First stop: Tiger Stadium! What's that, you say? They stopped playing baseball at Tiger Stadium in 1999? Why, yes. They did. However, it took 10 years for the stadium to be demolished and since then, the lot has remained. An overgrown, empty, haunting relic.
Here it is before:
Here's what the space looked like last Friday:
The most surprising thing was how small it looked. And then I checked and the gates were open. So I walked right in and stood where I imagine the visitors dugout was and thought about how this is the spot where Lou Gehrig benched himself in 1939 (when it was still called Brigg's Stadium). Here he is, in that moment, in that place, all quiet dignity.
I stood there and I looked at home plate.
It was incredibly moving. In baseball, we know, the ghosts always show up eventually.
The flagpole is still there. I imagined thousands of Tiger fans standing up and singing their national anthem.
The most amazing thing about all of this is the fact that recently neighbourhood activists and baseball fans have started cleaning the field up, getting rid of some of the weeds and dusting off home plate. And every Sunday they come and play ball. They've named it Ernie Harwell Park.
Talk about a Field of Dreams...
Back soon with some more pics from our busy day in Detroit!