If you, like me, never made it to the site of Tiger Stadium to play softball with the Navin Field Grounds Crew, it’s too late now: Construction is set to begin on a new Police Athletic League field there this spring, which will keep the old stadium site (which has been a ballfield since the 19th century) in use for baseball as well as other sports, but also install artificial turf, which a lot of people aren’t too happy with.
The last piece of the funding puzzle was the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy — a group first founded to try to save the old stadium when it was still standing — kicking in $3 million from a federal earmark on Monday. The Conservancy is apparently still angling for the PAL to at least keep the infield dirt and grass, with a fake turf outfield — which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for baseball since the outfield gets comparatively little wear, but sort of does if other sports like soccer will be played there, since maintenance costs on soccer grass fields are significantly higher. (Though still not necessarily as high as the cost of turf fields.)
Anyway, chalk this up as a partial-maybe-victory, depending on how much you feel a place is still the same place if all the elements are new. At least we’ll always have the t-shirts. And the flagpole.