"Michigan Fans Are The Best"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013

Sports fans in Michigan are often referred to as the best.

No matter what sport is mentioned: baseball, hockey, football, basketball — even NASCAR racing. Each team draws support from fans throughout the state.

Yes, we all love our home teams. In years we win our division titles, thousands swarm to view the events and show great pride in their teams. When teams don’t make the finals and post losing seasons, the fans still show up and cheer them on. Sure they do so with the hope of seeing a win, but they keep returning even when the losses stack up.

All Michigan sports teams love to play at home because they know they will receive great support. When they play away, they often hear cheers, especially when leading their division. The Red Wings draw a large number of away fans. I once attended a game in Phoenix when there were visitors. Much to my surprise, as I entered the arena, I saw “Wing Nuts” everywhere — they may have even outnumbered the home fans.

Although football is not my favorite professional sport, I enjoy watching college games. One year, when I attended an Orange Bowl game I found the atmosphere almost explosive.

Speaking of loyal fans, Lions fans have to be admired. They sure were rewarded recently! I have attended competitions of many teams home and away and the roar of people packed together in sports venues does add to the excitement.

I think watching games on TV provides a better view of the action — unless you’re lucky enough to have box seats.

My family makes it an annual event to see a Tigers baseball game, and we all look forward to it. This year was very special because the team was so dynamic and they were in first place. Unfortunately, our outing was somewhat spoiled by a group sitting behind us. Five young people tried to best one another in displaying their rude use of foul language throughout the game. They paid very little attention to the game and just kept disturbing everyone nearby. We had no alternative but to suffer the abuse, but if their parents had heard them, they would have been embarrassed beyond belief.

The Tigers won and we sure were pleased about that part of our outing. The lost opportunity to represent the American League in the World Series was disappointing.

The team that beat us outplayed us and deserved to win, in my opinion. Our team had some handicaps and made some costly misplays. I’m sure we all believed the umps made some mistakes, but no more than in other games. Our team played hard and gave it the best effort possible.

Some sports reporters unfairly laid the blame for the Tigers loss on the manager’s doorstep. Jim Leyland made a few wrong moves and I heard him admit it. He should be respected for that. I believe Leyland matched Sparky Anderson in quality as a manager.

I say to those who said they were glad to see him go that they would not find a player on the team to agree with them. I read a quote from Don Kelly regarding how the players felt about their manager.

“When you go out there, the way he treats you, you want to run through a wall for him, go out there and get a win.”

He didn’t leave because our team lost the ALCS. It was reported he shared his news with GM Dave Dombrowski as early as June. He repeated his decision in September asking him not to share the news with the players until season’s end.

Another item I read in all the ink about Leyland retiring was, “When Leyland took over the Tigers, they had gone 12 years without a winning season, but finished under .500 only once during the eight seasons he managed.”

To those writers who believe it was Leyland who didn’t get the job done as manager, I ask “Are you even second best in your profession?”



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