Play Ball! Detroit Tigers start the season today

Comerica Park, Detroit by Kevin Povenz

The Detroit Tigers open the season against the Cincinnati Reds TONIGHT at 6:10 PM at Great American Ballpark. The home opener (at an empty Comerica Park) is Monday night. It will definitely be a strange season (with a 16 team playoff), but I for one welcome a slice of summer that’s been missing.

Kevin took this photo last summer. See more in his Landscape album on Flickr.

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Dearborn’s Ford-Wyoming Drive-in Theatre #1 nationally!

Off Season by Derek Farr

Off Season by Derek Farr

The Freep tweets that Dearborn’s Ford-Wyoming Drive-in Theatre was the top grossing movie theater in the nation last weekend. The Henry Ford shares a little of the history of this Michigan icon:

The Ford-Wyoming drive-in was built by Charlie Schafer, opening for business in May 1950. He and his family grew a veritable movie house empire in the Metro-Detroit area under the umbrella of Wayne Amusements, but the Ford-Wyoming is the only evidence of the legacy that remains. When it was first built, there was only one screen—the backside of the immense Streamline Moderne structure that sits at the front of the property. One screen with accommodation for 750 cars grew to nine screens and a 3,000-car capacity, and the theatre began to make the claim of being “the largest drive-in in the world.” Today the theatre has downsized to five screens.

Read more at The Henry Ford & visit the Ford Wyoming Drive-in online for current shows.

Derek took this photo way back in 2012. See lots more in his massive Detroit album on Flickr.

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Detroit March to Freedom – June 23, 1963

Walk to Freedom Detroit June 23 1963

Detroit March to Freedom by Jim Yardley (courtesy Walter P Reuther Library)

Dr. Martin Luther King speaks at Cobo Hall
Dr. Martin Luther King speaks at Cobo Hall

Click on Detroit shares that the Detroit March to Freedom on June 23, 1963 was at the time the largest civil rights demonstration in U.S. history, with 125,000 marching down Woodward Avenue culminating in a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King at Cobo Hall:

The crowd carried signs and moved in relative silence as tens of thousands more watched from sidewalks and buildings.

The route of the march started at a twenty-one-block staging area near Adelaide Street. It followed Woodward Avenue to Jefferson Avenue, then headed west through the Civic Center. An hour and a half after it began, it ended at Cobo Hall, where 25,000 people, an estimated 95% of them African American, filled the building to capacity.

Thousands of demonstrators who could not find a seat spilled onto the lawns and malls outside, and listened to the programming through loudspeakers. Inside, public officials, African American business and civic leaders, and dignitaries including John B. Swainson, Congressman Charles Diggs, and Rev. Albert Cleage were among the speakers.

They note that the rally is remembered primarily for Dr. King’s first delivery of what became the “I Have a Dream” speech two months later at the historic March on Washington. Read on for more.

You can see a bunch more photos in the Walter P Reuther’s Equality & Civil Rights Activism in America photo gallery. Here’s a cool overview of the massive crowd from the Detroit Historical Society & listen to the speech right here:

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Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest underway

a Belle Isle deer by Race Bannon

a Belle Isle deer by Race Bannon

The Detroit News Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest rewards outstanding photos of Michigan, its people and animals, with nine prizes of as much as $300 doled out at the end of the summer:

Each week, judges from the Detroit News photo staff will select 4 photo finalists, 16 total in each category over the entire contest period. At the end of the contest, The Detroit News photo staff judges will select one winner in each category. One People’s Choice winner in each category will be chosen by an online public vote, Aug. 20-24. Each of the six winners will receive $300.

At the end of the contest, three Awards of Excellence will be chosen by the Detroit News photo staff from the remaining finalists of all three themes, and will receive $100 each.

The Celebrate Michigan Photo Contest is open to non-professional photographers age 18 and older. All photos must have been shot in Michigan, with no significant alteration by a software program. More specifics can be found in the official contest rules.

Race gave me a heads up about the contest, so I went back to a favorite photo of mine that he took 15 years ago. See more in his My Belle Isle gallery.

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What the heck is Honolulu Blue?

Detroit Lions by Healthier Michigan

Detroit Lions by A Healthier Michigan

Yesterday as it often does, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find the answer as to why the Detroit Lions official blue is called “Honolulu Blue”. Fortunately,  The Evolution of the Detroit Lions’ Uniform by Bill Dow has the answer:

When WJR owner G.A. Richards purchased the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans in 1934 and moved the team to Detroit, the newly renamed Lions unveiled a striking uniform consisting of a blue jersey, silver pants, blue socks, and a silver helmet.

According to a 1950 Lion media guide, “the blue, a distinctive shade was especially developed for G.A. Richards.” According to team lore, their first owner came up with the color after admiring the hue of the Pacific Ocean on a trip to Hawaii and the shade was named “Honolulu blue.”

In 1999, Glenn Presnell, the then lone surviving member of the first Lion’s team and the league’ oldest alumnus, described his role in selecting the first uniform in an interview with me.

“When we met with Mr. Richards, my wife and I also helped select the Lions’ colors, “ Presnell said. “He had asked us to look at the different jerseys in the next room. There were all different colors, orange and black, red and white, you name it. We saw that Honolulu blue and silver and said we liked it best. So Richards chose that.”

You can read on for more including the Lions brief & doomed flirtation with Hoosier colors.

See more in A Healthier Michigan’s Lions Thanksgiving Day 2014 album!

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The Port of Detroit

Letters in Port Detroit by Scott Shields

Letters in Port Detroit by Scott Shields

The Port of Detroit is located along the west side of the Detroit River and is the largest seaport in the state of Michigan:

The port consists of multiple marine terminals handling general, liquid, and bulk cargo as well as passengers. The Port of Detroit’s single most valuable commodity is steel, and the largest commodity handled by tonnage is ore. Other important commodities handled at the port include stone, coal and cement.

…Each year, the Port Authority oversees millions of tons of cargo at 29 private and public sector terminal facilities in the Port of Detroit. International and domestic high-grade steel products, coal, iron ore, cement, aggregate and other road building commodities are shipped in and out of Detroit’s port. It is the third largest steel-handling port in the nation.

More at the Port of Detroit website.

Scott shared this photo back in April in one of my favorite Facebook groups, Detroit’s Urban Beauty. Click to view it in the group & see more of his work on his Facebook page.

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Lights in the Darkness

Detroit lit up in red white and blue to honor medical professionals, first responders, service workers

Detroit lit up in red white and blue by kare hav

Here’s an absolutely stunning photo from yesterday that’s the latest cover for the Michigan in Pictures Facebook page. It shows the city of Detroit from across the Detroit River as it lights up the night in red white and blue to honor medical professionals, first responders & service workers.

They definitely need all our support. The Detroit Metro Times reports that the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting Detroit harder than New York City:

In just the past three days, Detroit’s death toll nearly doubled, reaching 221 on Tuesday. During that period, the city averaged more than 3o deaths a day. And public health officials warn that the worst is yet to come.

Detroit has a rate of 32.9 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 21.2 deaths per 100,000 people in New York City. More than 5,500 Detroit residents have tested positive for COVID-19 — a nearly five-fold increase since March 27. With a severe shortage of testing kits, public health officials believe far many more Detroiters have been infected.

Mayor Mike Duggan has made it a priority to increase the city’s testing capacity. Frustrated by the slow pace of testing, Duggan led the creation of a regional site at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds at Eight Mile and Woodward, where he expects at least 14,000 people will be tested for COVID-19 over the next six weeks. During the first two days, 43% of the people who were tested were positive for the coronavirus. The city is also working with doctors who are willing to see patients who don’t have insurance.

“We’re going to make testing available to every single person in this city who needs [it],” Duggan said Thursday. “It is critical that every single Detroiter have access to this.”

Duggan said the city is now testing 800 people a day.

More than 150 Detroit Police Department employees, including Chief James Craig, have tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 524 officers and police civilians were under quarantine, as of last week. At least 43 firefighters and medics also have confirmed infections, and more than 75 have been under quarantine.

Read the rest at the Metro Times & see more of Michigan’s largest city in Kare’s Detroit photo album.

Please feel welcome to share photos or info about ways your community is coming together to support medical & essential people in this dark time & please stay safe!!

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Remembering Mr. Tiger, Al Kaline

Detroit Tigers Al Kaline takes a swing

Al Kaline takes a swing courtesy Baseball Hall of Fame

“I owe everything to baseball. Without it, I’d probably be a bum.”
-Al Kaline

Yesterday, the Detroit Tigers Detroit Tigers and all of us lost #6 Al Kaline. From his playing days in the 50s & 60s to a broadcasting career that spanned decades, “Mr. Tiger” was a fixture, bringing dedication and a simple love of the game in good times and bad.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame entry for Al Kaline says in part:

The 18-year-old Kaline came to the Tigers in 1953 directly from high school, having never spent a day in the minors, and by the next season established himself as one of the game’s bright new talents. By 1955, at age 20, he became the youngest player to win a batting title when he hit .340. That same year the youngster became only the fourth American League player to hit two home runs in a single inning.

Offensive consistency became Kaline’s hallmark over the years, hitting at least 20 home runs and batting .300 or better nine times each. A superb defensive outfielder with a strong throwing arm, he also collected 10 Gold Glove awards. In the 1968 World Series, Kaline’s only appearance in the Fall Classic, he batted .379, hit two home runs and drove in eight to help Detroit knock off the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

“You almost have to watch him play every day to appreciate what he does,” said veteran pitcher and former Tigers teammate Johnny Podres. “You hear about him, sure, but you really can’t understand until you see him. He just never makes a mistake.”

By the time Kaline’s 22-year big league career ended in 1974, the lifelong Tiger and 18-time All-Star had collected 3,007 hits, 399 home runs and a .297 career batting average.

“People ask me, was it my goal to play in the majors for 20 years? Was it my goal to get 3,000 hits someday? Lord knows, I didn’t have any goals,” Kaline once said. “I tell them, ‘My only desire was to be a baseball player.’”

Read more in the Hall of Fame and please share memories or links to articles you enjoyed in the comments!

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Detroit’s TCF Center Becomes an Emergency Hospital

Detroit's TCF Center Becomes an Emergency Hospital

Detroit’s TCF Center Becomes an Emergency Hospital by Chad Livengood/Crain’s Detroit Business

If you want to get an idea of the enormity of the threat of Covid-19 to Michigan, I encourage you to follow Crain’s Detroit Business Senior Editor Chad Livengood on Twitter. He & Crain’s are sharing some jaw-dropping photos and reporting on the nearly completed 1000 bed hospital at Detroit’s TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall). He adds that Lt. Col. Greg Turner, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit district expects Gov. Whitmer to ask them to build a second field hospital inside the Suburban Showplace convention hall in Novi.

Here’s a link to free Covid-19 coverage from Crain’s. I also encourage you to take a look at #DetroitLooksLikeThis for a peek into life in Michigan’s largest city as we prepare for the fallout of being on the leading edge of the pandemic. Stay strong everyone.

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Closed for Opening Day

Empty Comerica Park

Empty Comerica Park by Andrew McFarlane

Today was supposed to be the home opener of the Detroit Tigers but of course that’s not happening. I’ve been living just a few blocks away, and I can’t begin to describe the impact of having every one of the cities amazing venues either empty or being repurposed as emergency healthcare & food delivery locations.

The economic impact to those who work there or rely on crowds of fans of sports & music to survive is frightening, and the loss of one of the beating hearts of a city that still shows up every day, even when our teams aren’t at their best is really putting a hole in my heart this morning. Stay strong everyone.

PS: Shirley is still happy.

Me, Shirley & the Comerica Cats

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