Saturday, April 29, 2017

The sorry state of Detroit sports

To much fanfare, the Detroit Red Wings will be moving into a new venue next year. Recently, it was announced that the Detroit Pistons will join them at Little Caesar's Arena.

It's hard to figure what Pistons' owner Tom Gores is thinking. When he bought the team from the family of the late Bill Davidson, who had built the world class Palace at Auburn Hills out of money from his own pocket, Gores had a building totally paid for. Then he went on to invest somewhere between 10 and 15 million bucks into sprucing it up. All well and good.

So why -- tell me why -- would he turn right around and move his team back to the dregs of downtown Detroit, where he has to pay rent? 

At that, both the Wings and Pistons are bottom feeding teams in their respective leagues with a dismal outlook for the near future. So in the end, a few hundred million bucks got spent building a totally unnecessary sparkling new home for these teams, hundreds of people got kicked out of their houses and businesses via the dreaded "eminent domain" to make room for it, and will get socked through taxes to pay for a lot of it. For two totally lousy teams. Only in Detroit could a colossal debacle such as this occur. 

Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers have a dismal looking future as well. Justin Verlander's getting up there in years and will soon start falling off. Same with Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler. They have a designated hitter named V-Mart. Nobody can remember if and when he was ever able to field a position. His speed on the basepathes can be timed with a sundial. Can he even throw a baseball? Nobody knows. V-Mart is the definition of a one tool player. He can hit, at least he used to be able to. Nowadays he's struggling to hit his weight (though to be fair, considering his "pudge factor" he hasn't missed any meals lately either). So what good is a guy approaching 40 years old that's batting .220 or so and can't do anything else? This is their idea of a designated hitter? Really?

J.D. Martinez remains an injury always waiting to happen. Twenty five games into the season, he hasn't been healthy enough to play yet. And on the rare occasions he can remain healthy, is a defensive liability in right field. 

Shortstop Jose Iglesias is slick with the glove, but a weak hitter, and another trip to the disable list always on deck. He's gone again.

Third baseman Nick Castellanos appears to be a journeyman. Not particularly good at anything, but the best the Tigers can come up with. 

Centerfield remains an unsettled position. 

Beyond Verlander, Michael Fullmer had an impressive rookie year as a starting pitcher, but now that he's been around the league, opposing hitters are starting to get a pretty good feel for what he has to offer. A mid 90's fastball, a cutter, an average change-up -- nothing special. 

The other starters are hopes and prayers every time they take the mound.

The bullpen remains a disaster waiting to happen.

Between Alex Avila and James McCann, it's just a couple of slightly below average guys platooning at catcher.

Former Tiger Prez Dave Dombrowski looted the farm system trading for star talent in a "going for it now" gamble. They almost made it, but couldn't quite get over the hump. Still no World Series championship since 1984, midway through the Reagan White House years. How long ago was THAT? 

But that talent didn't stay in Detroit long. They bailed elsewhere. See Max Scherzer, David Price, and BTW, who was the genius that let young Rick Porcello get away to the Bosox? Didn't he go 22-4 last year and capture the Cy Young award? 

Now the Tigers are aging, an average team at best, with little help, if any, on the way. Where are they going to get it from? They don't have anybody left to trade anymore, at least anybody a sane team would be interested in, given some of the ridiculous mega-contracts the Tigers were foolish enough to saddle themselves with. The cupboard is all but bare in their minor league system. No hot shot prospects in sight. 

Though the 2017 season is young, the Tigers have already started to fade this year. And look around the American League. In the Central Division, the Tigers are nowhere near as talented as the Cleveland Indians, from top to bottom. In the East, Baltimore and Boston are definitely competitive. The Yanks always pose a threat. In the West, Texas, Houston, and Seattle are right there. And all feature younger "good" players than the Tigers. 

The Tigers' future appears bleak indeed.

Playing across the street from them are the Detroit Lions. Far be it from them they could find a way to share a stadium like they did in the old days and save the taxpayers a few hundred million bucks. Oh no. Everybody has to have their own custom-made super bauble these days, while usually at least one of them sits idle and vacant. The Lions have always been, and most certainly remain, their very own "can of worms". A franchise that seems to be unique unto itself -- along with their fans and media that continue to peddle the snake oil they always have. 

More on them next time out.

Stay tuned......

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