Detroit council approves plan to replace Tiger Stadium field with fake turf

As expected, last night the Detroit city council approved the redevelopment of the old Tiger Stadium site by the Detroit Police Athletic League, clearing the way for building housing, retail, and a new PAL headquarters on the old stadium site. The ballfield itself, which in recent years has been maintained by volunteers from the Navin Field Grounds Crew, will be retained, but redone in artificial turf, over the opposition of the Grounds Crew and others.

There’s still a chance that the PAL will change its mind and preserve the old field, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. So it looks like the last surviving piece of one of baseball’s most historic stadiums will soon vanish (except for the flagpole, maybe?). If you never visited the stadium when it was still there, you can get a taste by checking out David Gratt’s requiem for the ballpark from 2003, which might help give some sense why anyone cares about saving a bunch of grass.


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4 comments on “Detroit council approves plan to replace Tiger Stadium field with fake turf

  1. This is old news, but Detroit the city, hasn’t existed for over 4 decades. Detroit the political subdivision, is what occupies that surface area now and Tiger stadium is just some long lost ruin, like an abandoned mall, to its inhabitants. Its modern pro sports venues are just playgrounds to entertain the suburbanites. Their locations in the central city are just coincidental. I miss the old stadiums too, but the reality is that nostalgia has little support in big city politics.

  2. Obvious example of why customers of the sports industry only count when they are $pending, otherwise YOU aren’t important – wake up to this fact!
    No different than those who lusted for turning the rotting hulk of Yankee
    Stadium into a museum – too little juice too late and no political pull.
    Only way franchises and pol’s “care” is when they are getting something out of you – dollars and votes.
    In this case, those who will profit from what will end up on the site
    have absolutly no interest in any of the efforts made by the hangers-on,
    a doomed excersise from the start.
    BTW – Those “suburbanites” have the dollars franchises want even if the mallparks are built within city limits, the sports industry isn’t run with
    sentiment but by dollars. Just ask the MLB rookies pullin’ down $500K.

  3. BTW – In competitive youth baseball circles, playing on grass is now
    considered a competitive disadvantage with so many fields covered
    with carpet.
    If a grass field is so important to the hangers-on they should find sources
    of funding to bolster the budget for field maintenance. Money talks and
    nostalgia walks. Real life is not a movie.

  4. Given that I’m sure the actual blades of grass that Juan Encarnacion stepped on in 1999–let alone Ty Cobb and Al Kaline years before–are long dead and had been replaced by new blades of grass, I’m not sure this is as big a deal as it otherwise would seem.

    Preserving the physical location of the field was a great thing, no doubt, but I don’t think there’s much sentimentality in 2015 grass.

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