Detroit is America's Best Sports Town - thanks to Tigers, golf and more
The Detroit Tigers are on top of the sports world after dismantling the New York Yankeees last week. And as we await their inevitable entry into the 2006 World Series, now is the perfect time to proclaim Detroit as America’s Best Sports Town.
It isn’t even close, frankly. Folks in New York, Boston, Chicago and Philly, hear me out.
Because this is a golf site, we’ll start there.
Consider Oakland Hills, a Donald Ross masterpiece in the northern ‘burbs that’s hosted the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup. It’s also consistently placed among America’s Top Ten. Ben Hogan’s 67 on Sunday in 1951’s Open is one of the most storied rounds in golf history to this day, thanks to his famous, “I brought the Monster to its knees,” declaration afterwards.
For the blue-collar public, Detroit metro has enough daily fee courses per capita to accommodate this golf-crazed state, and Donald Ross even has 54 incredibly affordable holes open to the public, at Warren Valley’s East and West courses and Rackham Golf Course down the road.
Detroit courses also have an affordability any Chicagoan would salivate over and an accessibility a New Yorker could only dream of. No need to bring more than $50 for greens fees at a decent track on weekends or show up before daybreak just to get on one of the area’s prized courses. Afternoon league play is also huge, from the relatively upscale Oakland County municipals to the south - where jean shorts and tank tops are the norm during St. Johns and Fox Hills twilight.
There’s also the perfect golf getaway close by. Northern Michigan is located just a couple hours away, opening to an endless playground of some of the country’s most beautiful courses thanks to Gaylord and Traverse City – Treetops, Grand Traverse Resort, Arcadia Bluffs, Boyne, Garland, etc.
Then consider the Big Four Pro Sports. The fans are simply rabid about all of them, even the abysmal Detroit Lions, who never fail to amaze Detroiters with their endless ways to blow a game. Despite a tradition of misery, Ford Field inexplicably sells out. Unlike most other towns that are quick to abandon a failure, the Lions remain relevant. Call it devotion or stupidity, few other cities latch on to a loser like Detroit can.
The result is player loyalty like nowhere else. Steve Yzerman had the longest captaincy in sports history for one team. Alan Trammell and “Sweet Lou” Whitaker turned double plays for nearly two decades. And when is the last time you heard of a Detroit icon leave in hopes of winning a championship somewhere else like Karl Malone, Ray Borque, Gary Payton, etc? Heck, Barry Sanders abruptly retired before asking for a trade out of Honolulu Blue. If you didn’t win in Detroit, winning elsewhere doesn’t really matter.
Ring already secure, Pistons center Ben Wallace sought the counsel of his teammates before reluctantly agreeing to go to the Bulls and be dearly overpaid for the remainder of his career. Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars spent their whole careers with the Pistons, and now Dumars is calling the shots in the front office.
Above anything else, it comes down to the fans, the people of Detroit. It might be because there isn’t much else besides sports to root for in this town these days, but they are the best around. They take their teams and their players personally (Palace brawl), and they never leave them behind. When the team is struggling, they don’t turn their backs, they go down with them. When a player is attacked (like Kris Draper or Ben Wallace), the fans defend the team like no other and when they win, as we saw after Game four vs. the Yankees at Comerica Park, even the darkest parts of town light up with pride.
Keep your $200 million payroll, New York. Stay pessimistic and you’ll never win another championship, Philly. Jordan was a long time ago, Chicago. You couldn’t even keep icons Roger Clemens or Johnny Damon, and Tom Brady could leave soon too if the Patriots aren’t careful, Beantown.
Watch when the World Series gears up to hit Motown in the same year as the Super Bowl and 15 months after the MLB All Star Game, and you’ll agree it’s impossible to top Detroit Sports.
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Yet there you are, proclaiming Detroit, Michigan "America's Best Sports Town" and talking about some golf courses?!?!?
Ok, buddy, whatever you say.
Great sports towns are Great Sports Towns, win or lose.
But who cares what Chris thinks? Even if you don't follow baseball, you gotta love what the Tigers are doing.
Brandon did a fine job of enumerating all the points in favor of Detroit's preeminence; so I'll just add: 110,000 fans every Sat. in Ann Arbor and the Detroit Shock - champions again!
I just checked out the Sporting News 2006 list. It's got Miami 2nd?
I had no idea a city can win with one championship team where no one goes to games and another where the fans show up to games in the 2nd quarter and leave in the 3rd constituted a good sports city.
Dallas ain't a bad sports town, I'll give em Dallas on a good year.