The Tigers have a Sports Illustrated cover this week and a pivotal day-night doubleheader against the Twins today. The meaning of communal emotional outlets in depressed places has probably been excessively hyped. Michigan State basketball doesn't inspire people in Tennessee buy American; a dominant hockey team can't make GM competitive.
I've spent exactly two days in Detroit in the past three years. I rode past the remaining corner of the old Staium--rebar sticking out of the few sections still standing--and it still couldn't crack the top 3 on a list of "the most depressing abandoned buildings within walking distance of the Fox Theatre." I went to my uncle's house in the suburbs and had a nice meal at a newish strip-mall. Then we went back downtown for the game. Abandoned lots make for easy parking. Even around the stadiums, so near Woodward, the combination of open space and old brick is disorienting coming from New York, though the homelessness is pretty standard. Then you get inside and catch a glimpse of the grass, and move down to a $35 seat behind the dugout that would cost $350--easy--at Yankee Stadium, and Porcello doesn't have great stuff tonight, but we're finally hitting with guys on base and Inge saves a couple of runs with a nifty backhand and the bullpen protects the lead and Rodney has a little fun with everyone's emotions before closing it out and the carriage turns back into a pumpkin.
There's probably no glass slipper for Detroit. Sure, a technically skilled, unemployed workforce and technically advanced, shuttered factories seem like the perfect combination for another revolution in transportation production. Yet optimism is scarce. A World Series won't change that. Baseball won't fix a city of less than a million with an infrastructure built for twice that. But God, for a few innings in October, it would be nice to turn back the clock to 1968, even if it's only a last hurrah.