The Last Game In Tiger Stadium Was 20 Years Ago Today [Video]
As a baseball fan, from my first time walking into the place I knew it was special. I didn't know it was going to end. But it did.
The first thing I remember from my first trip to Tiger Stadium as a kid was how green the grass was. It was late April, and spring was slow as usual in Michigan. Everything else was brown, but not that grass. It was almost magical.
My father and I made at least one yearly trip every summer to what was affectionately known as 'The Corner'. It was that bond over baseball that kept us close over the years, no matter what our differences.
Sure, we could argue over the length of my hair, but there was no disagreement on Mark Fidrych. He was the strangest pitcher either of us had ever seen.
The memories are many -- The Detroit riots simmering in the distance on a hot summer visit in July, Dick McAuliffe hitting for the cycle on a cool June evening, Denny McLain just missing his 32nd win on a golden September afternoon, Reggie Jackson tossing me a ball on a cloudy August day, the limo ride from a bar to box seats by a gangster my Dad got free tickets from.
Twenty years ago today, Todd Jones struck out Carlos Beltran for the final out at Tiger Stadium. They shipped home plate over to the new Comerica Park. Legends ran out of the locker room and took their spots at their usual positions. Fidrych on the mound, Whitaker and Trammell up the middle. It was majestic. And sad. Because deep inside we knew it would never be the same.
Baseball at Comerica Park is fine. And some pretty darn good Tiger teams have given some young kids memories of their own.
But for me, my trips down I-75 with my dad always meant going to the 'Corner', and if I sat through the game without misbehaving, we got to go to White Castle on the way home.
I was living on the East Coast when they shut the old girl down, and with three kids, I never had the time to make it back for one more game. So I don't even know when my last time there was. I know this: I went to White Castle on the way home. I always did. I didn't have to behave.
I leave a flower on the grave of 'The Corner' today.