So it began. On the final day of June, with gray skies and a tough wind blowing dead center, a hole roughly the size of the old broadcaster's booth was punched through the outer wall near what used to be the left field bleachers of Tiger Stadium.
The partial demolition of the former Major League Baseball stadium started Monday. The ballpark has been empty and moldering since the Tigers left for Comerica Park after the 1999 season. Since than, at least a dozen ideas to rescue the stadium have struck out.
One last ditch effort is underway by the nonprofit Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy to save a portion of the stadium.
In a last-minute reprieve, the nonprofit was given until Aug. 1 by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to prove it has a solid plan. The group's deal rests on the ability of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, to secure about $15 million from the federal 2009 budget. Levin has requested the money, and the request is in the appropriations committee. Levin meets with members of the conservancy group today to discuss strategy, said S. Gary Spicer, a board member of the group.
Even if they do manage to save the diamond, dugouts, and about 3,000 seats - it will never be the same, of course.
Farewell old friend. Thanks for the memories.