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April 07, 1988 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-07

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Page 104-The Michigan Daily-Thursday, April 7, 1988

Tiger Stadium...


Two years ago on a trip to Tiger Stadium, a
friend and I stopped at the old red barn on Grand
River, affectionately known as Olympia. This
was the place Gordie Howe scored, Ted Lindsay
fought, and Sid Abel handled the puck for Red
Wing champions. Was is the word.
It was no longer.
Now stood a dilapidated building, crum-
bling, soon to be torn down. There stood glass
on the pavement outside, old minor league
scorecards, and accounting forms scattered on
the floor. I grabbed a brick and snuck a peak at
the arena. It was a place where I never witnessed
a hockey game - yet knew of its importance.
Boom, it would soon fall.
AND NOW COMES Tiger Stadium,
where millions of fans have come to watch
baseball played. It may soon find itself in the
heaven of non-existent, ex-great stadiums, sit-
ting next to Olympia.
They say a great moment can happen at any
time. Tiger Stadium's magical moments add up
to seconds and hours on end.
Willie Horton shooting a bullet to the plate
to nail Lou Brock in Game Five of the 1968
World Series. Mark Fidrych grooming the
mound and philosophizing baseball to a ball.
Ty Cobb coming spikes up into seco1 base.
Billy Martin rallying an old club to ;nd the
knees one last time in 1972. Kirk ibson
gloating after a ball landed in the rit field
seats signalling the Tigers were charmpions of

the baseball world in 1984. And yes, that tap to
the mound Frank Tanana handled to give the
Tiger's the Eastern Division crown last season.
Sentimental? Sure.
Sappy? No doubt.
True? Does the sun rise in the East?
BOB BUCHTA decided to do something
about it. Buchta is one of five original mem-
bers who founded The Tiger Stadium Fan Club.
It stemmed from a September 1987 meeting at
Buddy's Pizza. The group was quite worried
about the persistent rumors that the stadium
would be placed on the permanently disabled
list and closed down.
"We created the organization so that we
would be organized in case they tried to spring
something on the public," said Buchta. "In this
town it's inevitable that when something gets
old you get a new one.
"When you go to Paris you go to see the
Louvre, not something new. Tiger Stadium in
other contexts is not that old."
On April 20, 1912, Fenway Park was dedi-
cated. Quite old. Yet the people of Boston, with
their sense of preserving history, are not talking
about a domed tractor-pull baseball stadium.
Instead, Fenway, with its limited seating, un-
characteristic dimensions, and many memories,
has been saved for the next generation and
THE FAN CLUB will celebrate the ball-
park's birthday April 20 with The Hug - in
which fans of the structure at Michigan and

path as Olympia?
Trumbull will join hands to hold onto a great
ballpark. Hands Across America? Hardly, but
nonetheless a show for love.
Tiger Stadium is in no ways perfect. There
are poles. There are obstructed view seats. There
is a-right field overhang. But you are in front of
the action, almost in the action. You can hear
the bullpen phone ring. You can see the gleam
in an on-deck hitter's eye. And you see green
grass with summer air in your face. These
small things should not be dismissed.
"I had only seen a baseball game on black
and white TV," Buchta said on his first Tiger
game in 1955. "I never saw a game in color.
Right on the ramp going up into the grandstand
I saw a little patch of green. I'll never forget the
magical feeling."
Case dismissed.
Walking back to the car at Olympia that day
a young boy who lived in the neighborhood
came up to me. He was no older than eight.
"You here to look at Olympia?" he asked. I told
him yes. He told me, "The people who run this
city want to put some kind of military outpost
here. A light guard armory or something.
"It's a great place, a great place, and they're
just going to tear it down," the young boy said.
"It's a real shame."
A real shame. And somehow, that young
boy knew more about Detroit, stadiums, and
traditions than anyone running the city.
Tiger Stadium is next.
A real shame.

. ..part of memories

Those interested in participating
in The Hug should meet at St.
Bonifice parking lot, two blocks
west of Tiger Stadium on Rosa
Parks Blvd. and South Fisher Fwy.
Service Drive at 5:00 p.m. April
20. WCSX will be on-site;
For more information on The
Hug or the Tiger Stadium Fan
Club, phone 964-5591.

Chicken Wings
CIO /1% elonly.

'M' tankers
to plunge
into NCAAs
at Indy
The men's swimming team will
be aiming to further establish itself
among the nation's elite swimming
teams this weekend at the NCAA
meet, held today through Saturday in
Last year, the swimming team
broke into the nation's top ten for
the first time since Jon Urbanchek
became head coach in 1982. This
year, the Wolverines qualified 14
swimmers for the NCAA meet -
the most in the Urbanchek era. Three
divers are also in Indianapolis.
The Wolverines have been ranked
in the top six in the country all year,
though pre-NCAA ranking is
virtually meaningless, as top
swimmers are concerned with
conditioning rather than times. They
also won the Big Ten for the third
consecutive year when they posted a
decisive victory last month, also in
URBANCHEK is generally
reserved about making lofty
predictions prior to meets, but he did
say, "If everybody performs as well
as we did in Big Tens we should be
in the top six. If we swim at our
best, we could finish as high as
"It's been a long time since Big
Tens, so were getting anxious."
Urbanchek considers Brent Lang,
who won the 50-, 100-, and 200-yard
freestyle at the Big Ten meet, to be
the Wolverines' top swimmer
heading into the NCAAs. "Lang'is a
candidate to win at least two or three
events," said Urbanchek.
Another Wolverine strength lies
in its breastsrokers, with Mike
Barrowman and Jan-Erick Olsen both
ranked among the nation's top five
in both the 100- and 200-yard
breaststroke. Olsen, however, has a
sprained ankle and it is uncertain
how well he will swim. "He's a
tough kid. We're hoping he'll
bounce back," said Urbanchek.
Creaser and Alex Alvizuri, Big Ten
champs in the 100- and 200-yard
backstroke in 1986 and 1987
respectively, will each swim the 50,
100, and 200. Creaser was slowed at
Big Tens by an upper respiratory
condition, but according to
Urbanchek he'll be at 100 percent
this weekend.
For Olsen, Creaser, and versatile
Dave Goch this will be their final
collegiate meet. Olsen stressed the
importance of the team in
Michigan's recent rise in
prominence. "The team has done the
job. No single person has madethis
happen. It was a team effort and I
expect great things at NCAAs."

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