Finally, a Good argument "At the Corner"

I think ya'll know that I have been longing for a good friendly argument here. Well, here we go. Let's not dwell on the Tigers shellacking Friday night, let's talk about the media coverage of Detroit and the Tigers.

With the permission of my dear friend and classmate Marty Budner, sports editor of the Birmingham Observer-Eccentric, here are his thoughts on the recent articles in Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine, and I'll take first shot at him in the comment section. Let the debate (or doneybrook" begin, and may the Tigers have a better day tommorrow. All they have to do is win two games.
"Hope all of you are well…
I recently came across two articles which will be of great interest to all my former Motor City mates…maybe you’ve ready them already seen them… if not, they are must reads for all of us with deep roots and sentimental ties to this tremendous, albiet floundering, city we call Detroit…The first article is from the Sept. 28 issue of Sports Illustrated…it is entitled ‘The Righteous Franchise: Detroit…The Tigers’ Bold Stand with Their Fans.” The second is from the Oct. 5 issue – the latest one – of Time magazine. It is entitled: “The Tragedy of Detroit.”
Now, I must get your opinions on these pieces…please take a few minutes to read them and let me know…

The SI article I find highly fallacious….Certainly the city has always had a deep love affair with our beloved Bengals…however, to claim the Tigers brought the city together this summer is simply not true. It is a misleading read to those of you who are watching them from a distance and learning about them only from the printed word…Sure they have piqued our interest with their surprising play and nearly year-long stay in first place…but to infer they were the glue that kept this city from going insane this summer during our economic illness is a misnomer…they have hardly sold out every game…in fact, at the recent Ernie Harwell night, Comerica was not two-thirds full….You would have thought it would have been a sellout (now, I must admit my guilt that I did not attend…wanted to, but was not able)…Ernie’s mortality is a completely different subject – what a great human being…

Now, for the TIME article…it was right on…you will all read it and not your heads in agreement as the author – a Detroit native like ourselves – outlines the reasons for Detroit’s decline over the years…to me, that one was right on the money….I will resist further comment so as not to influence your judgements as you digest the article…I will say it is amazing, and sad, how out birthplace slid from the 5th largest metropolis in the states to No. 11…

I felt the need to alert all of you to these most intriguing words and II offer these comments knowing how all of you love this beleaguered city like I do…

Can’t wait to hear your reactions…

Marty b.


  1. I quickly glanced at the SI article, and to be honest, I thought it was pretty good. "Warts and all view of the city, the team." Has Illich solved all the problems of the city? No, and I doubt he would claim so. It's a town torn by race, economics and geography.

    But give you some comparison with my "new" home (15 years on.) While Coleman Young was building the "People mover" to move people around a tiny loop of downtown, Dallas built a real train system of some 120 miles with the help of the suburbs.

    While Detroit died with the car biz, Dallas built a diverse economy with companies like EDS, Texas Instruments, SBC, and maybe the cruelest cut, Comerica.

    While Illich worked with the city and Comerica to build a downtown ball park, and hopefully generate inner city income, Jerry Jones took the Cowboys out to Arlington. Go figure.

    I think Illich and the Tiger administration) have their hearts in the right place. But just like me, I love Detroit, but I had to leave town to make a living.

  2. And now I'll give Marty a rebuttle, but Marty, if you want another, you're going to have to sign up for ATC yourself. This "he said/she said" must be confusing.

    Regarding the SI pieice…it was tyring in imply the Tigers were saving the city and people were flocking to the ballpark as a means of keeping the town glued together…that’s far from the truth…in fact, the games down the stretch, when they’re in the midst of a pennant race, have not been sold out…My point was the author was reaching for something in that article that was not there…

    And, I agree with you on the Time piece…I thought that was more to the point…yes, the unions were part of the problem with the auto companies, but so were the white collar workers and greedy top execs as well…everyone shares the blame…as does Coleman and many other politicians who did not have the foresight nor the wisdom to lead the city through its racially-embattled atmosphere which helped to fuel suburban conflict…Again, I thought that article was right on..


    Keep in touch…see if the tigers can hold on this weekend so they can get embarassed by the Yanks in the playoffs…


  3. I love Detroit. Lived there, schooled there, and worked there. I want it to succeed. I feel the biggest problem is leadership in two arenas - business and politics. Our reliance on the automobile industry to finance this area was unfortunate. Chrysler had to be bailed out 20 years ago - they had a warning, yet the Big Three did not change. They did not listen to their customers and now look at the mess we are in. Arrogance certainly plays a role in that.
    Speaking of arrogance, our ledaership in the city is filled with it. I blame the downfall of the city on Coleman A. Young and his wannabe - Kwame. They were as crooked as they come and were out for their own gain, at the expense of the city. Kwame is ridiculous. HIs deceit to the city and his wife and KIDS was horrid. A city cannot grow with leadership like that. Dennis Archer tried, as is Dave Bing - sure hope he can do something, but I fear it is too far gone. With the reopening of the Tamara Greene case I sure hope that they find the connection to Kwame and Karlita(and that orgy he had at the Mannogian)- and lock them both up forever. Do not give him a "Get out of jail free card", because he will twist the law and screw the citizens again. If he doesn't pay his million bucks - WHICH HE AGREED TO DO - in five years sit his ass in jail until he pays the money.
    Detroit has always loved its sports teams - but really loves them when they are winners. The city really gets excited because of trophies and pennants. At that time they embrace a team. The true fan is one who supports a team even when they are losing. In 2006 when they went to the Series, Ron Victor commented that he was most excited for me, because I was the only person he knew who did not abandon the Tigs in thos horrible Trammel years.
    I do feel the Tigers were a rallying cry for the city at the timeof the '67 riots, but that was 42 years ago.
    The city loved the Tigs in 68, 84, 87, 06. Imagine how wild the city will get whenever (yes it will happen some day) the Lions make the playoffs.
    Marty's point about filling the park is incredible. Where are the fans? Certainly the economy keeps some folks away, but we have become too complacent, I fear.
    I will be there tomorrow - cheering the boys on, because I love the Tigers and Detroit.

  4. I read both articles, and I have to agree, the Time story felt more honest. I think the point of the Sports Illustrated story -- that the Tigers pulled the city together this summer -- was a bit of a stretch. Were there actually unemployed auto workers skipping meals so they could buy tickets, telling anyone who would listen, "Thank God for the Tigers or I wouldn't have survived this summer"? Hardly. The Tigers provided a sometimes-positive distraction, that's all. I'll be shocked if season ticket sales go up this winter. My guess is, despite the Tigers' success in 2009 (relatively speaking), the number will actually go down... again.