The corner of Michigan and Trumbull has had a few names over the years and you can tell how old someone is by what they called it. For my Dad, it’s Brigg’s Stadium, to me it was Tiger Stadium. I have never been to the new stadium, I am sure it’s a nice stadium and is similar to several other modern stadiums around the country, but you will never get that sense of history walking into a new stadium like you did walking into the old Stadium on Michigan and Trumbull.
To be honest with you, I could not tell you the last time I watched a Tiger’s game on TV, my dad probably could not tell you when he missed a Tiger’s game. As we get older, memories from our youth fade away, but there are some memories that will live with us forever.
I remember in the late 70’s my dad loading the family up in the Olds 88 and taking a trip down 75 from Saginaw to Detroit. Back then, there was not much parking around the stadium, either that, or my dad was too cheap to pay for parking, and I remember parking in a neighborhood across the highway. I remember taking the walkway over the highway and as you crest the center you see that enormous white stadium, with the lights protruding from the roof. I remember passing those gates surrounding the Stadium and looking up at the towering white walls, inside the stadium was the distinct aroma of popcorn and beer. Finding our way around the stadium to our seats and traversing huge steal beams and girders and finally heading towards the light coming from one of the openings, like the light from the heavens, of which we walked into revealing perfectly manicured field and rows of green wooden seats. I think that is the thing I like most about Tiger Stadium, was the fact it was an old man made structure built during the Industrial revolution and made with bricks and steel which personified Detroit’s magnificent manufacturing history. And yet in the middle of this industrial jungle was a beautiful oasis of green grass.
When I got to Michigan and Trumbull this summer, the gate was left open, I don’t know if was intentionally or incidentally, but either way I went onto the field and it was a strange feeling standing there at home plate knowing this was where Kirk Gibson hit the homerun in game 5 of the 84 world series. It was sad looking at the mound that Mark Fidrych groomed with his own hands. Now all that is left is a Flagpole and Diamond, surrounded by dandelions instead of rows of seats filled with cheering fans.
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