of local elected officials, “Everyone seems to want to play ball, if you will forgive the overused analogy” — but that seemed a bit hazy, and I know that Detroit development officials have had their own plans for the site, so I figured it might be worth waiting to see if another shoe would drop.
The old Tiger Stadium site is owned by the City of Detroit and controlled by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. George Jackson, the economic growth corporation’s president, dismissed the MLB academy idea, saying that Miller has no money to make it happen.
“You could almost call it a scam,” Jackson told the Detroit Free Press on Monday afternoon. “He has absolutely no money. … He came to visit us, and when we got down to the brass nuts and the facts and the figures, he disappeared and just reappeared by talking only to politicians.”
Yeah, who the hell is this MLB, acting like they have money to throw around? Clearly some sort of fly-by-night organization that will probably disappear again within a couple of years.
The USA Today story on Jackson’s comments also notes that about $3.7 million in federal money approved by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin when Tiger Stadium was still standing remains left unspent, and can be used to aid development on and around the site. It doesn’t say whether this money would specifically be made available for a youth academy, but Thomas Linn, president of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, is quoted as saying, “I’d still like to do something baseball related on the site. Tiger Stadium is sitting there fallow and growing weeds.” As we’ve seen before, though, Jackson gets what Jackson wants — and so far, he seems to want weeds.