Motown revving up for Final Four
Detroit may be at the heart of the U.S. economic meltdown, but for a sports fan there are few places better than the Motor City, even if it is sputtering along these days.
This weekend Motown is revving up for one of the biggest parties in American sport, with close to 100,000 college basketball fans hitting town for a bit of March Madness and the Final Four.
Before that hangover is cured, they will be lining up again across the road from Ford Field at Comerica next Friday for the Detroit Tigers home opener.
There is even hope better times are ahead for the toothless Detroit Lions, who get the first pick in the NFL draft as reward for becoming the first team to finish a season 0-16.
Even in Hockeytown USA they don’t sell out the Joe Louis Arena every night for the Wings anymore, or the Palace out in Auburn Hill for the Pistons.
The Lions saw their sell-out run at Ford Field end as they bumbled their way through last year’s embarrassing campaign and the Tigers are sure to feel the bite of the recession with season ticket sales dipping almost 40 percent.
But even beaten down by a withering economy and a nearly bankrupt auto industry, Detroiters have found a way to support their teams, scraping together enough for a day at the ballpark or a night at the Joe.
Maybe because of that, there is nothing smug about Detroit sports fans. A blue collar town, Detroiters work hard and expect their teams to do the same.
But they also know what it means to struggle in the Motor City and do not give up easily on their teams.
Boston may have the Red Sox and Celtics, the Bruins and the Patriots. Los Angeles may have the Lakers and the glitz and the New York Yankees a new billion dollar ball park.
But Detroit has soul and a determination to get better. Even if Detroit’s street lights don’t always work, most nights their teams do.
PHOTO: Michigan State Spartans Korie Lucious cuts down part of the net after the Spartans defeated the Louisville Cardinals during their NCAA men’s Midwest Regional finals basketball game in Indianapolis, Indiana, March 29, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes