Detroit’s changing of the guard: Hockeytown to Tigertown
Continue Reading - Pages: 1 2
Since the mid-1990s, everyone has known who owns the city of Detroit. With Stanley Cup titles in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008, the Detroit Red Wings have not only been the best franchise in Detroit or hockey, but they have been one of the top franchises in all of sports. With their dominance in the National Hockey League, the Red Wings have provided Detroit with one of the most recognizable nicknames in sports: Hockeytown. But times are changing, and the city’s other nickname — Tigertown — is waiting to take over top billing. While the aging Red Wings’ run of dominance seems all but over, the Detroit Tigers’ success seems to be just beginning.
It was no surprise the Red Wings were favorites in the city with all of their success, but the fact that other teams in Detroit weren’t very good helped in a big way. Throughout just about all of the ’90s and most of the ’00s the lowly Tigers drew more boos than cheers at both Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park. The post-Barry Sanders Lions were, well, hard to even consider a professional sports team. And while the Pistons had great success in the early ’90s with the “Bad Boys” and six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances from 2003-08 with an NBA Championship coming in 2004, Detroit was never going to be Pistontown.
That was then, and this is now.
While the Red Wings will be remembered — thanks to a trio of all-stars like Niklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg — as a team that brought the city a ton of joy throughout its economic collapse, it appears their run is finally coming to an end — and no one is more depressed about that than this writer. With their late-season collapse and stumble into the playoffs, their poor attempt at taming the Nashville Predators only told fans one thing: Lidstrom will probably retire. Red Wings fans know the team could possibly enter a stretch of rebuilding years as it attempts to get younger. It’s the end of an era in Hockeytown.
Yes, it’s a depressing thought because the Red Wings have been the standard in hockey the past 20 years, but don’t give up all hope on success Detroit fans. The possible end of an era in one sport could be followed by the beginning of a very prosperous era in another, with Motown shifting its focus from hockey to baseball. Tigertown is back!
There has been a buzz around Detroit, specifically along Woodward Ave., since last August when those lowly Tigers got their growl back and stormed into the 2011 MLB playoffs. While they may have come up a little short on their goal of winning a World Series Championship, the Tigers got their mojo back, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Let’s be honest. How long has it been since we have looked at the Detroit Tigers as a team that could be successful for the next decade? Did 2006 count? Yes, 2006 was magical for the city of Detroit as the Tigers made an improbable run to the World Series, a series they should have easily won against the St. Louis Cardinals but didn’t. It was awesome, but it was also a tease. I don’t think hardcore fans thought the Tigers were entering a prosperous age that would see long playoff runs each season because the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox were just as good, if not better.
This year is different, though. The AL Central is weak, and the Tigers should (although let’s not anoint them champs at this point) easily win the division, and there are multiple signs that there could be great things in years to come. The Tigers made moves last season and in the offseason that could allow them to make a Red Wings-like run throughout the next decade. And it’s no surprise there is a similiar make-up between the Tigers and Red Wings, who are both owned by Mike Illitch.
Share and Enjoy
Continue Reading - Pages: 1 2