Friday, July 13, 2007

Cutting off your nose to spite your face is no way to live life

In today's Freep, Michael Rosenberg talks to one of the founders of the misguided, though they admittedly had good intentions, "Tiger Stadium Fan Club." A group that just can't let go of the past. Turns out, that the one of the co-founders of the club, Frank Rashid, is no longer a Tigers fan, thanks to their leaving Tiger Stadium.

"What I liken it to is what it must be like to fall out of love with someone," he said. "You make the separation, and I made the separation."

How did he get here? It began with Yost's home runs and stayed in Tiger Stadium for the next three decades. That is when the Tigers started clamoring for a new stadium.

Rashid, who considered Tiger Stadium and the Tigers to be intertwined, objected. So, of course, did thousands of people. Rashid cofounded the Tiger Stadium Fan Club, determined to keep the Tigers at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull.

As you may have heard, the Tigers moved anyway. Most Tiger Stadium fans moved with them -- if not initially, then by last year, when the team finally started winning again.

Frank Rashid did not move with the team. He has seen Comerica Park from the outside, and that is as close as he cares to go.

He sounds like I did after my divorce, bitter and angry. Save for the fact I was upset about a failed marriage, and he's upset about a building.

Personally, to deny yourself something you once loved so much, because of your irrational attraction to a inanimate object made of concrete and steel, is certifiable. This guy has made himself a martyr over, of all things, a baseball stadium. It's a building, nothing more, nothing less.

It's thinking like this that has Detroit endlessly trying to move forward, yet going absolutely nowhere. The city has been on a treadmill for decades, taking 1 step forward, then 1 step back. Nothing ever gets done, leaving vacant buildings, and a stadium rotting from the inside out, still standing.

Were there legitimate issues in regard to how the Tigers were able to leave the Corner, and build Comerica Park? Of course. The Tigers refused to do any more than just the bare minimum to keep Tiger Stadium functional. They did use some public funds to get Comerica built. Mike Ilitch had built an empire of sorts in Foxtown, and he wante a new stadium in his territory, by hook or crook. Why the new park was designed to be so different than Tiger Stadium can be debated as well.

I will agree with the Tigers on one issue, and it's a big issue, in that they needed a new stadium to compete in the 21st century. Comerica's not perfect, but it's immensely better than the alternative.

As things turned out, the Tigers were shown to be correct. They now have a impressive showplace, a world class baseball stadium in a growing neighborhood, and one of the best teams in baseball. Comerica Park is not the only reason, but it's a big reason, why the Tigers are now a model MLB franchise.

Even if somehow, someway, back in the day a compromise had been made, paving a way to refurbish/rebuild/re-whatever of Tiger Stadium, it never would have been the equal of Comerica in infrastructure, convenience, and comfort. Let alone it paved the way for another world class stadium to be built right next door, the gem that is Ford Field.

I'm not saying that the things that were done above, and probably below, board, to build Comerica were correct, or for that matter, right. No matter the route taken, when all was said and done, Detroit is better off, much in thanks to the building of stadiums in the Foxtown area.

At this point, if you really want to help Detroit, and denizens of the Corktown area surrounding Tiger Stadium, knock the SOB down and build a grocery store, or a shopping center. Anything other than letting rusting hulk stand.

I feel for this guy, I really do. Obviously he loves the city, and once loved the Tigers and Tiger Stadium. But the needs of the city, and the Tigers, changed. Often, it's either move forward, regardless of the past, or die. If Detroit doesn't move forward, well, it couldn't get any worse already, could it? Actually, it could, because we are talking about dysfunctional Detroit.

Sometimes, at a restaurant, the old love of Frank Rashid's life will be on the TV above the bar, and Frank will watch for a few minutes. He says he does not feel rage, and he does not feel the tug of fandom. The flame has burned out.

"For me it would really be a violation of what I believe, to go back to the kind of naive faith I had in the Tigers," he said. "It gave me a lot, and they gave me a lot. But it's not the same anymore. I know too much."

I wish things hadn't changed, at times for the much worse, in my own life. But I moved on, best I could, as I was making myself miserable otherwise.

I have to say that Mr. Rashid needs to move on as well. Which he says he has, but at the cost of something he claims he greatly enjoyed. All I can say is that I could never get so upset over a baseball team, that I would deny myself the joy I get from the game. Let alone doing so because of a stadium...


  1. The problem is that Tiger Stadium was a much better stadium to watch baseball in than Comerica Park. The seats were closer to the field, the upper deck amplified sound, and allowed fans to have incredible intimacy, without the annoying price segregation caused by luxury boxes. Unless you pay 50$ or more, attending a game at Comerica doesn't even feel like being at a baseball game. In addition, it is a fallacy that the Tigers couldn't compete in Tiger Stadium. The Cubs and Red Sox did not need new stadiums to be competitive, and in fact use their old stadiums as selling points. The Twins have possibly the worst stadium in baseball history, with few revenue streams, and they are perennial contenders. The Pirates built a much more attractive new stadium than Comerica, and they haven't improved whatsoever. The Tigers needed two things to become competitive; Dave Dombrowski, and Carlos Guillen. I won't stop rooting for the team, but let's be clear; Comerica Park is a mediocre place to watch baseball.

  2. I love how Tigers Stadium loyalists conveniently ignore all of the negative aspects of the park. It had charm, but it was a dump by the end. Comerica Park is a fantastic place to watch baseball, even for purists.

    This guy in the article sounds like he still loves Tigers Stadium but does not have any feelings for the team, which is absolutely nuts. I wonder if he has ever broken up with a girl because she bought a new car or moved into a new apartment.

  3. Two things:

    It doesn't take much brain power to call people names and malign them childishly because they don't agree with you. And it is mean spirited.

    Kids love candy, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you. There are times when, as an adult, you’ve got to chew on the meat of an issue. You grow up. Frank Rashid seems to have “grown up” concerning this issue. (Those interested in more than just name calling, see: ) It just sounds like a man with his brand of social conscience simply found it impossible to enjoy baseball at the new stadium, the way a former meat-eater might find it impossible to eat meat after they find out how animals are kept and slaughtered. He’s an extraordinary man and I applaud him.