A few years ago, I quipped to my partners at CDM that we needed to consider establishing Urban Connection--Detroit.
Of course, they thought me crazy, but such is not an unusual reaction to many of my ideas!
Now, I pick up the September 28, 2009 edition of Sports Illustrated and the cover story hits me in the face: "The Righteous Franchise: Detroit--Tigertown."
Here's a taste of Lee Jenkins' report:
They overlap before home games on Thursday afternoons, the thousands rushing into Comerica Park and the hundreds filing into Central United Methodist Church one block over on East Adams. The crowd streaming into the yard is drawn by a baseball team in first place, a pennant race on full blast, one final taste of summer. The group headed to the church is drawn by a free lunch. In the auditorium on the second floor of the church, the folks sit on metal folding chairs at wooden tables, wolfing down sloppy joes and talking about their neighbors, the Detroit Tigers. "You see the Twins blow that lead last night?" asks Willis Snead, who lives in a trailer park nearby. "That was great for us."
"I really think we're going to win it all this year," says Robert Montgomery, who sells beer at Tigers games. "But after that I'm moving somewhere with more jobs."
A man wearing a Tigers hat and a bushy white beard, who goes by Papa Smurf, sits on an upstairs windowsill of Central United, gazing at the human traffic jam on Woodward Avenue. "Look at them!" he howls. "They're coming in droves!" It is a cloudless Thursday afternoon in early September; the Tigers have taken the first two games of their series with the Indians; and Papa Smurf cannot contain himself. He rushes outside, charges up to a pack of alarmed fans and hollers, "Are you ready for a sweep?" They holler back that they are. Papa Smurf raises his arms in delight. "Detroit is like two different cities," says Papa Smurf, who lives in a downtown apartment now and volunteers at the church after six years of being homeless. "But this team -- and this ballpark -- is a bright light for all of us."