Tiger Stadium field to be torn up this summer, or at least most of it

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.

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2 comments on “Tiger Stadium field to be torn up this summer, or at least most of it

  1. For related trivia – From 1969 – 1975 (inclusive) Old Comiskey Park had an Astroturf infield with a natural grass outfield. The infield played very quick, while the grass slowed down the ball in the large outfield. The infield had full dirt basepaths so that the Astroturf never touched the grass. However, in foul territory the Astroturf met the grass just after first and third base.

    Apparently that same configuration is not too unusual in college baseball.

    So, that’s the opposite of what could happen at the site of Tiger Stadium / Navin Field. I don’t show any references to spending the money to install artificial turf in the full outfield but not bothering with the little amount needed for the infield. Doesn’t make economic sense.


  2. I remember that with Comiskey — it was very weird. Though still not as weird as the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium, which after Hurricane Sandy installed an all-turf field with a brown turf infield where the dirt would usually go. Nothing like seeing a spray of rubber crumbs when a runner slides into second.

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