For a city that is currently going through bankruptcy, it isn’t hard for current and past residents of Detroit to understand misery. It’s pervasive in every day life for Detroiters. The most basic of services are touch and go, and could easily be described as an injured ball player is, day to day.
Sep 23, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin (55) is greeted by Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Jason Grilli (39) after tagging out Chicago Cubs right fielder Nate Schierholtz (not pictured) at home plate to end the game at Wrigley Field. The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs 2-1.Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Despite the many obstacles that face the city of Detroit and its people, those who don’t know us should understand that we have a ferocious sense of pride. We as Detroiters are rooted in blue collar work ethic, having been the center of the auto industry at one time, and I have no doubt that work ethic will allow us to become prosperous again. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe firmly that through these struggles, we will become even stronger in the end.
Strong. Tough. Hard Working. Proud. Manufacturers. These are words we use to describe ourselves in the Detroit area. And after having met and befriended several people from Pittsburgh, I think it is fair to say people from Pittsburgh would describe themselves much the same way. It’s through these values that Detroiters, despite our dislike for the Penguins, have developed a kinship with the “Steel City”.
This kinship extends to sports. It should come as no surprise that the Pittsburgh Steelers are well liked as a second favorite, and sometimes favorite NFL team to our own Detroit Lions. The Steelers style of play often resembles the qualities of it’s city, and the qualities of city of Detroit when it was at it’s greatest. One of Pittsburgh’s best players in their recent history, Jerome Bettis, is a native of Detroit and beloved here for his tough running style as well as his magnetic personality. As Detroiters, we rarely lose any love for those who make it big out of our city, even if they play for a different cities’ team.
There is a respect for Pittsburgh, that we don’t have for our fellow foe in Cleveland.
Our sports teams are often a great source of escape from our problems, even in the case of the Detroit Lions, who often allow us to re-direct our frustrations for three hours. Just ten short years ago, our Detroit Tigers suffered through one of the worst seasons ever recorded by a professional baseball team. The Tigers have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. It has now gotten to the point where it is expected that they are going to be in the playoffs every year.
The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates should remind all Tigers fans that we shouldn’t take these things for granted.
It’s been twenty-one years since the Pirates have taken part in the post-season. Twenty-one! The Tigers recently spent nineteen consecutive years out of the post-season from 1987 to 2006. That drought seems so far removed now, I can’t even imagine going another nineteen years in between the Tigers next post-season experience. But it could happen.
The Tigers are about to do what the Pirates have done, and that is clinch a playoff spot in the next few days. So Tigers fans, while it is okay to express our concern about the chances of winning it all, let’s not forget that this isn’t hockey or basketball where everyone and their mother gets into the playoffs. This is baseball, and playoff teams should be relished and enjoyed. I imagine that is what Pirates fans are doing right now. The long playoff drought undoubtedly makes it a bit sweeter, but a playoff appearance is still sweet.
So congratulations Pirates fans. Out of respect for your city, your fans, and your story of suffering through a lot of losing, I hope you do well in the playoffs. The Pirates have a likeable team. In fact, I hope your Pirates meet the Tigers in the World Series. And I hope the Tigers kick your Pirates asses.
After all, you have the Steelers, and our hard working city could use the bigger lift right now.