Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Underdogs

Conor P. Williams has a really nice piece at TPM on how the Detroit Tigers are a metaphor for the city and the people who love them both.

The Tigers have been contenders for much of the last decade, and — unlike Boston — the narrative of brightening the city’s shadows has been constantly available. Though the city declared bankruptcy last year, it suffered no punctuated, violent tragedy. No bombs detonated within the city limits, no sacred days on the calendar were defiled. More or less, Detroit simply continued to be Detroit, a phrase which conveys more than it should. To be Detroit now is, at best, to be a punchline. At worst, it is to be a town left behind, an outmoded city, a place with no obvious purpose or future.

Detroit’s crisis is so enormous and so constant as to drop from sight — there’s no seeing the entire forest amidst the trees. In Detroit, suffering is the norm, the whole story. There, “tragedy” is just another way of spelling “Tuesday.” And Wednesday. And all the other days ending in ‘y’.

It’s a permanent underdog. It’s always eligible for pity — and scorn. Detroit’s long economic winter doesn’t end with Spring Training.

And yet they still manage to survive and keep trying.