The last days of Tiger Stadium

They’re taking down the last pieces of Tiger Stadium. The old ballpark — older than Yankee Stadium, as old as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park — hasn’t hosted a game in nearly 10 years, but it remained on its Corktown corner, at Michigan and Trumbull, awaiting word on its fate.

Fans wanted to save it, or at least a part of it, to hang onto a piece of its glorious past. They wanted a monument to the days before automotive bailouts, bank failings and mayoral scandals. They wanted to hold onto the place where Ty Cobb slid spikes-high, where Mark Fidrych strutted around the mound, where Reggie hit out the lights and Kirk Gibson led the Motown Cats to a World Series triumph.

But now, after a judge put an end to the appeals and the group that wanted to save a piece of Tiger Stadium reluctantly admitted that this was as far as it could take its fight, the final pieces of the grand old ballpark will be reduced to rubble, possibly by the end of the week.

Nothing will remain, though I wish they could leave the flag pole where it is. It looks perfect in that photo at the top of the page, taken Monday, standing tall in an open lot with a grandstand at one end. But instead, like Yankee Stadium, it will be razed and all that will remain to tell people what once stood there will be plaques and markers.

In the end, Tiger Stadium goes out the way it came in, a small half-moon of seats around a ballfield. Navin Field began modestly on The Corner in 1912, and baseball was played on the spot in the late 1800s, and when the final demolision began this month, it wasn’t a hulking colossus covering the entire lot, but merely a stretch of stands from roughly third base to first base, a grandstand out of the grand old game’s years in the Deadball Era.

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