Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Still good when he wants to be

I've been pretty critical of Mitch Albom over the past few months (and probably even before that), including his misguided response on Monday to the NY Times piece on Tiger Stadium, but there have been flashes of the old Mitch recently in the Detroit Free Press. So if I'm going to rip the guy when I feel he's mailing in a lackluster column or just coasting on his reputation, I should give him credit when he produces the kind of work that made him who he is today.

On Sunday, Albom wrote a sad piece on basketball coach Ben Kelso, who is leaving for an assistant's position at Kansas State after battling officials in the Southfield school system who seemed intent on destroying the reputation he'd built in his years of coaching high school ball in Detroit. (Kelso won three straight state championships as coach at Detroit Cooley, and was once named national high school basketball coach of the year.)

And in today's Free Press, Albom captured the mood that I think most of metro Detroit feels after the city hosted baseball's All-Star Game. Maybe it's our Midwest sensibilities, but we all seem to enjoy the affirmation that comes from out-of-towners visiting the area and realizing that Detroit isn't as bad as its national reputation. And there's definitely a sense of pride over a big event like the All-Star Game taking place without any embarrassing (or dangerous) incidents occurring.

Do you think we'll ever get past feelings like that around here?