Tiger Stadium rises from the ashes for Bud Bowl 2006

Updated: February 2, 2006, 1:19 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Tiger Stadium, the baseball landmark that went dark more than six years ago, has returned to life briefly for Super Bowl week.

On Friday and Saturday, lucky partygoers will get a rare glimpse of the shuttered stadium, once the home of such players as Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg and Al Kaline. Anheuser-Busch has rented the space from the city and constructed a temporary nightclub on the infield for Bud Bowl 2006.

On Friday, rapper Snoop Dogg is to perform at the club, which was built over two weeks and will be completely dismantled by Tuesday. Rock band 3 Doors Down headlines Saturday's party.

Invitations to the two events have been given away in promotions at bars and restaurants and on the radio. On Thursday night, Anheuser-Busch wholesalers were to get the first glimpse of the 2,500-person club at their own party, where Detroit vocalist Kimmie Horne will perform.

For many, however, the biggest draw will be the venue.

"Folks are in love with this stadium," said James Hunter, a Detroit-based marketing manager for Anheuser-Busch.

As workers inside the Bud Bowl club finished putting down black iridescent carpet and moving furniture Thursday morning, the storied stadium itself was quiet as usual. The broadcast booths were boarded up, and the Old English D's had been cut out from some of the seat backs.

But despite the rust peeking out from under peeling blue paint and the thick layer of dust on the benches in the dugout, it wasn't hard to imagine the stadium alive with the sights and sounds of baseball. The pitcher's mound and base lines were still there; billboards still touted Budweiser, the Chevrolet Impala and Yard-Man lawn mowers.

Inside the climate-controlled club, there's no hint of its unusual location -- except for footage that will be rolling on screens near the dance floor. The only view of the stadium will be from a small smoking area just outside the club. Guests won't be allowed to venture further.

During the parties, part of the field will be lit, and "ghost players" dressed in baseball uniforms will play catch. Anheuser-Busch brought in its own generator for the outdoor lighting and for the club, since electricity has long been cut at the stadium.

Tiger Stadium opened in 1912, and the Tigers played their last game there on Sept. 27, 1999, beating Kansas City 8-2. The next season, they inaugurated Comerica Park, their downtown home, which is next to the even newer Ford Field, site of Sunday's Super Bowl.

Since then, not much has happened at the old stadium, save for the filming of an occasional movie.

The city of Detroit, which owns the landmark, continues to market the site for permanent redevelopment.


On the Net:

Anheuser-Busch Inc.: http://www.anheuser-busch.com

Stadium history on Detroit Tigers Web site: http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/det/ballpark/venues.jsp

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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