We all love to hate the Yankees, but I think part of that is because we wish our team was like the Yankees. Not in the obnoxious sort of way, but in the way they value winning: above anything else.
When George Steinbrenner was alive he did everything in his power to ensure there was a winning team on the field in New York. Even if it meant he’d probably take a loss on the season. To have an organization be that committed to winning is a fan’s dream.
Now Mike Ilitch isn’t nearly as extreme of an individual as Steinbrenner was, but he’s not driven purely by the bottom line either. The past several seasons have seen the Tigers’ payroll baloon, and still Mr. Ilitch has been willing to add pieces at the trade deadline if it meant the team would have a better shot at the playoffs. He’s not content to turn a profit if the team on the field is struggling to put together wins.
We heard stories this year about how terrible teams, like the Marlins and Pirates, were hoarding luxury tax dollars, and turning a profit, without reinvesting much back into the team. I’m so glad that that’s not how the Tiger’s are operating. I’m so glad that that’s not Mr. Ilitch’s style.
The economy is tough, and I understand that the rich guys feel that as well and I could never blame a man for protecting his investment, but as a fan, I’m thankful that Mike Ilitch is willing to take on financial risk to attempt to field a winner.
There’s a lot of sorry organizations out there, and quite frankly, there’s a lot of owners who don’t care. I’m thankful that Mike Ilitch isn’t included in that group.