BOB: Historic Ballpark to be Torn Downby Brian Borawski
June 10, 2009
Game over for Tiger StadiumTiger Stadium has been an on again, off again subject for me. I grew up watching games there and outside of the past few years, I have much fonder memories of that ballpark than the current home of the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park. That’s why it saddens me to say that a judge lifted a temporary order that blocked the demolition of the abandoned park and as you’re reading this, the remnants of one of the finest places to watch a baseball game are being demolished.
You have to give some major league props to the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy. It’s hard to say they failed as much as the deck was just stacked against them. Their plan was solid and they were making progress but sometimes the bureaucracy gets in the way again and again. It wasn’t costing anything for the city to keep the ballpark up because maintenance was being paid for by the Conservancy. You’d think the city would have bigger things to worry about, but I’ve stopped trying to put myself into the heads of politicians. I usually end up with a migraine when I do so.
There’s been no official or even unofficial send off in the works but I’m sure something will be put together. In the meantime, now is probably just as good of a time to say goodbye to a good friend. Farewell, Tiger Stadium.
Marlins groundbreaking set for next monthThe Florida Marlins have been at the new stadium business for so long that it’s almost hard to believe they’re close to breaking ground. July 18 is the date that has been set and everyone is invited. There’s still one minor hurdle left to overcome, and that’s the whole bond sale, but the parties must be pretty confident things will run smoothly because the debt received a solid rating.
After that, more real work begins. It looks like they’re now shooting for a 2011 opening date, and while that’s realistic, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of economic atmosphere the ballpark will be opening in.
Minor league attendance remains strongAfter a solid April, Minor League Baseball’s attendance numbers remain strong. They’re averaging a fraction of a percentage point less per game (fewer than 30 fans per contest) than the year before, but the comparison is to 2008’s record attendance. Seven of the 11 full season leagues have shown increases year over year through May with the Florida State League leading the way with a 15.1 percent hike. It’ll be interesting to see if the short season leagues are able to keep this trend going as well.
I’ve talked about this before, but I thought Minor League Baseball would hold steady despite the rough economic times. People are looking for bargains for the whole family, and you can’t get a better one than a minor league game.
College World Series to be played at TD Ameritrade ParkTD Ameritrade, the online brokerage company, recently announced that it bought the naming rights to the Omaha ballpark that will house the College World Series. Rosenblatt Stadium will close after the 2010 season. In its place, the new ballpark will host the finals. The price tag was $20 million over a 20-year period of time.
Dodgers give free parking for weekday seriesThe Los Angeles Dodgers are near the top of the attendance list, but their dominance in the National League is being threatened by the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. In addition, they’re down almost 4,000 fans per game, so they’re not sitting on their hands. School is out and when the Oakland Athletics are coming to town next week, the team will be offering free parking for the three-game series. I’m always interested in seeing what kind of bump this kind of promotion gets, and it’s a little hard to determine just based on the numbers. I can tell you this, we’ll know it works if they decide to do it again.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.