Thursday, July 10, 2008

Goodbye, Heartache

Initially, we figured that we'd write a smart-arsed post about how happy we were to see the walls crumblin' tumblin' down at Tigers Stadium, the host of our greatest heartache.

As much as things suck right now with the Jays limping slowly towards the end of another failed season, nothing can compare to 1987. That final week, those final games, those last innings, that final weak Garth Iorg swing...Nothing has been more spirit-crushing and soul-destroying than that final series between the Jays and the Tigers, with arguably the greatest Jays team of all time being swept out of the playoffs.

Our good pal is a Tigers fan, and while our personal views in our discussions on the relative merits of Frank Tanana might diverge (him: "He was awesome and crafty!", us: "He's a junkballing fucking bastard person"), we have to agree that there was nothing quite like Tigers Stadium.

We loved the construction of the stadium, with the huge centerfield dimensions and the overhanging upper decks down the line. We loved the fact that the Stadium had a feel of an old Globe Theatre, which only amplified the sense of drama to the games. We even loved how they let the grass grow super-extra-long to allow Sweet Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell to get to balls that they'd have no chance at on the pool table felt surfaces that most stadia had at that time.

It's sad to think that the Stadium fell into such disrepair that it couldn't have been salvaged, but then again, we've all become accustomed to a different level of service at the ballpark or arena these days. Nostalgia's fine, but when it comes right down to it, we're not big on pissing into a trough alongside a dozen other guys.

For much greater insight on the preservation of Tigers Stadium...
Baseball Prospectus has a great interview with ESPN writer Gary Gillette in their Unfiltered blog. Gillette was on the board of the Old Tigers Stadium Conservancy, and has some interesting details on how attempts to preserve the ballpark (even partially) failed.

9 comments:

The Southpaw said...

I'll pour one on the curb for old Tiger Stadium.

Anyone here who feels anger/shame/sadness when Yankees and Bosox fans fill the Rogers Centre nowadays would do well to recall that Jays fans from pisswater burgs like Sarnia, Chatam, and Windsor took over joint whenever the Jays were playing in Tiger Stadium in the early '90s. We used to be THOSE guys, just much more polite and with local currency on hand.

And bathtub urinals? Genious!

Are you(se) of the opinion that the Tigers do it right? I mean that in the sense that in a 30-team league you really shouldn't touch greatness more than once a generation all things being equal. World Series champs in '45, '68, '84 and runners-up in 2006. The ultimate ebb, flow and perfect equilibrium franchise?

JW

the ack said...

Never got to old Tiger Stadium, but have many fond memories of Tigers broadcasts from that era, with consumnate pro Ernie Harwell calling the games featuring Trammell and Whitaker, Dan Galdden, Travis Fryman, etc (Detroit based cable feed). Sad to see the old parks go down.

By the way, trough >>> urinals. Much more efficient.

Darren Priest said...

Yeah, meaningful games that late in the season again would be sweet.

sager said...

I've seen people rip on Comerica for being kitschville, but honestly, after going to games at the world's largest Rogers Video outlet, it's a nice place to visit.

Tao of Stieb said...

We like Comerica...especially the home plate shaped cut out around home plate.

Sweet.

Zoning Variance said...

I had the chance to check out Tiger Stadium in September of the last season there. I had a seat in the first row of the upper deck behind third base, and I was blown away by how close I was. I was essentially sitting right above the third baseman. They don't make stadiums like that anymore.

Other things I noticed that day:

-Virtually the entire crowd was white (I had to look really hard for about 10 minutes to find a hispanic face), and Tiger Stadium wasn't exactly in a WASPy area. Plus, the entire concession staff was black. It was discomfiting.
-I grabbed a bite at a sports bar a block away from the Stadium before heading back to Toronto, and when I came out of the bar an hour later, the area was completely deserted.

1987 still hurts. My dad had gotten tickets for Game 5 of the ALCS. We totally could have kicked the Twins' ass, instead of watching the Tigers roll over in 5 games.

Darren Priest said...

On another topic, albeit related to a previous post, we could now get Richie Sexson for nothing.

Anonymous said...

What Zoning Variance said. I was there in TS's last year, DET vs BAL. I had lower deck seats (near a pole) on Sat., came back on Sun. and sat on the first base upper deck just off home. The BEST seats I EVER had at an MLB game, even better than 5th row off home at Yankee Stadium. I could've hit the batter with a quarter from where I sat.

I made to a few of the old stadiums: Connie Mack (THAT was a dump), Wrigley, Fenway. TS will always be my favoritie. The new stadium is a Bud Selig abomination, a baseball theme park that might have a game going on. Yeah TS was in a bad section of town. It's called a city.

Duane Rollins said...

Why wasn't Iorg pitch-hit again?