Detroit Tigers Need Yu Darvish

Posted in DETROIT, SPORTS by urbanmi on September 29, 2010

For the sake of the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit Mike Illitch and the Detroit Tigers need to acquire Yu Darvish this offseason.  Darvish is the next major Japanese player who will join the Major Leagues; the Tigers should utilize their new financial flexibility to gamble on a Japanese ballplayer lottery ticket.

What’s heartbreaking for me, is now that he appears ready to join the Major Leagues, Illitch may not be in a position to pursue him, since he is trying to cut payroll, purchase the Detroit Pistons, and build a new home for the Detroit Redwings.  Illitch has shown great philanthropy towards Detroit, and acquiring Darvish could have significant returns in improving Detroit’s image abroad and making Detroit more attractive for Japanese investment.

The Japanese are enormous baseball fans and their interest in baseball can be utilized to attract business and investment from one of our most significant international partners.  Darvish would be an asset for Detroit giving Japanese businessman a reason to be attached to the city.

Already, Detroit has a significant Japanese population in Novi, this is something to build upon.  Ichiro Suzuki, Hideo Nomo, and Hideki Matsui demonstrate the seriousness Japanese fans have in their countrymen playing in the United States; these players have press corps assigned to them.  Even the tumultuous transitions of Daisuke Matsuzaka in Boston and Kosuke Fukudome in Chicago show significant short term excitement that would increase and alter Detroit’s profile abroad.   The recent struggles of Fukudome and particularly Matsuzaka should make it more affordable to take a chance on a player like Darvish.

If Darvish succeeds, the result is Detroit games being played in Japan regularly portraying a positive image of Detroit. Looking at the cities who go after Japanese players: Seattle, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston. Displays a pattern of cities that position themselves as international cities, Detroit needs to make moves to transform itself.  Darvish is it.

Detroit has previously flirted with Japanese players

  • Hideo Nomo 2000
  • Masao Kida 1999-2000

The Los Angeles Dodgers have two Japanese players currently in Midland for the Single A Great Lake Loons

  • Fumimasa Ishibashi
  • Robert Boothe

This offseason Tiger’s no longer liable for $78 million

Further Information

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Posted in EVENTS, GRAND RAPIDS by urbanmi on September 23, 2010

ArtPrize began yesterday and runs through October 10th.  

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year.

Last year the event was exciting and promising; this year will prove to build off of its inaugural success.  It is an event that is fantastic for the promotion and further development of Grand Rapids.  As an event it promotes local, national, and international artists and increases Grand Rapids’ and Michigan’s profile within the region and the art world.

Young Kim, one of the highlights from last year, returns with his piece Salt & Earth.  Go see it, it deserves far more recognition and respect than it previously received.

I encourage you to visit a friends work:

Liz Hazle: ArtPrize entry page

At the Riverview Center 678 Front Ave

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Posted in DETROIT, quick links by urbanmi on September 22, 2010

Going through a huge back log of links.  Selections:

Also, I have a very simple wish: RichRod is fired and Michigan man, Jim Harbaugh becomes the Wolverine’s next head coach

Detroit Works Project and Mayor Dave Bing

Posted in DETROIT by urbanmi on September 18, 2010

Earlier this week, Dave Bing held the first of six Detroit Strategic Framework Meetings with neighborhood constituents to discuss “The Detroit Works Project,” a land-use plan that aims to shrink the city using land more efficiently allowing for better use of the budget.

Major concerns of constituents as pointed out by the Warrendale Blog:

  • The police don’t show up when they’re needed.
  • There aren’t any retail stores in my neighborhood.
  • My taxes are outrageously high.

The consolidation of cities addresses all of these issues.  Through consolidation all services have the potential to improve since they are able to use their budgets more effectively.  Covering smaller areas allows them to use more dollars per square mile than in the current layout of Detroit.  Police will be able to respond to calls more quickly with less city to cover, more police per square mile.  Consolidation if implemented correctly will improve safety within the city.  Garbage collection, street maintenance, bus services, can all improve when the city is responsible for less area.

One of the issues with having retail in Detroit or addressing the problems of food deserts in the city, is that the population is too spread out to operate these businesses profitably.  By densifying the city stores will have more people to market their products which will make them more profitable and make it more feasible to open additional retail in Detroit.

Although this is unlikely, taxes can potentially decrease through consolidation.  With the city responsible for less land area the government will be able to do more with less.

I want Detroit to be a strong, vibrant, livable city, and I believe consolidation must be implemented.  Detroit as it exists now, is too large for its population.  The community is too spread out making it harder to create neighborhoods, attract businesses and provide security and services.  Last year’s Detroit Free Press graphic implies the relationship between healthy cities and population density.

Further Reading:

An earlier video on consolidation of neighborhoods from CNN.


Posted in GRAND RAPIDS by urbanmi on September 16, 2010

From September 23-25th, Grand Rapids has a Music Festival, Prospecto Music Showcase & Sonic Experience, The festival coincides with ArtPrize, which should heighten its profile.  Prospecto attempts to highlight the growing Grand Rapids Music Scene and promote venues and acts.  The timing with ArtPrize is perfect.  Last year restaurants were flooded in downtown Grand Rapids with visitors looking for evening entertainment.

I believe the event will be successful and I understand the strategy of appealing to a wide variety of music tastes, but I find myself wanting more from any potential festival in Grand Rapids.  More importantly, what incentive do I, as a music fan, have to spend $26 to $60 on a festival that only gives me two or three acts I may be interested in seeing.

In its current from the festival is schizophrenic; it does not promote any particular music scene, hindering the festival’s ability to generate any excitement, particularly in the long term.  How will music fans maintain interest, in the manner of other annual festivals like Pitchfork or Lollapalooza, when Prospecto can’t attract more notable acts by catering to a specific audience, particularly a concert-going, music-loving audience.

Michigan already has several niche music festivals in Rothbury and the Detroit Electronic Music Festival that demonstrate the success of targeting a particular audience. Appealing to a specific demographic would give Prospecto a base to build long term success. When the festival itself is exciting, people will become interested and stay interested.

RapidGrowth has more details on the background of Prospecto

The Prospecto website has details on acts and venues

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Detroit Lives

Posted in DETROIT by urbanmi on September 15, 2010

Palladium Boots has an awesome 3 part video series on Detroit’s DIY culture, called Detroit Lives, showcasing why Detroit is such an exciting place to be and visit.  The video has MTV Jackass’ Johnny Knoxville exploring the city with local residents, talking with entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists.  It’s a series of videos that capture what is going on in Detroit, its rebirth, and not the popular image of what happened.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Detroit Lives, posted with vodpod

A Must Watch

Also, Black Milk, a Detroit based hip hop artist featured in Detroit Lives released an album, titled “Album of the Year,” yesterday

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Go Blue!

Posted in SPORTS by urbanmi on September 5, 2010

Ecstatic after Michigan’s victory yesterday; I felt like this early last season as well.  Michigan prevailed over Notre Dame, and we appeared to be back, and then we learned both Michigan and Notre Dame were bad.  The offense was exhilarating to watch, no mistakes were made and the Wolverines played with heart and confidence that we haven’t seen for two seasons.

We need to temper the enthusiasm.

We should remember last season Michigan started 4-0 before it became clear the offense was still unresolved with no clear weapons and the defense was porous.  Yesterday the defense, particularly the secondary, was lucky Connecticut QB, Zach Frazer, struggled to connect with his targets.  Better offenses in the big ten pose a significant threat, they will exploit those weaknesses.  Denard Robinson is small, and was looking rattled later in the game after some hard hits, larger stronger bodies during the conference schedule will do more damage.

Michigan is improved and has a promising season ahead of them but we are not there yet.

(For the record: I still want RichRod fired.)

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