Cars, Steel and Irony
The Red Wings are the one sure thing in the city of Detroit. Well, that along with fiscal irresponsibility and a paralyzing lack of innovation. But, on the positive side, there’s always the Red Wings. Or there was until last night. It’s almost ironic that on a night when the Tigers beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the Penguins returned the favor in Detroit.
However, when you think about it, is there a better allegory for the current state of American industry than two formerly proud standard bearers of American pride and ingenuity battering each other in matches that barely anyone is paying attention to? Pittsburgh, the steel town that gave up that title long ago against Detroit, the home of the now bankrupt GM and Chrysler, slugging it out to the bitter end, an end that for all intents and purposes came about years ago.
To be honest, it’s probably a little surprising that these two urban wastelands even still have viable franchises. I suppose Pittsburgh has had some success in redefining itself but Detroit just seems to keep slipping further and further into a self-made morass of slip-shod decisions and shattered dreams.
Ultimately, these series are nothing more than the last gasp hurrah of two crippled giants. The Tigers still have a prayer and, with the demise of the Red Wings and Michigan State earlier this year, bear the standard for the entire city. Pittsburgh will always have the perennially contending Steelers and for this year at least, Sidney Crosby has brought them Lord Stanley’s Cup. But, it’s about time that we paid a little more attention to the man behind the curtain and realized that the time has passed for both cities.
No, the irony here is not the delicious irony of Gary Larson or the tragic irony of a passenger who was supposed to be on the Air France flight that crashed on its way from Brazil. These two impotent, rust-belt behemoths trading slaps is more of a pathetic irony. But I’ll still be cheering for the Tigers all weekend long!
–Thanks to Steve for the Air France link