Part of Tiger Stadium’s upper deck came crashing down Monday, nearly a decade after the final major league game there and hours after a judge refused to stop the historic ballpark’s demolition.
Crews used a backhoe to tear away chunks of the upper deck along the former third-base line, causing debris to rain down as dozens of people gathered nearby to witness the destruction of a stadium that opened in 1912 as Navin Field and hosted professional baseball for 87 years.
Work resumed shortly after Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards rejected a request by the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy to issue an injunction preventing demolition of the stadium.
He also lifted a temporary restraining order issued Friday afternoon that had halted work begun earlier in the day.
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Edwards agreed with attorneys for the city, which owns the stadium, that the nonprofit group likely can’t raise the funds for a proposed $33.4 million redevelopment project.
“It appears here that the plaintiff has been given every opportunity to succeed with this project,” Edwards said after about an hour of arguments, but the conservancy has “simply failed to come up with the requisite funding.”
The conservancy won’t appeal the decision and has exhausted its legal options to stop demolition, said Thomas Linn, the group’s president.
Mayor Dave Bing also signaled he would not intervene to save the stadium, saying in a statement that he would “honor” the judge’s decision, though he was “sensitive to the concerns of those who wish to preserve” the ballpark.
“It’s profoundly sad to me. It’s almost like a funeral,” Linn said, standing on a pedestrian bridge near the stadium as equipment and workers moved around on the site.
Leveling what’s left of the structure will take 30 days and crews will remain onsite for an additional 30-60 days to handle cleanup, according to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
The city of Detroit is paying $400,000 to a joint venture of MCM Management Corp. of Bloomfield Hills and Farrow Group of Detroit to handle the project. The demolition contract also allows the companies to sell the remaining portion of the stadium for scrap.
The Tigers departed for Comerica Park after the 1999 season. Much of the stadium was torn down last summer, but a section extending roughly from dugout to dugout was left standing while the conservancy sought to put together financing to redevelop the partially destroyed ballpark as a commercial building with a field for youth and amateur baseball.
The city’s Economic Development Corp. board voted 7-1 last Tuesday to reject the plan, saying the financing wasn’t in place.
Rangers’ Hamilton to miss 4-6 weeks
Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton will undergo surgery today to repair a partial tear in an abdominal muscle and is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks.
“That’s great because we thought it would be longer,” manager Ron Washington said. “It looks like we’ll have a chance to get him back after the (July) All-Star break. At least it won’t be September.”
The team had feared that the injury was a hernia similar to the one that shut down second baseman Ian Kinsler for 12 weeks last year.
An MRI exam confirmed the diagnosis of the partial tear.
Dr. William Meyers, who examined Hamilton in Philadelphia, will perform the surgery.
Hamilton was injured May 17 when he crashed into an outfield wall while making a leaping catch against the Los Angeles Angels. He went on the disabled list last week.
Also Monday, the Rangers said starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade and will miss Tuesday’s scheduled start against the Toronto Blue Jays
Man pleads not guilty in Nick Adenhart’s death
The man charged with killing Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two others in a drunken-driving crash pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder as relatives of the victims looked on.
Andrew Thomas Gallo also pleaded not guilty through his attorney to three other felony charges and one misdemeanor in connection with the April 9 collision that occurred just hours after Adenhart pitched six scoreless innings in his season debut.
Ryan Sweeney’s sprained left knee hasn’t healed as quickly as the Oakland Athletics hoped, and the outfielder was placed on the 15-day disabled list. ... Barry Bonds’ wife has filed for legal separation. ... The Florida Marlins outrighted right-hander Hayden Penn to Triple-A New Orleans. ... The Arizona Diamondbacks claimed right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals. ... The Florida Marlins will break ground on their new stadium July 18 at the site formerly occupied by the Orange Bowl. ... The Texas Rangers are sticking with manager Ron Washington, at least through 2010 after they exercised their option for next season.