The Corner

Posted by jdg | 8:10 PM | , ,

There was a photo floating around last week of the great Tiger shortstop Alan Trammell staring through a hole in the fence at what's left of the stadium where hundreds of thousands of fans cheered him during a career that spanned three decades. I was one of them. Balding, gray, and old, he had to view the crumbling ruins just like the rest of us. This photo was widely discussed; it seemed to distill the weird, pointless nostalgia of caring about the fate of this old building down to a single image. Here was an unstoppable hero hobbled by time, staring at the little that's left of a building that was full of memories but had no remaining purpose. Fuckin' mortality.

Much of my own childhood mythology took place within its confines, but my concerns about the demolition of Tiger Stadium were more practical. Why spend so much money to demolish a building that's not hurting anyone when there are so many dangerous abandoned houses and apartment buildings throughout Detroit's neighborhoods? Why not tear down the Packard Plant that is almost always on fire, filling a neighborhood with toxic smoke and attracting scum and lowlifes year round?

Last year I took the kids to say goodbye to what my daughter calls "Old Tiger Stadium." We walked around the whole thing a few times, took lots of pictures, talked a lot about the stadium and what was inside and why they were tearing it down. I'm grateful for that day, and those photos. We've only been in Detroit for a few years, but I'm amazed at how quickly the city disappears around you.

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