By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker
Every spring, unruly Tigers fans swarm Brush Park, one of Detroit’s oldest and most historically significant neighborhoods, to tailgate during Opening Day.
In April 2014, drunken fans set fire to a large, 103-year-old Victorian house known for its pioneering role in cancer treatment in the 1940s.
At 4 p.m. on Friday, unruly fans broke into the boarded-up Horace S. Tarbell House and began throwing bricks and other objects inside the 1869 Italiante-style home.
But the Opening Day party ended quickly because neighbors decided enough was enough this year. Pledging to protect the rebounding neighborhood, volunteers were on the look out for troublemakers and one of them spotted the break-in.
Police arrived quickly, arresting one of the trespassers and chasing away the others.
Volunteers also set up 50 trash cans around Brush Park and posted “No parking” signs to discourage tailgating.
In the past, fans left behind piles of garbage and broken glass. But this year, the neighborhoods was clean by the time fans flocked out of downtown.
“It was much different this year,” said Mark Hall, one of the volunteers. “You don’t have to trash neighborhoods to enjoy baseball.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.