Tiger Stadium preservation plan could replace grass field with fake turf

Just ran across a bit more news on the proposed Tiger Stadium field preservation, courtesy of Anna Clark of Next City:

As it stands, the plan will privatize the baseball field. Only PAL teams will play on it, in contrast with the open-door policy of the Navin Field Grounds Crew. It is reasonable for PAL teams to have priority on the redeveloped field, but the public should be able to enjoy it in off hours.

PAL may change the grass of the original field to artificial turf. This follows the model of the recently restored League Park in Cleveland, baseball’s oldest existing Major League ballpark. But artificial turf on the Detroit field plays too casually with the idea of “preservation” and subtly insults the people who have been caring for the natural grass for free for years now — and will continue to do so for the next year, possibly two, before building begins. It should also not be taken lightly that at least a dozen people have had their ashes scattered on this grass.

Those are indeed concerns — with the artificial turf being especially pointless, since studies have found that fake turf doesn’t save any money over a well-maintained grass field when used for baseball. (Soccer, which delivers way more of a pounding, is another story.) If you want to chime in on any of this, the proposed developers have a comment site up at Popularise, so have at it.


3 comments on “Tiger Stadium preservation plan could replace grass field with fake turf

  1. Curious as to why you chose to say soccer delivers more of a pounding to natural grass. I would have thought the obvious choice is American football. Soccer players do create divots, and the areas in front of the goals do get worn down quickly, but the action is spread out evenly all over the field. Football linemen must do more damage, especially in the trenches between the hashmarks during a typical game, right?

    To paraphrase a friend: “a 350 pound offensive tackle does more damage to the field in a single fart than a 150 pound winger running up and down the sideline for 90 minutes ever could.”

  2. Yes, football is almost certainly even worse than soccer for fields. But the number of urban public fields that would have football teams lining up to play on them all day long is vanishingly small. Soccer pitches, by contrast, usually end up in use from sunup to sundown, since all you need is a ball to play.

  3. Want “preservation” on somebody else’s (taxpayers) dime?
    Then fieldturf is a small price to pay.
    Isn’t that better than a big box store for the “huggers”?
    Big box stores pay sales taxes and employ people, although
    in that part of town there ain’t enough customers for a real
    business to take the risk there.
    BTW -there is precedent for exclusivity on taxpayer funded “local” fields, just ask the kids in the south Bronx.

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