Tiger Stadium's Walls Come Tumbling Down
Demolition crews smashed the historic walls of Tiger Stadium yesterday, punching through to the interior of the ballpark that stood for decades.
Outfield walls cleared by Yankees legend Mickey Mantle as well as Tigers sluggers Norm Cash and Cecil Fielder began to come down as contractors intensified their efforts to bring down the venerable park.
Backhoes and excavators, sometimes hard to see through dust and spraying water, whizzed around the site, picking up debris and dumping it in oversize bins. During one flurry, an excavator smashed through the exterior wall beyond left field, throwing support girders to the side.
The scene was tough to take for longtime Tigers fan Chas Matreal and his 23-year-old son, Ryan.
"All beautiful memories," Chas Matreal said. "It is something beautiful that we're destroying, and it's history."
The 49-year-old bricklayer from Milford, Mich., said he attended 400 to 500 games at Tiger Stadium, many with his own father, starting in 1966.
"Demolition means progress," declared signs on a construction vehicle at the site. But Matreal disagreed, saying priceless memories are being lost.
"It's a natural museum of a hundred years that they're destroying," he said.
Contractors started demolition of the ballpark last week. They expect to make an estimated $1 million by selling scrap from the park.
City officials say an Aug. 1 deadline still stands for a nonprofit group to raise enough funds to preserve the field and part of the stadium between first and third base.
· TRIPLE WHAMMY: The Twins lost a triple play -- and their manager -- after umpires changed a call during yesterday's 18-5 loss to the Red Sox.
When Jason Varitek's sinking liner dropped in front of sliding CF Denard Span in the bottom of the seventh, the umpires originally ruled that he made the catch. Span threw to second to double off Sean Casey, then 2B Alexi Casilla threw to third to get Mike Lowell, who already had crossed the plate.
While the umpires conferred, official scorer Mike Petraglia announced that the play was an 8-4-5 triple play, "for now." The call was reversed -- correctly, replays confirmed -- and irate Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire came out of the dugout for an argument that led to a quick ejection.
Casey stayed at third and Varitek was credited with an RBI single that gave Boston an 8-5 lead.
-- From News Services