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April 27, 1990 - Image 58

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-04-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Save Tiger Stadium

Regardless of the
logic, says Alex
Bensky, there's a
legacy for future
generations at
Michigan and Trumbull.

HOWARD ROSS

Special to The Jewish News

A

lex Bensky can give you
a dozen reasons why
the Detroit Tigers
should continue to play
baseball indefinitely in the
78-year-old ballpark at
Michigan and Trumbull.
He'll tell you about a city's
obligation to its residents (the
ballclub leases the stadium
from the City of Detroit); the
soundness of a proposed $26
million renovation plan,
especially when compared to
the estimated $180 million
minimum cost for a new
stadium; and the importance
of maintaining baseball as an
affordable "sport for the
masses."
But behind all that logic,
buried amid all the common
business sense and astute
political observations offered
by the Detroit attorney, is the
real reason, as forthright as a
line drive to center on a warm
summer evening.
Bensky, who attends from

58

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 1990

15 to 25 Tiger games each
season and has gone to games
in most every other major
league city, is a baseball fan
in the purest sense — the
same as Tiger Stadium is the
purest of baseball venues, he
believes.
Forget the cramped aisles
and partially obstructed
views, Bensky says: better to
remember the batter's box
from which Hank Greenberg
cranked them out in the

1940s, the right field patroll-
ed by Al Kaline in the '60s
and the dugout manned by
Sparky Anderson in the '80s.
"The sense of being able to
pass this (legacy) down to the
next generation of fans —
some of it will be lost, I'm
sure, when you go to a new
ballpark," he says. "Tiger
Stadium is unique and I'd
hate to lose it."
That is why Bensky, 41,
joined the Tiger Stadium Fan

Club in 1988, about 6 months
after its 1987 founding. It is
why he volunteered his time,
first to the steering commit-
tee and now as a member of
the board of directors for the
non-profit group. The club
claims nearly 7,000 members,
a few from as far away as
Malaysia and Europe.
Bensky is an ardent sup-
porter of the "Cochrane
Plan," a detailed renovation
and cost analysis prepared

gratis by architects/fan club
members John and Judy
Davids which was unveiled
last January. The $26 million
proposal has been virtually
ignored by the Tigers, despite
praise from independent
architects.
Tigers
owner
Tom
Monaghan and city officials
have said publicly they've
already decided to build a
new stadium, although a site
and a design haven't been
selected.
Bensky thinks Tigers of-
ficials will eventually come
around. They'll have to, he
says, when the realization
that a financially strapped
city won't be able to commit
money to such a project and
when hoped-for state funds
don't materialize. "Then
they'll see it's business
nonsense not to adopt the
Cochrane Plan," he says.
The plan would add 179,000
square feet to the existing
stadium, including new
restrooms, concessions,
elevators, clubhouses, ad-

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