I loved attending games at The Corner as much as anyone. I've said in the past I spent much of the 80's hanging out at Tiger Stadium. But from reading what are essentially obituaries in the local dailies the last few days, with Tigers fans making a final pilgrimage to Michigan and Trumbull, you'd think these people lost a close family member, instead of a piece of real estate they had no vested interest in, and occasionally vistited.
I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. Grown men and women crying over the destruction of the rusting hulk that are the remains of Tiger Stadium. It's not as if the memories have died. For that matter, it's not as if there is no longer a baseball team in Detroit, which would be worth shedding tears over.
Think about it, your memories come from the team that played there, and the people you attended the games with, not the stadium itself. It's just a large structure made of concrete and steel. Your memories are going nowhere, unlike a useless stadium that's a drain on Detroit's finances, and a blemish on the cityscape.
We should also realize not all the memories are good, and I'm not talking about bad baseball (Though we've seen plenty). I am talking about a team that did business in a way that was morally reprehensible for a very long time.
To a substantial number of Detroiters, Tiger Stadium stands as a symbol of past racism. Let's be honest, it's not as if the Tigers were anywhere near the forefront of breaking the color barrier in major league baseball. They were dragged into integration, kicking and screaming. The only team who took longer to integrate than the Tigers were the Boston Red Sox. It took 6 years after the death of Briggs for the Tigers to integrate, signing Ozzie Virgil in 1958 (!), and then only after Briggs' heirs were forced to sell the team.
Was the Tigers' owner, Walter O. Briggs Sr, a racist? Though Briggs saying "no black man would ever play for the Tigers" has not been directly attributed to him, his blatant racism has come to be accepted as fact. Many older, black Detroiters would tell you he was a racist, without question. His lack of action in regard to signing anyone of color for decades speaks for itself. Actually, it's pretty damn obvious in hindsight. Briggs only wanted a team as white as the sheets worn by the KKK wearing the Olde English D.
So for many people, the former Briggs Stadium does not evoke pleasant memories. It represents much of what was wrong with baseball, and by extension, we as a people, through the decades. When taken in that context, the demolition of Tiger Stadium should be considered a good thing. It's exorcising the memories of a long racist owner and sport.
We, as a city and state, have many more pressing issues at hand than the demolition of a well past it's life span white elephant. If you feel the need to say your goodbyes, feel free. I'm not going to stop you. But I won't be joining you.