New Detroit mayor opens door a crack toward keeping Tiger Stadium ballfield

Some potential good news for the folks who have been maintaining Detroit’s Tiger Stadium ballfield ever since the stadium itself was demolished in 2009: New mayor Mike Duggan plans on issuing a request for proposals for redevelopment of the site, and his top development aide says, in the Detroit Free Press’s paraphrase, that it will “call for private developers to build mixed-use housing and commercial space but keep a baseball field on the historic site, but with smaller dimensions than the original playing field.”

That’s at least an improvement on the open hostility to keeping a ballfield on the Tiger Stadium site that was a hallmark of previous administrations. (George Jackson, the Detroit economic chief who was for years the primary foe of any preservation of the ballpark site, resigned last month, though he’s still not exactly going away.) The city’s prior position was that a ballfield couldn’t possibly be maintained because the old major-league dimensions were too big to accommodate new construction; the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy responded that they didn’t care about center-field dimensions, but discussions never got any further than that. Duggan’s move at least seems like a possible nod in the direction of compromise, but we’ll know more when we see the actual RFP.

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4 comments on “New Detroit mayor opens door a crack toward keeping Tiger Stadium ballfield

  1. In other words, if we shrink it down from 400+ ft home to wall to a 180 ft little league field they’ll only need to preserve 1/4 of the land (and no teenagers would dare use such a field inappropriately and enjoy baseballs crashing into new development).

  2. Always take a large grain of salt to keep from swallowing vague pronouncements like this hook, line and sinker.

  3. Good idea, ChefJoe. I suppose they even could go one step further from downsizing to a Little League field and install a wiffleball diamond with field dimensions proportionate to how Tiger Stadium used to be and even a pseudo-grandstand that looks like a smaller version of Tiger Stadium (although no way could anyone sit in an “upper deck”).

    Since even adults can play wiffleball with 75-foot foul lines and a straightaway CF distance of 100 feet, this wouldn’t require a lot of space so developers could have more room to do whatever else it is they’d want to do at the site while maintaining a cool, one-of-a-kind memorial to the old ballpark that could even serve as a sort of tourist draw. Who wouldn’t want to swing a bat at “Tiger Stadium” (even a wifflebat in a scaled-down version)? I mean, people still visit a damned cornfield in Dyervsille, Iowa because of a movie filmed there over 25 years ago.

  4. What about a softball field? The fence only needs to be like 200′-250′. Fields around here charge hundreds for teams to use them. 12″ softball seems to be the norm but 16″ around here.

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