September 22, 2009
Sports Illustrated
Assignment Detroit

This summer the news division at Time Inc. bought a house in Detroit. Why? Following the lead of editor-in-chief John Huey, the editors agreed that even Detroit's unequaled influence on the economic and social evolution of America as the cradle of the nation's middle class was scraping bottom, and that the city's rise and fall and struggle to rise again reflected the harshest of changing American realities. So what's it really like to live in Detroit? That's where the house on Parker Avenue comes in.

They overlap before home games on Thursday afternoons, the thousands rushing into Comerica Park and the hundreds filing into Central United Methodist Church one block over on East Adams. The crowd streaming into the yard is drawn by a baseball team in first place, a pennant race on full blast, one final taste of summer. The group headed to the church is drawn by a free lunch. In the auditorium on the second floor of the church, the folks sit on metal folding chairs at wooden tables, wolfing down sloppy joes and talking about their neighbors, the Detroit Tigers.
Ernie Harwell will always be the voice of summer

I once asked Ernie Harwell why people loved him so. That's a hard question for any person to answer, but it is especially challenging for a man as modest and decent as Ernie Harwell. "I'm just a failed newspaper man," he would say whenever the praise grew too thick.
The Courage of Detroit

This was Christmas night. In the basement of a church off an icy street in downtown Detroit, four dozen homeless men and women sat at tables. The smell of cooked ham wafted from the kitchen. The pastor, Henry Covington, a man the size of two middle linebackers, exhorted the people with a familiar chant.
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