Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's been a tough week in Detroit

Which is probably why I'm happy that I'm in Lansing. . .

But anyway, it has been a tough week or so in Detroit sports. Steve Yzerman is retiring. Ben Wallace signed with the Bulls. The Tigers scraped out a couple of wins in a tough series with the worst team in the National League, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and have lost two straight to the AL-West-leading Oakland Athletics.

While Yzerman is a big loss, I'm not that much of a hockey fan, and the Captain has been thinking about retirement for the past couple of years at least. Wallace is a bit more of a surprise, and while I'm concerned, I still can't quite think of it as the worst thing in the world. Wallace is irreplaceable in defense, but is questionable at best on offense, and he spent a good part of the second half of last season clashing with Flip Wilson, the Pistons' head coach. At the same time, however, Wallace was a big part of team chemistry, and it remains to be seen what the Pistons' starting five will look like on the floor next year, even with Rip, 'Sheed, Chauncey, and Tayshaun coming back.

I've taken a great deal of pleasure from watching the Tigers this year, but like all other Detroit teams, them seem to give an attentive fan a great deal to worry about, even when they possess the best record in Major League Baseball. This year, the Tigers seem to insist on losing to the good teams--Boston, New York, Chicago, and apparently Oakland. In all truth, I'd bee happy this year with a .500 season, but it would be a shame if the Tigers weren't able to follow-up this first half without at least a wild card bid. Were it just the Oakland series, I wouldn't be so worried, but to play poorly against the Pirates and then lose to Oakland doesn't bode well.

It may be well to keep in mind that the playoffs are really a bonus at this point. As poorly as the Tigers have played the past few years, it's really good to just see them win.

My prediction, just before the All-Star break: we make the playoffs as the wild card and lose first round. (I think we'll keep playing well, but the Tigers just haven't shown the ability to beat the really good teams yet.)


Andrew said...

A couple years ago, before the string of Stanley Cup wins when Yzerman retirement talk first started going around, Mitch Albom wrote an article about how the wings did better in the playoffs without him than with him. I don't think that's true anymore (though I don't know the numbers), and he's such an institution in the Detroit sports seen, that I'm sad to see him go.

The Tigers on the other hand... I'd rather see them have this record and lose to some good teams than how they've been in recent years: piss poor, but seemingly somehow always able to scrape together a wind against the yankees.

Andrew said...

Also, I blame all typos in the above comment on Italian keyboards, even for words on which they should have no bearing.