Friday, September 25, 2009

Sports Illustrated Focuses on Detroit

At a time when things seem bleakest in the city of Detroit, the Detroit Tigers are offering a ray of hope as they march towards a possible playoff bid. Sports Illustrated's most recent cover story features the Tigers resurgence and the effect that the successful ball team is having on the city.

Looking back over forty years, Detroit faced another challenging time when the riots of 1967 left the city reeling as many residents, primarily white, left the city for the suburbs. An inspired 1968 Tigers squad beat the heavily favored St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. My dad, who was in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam at the time, likes to share how he won a lot of money on that series from some leathernecks that didn't think Detroit had a shot :)

In these current times, the Tigers have stood with the community and demonstrated an undeniable degree of support for the auto industry. SI comments:
"The most stunning example of community outreach did not involve a nonprofit organization but a bankrupt one. At the end of last season General Motors decided it could no longer afford to sponsor the fountain over the centerfield fence at Comerica Park, which shoots great plumes into the air whenever a Tiger hits a home run. The fountain is the most valuable piece of advertising space in the stadium, and two corporations quickly expressed interest in taking GM's place. One offered to pay $1.5 million for three years. Mike Ilitch, the Tigers' owner, considered the offer seriously. Then he rejected it in favor of a deal that would pay him nothing at all. Ilitch kept the GM name where it was, free of charge, and added the Ford and Chrysler logos on each flank, over the message: THE DETROIT TIGERS SUPPORT OUR AUTOMAKERS. To emphasize the point, the Tigers invited one employee from each of the embattled car giants to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day. Before GM inspector Loretta Abiodun went into her windup, she turned and looked at the fountain. "It was breathtaking," she says."
The Tigers will have to get past a good Minnesota team in order to make the playoffs and will be underdogs throughout if they are able to advance. But I'm one Tigers fan that thinks a championship this year (the 25th anniversary of the '84 champions) would be pretty neat to see.

1 comment:

Crock said...

great post. Has it really been 25 years? wow.
Thanks for choosing a photo of my Tiger :)