Tiger Stadium Outfield 2008

A look towards home plate from the outfield of Tiger Stadium in 2008.

MARQUETTE, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – In 2008, while on vacation downstate, I headed to the legendary corner of Michigan and Trumbull in downtown Detroit.  The site of Tiger Stadium (or at least what was left of the ballpark).  I spent about an hour in the blazing sun with my wife walking around and watching as demolition crews worked to tear down the old park.  It was a melancholy experience.

Tiger Stadium Detroit MI - July 2011

Welcome to Ernie Harwell Park.

Since my wife and I were in town earlier this month on vacation and were going to a Tiger game at Comerica Park that evening, we headed over to the site of the old stadium.  We found the gates open to the field and decided to go for a walk onto the grass out to the diamond.   A home made sign by the gate welcomed us to “Ernie Harwell Park”, a reference to the longtime Tigers broadcaster and the failed effort to save some of the structure to turn it into a museum commemorating the man and the team.

Tiger Stadium, Detroit MI - July 2011

Facing the first base line and the outfield flag pole.

As I walked out across the grass to what was the first base line, the sun was blazing and the sky was a deep blue, a really great day for a ball game.  I’d like to say that striding out on that field filled me with magical feeling of baseball history and some romanticized notion of lore and legacy of the Detroit Tigers, but it didn’t.  I just felt sad.

Tiger Stadium Detroit, MI July 2011
I might be smiling, but it’s a sad place to be.

Sad about how no one ultimately thought enough about the history and legacy to try and save even a small part of the stadium for future generations.  Granted, the old front gate still stands on Michigan Avenue and the flag and pole are in the outfield, but that’s really about it.  The diamond and the pitcher’s mound is still there, too.  It’s maintained by volunteers who don’t want Tiger Stadium to be forgotten.  I tip my hat to their efforts.

I also felt sad that the land I was standing on was in such a state of deterioration.  Some of baseball’s true legends played there.  World Series were played and won there.  Even some of music’s greatest entertainers performed there.  Now it was just a slightly overgrown, dirty and dusty inner city plot of land.  Too bad.

There have been many more eloquent words written about this subject, and I don’t feel that anything I can say that would add to the discussion, but I am glad I took the time to walk out on that field.  That experience really drove home (no pun intended) the need for us to be sure to remember the past and what has come before us, and learn from it.  Or we are doomed to repeat it.

Comerica Park, Detroit MI Summer 2011

A great night for baseball at Comerica Park.

That evening in Comerica Park, as I watched Tiger Miguel Cabrera tag first base after getting his 1500-th career base hit, I hoped to myself that 100 years from now there won’t be somebody peeking through a chain link fence at the scruffy Comerica Park outfield.   Looking at piles of rubble and wondering about what it was like to go to a game at the grand old park.  But not finding any information or signage or commemorations or anything other than a “keep out” sign.

That would be too darn bad…wouldn’t it?

 

-Walt Lindala

Tim Bennett, Bay Cliff Camp Director

Tim Bennett, Camp Director at Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay joined Mark and Walt to preview the Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour stop in Marquette next week that will benefit Bay Cliff.  The event runs from 4-pm to 8:30-pm at the Superior Dome and will feature current and past Packers as well as team management.

Tim explained how this event came to be and what other activities will be available at the Dome for folks to enjoy.  He did stress that since the Packers have never done an event like this in Upper Michigan, he wants all of the Yooper Packer fans to come out and “PACK” the place and give them a rousing welcome.

General admission tickets are only $5.00 and are available at several locations around the Upper Peninsula and also online through the website for Bay Cliff.  All proceeds raised at this unique event will go to benefit programs and projects at Bay Cliff Health Camp.

To listen to the interview with Tim, please click “HERE“.  To visit Bay Cliff’s website, please click “HERE“.

A BLOG CHOCK FULL OF THE U.P. AND MORE!

Today’s blog is one of those that just drives home the fact that there is a wide variety of things that make living here in Upper Michigan such a treat.  Today you’ll find out about a special fund raiser that helps out our local Negaunee Miner football squad as well a festival that features the cultural and artistic intricacies of U.P. life.  There’s also some info about turning a novel about life in the U.P. into feature film and even bits about public transportation in this rural, yet charming locale.  So let’s get to it!

NEGAUNEE DROPS THE BALL!  IN A GOOD WAY!

GO MINERS!

Negaunee Schools’ Athletic Director Mark Marana spoke with our Mark Evans about a special fund raising event coming up tonight in Negaunee.  The event will feature dozens of small footballs being dropped onto the field at Miner Stadium during halftime of tonight’s game.  The balls will all be numbered, and the winner will be determined by which ball is the closest to midfield.  That number will be the winner.  For more about this event and why it’s being held, listen to the comments of Mark Marana, please click “HERE

U.P. FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL MOVES TO THE FALL.

FESTIVAL COORDINATOR DAN TRUCKEY.

Dan Truckey from the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at Northern Michigan University stopped by to tell us about this weekend’s U.P. Folk Life Festival.  The event, which used to be held in March, will feature a mix of art, music, crafts and culture all with a Yooper spin.  The activities going on as part of the festival are all free and open to the public.  Folks from around the region are invited to come to the NMU campus in Marquette to immerse themselves in all aspects of Upper Michigan culture.  To listen to comments from Dan, please click “HERE“.   For more about the U.P. Folk Life Festival and the Beaumier Center, please click “HERE“.

THE U.P. AS A STORY, NOVEL AND FILM.

PRODUCER, DIRECTOR STEVEN WIIG.

Actor, producer, director, musician and Marquette County native Steven Wiig joined us today to preview a busy week of touring and promoting a novel entitled “U.P.” that he is seeking to turn into a feature film.  Wiig will be joined on the tour by the novel’s author Ron Riekki as they criss-cross the U.P. meeting with fellow Yoopers and getting reacquainted with what makes the Upper Peninsula a special place for them.  To listen to portion of Steven’s comments from the interview, please click “HERE“.  For more about the whole film project, visit the official website by clicking “HERE“.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ISSUES IN THE UPPER PENINSULA.

MPTA EXEC. DIR. CLARK HARDER.

Former radio guy and State Legislator Clark Harder, who is now the Executive Director of the Michigan Public Transit Association, joined the show to give us a re-cap of a special round-table discussion that was held yesterday in Marquette looking at issues in funding and maintaining public transportation services around the Upper Peninsula as well as around the entire state.  He outlined the challenges in the gas-tax based funding scheme that create the financial crises that are faced every day by the member agencies.  To listen to some of his comments, please click “HERE“.

AS I SAID EARLIER…THAT IS A BUSY BLOG!

Full Up and ready for the weekend!  There you go!


ENJOY!

-Walt