What remains of historic Tiger Stadium will be demolished after the city rejected a US$33.4-million proposal by a non-profit group to preserve and renovate the old ballpark. The Economic Development Corp. board voted 7-1 to authorize the complete demolition of the stadium. Detroit Economic Growth Corp. vice-president Waymon Guillebeaux said the stadium will be levelled as soon as a contract is negotiated with a contractor.
“We cannot have a partially demolished building remaining indefinitely,” Guillebeaux told The Associated Press.
Anyone who has taken a drive through Detroit since, oh, 1967 will find that last quote rich indeed, but really, this is the right decision.
Tiger Stadium was as noble and beautiful as a building can be. Rather then be allowed to rust, rot and decay, it should have been somberly imploded on September 28th 1999, with Ernie Harwell, Al Kaline and Willie Horton pushing the detonator while Aretha Franklin sang “Amazing Grace.” It was not imploded, however. It was abused. Billy Crystal was allowed to dump paint on it and pretend it was Yankee Stadium. It was used for Bud Bowl 2006. It was the subject of a photo essay in the Detroit Free Press showing weeds and other non-perfectly-cut, emerald green vegetation growing all over the grounds and even in the stands. Worst of all, it was left there, in plain view of tens of thousands cars passing it each day on I-75, to fall victim to entropy and neglect.
If there is anyone beyond the The Economic Development Corp. who has say in this matter, I implore them to act swiftly, act decisively and act mercifully and allow the wrecking balls to do their work. Because while it’s too late to give that noble building the noble death it deserved, we can end its, and our, misery.