"It Was a Long Sunday Afternoon"
Published: Sunday, October 19, 2014

How’s it feel to be among the best sports fans in the country? In the city of Detroit and throughout Michigan, fans are loyal, dedicated and fiercely supportive of their teams. It has been that way since I was a young boy and won’t change because of the whopping losses we recently witnessed.

It was hard to believe our kitties, the Lions and Tigers, let us down on the same day. Both teams exhibited lackluster play that made us wonder if they are actually professionals. Yes, they are but unfortunately our role is to simply foot the bills. Tickets to the Tigers sell out. Playoff games, including hot dogs, nachos and drinks, nearly equal a week’s pay for an autoworker who attended with their family. Especially when you include all those T-shirts, hats, collectibles plus gas and parking fees.

The past four years it’s been costly and crazy being a Tiger fan. But we all agree, we’ll be back next year.

Did you see the faces of fans watching the Lions kicker trying to move the uprights multiple times in what turned out to be his last game? I know the TV cameramen showed the sad look on his face but what they should have done was made him look at the faces of the fans. Where do our team scouts find these guys and what is it about them that result in their being on the field? If the Lions kicker who worked the game against the Bills had any more than a 30-day contract, we got robbed.

What was amazing about that day was the fact, the fans being great supporters and perhaps colossal spendthrifts, exited Ford Field and headed next door to Comerica Park. They were lucky enough to witness the final result of Mr. D’s new collection of bullpen fillers. It’s not that they didn’t try, but I saw a young woman who recently pitched in Little League playoffs do a better job. She didn’t win either, but she sure got a lot of respect, even though she was not under contract to perform as a professional.

I guess all of us who view pro sports shared in the disappointment that awful Sunday in Detroit. The sports media commentators really bore down on players and management. I didn’t appreciate the labeling of Miggy as uncooperative during interview sessions after games. It should be remembered he played the majority of the season hurt, never healed from his past season’s injuries. Most out-of-town media sources described him as “one of the best in the game.”

A review of his stats, considering his limitations, proved how hard he played. Perhaps the whining sports writers would have been a little surly too if they had to perform as he did — every day down the stretch.

There was plenty of derogatory commentary to go around, all season long, much of it targeting our pitching staff. It was obvious during the playoffs; Max, JV, Price and even Sanchez rose to the occasion but they did not get support from the bench or the manager. Miggy, Torii, Vince and JD did their best but after the trades the team “togetherness” seemed to be lost. Many players felt apprehensive and let down. None of them wanted to see Jackson traded; he always played his heart out and had one of the best arms in the league. He didn’t dive a lot but he didn’t have to because he could run fast enough to make the catches.

Another player we traded, Delmon Young, who also didn’t dive, came back to haunt us and hurt us big time during the playoffs. We sure could have used his power on our team.

As for the negative comments targeting Mr. D and our young manager, I share their sentiments. Perhaps they should both be “traded” to the pizza business. Tough season for the Tigers, still hope for the Lions and we are encouraged by the start made by the Red Wings.

On a personal note, if you think your time spent watching that Lions game was painful, I was entertaining out-of-state guests. They were from Buffalo and could be described as the Bills’ biggest fans. Funny thing was, they listened to the pre-game chatter and expected to lose and were almost embarrassed to cheer for their team. Do you suppose I will ever hear the end of it?



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