July 11, 2005

Detroit is the best sports town in America: I get the feeling some folks may take issue with Jason Whitlock's evaluation. Like maybe folks in that little New England town with both the Super Bowl and World Series champions...

posted by dzot to general at 01:38 PM - 55 comments

Maybe Richard Justice disagrees too.

posted by yerfatma at 01:41 PM on July 11, 2005

Detroit is the old high school sweetheart who landed the boy who went on to win the Heisman Trophy and put together a Hall of Fame career. Yes, she lost her hourglass figure three kids ago, and suffered through some painful public infidelity. But now, in her 40s, she's still on the arm of the man of most women's dreams, controls most of his money, and has the freedom, emotional leverage and confidence to come and go as she pleases. Talk about straining for a metaphor. What in God's name is that supposed to mean? He does it one better later: Detroit is the big, sweaty woman squeezed into a size-10 dress, daring anybody to suggest her body ain't booming. You know, the one that always on Jerry Springer...

posted by dzot at 01:44 PM on July 11, 2005

Actually Detroit is a city in Michigan, Jason. And if it were personified, it would likely be a dude behind the wheel of a Trans Am, with a cut-off Whitesnake concert T from the 1987 show with Poison and Great White. Or currently a Ben Wallace jersey... Over the Whitesnake T (David Coverdale rocks!).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:54 PM on July 11, 2005

The midwest has the best sports towns period!!!

posted by gregy606 at 01:58 PM on July 11, 2005


posted by jerseygirl at 02:32 PM on July 11, 2005

Beelooow me, Weedy.. Toronto aint that far from D-town, fool. Hell, you cant even listen to Howard Stern in Canada cause you guys are a bunch of pansies!A 87 Whitesnake shirt and Trans Am gets more ladies than a 05 Barenaked Ladies (from Canada I might add) and a Hyundai!

posted by Craven Morehead at 02:39 PM on July 11, 2005

He's trying to match Bill Simmons' humor and fails in the attempt, for one thing. His high school sweetheart analogy is not funny but cynical and depressing, and could possibly be read as sexist, or at least just mean. That humor has its place but not as part of a 'serious' discussion with light-hearted humor. Also: "Beating up on Detroit is easy. As the center of the free-falling automotive industry, known chiefly for crime, high unemployment and urban blight, Detroit is an easy target." The crime, unemployment, and urban blight are still there. For every block with something like Comerica park there are dozens of blocks that are still in rough shape. This is serious. Even the buildings in the areas immediately surrounding these 'fantastic new stadiums' are often sitting empty and in terrible disrepair. Crime is high. But at least we have two shiny new buildings! Then he says: "Detroit is the best sports town in America. It blows away New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. With the car industry dying and Motown dead, sports is all Detroit's got." Yep, sure wouldn't want to beat up on Detroit. Even so, Detroit has the DIA, the casinos, Greektown, a busy music scene, some nice theaters, access to Windsor, and quite a bit of history. And tickets to Comerica are supercheap so it is quite an affordable saturday afternoon entertainment for people on a budget. In the 20 years Albom has owned Detroit, he's had Barry Sanders, Isiah Thomas, Thomas Hearns, the Fab Five, The Flint Stones, Steve Yzerman, Dennis Rodman, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Jud Heathcote, Cecil Fielder, Scotty Bowman and Sparky Anderson to write about. In the 20 years that [random sports journalist] has owned Chicago, he's had Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Mike Ditka, Sammy Sosa, Phil Jackson, Jeremy Roenick, Ed Belfour, Frank Thomas, and Scott Bartman to write about. Give any city 20 years and there will be some interesting sports-related stuff happening. Pick a name out of a hat fer crissakes.

posted by insomnyuk at 02:44 PM on July 11, 2005

Wait, Mitch Albom is points in a city's favor?

posted by yerfatma at 03:04 PM on July 11, 2005

Beelooow me, Weedy.. Toronto aint that far from D-town, fool. Hell, you cant even listen to Howard Stern in Canada cause you guys are a bunch of pansies!A 87 Whitesnake shirt and Trans Am gets more ladies than a 05 Barenaked Ladies (from Canada I might add) and a Hyundai! Sorry, I can't resist. We can listen to Howard Stern. We don't. Subtle difference. And, man, I know this one hurts - but we make more cars than you do (Hyundai - ha!). And for the last time, we've apologized for the Barenaked Ladies, please stop buying their albums - you're only making things worse.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:18 PM on July 11, 2005

I do remember Howard getting pulled from Toronto because of poor numbers. That's called vote of the people, and is not a sign of weakness. Kind of the opposite, actually. And I wouldn't hold up Mitch Albom as a big plus for your town. I don't hate him as much as some people, but if he's owning your town, your town is going cheap. I feel for Detroit, and I believe that city is going to turn around, someday, somehow. But the best years of Detroit as a sports town are half a century ago, when the Red Wings and Tigers were winning pretty regularly, the Lions were in their ascendancy, and the Wolverines were gaining their momentum. Since then, it's been one of those at a time, at most. The fact that Detroit has lured sports' biggest showcase twice, while New York and Chicago have yet to host a Super Bowl, says all you need to know about Motown as a sports town. That they need the boost of an arbitrarily-dispensed "big time" promotional event to kick-start apathy in their town more often than New York or Chicago do? Props to Whitlock for going to bat for D-town, and it's not like he has nothing to work with, but if you're reaching this much to make your point, it's time for a rewrite.

posted by chicobangs at 03:31 PM on July 11, 2005

First things first -- Barenaked Ladies need no apology. They write great songs, they're fun and they kick ass live. What the hell do you want -- more Britney? Actually, if you're picking fucking David Coverdale over Ed Robertson musically, you've already said all that needs to be said. Now, Detroit is not even remotely the best sports town in America. The Lions and Tigers (oh my!) routinely suck. Here's a link to the Tigers' attendance records since 1901. Looks to me like they hit the league average when they are top contenders and struggle like hell every other year. Oh, and it wasn't a small park or anything -- Tiger Stadium held better than 52,000. On top of that, they averaged 17K per game in 2003 in a nearly-new park. The Lions of the 1990s weren't big draws, either, even with Barry Sanders. They averaged around 85% of capacity in the Silverdome, which ain't that great for the NFL. In fact, the Lions were 15th in the NFC in average attendance in 2003, finishing ahead of only -- you guessed it, Phoenix. That's like finishing second-to-last at the family reunion sack race -- and the ass you kicked was your great-aunt's. I know part of what makes a sports town great is intangible, and I admit, Detroit has some flava (hey, I used an urban term!). But do I need to remind anyone about the Malice in the Palace? I know, I know ... you can't single out a few fans and tar the whole city, right? Yes, yes I can. Tell me the last time this happened in St. Louis, Houston or Cleveland. Hell, Detroit fans might have busted a cap in Steve Bartman's ass on the spot. I have some fond memories of Detroit, and I even like the Tigers, but ... c'mon.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:01 PM on July 11, 2005

Weedy, apparently you are totally baked and cant see through the haze- who said anything about car building? i was refering to driving as you refered to Detroiters driving T/A's. If you're perception of us had been driving Escalades with 24's I think you would have been alot closer to reality ( as much as I hate to admit it) I just dont get the Whitesnake reference, I mean youre talking about Motown here!

posted by Craven Morehead at 05:23 PM on July 11, 2005

Aw - it was all in fun that has since obviously blown up in my face - now the Barenaked Ladies League is camped outside of my house trying to persuade me to see the light by constantly playing "Brian Wilson" over and over. I am finished. And for the record - the Whitesnake reference was poor. It is Motown, and respect is due.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:13 PM on July 11, 2005

In reference to the Malice in the Palace comment, how can you paint the whole city with the brush of one idiot? I think the Pacers players came out of that one with more egg on their face than the people of "Auburn Hills" (Lets face it, Auburn Hills is a long ways from Detroit). Did you just see the people of Detroit cheering "BOBBY!BOBBY! BOBBY!" for Abreu on like his 14th dinger? Only a class group of people would do that. Props to Bobby on 24. Weedy, I accept your olive branch. (hand outstreched with trepidation) Good luck with the League in your front yard.

posted by Craven Morehead at 07:52 PM on July 11, 2005

The fact that Detroit has lured sports' biggest showcase twice, while New York and Chicago have yet to host a Super Bowl, says all you need to know about Motown as a sports town. Yes, all you need to know is that Detroit has a dome and New York and Chicago have outdoor football stadiums. If NYC or Chicago had a dome, I'd guarantee you that they'd have played at least two games there. As it is, the NFL insists on a controlled climate for their big game. Wimps.

posted by grum@work at 08:05 PM on July 11, 2005

In reference to the Malice in the Palace comment, how can you paint the whole city with the brush of one idiot? Which idiot are you referring to -- the idiot who threw the beer, the idiot who threw the chair, one of several idiots who threw punches, or an idiot who confronted athletes on the court?

posted by rcade at 09:35 PM on July 11, 2005

But the Lions and the Tigers play downtown in brand-new, state-of-the-art stadiums that sit within blocks of each other. Who cares if they win games...they have state-of-the-art stadiums w/i blocks of each other!? I also like how he somehow makes BSU's success against UNLV into a Detroit victory. Please, lets not take that away from Muncie, IN. Muncie, being the armpit of the midwest, needs all the positives it can get.

posted by curlyelk at 09:52 PM on July 11, 2005

Does it really matter where the best sports town in the USA is located? The best town is more than likely the town where you reside. This thread has turned into an immature pissing contest.

posted by panteeze at 10:55 PM on July 11, 2005

"This thread has turned into an immature pissing contest." Well then I will follow uniform immature pissing contest rules and say CLEVELAND IS THE BEST SPORTS TOWN!!!

posted by gregy606 at 12:41 AM on July 12, 2005

i just cant resist sometimes sry guys....

posted by gregy606 at 12:42 AM on July 12, 2005

Mature pissing contest at my house tonite! Old guys and a keg of beer.

posted by yerfatma at 06:06 AM on July 12, 2005

Mature pissing contest at my house tonite! Old guys and a keg of beer. Foam on the Lamprey!

posted by Mayor Curley at 06:44 AM on July 12, 2005

Despite ancient history, I sincerely doubt you'd remove your member anywhere near a lamprey.

posted by yerfatma at 07:54 AM on July 12, 2005

Why would anyone their member near this? Image hosted by Photobucket.com Ohhhhhhhhh ... nevermind. As for tarring an entire city, yup, I went there. Auburn Hills apparently isn't that far from Detroit, because it seems to be filled with Pistons fans every time I see a game. Go figure. When you can name me another incident (in North America) as completely out-of-control and ridiculous as that one, I'll start the clean-up efforts. I'm waiting.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:22 AM on July 12, 2005

I only came in here because i heard someone was bashing Barenaked Ladies... And i just wanted to join in, my god do they suck.

posted by StarFucker at 10:47 AM on July 12, 2005

when all you got in life is bad weather, poverty and unemployment, I guess sports really becomes important. In hellholes like Detroit, that's about all they have. I second that for cities in the midwest, even smaller cities like San Antonio. But if you are talking great athtletes that have played in big sports towns, you can't ignore Los Angeles. Magic Johnson, Kareem, Wayne Gretzky, OJ Simpson, Marcus Allen,USC, UCLA Bruins 10 Championships, Sandy Koufax, Tommy Lasorda, Jackie Robinson..ect ect ect The list is too long. And the people here are from all walks of life..rich and poor and they all love winners. And when you are a winner, it doesn't get any better than LA!

posted by bluekarma at 11:07 AM on July 12, 2005

And when you are a winner, it doesn't get any better than LA! What about Mount Olympus?

posted by yerfatma at 11:36 AM on July 12, 2005

That's it, StarFooker! Me n' you are gonna throw hands! Seriously, why do people hate on them? I just don't get it.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:05 PM on July 12, 2005

But if you look at the great sports towns you do think of Twop major ones. Los Angeles and NY. Both cities have their fair share of all the fine thing os Detroit. Homeless, smog, crime, death..........do I need to go on. Look in 90% of all great sports towns and there is a getto close by.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 12:55 PM on July 12, 2005

wfrazerjr, i like 'em. i could do without some of the top 40 stuff though. but "gordon" was an essential in college.

posted by goddam at 01:26 PM on July 12, 2005

jtrainhoopster, I don't understand your point. Is there a city where nobody dies. Where everybody has a home. Where there is no crime. Do I need to go on. Also, when I think of great sports towns, Los Angeles is not near the top of any list. The Kings, Lakers and Sparks only draw movie stars and people to watch the back of their heads, the Clippers and Galaxy don't draw anyone, and...........what's the NFL team in LA. Oh right, the Oakland Raiders. Chicago, Toronto, even Dallas, Miami and St. Louis are better sports towns than Los Angeles. Detroit belongs in the conversation too, sure, even if it's not right at the top. But all those cities have homeless and pollution problems of one kind or another. (Toronto might not have much of a ghetto, but that's because the Barenaked Ladies solved the whole urban-blight problem with the sheer force of their music.) All of these cities, and all other cities in North America especially, have poor people and pollution. Los Angeles included.

posted by chicobangs at 01:31 PM on July 12, 2005

When I think of the city of Los Angeles, I immediately picture...Wayne Gretzky. There he is skating down Sunset Boulevard, weaving in and out of the hookers until he fires a slapshot that knocks down the Hollywood sign.

posted by YukonGold at 01:56 PM on July 12, 2005

I am not debating that point at all. I was just saying that aside fromt the pistons of late, Detroit has had nothing (aside from the red wings and the pistons of the early 90's) for a long time. About not having a football team you are right, that is a mis-justice to the area but I live in OC and the (Anaheim) Angels were among the leaders in attendance 5 years running. As far as the Sparks and the Galaxy go, (sorry ladies and soccer fans) but the sports suck and should not even be mentioned I don't care where they are located. You are right about the death and crime, but that was in responce to one of the other posts. Lets look at the number 1 and two sports markets.....NY and LA.......Detroit (aside fromt he last couple of days) is not even in the top ten in my opinion or anybody else's who matter. The only reason Miami is such a draw is Shaq, without him, they are nothing. Also, be nice to the Clippers, it is not thier fault ownership is a joke. :0) Bottom line, Detroit has to get some better Champs to become :One of the best sports towns" Big Blu football (East Lancing) and the Pistons cant carry that state all alone.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 02:52 PM on July 12, 2005

All of these cities, and all other cities in North America especially, have poor people and pollution. Los Angeles included. A HA! But our homeless have Blackberries and 3 picture studio deals.

posted by lilnemo at 03:54 PM on July 12, 2005

Detroit must be watching a lot of sports on TV. Here is a list of the FATTEST cities in America, as in, most obese people: 1. Detroit 2. Houston 3. Dallas 4. San Antonio 5. Chicago 6. Fort Worth 7. Philadelphia 8. Arlington, Texas 9. Cleveland, Ohio 10. Columbus, Ohio "The Detroit Health Department and mayor’s office did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment Friday." Apparently they were out to lunch.

posted by mayerkyl at 04:02 PM on July 12, 2005

Get your facts straight, jtrainhoopster, Big Blue is in Ann Arbor, not East Lansing . East Lansing is home to MSU, who brought the Lakers Magic Johnson, born and raised in Lansing ( 100 or so miles to the north of Detroit) LA is by no means a majors sports town, the Lakers suck, the Dodgers suck and Angelenos are too wrapped up in themselves to give a damn about sports. The stars (?) like Nicholson that show up for games are comped tickets as a marketing ploy. When good sports towns are discussed, LA is never brought up. NY, I will agree, has rabid fans. Hell, this is a discussion on best sports towns, you could make a case for Denver, while their teams underperform they still have loyal fans, great facilities for their teams, and lots of sports bars. I live in Phoenix now, and with all the Spring training stadiums, the D-Backs, Coyotes, and God forbid the Cardinals, and Mercury I wouldnt call Phoenix even close to being a good sports town because everyone here is from somewhere else and support their hometown teams. There are probably more Cub fans here than D-Backs fans. Most people have come from Cali, but they dont seem to be noticable from a sports standpoint. I was born and raised in Lansing, lived in Denver, and now live in Phoenix and Detroit and Michigan in general is by far a better sports "area".

posted by Craven Morehead at 04:49 PM on July 12, 2005

My bad, I just know that not a whole lot comes out of MI. Sorry to insult the maze and blue like that. My whole point to all I said is that Detroit is lucky to have sports teams at all. And to say the Lakers suck, after one bad year without a real coach is a little harsh. When Larry Brown leaves that SH%T hole Detroit, we will see how good of a team they are.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 05:08 PM on July 12, 2005

Well, there is the small matter of x million people and no NFL team in LA.

posted by yerfatma at 05:18 PM on July 12, 2005

Well we can chalk that one up to the braintrust that is the NFL owners, Madamm RAM and The Godfather. I have no answer for them.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 05:24 PM on July 12, 2005

For your information there has been alot that has come out of Michigan, moron, gee, how many titles do the Lakers have in the last couple of years and how many do the Pistons? Havent heard of the Kings winning any since maybe Gretzky played for them. And the Dodgers, I dont think you even wanna go there. Larrhy Brown is gonna get canned, not just "leave" as you put it. Detroit has so much more loyalty to it's teams than LA- that is why we have a NFL team and you dont. Lucky to have teams at all, geez ..It's called tradition, baby, and that's something LA doesnt have. All your teams have relocated there from somewhere else.. Brooklyn, Milwaukee, St.Louis..

posted by Craven Morehead at 06:04 PM on July 12, 2005

1. Detroit 2. Houston 3. Dallas 4. San Antonio 5. Chicago 6. Fort Worth 7. Philadelphia 8. Arlington, Texas 9. Cleveland, Ohio 10. Columbus, Ohio No wonder I had 2 heart attacks by the time I was 45...and I played soccer over 25 years!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 06:05 PM on July 12, 2005

And Tex, old boy, you didn't even mention the 3 other Texas locales in the top 10!

posted by owlhouse at 06:43 PM on July 12, 2005

Houston's actually #1 now. Dallas dropped a bit, and Arlington somehow found it's way onto the 25 fittest in the most recent survey.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:30 PM on July 12, 2005

owlhouse, that's only because I haven't lived in those 3...yet.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 05:16 AM on July 13, 2005

ok Craven, you tool. If you want to get down to who has had more titles in the last few years, how about in the last ten years? Do I hear more from LA area then anywhere in MI. When was the last Tiger title, I believe the Dodgers (who came to LA because NY sucked) have more then Detrit has from LA alone. No now thats not fair, NL vs AL, the Halos have one in the last three years, how many do the Tigers have? Hold on let me get my adding machine ready. Well by my calculations, NONE!!! Lets look at Football, no matter where a team comes from. Lions-0 all CA teams over the last lets say 15 years-----more then MI. But lets not look just at the three major sports, lets look at NCAA sports........Big blue won a national title last when in football? USC I think has won a couple. the PAC 10 had how many bowl wins over that lst 5 years and how many did the Big Ten have? Want to talk stats........MI can hold CA's Jock when it comes to titles. Now back to the original subject....Detroit is not one of the best sports towns in America. For fan support (even though there is only one sport that anybody gives a rats ass about) has to be Nebraska and Green Bay. If you want a whole break down of championships for LA based or LA area teams let me know and I can write you a book. Championships from MI might take you about a minute.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 01:00 PM on July 13, 2005

For fan support (even though there is only one sport that anybody gives a rats ass about) has to be Nebraska and Green Bay. Seconded. I grew up in Omaha, and didn't realize how thorough the Husker worship was until I left and saw that other cities' newspapers don't cover college football on the front page in June. My wife's from just south of Green Bay, and I see the same thing over there. And only over there.

posted by cobra! at 01:14 PM on July 13, 2005

I know people from Nebraska and the live, eat and breath Husker football year round. I have family on my wifes side that still live south of Green Bay and cities shut down on Sundays for Packer games. Now that is a loyal town.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 01:36 PM on July 13, 2005

stupidest. article premise. ever.

posted by garfield at 02:26 PM on July 13, 2005

Number of championships never means anything in discussions like this. Remember, Darko has more rings than Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James combined. Does that make him a better player? So why would it make any city a better sports town than any other?

posted by MeatSaber at 02:36 PM on July 13, 2005

I agree, I was just firing back at a point he made.

posted by jtrainhoopster at 03:07 PM on July 13, 2005

garfield: stupidest. article premise. ever. Ya mean the apparent premise that what really makes a "great sports town" is hosting major sporting events? If so, I'm inclined to agree. Whitlock is apparently very excited about the Super Bowl going to Detroit (and I am too, but for other reasons; as a New England fan, I hope there are ten inches of snow on game day), and that event doesn't even require you to have a team in the mix. In the end, articles proclaiming the "greatest sports town" are, and will remain, a dufus-ass waste of time, particularly when they don't even really define their criteria. The fact of the matter is that having lotsa big live sporting events happen locally doesn't make for wonderfulness for anyone but a bar owner or a homer with too much time and money. Unless you've got a lot of money or time on your hands, you're not trotting the few state-of-the-art blocks between the Tigers' and Lions' stadiums to watch live games all the time; you're watching on TV with everyone else, so what makes the locale so important? There may be "nothing funny about Detroit when it comes to sports", but I'm laughing my ass off at Jason Whitlock.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:22 PM on July 13, 2005

as a New England fan, I hope there are ten inches of snow on game day Seems like you'd need more snow to break the roof on Ford Field.

posted by yerfatma at 04:13 PM on July 13, 2005

Seems like you'd need more snow to break the roof on Ford Field. True, it's not the Razor Blade, where you can simply leave the roof open when a storm is brewing ;-) I'm serious; I love Snow Bowls.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:17 AM on July 15, 2005

What in god's name do you assholes have against detroit?! You're acting like it's been the way it is now for it's entire existence. Well I've got news for you: it hasn't. It was the 3rd biggest city and one of the most lively cities in the country until the race riots in the late 60's. Since then because of a mayor that refused to cooperate with the suburbs, people decided they didn't need to stay in the big city. This happened around the entire country, but unfortunately, Detroit never got a mayor that would fix the problem. As for sports, the Piston's are the best basketball team in the country and ended the tyrannical reign of the lakers. The Red Wings have the most Stanley cup wins of any U.S. city. The Tigers alright are in a slump but who hasn't been? Remember 1984 when they started 35-5 and then became champions and one of the best teams in baseball history. And besides the Tigers are getting better and better. Things are looking better for the Lions, I mean they can't get any worse. What about the Wolverines and Spartans? Two of the best colleges in America and some of the most passionate fans in the country. The Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers and Lions also have extremely passionate fans. You'll find every Pistons, Red Wings, and Lions game sold out and see the Tigers fans filling up almost all of Comerica Park. Downtown is getting better, but you people are acting like it should be as nice as Chicago overnight. Well, it just doesn't work that way. There are many new developments getting planned downtown and extreme potential. As soon as Kwame (yes he is a corupt and terrible mayor which is why things have stalled recently) get's voted out of office, the city will take a turn for the better. Now most of you (especially the one called Wfrazerjr) are just throwning around mindless criticism. Maybe you should actually learn about the city before you bitch about things you know nothing about. All of your city's have problems too, don't act like they don't and the sports probably isn't nearly as good as motown. Detroit's an easy target I know. So stop taking cheap shots. Damn that's a long entry sorry about that.

posted by Jonzo at 12:19 PM on July 18, 2005

mitch albom the sports writer: grade A. mitch albom the author of schlocky short books: grade D-.

posted by ramon at 04:41 PM on August 07, 2005

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