April 11, 2013

Why Do I Like Detroit?


I can't really remember when I decided I thought Detroit was a great place. It might have been the first time I saw Tiger Stadium and walked through those dark corridors and then down the ramp that led to the green grass and all the smells of hot dogs. Fresh mowed grass and Ball Park Franks … that's the smell of spring to me. Baseball.

I've been a baseball fan forever. Everyone who knows me knows this to be a fact. I've always been a die–hard Tigers fan. There were the days when I liked the Angels, Athletics, and even the White Sox, but it was more about uniforms or players or something different than loyalty. Sometimes it was just that I thought their management structure was better than the Tigers — yeah, I've been interested in those weird things way too long and been willing to let that affect my opinion of a team.

For many years, I was one of the visitors who drove into the city and then got out as quickly as possible. I never paid attention to where Tiger Stadium really was. I didn't know which direction the roads went; probably didn't even know that Woodward could get you just about anywhere. I never saw the "Fist," or "Spirit of Detroit."

It might go back to the time my parents and I visited Cobo Hall and misplaced our car. I don't think my parents were invited about that. Not to mention they had gone to Detroit just because their youngster (four?) wanted to see Spider–man in person. I probably never thanked them for taking me down there, so THANKS! But, the fact that we got lost and their possible reaction may have been reason enough for me to drive in and drive out. I don't really know.

Then, one day, I decided to see what the D really offered. Sure, I'd been to Tigers games, Red Wings games, concerts, etc., but I never really explored. I didn't know about Michigan Central Station, the Packard Plant, or the Heidelberg Project. I didn't know the history of the city — how it was a major hub. I don't even think I understood the incredible impact of the Big Three on the history of the country.

I think a lot of Detroit. Always have, for some reason. I wrote about Detroit in high school and college without really knowing what I was writing about or what I was championing for. It wasn't always sports writing either. So, don't judge a city by it's cover. And don't necessarily judge a city by it's past. Look at the potential for a future there and visit Detroit. Take it in.

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