A phrase from the song, “I know what I like” by Genesis flitted through my mind Friday night. I’d set out from home to go do *something*, not really knowing what that something was, but en route to my hometown’s downtown, I heard mention of a casino on the radio, and thought I might go there instead. so I hopped on the highway, in a direction I travel often, usually stopping at the airport roughly halfway to this night’s rerouted destination. I flew right by the airport and kept going, but I didn’t make it to the second intended destination. Prior to the exit that would get me there, I saw other exits that once upon a time I’d taken regularly, and I thought I might do so again. And so it was that I took a spin around grounds I’d once stomped, in the late 90s. And then I took another slight detour, this time to grounds once hallowed, at least to baseball fans, the next destination the corner – or, I should say, The Corner – the intersection where a mighty temple once stood, a shrine to Tigers, now toppled and given way to an expanse of grass. A small backstop marked the general area where home plate once stood, basepaths marked on the ground allowing a few people to play on the same grounds their heroes once strode. I didn’t join in, choosing instead to just wander around, and let my mind wander back to those days when I lived in the city of Detroit…
I used to walk to Tiger Stadium, located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Avenue from my apartment near the Wayne State campus. It was only about 3 miles away, never mind that we were talking about the city of Detroit, I was 22-23 at the time, and indestructible, as kids are wont to think they are at that age. I walked to school most mornings, even in winter, and would walk downtown to see concerts, including talking the 2 mile stroll down to St. Andrews Hall on Devil’s Night in Detroit city to see a fave band, Dream Theater, for the first time ever. So, why not do that trek out to Tiger Stadium, which I could see from my apartment, it wasn’t that much further. I spent a fair few evenings or afternoons out in the bleachers at the old ball park, a $4 ticket (only $1 if a certain player had stolen a base the game before!) making for cheap entertainment.
So, walking around the large empty field where that field of dreams once stood, that triggered a powerful wave of nostalgia, and a bit of sadness, too. Tiger Stadium was a crotchety old park when I visited, but it was our crotchety old park, darnit, and I liked it for what it was, and for what had gone on within its confines. I’ve enjoyed the handful of games I’ve seen at Comerica Park, the current home of the Tigers, but it’s never the same as the experience down at The Corner, back in the day.