Volume 93, Issue 19

Thursday, September 30, 1999

bandwagon


SPORTS

Landsberg lands on the Beach

There's a new captain in town

Stadium without a roar

Stadium without a roar



As the last game comes to a close, we must bid adieu to another legendary stadium – Detroit's Tiger Stadium has finally retired and the Tigers quietly retreated for a final time last Monday.

I'll be honest, I've never been to Tiger Stadium. Heck, I'm not even a fan of the team. Come to think of it, the Tigers are probably one of the teams I dislike the most.

However, despite my personal feelings, I am at the very least a baseball fan and I can appreciate the passing of a field as legendary as Tiger Stadium. But I won't tell you about how great the stadium is, or how many famous names have passed through the dugouts, or how many championships it has seen, or how many home runs it has housed.

But I will tell you, I remember being young when my beloved Blue Jays, for the first time, aspired to reach the top of the American League East in 1984 – a team that for the first time was pulling itself out of the basement. As they reached, however, the Tigers were there to contain them and the Jays were forced to finish second.

Meanwhile, the Tigers moved on to win the World Series that same year. The first time they would be champions since the 1950s. I suppose it was right there and then that my dislike for anything with the word Tiger associated with it, began.

The moment which has always been cemented in my mind was the year 1987. Again, the Jays were making their drive for the pennant. And again the Tigers thwarted them in their attempt. The final nail of the coffin, in fact, was driven in Tiger Stadium. For years after, the championship fever would never return to the Tigers. The stadium, however, would continue to be the home of the long ball. That's what the Tigers were good for in the 1990s – hitting a lot of home runs.

Those were the days when my best friend was a hard-core Detroit fan. As you can imagine, when it came to baseball, our opinions varied greatly. I can still remember walking home from school on warm September afternoons, talking, arguing even, about whether or not the Blue Jays would silence the Tigers with solid pitching, or whether the Tigers would smash up the Jays with their bats. This is what I remember most about the Tigers and Tigers stadium – it was the ultimate place for the battle of pitching versus batting.

With the close of the stadium, it goes without saying that a part of my youth closes with it. But the closing is about the Tigers representing the hated opposition – it's about a rivalry which made the game more interesting to watch.

So as I watched the last out from the stadium, that sinking feeling in my stomach didn't come to life because I loved the Tigers or because I held some great connection to a stadium I never visited. It was because the stadium was the home of one of the Blue Jays' greatest rivals, the team that for so long stood against my team.

Most of all it was the place which housed some of my most memorable games – some of the games that most stick out in my mind, games which I would easily rate as my favourite and those I can still remember talking about on warm September afternoons. Goodbye Tiger Stadium.


To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999