If you live in America you probably know that the so-called economic crisis has hit Detroit very hard. The automobile businesses seem to be recovering, but the jobs that go stay gone. There aren't many factory jobs available in Detroit these days, and that was where people worked. The result has been a sort of malaise that has drifted over not only Detroiters, but also the people living in the surrounding areas. People with more time on their hands, for lack of somewhere to put it to good use in some cases, need a distraction that will give them hope. Detroit has always relied on its sports teams to provide that 'light at the end of the tunnel'. To give them something to cheer for until times got better.
Miguel and Justin
The two names that you will hear most frequent when the Detroit Tigers are being discussed are Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. Rightfully so, these two guys are on fire and seem to be on fire most of the time. Cabrera hasn't hit below .324 the past three seasons and Verlander is 58-23 over the same time period. Cabrera has a .555 slugging percentage with a .984 ops and gives the guys around him in the lineup better pitches to see. Verlander is a threat to throw a no-hitter every time manager Jim Leyland gives him the ball. They get the Tigers noticed by getting voted to all-star games and winning awards at the end of the season. Their teammates know that without them, they wouldn't be the same team.
The fans know it, too. Detroit is a tough place for a professional athlete to live if they are performing poorly. But when an athlete performs well for a Detroit team over an extended period of time, as Verlander and Cabrera have, they are accepted and celebrated by a large portion of the city. When Verlander threw his no-hitters this past year, you could actually see the pitcher going from 'great player' to 'revered hero'.
There is plenty of talk about how well the Tigers are going to do in the playoffs, assuming they get there. There is an expectation that they will do well and Detroiters will go absolutely wild if they bring home a championship. The talk that you hear in Detroit is all centered around two big names. But the casual fan in Detroit knows who Scherzer, Avila, and Boesch are, too. These guys belong to a city that is in desperate need of hope. Of course they know who they are.
Restoring the Roar
In a quirk a fate that can only be matched by events such as a total eclipse and a visit from Haley's Comet, both the Tigers and the Lions are considered contenders by their fans. Yes, the Lions. Matthew Stafford has a big arm and looks to be healthy after missing thirteen games last year. His weapons include Calvin Johnson, a big receiver with soft hands and the ability to leap over defenders to haul in deep end zone passes. The defensive line, led by Ndamukong Suh, will cause fear in opposing quarterbacks.
The Lions are probably a year or two from serious contention, but nationally, no one is saying they will be the losers that they have been in recent years. Lions fans are some of the most loyal fans you'll ever see. They have stood with their team through some very bad years and were ridiculed for it. There is nothing that would send 'the D' into a frenzy more than a Super Bowl appearance by their beloved Lions. And maybe fate will smile on Detroit and they will see a summer, fall, and winter filled with excitement and hope. No one has it coming more than they do.