Hey, Tigers Fans: Show Respect And Stop Behaving Like Redneck Townies On Opening Day

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Opening Day aftermath. [Photo by Lauren Ann Davies]
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Downtown parking lot after partying fans rolled home.
[Photo by Lauren Ann Davies]

Southeast Michigan increasingly embraces the sensibility that, regardless of our municipal places of residence, we are all Detroiters. Literal Detroit residents may be first among equals in this Detroiter thing because they deal with high insurance rates and poor public services and whatnot, but there is much truth to the “we’re all Detroiters” idea.

There is no conceivable future in which this region is divided into municipal winners and losers. In terms of economic vitality and quality of life, we must all hang together as Detroiters. Otherwise, as Benjamin Franklin said of his fellow Founding Fathers, we’ll surely be hung separately. 
 
But if we’re all Detroiters, then let’s start treating Detroit with a little respect.
 
The Tigers represented this town with class and skill in their home opener. Tiger fans, however, left behind a downtown that resembles a boozy landfill. It’s disgraceful. 
 
Just on my five-minute commute from the Compuware parking garage to I-75 last night, I saw a woman in Tiger gear so drunk she could barely stand  while weeping uncontrollably in her friend’s arms, a fan taking a leak on a People Mover support column, and by trickle-down extension, the Farmer Street sidewalk, a couple (she in a throwback pink Brandon Inge shirt) completely nonplussed as they held up traffic on Broadway walking across a red light, and mountains upon mountains of trash. 
 
There are so many red cups crushed and discarded into downtown streets on Opening Day, they deserve their own Sarah McLachlan commercial.
 
Even odds all these weepy drunks, sidewalk pissers, boozy jaywalkers, and red cup litterbugs will return to Westland or Sterling Heights or wherever people with pink Brandon Inge shirts live, and they'll talk about the dump that is Detroit. 
 
Can you blame them? I mean, they came down for Opening Day and the place smelled like stale urine, fall-down-mess drunks were omnipresent, and the streets were filled with trash. As that great baseball philosopher Annie Savoy once said: "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness."
 
Yes, Tigers Opening Day has always been a boozy celebration and that’s cool, but pretty much every Friday night on Royal Oak’s Main Street is a boozy celebration. The place doesn’t devolve into a dump.
 
People have a basic understanding that they shouldn’t treat Royal Oak as a pigsty. People have no such inhibitions when in downtown Detroit.
 
I believe major cities should accommodate an occasional libertine celebration downtown, and I don’t want to see Detroit cops blanketing the town with public intoxication tickets on future Opening Days, but that requires Tiger fans to not behave like redneck townies at a frat party.
 
Campground rules — leave a place better than you found it — should apply everywhere, but short of that, can we all agree on a few modest goals? 
  • Find a trash can for debris. Tailgaters should bring Hefty bags.
  • If you really have to take a leak, use a restroom. Or at least a discreet bush in a park.
  • If you’re old enough to drink legally — and I can’t stress this enough — figure out how much you can put away before you turn into a blubbering mess of humanity. These displays embarrass not only yourself, but also everyone forced to watch.
If we all follow these simple suggestions, then we can have a pretty cool Opening Day street party and leave behind a clean downtown.
 
You’d think, since we’re all Detroiters now, we’d want both.
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