With its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy last month.
So now, with their backs against the wall, the people of Detroit will look to what many other people look to whenever their city seems down and out: their local sports teams.
For example, look at how the New Orleans Saints gathered together in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina to make the playoffs for their city which was dismantled physically and emotionally.
Or how about the Terrorist Attacks of 9-11? Who can forget about the home run by New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza in Shea Stadium 10 days after the attacks of 9/11 during the first major sporting event to be held in beleaguered New York after the attacks.
Or even the great postseason run by the New York Yankees in 2001, which may have ended in a game 7 World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, but had many amazing historic times throughout the journey, including my favorite of all-time; Derek Jeter’s flip toss to home plate to get the out against the Oakland A’s
Last but not least, the most recent tragedy, which was the Boston Bombings during this years Boston Marathon that left the whole country in shock.
Who can forget the amazing speech by Red Sox DH David Ortiz, which sent chills through my spine, let alone the people of Boston. Or how about the postseason run by the Bruins, which may have ended in a game 6 Stanley Cup loss to the Champion Blackhawks, but was also filled with memories and excitement that included one of the most improbable comebacks in NHL history. And even with the Red Sox thus far, sitting with the best record in the American League, which is 70-46.
But now, its time for my hometown city of Detroit to restore the pride and the faith within its people. And here is how each team can do just that:
It may sound a bit farfetched to say that a World Series title will be the only way the Tigers can bring a little excitement back into the city, but when you got swept in the World Series last year and when you have the roster that they do this year, it’s really the only option.
It’s not like the Tigers are in a bad position to win it all anyways; at 67-45, the team holds the second best record in the American League, only two games behind the previously mentioned Boston Red Sox.
But what the Tigers do have that the Red Sox don’t is a starting rotation that is the best in all of baseball. The Tigers starting pitchers rank first in the MLB in quality starts, and the top 7 in every other important pitching category.
Pitching can get you to the World Series, but hitting will win you the title, a problem the Tigers faced last year with the San Francisco Giants. This season though, the Tigers rank 1st in the MLB in team batting average, 2nd in on base percentage and runs scored, and 3rd in overall slugging percentage.
The numbers are there for the Tigers to win it all, they now just have to show it on the field.
When you’ve been as bad as the Lions have been for the past 13 years, expectations shouldn’t be that high from their Detroit fans going into any season.
But if you asked any Detroit fan how they’ll feel if the Lions finished with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs in 2013, they would say the season was a pure disappointment and that the owners should fire the whole coaching staff and start anew.
You may think that’s a bit harsh, but it’s the honest truth, take it from someone who’s watched them play since the post-Barry Sanders era.
So what the Lions need to do is make the playoffs this season and compete. We all know we have the talent to make that happen, but its time we display our skills as a team on the field. Rather than individuals breaking records, Lions fans want to see Detroit break records as a team.
Detroit fans hear it all the time about how the Lions are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league. Ok, we get that. Lions fans just want to see the team win, and we want to win now.
You know if I had the chance, I would give Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars a nice pat on the back for all he has done this offseason.
With all the acquisitions the Pistons made, from free agency, the draft, and through trade during this summer, Joe Dumars has transformed Detroit from being the most boring team to watch in the NBA to an intriguing playoff contender this upcoming season.
The best part of this whole situation is, Pistons fans don’t expect much but a playoff appearance from this years team. Detroit fans just want to watch some NBA playoff basketball, and with the roster Detroit has, it is almost certain that the Pistons will make that happen.
Detroit Red Wings
Last but not least on this list is the team that has blessed the city of Detroit for as long as I can remember. The Red Wings’ 22 straight postseason appearances is currently the longest active streak in all of sports, and in the NHL ranks 5th all-time.
Judging by the stereotype the city of Detroit possesses, you wouldn’t think that their hockey team was the best sports club the city has to offer. But that’s what makes Detroit so unique compared to every other city in the world; you never know what your going to get from it.
But you do know what you’re going to get from the Red Wings, which is a playoff team each season.You can almost pencil that in every year before the season even begins.
If all of this were to happen, it will be the first time in history that all the sports teams in Detroit would make it to the postseason in their respected leagues. And when you look at the Tigers’, Red Wings’, and the Pistons’ situations, that stat may not be way too out of proportion either.
But if the city of Detroit has any chance of rebuilding, it will all begin with the way their local sports teams perform this year.