As Major League Baseball’s 76th All-Star Game makes its appearance at Detroit’s Comerica Park tomorrow evening, the spotlight turns on a city still haunted by the echoes of urban decay. Motown’s battle for a fairer perception opens a new chapter. For many old enough to remember it, the words “Detroit” and “baseball” together conjure up a glorious 1984 World Series victory overshadowed by deplorable behavior – vandalism, fires, destruction.
How far has Detroit come since then? Progress has been made, for sure, but not a lot. Michigan’s largest city, the once-thriving world capital of automotive production, has a lot to prove. The Tigers, the wearers of the proud Olde English D, have a lot to prove as well. No World Series since 1984. No playoff appearance since 1987. No winning season since 1993.
Now there’s a chance to forge a new era in the history of Detroit and of Detroit baseball. This native Michigander says it can’t come too soon. The 2005 Tigers have shown flashes of brilliance but have struggled with inconsistency. Now 42-44 at the All-Star break with a resurgent offense that has overcome bouts of injuries, hopes are as high as they have been for this team in years.
All eyes are on the All Star Game at Comerica Park and the surrounding festivities. To read the finest example of resilience among Detroiters and their sports fans, take a gander at Mitch Albom’s “Meet the Real Detroit” in today’s Free Press (with the telling subtitle of “All Star guests, listen up: We’re good folks and we love our baseball”. Amen.