Thursday, July 10, 2008


I just returned from a brief but lovely visit with my sister, who lives in Ann Arbor. On Tuesday evening we went to Detroit to watch the Tigers beat our beloved Indians. Our only consolation was in knowing that the Indians had conceded the season the day before by trading C. C. Sabathia to Milwaukee.

I get to Ann Arbor frequently but haven't been to Detroit in years. Detroit is a very sad place. The government is paralyzed by a sex scandal involving the mayor, a top aide and, of course, cover-ups. Today it broke that he had affairs with five other women too. The dysfunctional city council sometimes has food fights at its meetings.

Meanwhile, despite a few bright spots, the city rots. All around the stadium and along the route we took to get there, we saw block after block of empty lots, with only the occasional brownstone or other vintage structure still standing; a bunch of interesting buildings, but completely devoid of context, many of them empty. As we got closer, the only difference was that the empty, discarded buildings got commercial and much bigger.

After the game, as we were leaving, we passed old Tiger Stadium. They had just begun to demolish it that day.

Why it can’t just stand there empty and rotting, like the rest of Detroit, I can’t explain.

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