Silverdome deserved better fate

In the rush that seemingly all professional franchises are in nowadays to build new stadiums and arenas, you have to wonder what the reasoning behind it all really is.

Certainly, the almighty dollar is a big part of it.

Here in Michigan, we’ve seen the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons now sharing a building downtown.

Maybe, the Red Wings needed to close down Joe Louis Arena, which had seen better days and reportedly smelled like a brewery.

But did the Pistons really need to abandon the Palace of Auburn Hills? Judging from the empty seats at Little Caesar’s Arena last season, they could have easily stayed in the suburbs.

The Pistons became the “Bad Boys,” a team that played physical and took no prisoners as record NBA crowds showed up to root for their favorites.

Even the Red Wings, who play in a hockey-mad town, had empty seats in 2017-2018 for some games.

Now, I’m old enough to remember the older stadiums in Motown, and I recall them fondly for the most part.

Tiger Stadium still holds a special place in my heart.

The rustic old park at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Streets, had its own mystique.

When you walked into the stadium, your senses were immediately assailed by the smell of freshly mowed grass, roasted peanuts and cigar smoke.

You could almost feel the presence of such past Tigers stars as Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg and others. History was always in the air there.

You don’t get that feeling when you walk into Comerica Park. Maybe the presence of ferris wheels and other entertainment vehicles subtracts from the general ambience.

One of my other favorite venues was the Silverdome, a much-maligned place that was torn down to make space for corporate buildings and parking lots.

Some of the bigger sports events involving Detroit sports teams in recent decades took place there.

The Silverdome was also the site where Barry Sanders worked his magic for the Lions for a too-short ten seasons.

It was also the place where a crowd of more than 93,000 lunatics showed up for the first Wrestle-Mania – an event I had zero interest in.

But the Silverdome moment I enjoyed most came in 1989 when the Lake Linden-Hubbell and Ontonagon High football teams reached the state finals.

Both local teams lost that day (the Lakes would later win two state titles in the building). But it was just a thrill to watch them in the comfort of the press box and not have to battle snow and freezing temperatures.

The Dome deserved a better fate …


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