Love Him or Hate Him, Mike Ilitch is a Great Team Owner

Downtown Detroit is the home to adjacent professional sports stadiums that were built at nearly the same time: Comerica Park and Ford Field.  But the contrast between the two teams that play there —  and the men who own them — can hardly be more dramatic.  One has been a passive, perennial loser since the early 1960s — and the other would give his own front teeth in order to hoist a trophy over his head.

Love him or hate him, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike llitch is one of the greatest team owners in all of professional sports.  At 81, his passion to win championships is still as strong as it was decades ago.   Fans may disagree with some of his moves; they may be dismayed by his ever-rising ticket prices; they may be turned off by the strong-armed tactics of holding security deposits too long and charging an arm and a leg for post season events — but they can never question the burning desire the man has to win.

Can you imagine if William Clay Ford had announced that HE was interested in buying the Detroit Pistons?  Can you begin to imagine to public outcry?  Accurate public perception is that Ford has been holding the once-proud Detroit Lions hostage for 47 years.  Unlike the excitement stirred by Ilitch’s announcement, a similar announcement by Ford would have potentially caused demonstrations in the streets.

Mr. I, for the record, I’m rooting for you.  I haven’t always agreed with your decisions; I haven’t always liked the management and player moves you’ve made; I strongly disagreed with you on the handling of Tiger Stadium.  But this time, I’m behind you all the way.  Good luck.

3 replies on “Love Him or Hate Him, Mike Ilitch is a Great Team Owner

  • Eric Lynch

    “Love him or hate him…?” What Detroiter not named Sparky Anderson would hate Mike Illitch? Even enemies of the state like Claude Lemieux probably love the guy.

    Now, if we were talking about William Clay Ford and his even less competent son (an astonishing feat if ever there was one), then the question might be more about who could love a guy responsible for putting the Lions in the clammy hands of Scott Mitchell and eventually unleashing the horrors of the M&M (Marty and Matt) regime upon the city of Detroit. And then it turns out that kindly old Bill Davidson was really just a scheming jerk who double-crossed legends like Isiah Thomas, Chuck Daly, and Jack McCloskey.

    Hate Mike Illitch? Looking at his local ownership competition, he is a saint among bad boys.

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