DETROIT (WWJ) – The crowds, the stages and equipment on site as part of Vice President Joe Biden’s Labor Day speech made a mess of the old Tiger Stadium grounds in Detroit.
That’s according to Joe Michnuk, of the all-volunteer Navin Field Ground Crew, who says nothing was done to help to help tidy up the field at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull following Monday’s big event.
“They didn’t clean up after themselves,” Michnuk told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Mike Campbell, “and it was kinda disappointing that, you know, an organization, the event organizers didn’t have a cleanup plan, and we ended up picking up after that whole thing.”
“I just thought it was disrespectful for them to do something like that,” he said.
Michnuk said it was an honor to have everyone there, but there was some real damage done.
“The trucks drove directly across the infield, which wasn’t necessary because none of the event occurred on the infield,” Michnuk said. “But one of the trucks drove directly across the pitcher’s mound from first to third base — right across the infield… and then another truck got stuck and had to be pulled out and there’s some big ruts in the right field area.”
Michnuk said his crew will make the needed repairs so Detroiters can still play ball.
When contacted by WWJ Newsradio 950, the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, which organized the event, denied Michnuk’s claims.
The group’s Brittany Smith issued the following statement:
“Since Monday, Metro Detroit AFL-CIO officers and staff have been working to clean the grounds at Navin Field. A visit to the field now will show that debris has been removed and awaiting pick up.
“As with any event we’re involved with, we had a clean-up plan in place. We had to adjust due to weather conditions. Wind and rain deposited items on the field that were not carried in by participants.
“Navin Field and the volunteers who maintain it are a great resource for the city of Detroit. The men and women of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO have tremendous respect for volunteer efforts to improve our community.”
Tiger Stadium — the former home of the Detroit Tigers — closed in 1999 and was demolished a decade later. The actual playing field remains, however, and the Navin Field Grounds Crew has been keeping it neat since 2010.