Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Elmwood Cemetery is a Jewel in the Heart of Detroit

Elmwood Cemetery sprawls quietly across Detroit's near-eastside, a seven-iron from people chucking dice on craps tables in Greektown. Martin Luther King High School lives just across the street. City Sports Center lives just across the fence.

It rests in the shadows of downtown Detroit, and yet Elmwood - an 86-acre chunk of historic real estate - provides an interesting reminder that Michigan's largest city was once just a settlement on the rise. Elmwood was born in 1846 when a handful of prominent Detroiters ventured out into what they thought of as the "suburbs" to establish a resting place for the city's residents.

The suburbs? At East Lafayette and Mt. Elliott? It's interesting to see the world through the perspective of time.

Over the next 160-plus years, Elmwood grew to become not only one of the most important cemeteries in the city, but in the state. It is Michigan's oldest continuously operating, non-denominational cemetery, the burial site of a veritable Who's Who of famous Detroiters and Michiganders. Politician Lewis Cass is buried there. So is War of 1812 veteran Charles Larned, Detroit Mayor Coleman Young, and whiskey maker Hiram Walker.

We understand that a cemetery might not make your tourism to-do list. But Elmwood - with an old-world style chapel and a Victorian Gothic-style gatehouse - is an interesting visit. Like the folks at MotorCity Casino like to say, it's a million miles away.

And it's right down the street.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Comerica Park's Cobb Statue Honors a Legend

Sure, Verlander's arm and a couple of choice hits from Dirks had something to do with it. But no doubt a little DT Love went a long way in helping the Tigers beat the Mariners last night. With that, we continue the magic...

Funny that old pal Karl Z should happen to hop aboard the Times train earlier today. Even funnier that we're unintentionally pilfering his Facebook thread that raised an interesting question about those statues out in the Comerica Park leftfield concourse. For it was already our plan to feature one of those statues with today's update, mostly to show off our miraculous photography skills. (Note to novice photographers: When in doubt, position your subject in front of the sun. It looks really cool, provided you don't flinch an inch in either direction, in which case you might go blind.)

Tigers greats who are honored with a statue at Comerica Park include  Horton, Kaline, Gehringer, Newhouser and Greenberg. And, as pictured above, Ty Cobb, whose statue relives Cobb's sportsman-like way of driving sharpened, metal cleats into a shortstop's shins. The six together form an impressive collection of talent, and no doubt fans have already spent hours at the Elwood chatting about who should be next. Karl Z. posed that question to Facebook users, who had some interesting responses. Lolich? The Bird? Whitaker and Tram, perhaps?

Some of the younger fans might even be tempted to prematurely anoint Smyly, who's riding a five-game tear that no doubt will continue this evening. The Tigers' surge is just beginning. To help keep it rolling, forward a link to this story to a friend.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Comerica Park Scoreboard Looms Large Over Leftfield

In the wake of Octavio Dotel's momentary inability to throw a baseball straight, we figured that maybe what the Tiges need to get rolling out west is a little DT Love. In the coming days, look for anything Tigers related to fill this space, which we hope is at least a slight improvement over our recent habit of posting nothing at all.

Will it work? It's anybody's guess, but I like the odds. It's only a matter of time before the Tigers bats heat up. Hell, Cabrera hit a ball so hard last night he nearly killed a guy, and it resulted in an inning-ending double play. The bounces will start going our way soon and when they do, the DT would love to be there waiting to scoop up some of the credit, even if it's only being dished out internally.

So here we go, aiming to ignite a surge that we haven't ridden since 35-5. We begin out beyond the leftfield fence, to the already-monstrous scoreboard that was enlarged this off-season. There are a number of reasons for the upgrade, including a switch to LED technology and the desire to raise the scoreboard about 16 feet so that none of it was blocked by that corner of upper-deck seating down the leftfield line.

One other rumor says that Tigers brass, upon signing Prince Fielder in the off-season, wanted to make opposing pitchers crap their pants by showing a 5,000-square foot picture of Prince whenever he's on deck. So far it hasn't worked. A quick look at MLB stats tells us that OMBMBOPACP (On-Mound Bowel Movements By Opposing Pitchers At Comerica Park) is still at zero, but give it time.

The Love is just beginning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hockey in the 'Hood: Red Wings set to take ice at Clark Park

First came those annual NHL games on New Year's Day. Then came the Big Chill at the Big House. The outdoor hockey craze continues its roll this weekend when the Red Wings take to the outdoor rink at Clark Park for a one-hour, open-to-the-public practice.

Crews were hard at work Thursday morning setting up bleachers. They tell me a temporary press box will be constructed on the opposite side of the rink. In all, there will be enough seating to accommodate about 1,500 to 2,000 people, which means if you want to get a good look at Pavel and the boys, you'd better get down there early. Like...yesterday.

The event is being held to benefit various Detroit-area charities. Admission is free, but upon entry fans will be asked to give canned goods (to benefit Gleaners Food Bank of Southwest Michigan), gently used hockey equipment (to benefit Clark Park and the Detroit Hockey Association) or a $2 donation (to benefit the Clark Park Coalition). The gates will open early, hours ahead of the Wings' scheduled practice time of 11 a.m. to noon.

The rink at Clark Park, incidentally, is open all winter, offering open skating and drop-in hockey daily. On March 3, the park will be hopping again during the 20th anniversary Clark Park Winter Carnival. You can get all the details at www.clarkparkdetroit.com.

(Thanks to avid Times reader Squish for feeding us the tip about the Wings practice.)