The Detroit Tigers made two trades in two days right before the trade deadline, in hopes to bring a much-awaited World Series title to Motown.
Over the past few weeks the Pistons have made noise as well, bringing back Detroit favorite Chauncey Billups and acquiring two all-star caliber players in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.
The Lions placed one more boulder on the already huge defensive line with Israel Idonije.
The Red Wings were unhappy with their playoff collapse against the Blackhawks, so they added a few veteran free agents to go along with their up and coming roster as they transition to the Eastern Conference.
There is a revival happening in Detroit sports while the city is in absolute shambles.
The city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy on July 18, capping off years of political corruption and economic turmoil.
A Michigan state board recently approved plans for a new Red Wings arena downtown, bridging the gap between downtown and midtown.
While many people are puzzled by the decision economically, it will be funded mostly by non-Detroit sources, including the independent Downtown Development Authority and Olympia Development (Mike Illitch’s private company).
Not only will this project give life to the hockey team, it will be an attractive destination for tourists. The project will bring entertainment outside of hockey to the entire area, including shops, restaurants and concerts, stretching to Comerica Park.
But when it boils down, this project will help revitalize the city of Detroit, and it can be traced back to the heart of the city: its sports teams.
And as this project gets underway, the previously mentioned “projects” will help that revitalization process get here sooner.
The most immediate one will come on the diamond. The Tigers just acquired reliever Jose Veras from Houston and SS Jose Iglesias from Boston. These two players join the club as it is getting hot. They’ve won six in a row and nine out of ten.
But it’s not just these players that are fueling the Tigers. Despite fans griping, they’ve been a solid team all season, sitting only three games behind the best record in baseball.
This team is on the precipice of winning its first World Series title since 1984, and the fans would be nothing short of devastated if they didn’t finish their business this season.
A title would certainly give the city something to feel good about, and something to rally around. The process could be well underway by the time October rolls around.
On deck will be the Lions. As the preseason begins on Aug. 9, the team is coming off a miserable 4-12 season, but fans had a glimpse of the revival in 2011 when they finished 10-6 as a Wild Card team.
This year fans are buzzing. Calvin Johnson is coming off a record-breaking season, Matthew Stafford finally has an improved offensive line with the departure of Jeff Backus, and the aforementioned defensive line. The line will feature bad boy Ndamukong Suh, sophomore Nick Fairley, rookie Ziggy Ansah and former Bears monster Idonije.
With Schwartz on the hot seat, look for a team more like 2011 than 2012, which will carry the city into basketball season.
The glory of 2004 faded with the acquisition of Allen Iverson, but it might be slowly returning with Billups coming back and a few experienced players being added around a solid young core.
Josh Smith was one of the biggest free agent targets in the NBA this summer, and Joe Dumars and company were able to land him. And they made a big move to get Brandon Jennings, not losing much other than Brandon Knight.
They had a solid draft, even though they didn’t select Michigan G Trey Burke, a player many fans wanted to see come in. G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G Peyton Siva and big man Tony Mitchell will help build around the quickly rising young core.
Don’t expect a championship within the next couple years, but certainly get ready for a playoff appearance next spring.
Speaking of next spring, we return to the topic of the Red Wings. They’ve been in the playoffs 22 straight seasons. With a new arena in the near future (projected to be 2017), they will be looking to send the Joe out with a bang. That bang would be a Stanley Cup.
They were on the doorstep of returning to the conference finals with a 3-1 series lead on the rival Chicago Blackhawks, but watched it slip away with three straight losses.
As they move east in 2013-2014, the Red Wings acquired the face of the Senators’ franchise in Daniel Alfredsson and former Panthers’ center Stephen Weiss. With Datsyuk, Zetterberg and company, these guys will continue to mold the youngsters like Justin Abdelkader, Damien Brunner, Joakim Andersson and Danny DeKeyser into a winning team.
That playoff streak will not be ending any time soon. Who knows, this team could be getting revenge on the Chicago Blackhawks next June in the Cup Finals, as they are now in opposite conferences.
So there you have it. There is a revival happening in Detroit. On the diamond, on the gridiron, on the court, and on the ice. And in the streets. A thriving sports market will bring more money, and more jobs to the city to help it be come more of an entertainment hub than just an industrial powerhouse.
While it is embarrassing to see a city that was once so strong in the state it is now, Detroiters, and all Michiganders for that matter, will rally around the bright future in their sports teams and this city will soon be on the mend. This could be the most exciting year in Detroit sports history; all four teams could be in the playoffs.
Daniel Alfredsson, former Ottawa Senators captain, is one of the new faces in Detroit sports
Get ready, Michigan. Get ready Detroit. As we’ve all heard blaring from the Joe before: “Don’t Stop Believin’.”