Saturday, July 19, 2008

Goodbye Old Friend

Originally uploaded by Credit812

When we would approach the point where 75 merged with 96, I would scoot forward in my seat so that I could get a better look out the front window. As we made the broad wide turn toward downtown, it would appear, rising above the city like the western mountains rising above the plains. As we would approach, it shown like a battleship, large and foreboding and full of angles and sharp metal, with its flags flying several stories above sea level. When you got out of the car, you could smell the peanuts from two blocks away. The stadium seemed to grow in size as you quickly closed the distance between the car and the game. To a young kid, the metal seemed to scrape the sky. When you got to the park, you had to walk around the stadium on impossibly narrow sidewalks, underneath an overhang from the upper deck. Each corner had it's own entrance, and they were connected to each other on the inside of the stadium by skinny hallways that were always crammed with people five wide. Once you made it through the seemingly endless maze of byways and ramps, you would travel down a long walkway that extended over the lower deck. At the end of the walkway, you passed into the sunshine. Opening up beneath you was a sea of grass that glowed bright. In contrast to the huge metal of the stadium, the field seem out of place, a green oasis in an urban desert. As the game started, and rolled on, the white uniforms of the tigers on the green field against a backdrop of bright orange and blue seats held your attention and the outside world melted away.

When they finished the next to last game there, I stood at the fence of the bleacher section, trying to hold back the flood of emotion. When I pulled my eyes away from that green field, I noticed that to my left and right stood dozens of men about my age, all staring at the field and trying to soak up as many memories as possible.

I went down to take one last visit to the Corner of Michigan and Trumball today. It looked as if someone had taken a slice out of the stadium and removed it, like a stolen piece of cake. Around every side of the stadium were people with cameras, each trying to capture an image or two that would crystallize the rapidly fading memories of their childhood. My photos are linked above. i hope they spark some memories for you.