One can argue that a professional sports team should always mirror the city it represents. How else do you get the citizens to identify with the roster? To get behind, and root for the squad bearing the cities namesake on their chest.
Detroit,Michigan was founded in 1701. It was once the pride and joy of United States, the premier American city from late 19th century all the way to the mid-20th century. The Motor City faced major decline, after the loss of blue collar jobs, and became the face of how not to manage a city.
The Teams here in Western Michigan have had similar journeys—albeit not as dramatic. from World champions, to lovable losers, to laughing stocks, to fighting back and becoming respectable organizations. Much like the city these teams represent, things are looking up, more than ever, I assure you there’s hope. Things are changing, oh yes they are changing. Some small steps toward progress, and some bigger steps toward optimism. I’ll provide you this plate of positivity, and a tall glass of hope. Detroit is on the way up, back to prominence.
Heading In The Right Direction
On July 18, 2013 the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, becoming the largest Metropolitan city in American history to do so. At one time Detroit had at least 70,000 abandoned buildings, 31,000 empty houses, and 90,000 vacant lots, and had become notorious for its urban blight. As of today July 21, 2016 The Motor City is ascending, making great strides on a great comeback trail. With 10,000 blighted homes demolished, a revitalized downtown, and Dan Gilbert is trying to single-handedly stand the city on it’s own two feet—or at least downtown.
Gilbert has purchased 60 properties, spanning 14 million square feet for $2.2 Billion. His companies remain the largest employers in The D, with 14,237 employees. There are more bars, eateries, and retail stores including, Nike are setting up shop downtown. Just like a team would do, Detroit is building from the inside out. As for the professional squads representing this place:
- The Detroit Tigers are similar to the citizens of this great city. Yes they went through a lot of losing in the past, endured some tough times, but they kept pushing. Detroiters have endured things you only seen on the movies, and many are still alive to tell their stories. The Tigers endured more losing seasons then the organization would like to remember, but they are in a position to control their destiny. The team finished 86-75, good for second place in the A.L. Central, behind the World Series runner up, Cleveland Indians. Detroit also finished just 2 1/2 games out of the second wild card and was alive going into the season’s final weekend. In the last 10 years the Tigers have made it to the World Series twice, coming up short both times. In the last decade, Detroit has had 7 winning seasons. Before the Tigers turned things around they had 12 losing seasons in a row, including the horrible 2003 season when their record was 43-119.
- The Detroit Pistons are comparable to Downtown. Promising, on the rise, young and up-and coming. Some young talent, and looking for more. Last season the Pistons made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. After locking up All-Star Andre Drummond, with a contract extension keeping the big man in The D at least until 2021, the Eastern Conference will soon be on notice. Owner Tom Gores announced he’s moving the Pistons Downtown Detroit next season, making Detroit the first North American city, with all four major sports within walking distance.
- The Detroit Lions are comparable to the East and West side of Detroit. Still in need of a lot of TLC, and hope — yet people are optimistic for “what could be.” And much like the parts of Detroit that don’t get much positive publicity, the community has more good in it, then what it gets credit for. The Lions have been historically inconsistent, even in the Barry Sanders years. Yet, as with most fans east of California, Detroiters have lived and died with this team. As a die hard, if you invest your emotion into a team, and invest your hard earned dollar, you eventually want a winner. The Lions as an organization have given the great fans in Michigan mostly losing seasons, with glimpses of winning— every couple of years. After losing a once-in-a-generation talent (Calvin Johnson) to early retirement, Matthew Stafford came into his own, and won some fans over. Not every fan, but he finally looked comfortable leading his team into battle every Sunday. More on his maturation here.
- I’ll be honest, I’m still learning Hockey, and I’ll update this post in the near future when I get a better grasp on what’s going on. After all, this is HockeyTown!
2017 is promising for the city of Detroit. The people have feelings of optimism toward what could be, now — more than ever before. It’s still going to take some years to convince those outside of the Motor City, but if you’re from The D, chances are you don’t give a shit about how people are feeling about The City or your teams. Why? None of you came to help, most of you laughed, talked shit, pointed fingers, and kicked the dog while it was down.
Now the comeback is on, techies,and investors are coming in, trying to make it the new “cool place.” The new “it” spot.
But, there is no room for bandwagoners, it’s real life, not sports. Even in regards to sports, it’s bigger than your coat-tail grabbing life. You have to go through storms to enjoy sunshine.✌🏿