Local magnate Harry Glans has a scheme to turn decrepit Tiger Stadium into a baseball museum / kiddie league haven. According to the Detroit News’ Neal Rubin, city officials don’t give a fuck.
Glans’ idea was not thunderously original, which of course the city didn’t know. He’d like to see the old ballpark scaled back to its Navin Field configuration, with 12,000 to 15,000 seats, and outfitted with conference rooms, convention space, catering service, shops and a museum.
What’s unique is his perspective. First, he coaches travel baseball for kids. Second, he makes a living dispensing money, and he knows lots of people who have heaps of it.
“I’d like to see what it would take,” says Glans, who lives in West Bloomfield. “Maybe pull some people together, see what could be done. A lot of people would like baseball to be played here, so let’s see how much it would cost to bring it back.”
The city’s stance on Tiger Stadium has been somewhat different. Let’s let it crumble, the unofficial policy has said, until the money for maintenance runs out at the end of this month and it’s easier to justify getting rid of the place.
Given Detroit’s less-than-urgent need for vacant land, Glans doesn’t understand the hurry. He does understand the lure of Tiger Stadium, something he feels is lost on all the people in charge of ignoring phone messages.
Youth teams, he says, “would drive in from all over the country to play here.” He’s done plenty of driving himself, taking his sons’ teams to places like Owensboro, Ky., and Kansas City, and as far as he knows, the dugouts there were never occupied by Babe Ruth or Willie Horton.
“Adults remember the history and they pass it along to kids. That’s the way baseball is,” Glans says. “With the money these parents are putting into athletics these days, give them a chance to come to Tiger Stadium and you’d better believe they’d do it.”
You also have to wonder why the city is so eager to level the stadium and yet wants to refurbish the Michigan Central Depot, which is so stripped and battered it’s like the setting for a Warner Brothers cartoon: One more brick plucked out of the wall and the whole thing will collapse on Sylvester’s head.