As winter drags on and spring refuses to arrive Detroit sports have fallen into quite the funk. Usually April acts as the best time of year for all of your favorite sports teams. The Pistons and Red Wings are usually preparing for the playoffs, Lions fans are rallying around the draft/ free agency, plus the Tigers are finally returning from their winter break. However this year the gloomy weather has hovered over Detroit sports and the excitement for the four teams.
The NFL lockout is settling in and the potential for no season increases with each passing day. While the thought of no football in the fall is bad enough, this labor dispute is keeping Lions fans from its favorite time of the year, the offseason. The NFL Draft will still occur, but the absence of free agency and lack of excitement surrounding the Lions pick has created a rare offseason of melancholy. Usually the Lions offseason is built off false hope, but ending last year on a win streak brought added expectations to this offseason. Compromising the NFL season is bad enough, but taking away the hype and hope of a true offseason season has even gotten Lions fans down.
Meanwhile the Pistons have been stuck in reverse all season long, losses piling up, feuding players, a lame duck coach and still no owner. Karen Davidson appears determined to drive away any interested buyer with her ridiculous demands, for a team that is headed nowhere fast. Not to mention the team has few players worth building around. Rodney Stuckey has gone from a potential leader and building chip to a punk with a bad attitude who appears headed out of town. Chemistry and team work are a thing of the past and their coach is terrible at communicating. Fans used to live and breath Detroit basketball, and now they have become quite an after thought. It’s impossible to predict how this will will rebound, but the future does not look bright.
The Tigers have gotten off to a poor start that has quickly tempered expectations and brought on early questions regarding the rotation. While Verlander had a nice outing, but Penny, Porcello, and Scherzer were brutal in their first start. Obviously there is plenty of time to turn it around, but the Tigers haven’t the early spark everyone was expecting. Either catcher Alex Avila has forgotten how to call a game and isn’t ready to control a staff or Tigers pitchers have added hanging fastballs to their arsenal. Certaintly it would be a nice change of pace for this team to save their best baseball for the end of the season, but falling into a deep hole early that forces this team to play catch up all year isn’t ideal.
As the Red Wings prepare for their 20th straight postseason fans are cautiously waiting to see which teams shows up. Many years this team is the odds on favorite, but despite another stellar year they find themselves with many questions. Can they stay healthy? Will their lack of goalie depth come back to haunt them? Can the Red Wings defense step up, beyond Stuart and Lidstrom? Will all of their streaky goal scorers struggle at the same time? Can they survive a loaded Western Conference? Hockeytown has been spoiled by the Red Wings success, which has fans in wait and see mode to see how excited they will get about this postseason.
Needless to say Detroit and its sports teams could certainly use rays of sunshine and optimism for the present and the future. Hopefully the Tigers pitchers can move past this poor start, and hit the reset button to their season for their home opener. It would be refreshing if the Pistons can finally get a new owner and hopefully be lucky enough to get a lottery pick that they can build their new identity around. It would also be nice to see the battle of the billionaires and millionaires come to an end giving the Lions the proper opportunity prepare and retool for what could be a very exciting season. Finally, let’s hope the Red Wings can avoid trying to play ‘flip the switch’ hockey and simply bring they best from the first round. Oh it would also be great if the sunshine and spring temperature would actually arrive as well, we’ve waited long enough.