There's a part of Detroit that remains a landmark, despite being torn down years ago.
The corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street, where the old Tiger Stadium once stood, may physically be empty of a structure, but it's still full of life. For example, Vintage Base Ball.
In 1860s style Vintage Base Ball, there's no mitts. Balls are caught with hands. Broken fingers happen, but it's all for the love of the game. The players have names like Jerry "Wrongsider" Labay, Jerry "The Bandit" Roper, John "Baggy Pants" Kolb, and John "2-Wheeler" Hacket.
They play not only for the love of the game, but for the history of it.
"Churches aren't the only places that are holy. Any place where intense emotions and joy is felt is a holy place," umpire Michael "Preacher" Copado said. "This has been a temple to baseball for over a hundred years. People have called it sacred ground."
Copado is part of the Vintage Base Ball at Navin Field club, which plays at the historical corner.
"By bringing baseball here, for one thing, we show the city that this is still a viable corner and it means something to baseball players," Copado said. "It gives the guys here an opportunity to do that, to hit that home run where Ty Cobb played."
As Detroiters, I believe we need to do a better job of embracing and preserving our history. The first game was played at "the corner of Michigan and Trumbull" in 1886.
The Navin Field Grounds Crew deserves a huge "thank you" from all of us for devoting so much time to preserving this important and sacred field. It's so much more than just another empty lot. They are out there every Sunday to tend to the field, and it's now playable once again because of their dedication. I
'm excited to see what's in store for the future of the old Tiger Stadium site. I just hope any plans involve preserving the field that we all have so many positive memories of.
As Ernie Harwell said on his final broadcast from Tiger Stadium, "Like you, like all of us, I will cherish it's memories, I know that there's never been a corner like Michigan and Trumbull."
Vintage Base Ball upcoming events:
July 24 at: "Throwback Thursdays Vintage Base Ball" -- the Northville Eclipse vs. the Royal Oak Wahoos
August 3 & 4: Vintage Base Ball Weekend at the corner.
August 3: 1 p.m. -- The House of David Echoes v. Midland Mighty River Hogs
August 4: 2 p.m. -- Royal Oak Wahoos v, Dexter Union in conjunction with the wedding of NFGC founder Tom Derry & Sarah Aitman at the field.
Sept. 28: 2 p.m. The first Michigan Women's Vintage Base Ball Gatling Gun Tournament, featuring the Detroit River Belles Ladies Vintage Base Ball Club (from Historic Ft. Wayne,) The Chelsea Merries Base Ball Club (Chelsea) & the Lil Fillies Base Ball Club (Benton Harbor.)