As all of you guys know by now, I live in metro Detroit. I was born and raised here and it’s home to me. I have had so many great memories as a sports fan. Dating back to the Red Wings dynasty in the late 1990s/early 2000’s, or the 2004 Goin’ to Work Detroit Pistons teams.
I even throw the Detroit Tigers in there. It’s upsetting they never won a World Series, but I’ve witnessed a decade long of great baseball with two trips to the World Series in 2006 and 2012. The only team I haven’t experienced much success with is the Detroit Lions! Shocking.
Anyway, let’s focus on baseball for a minute. As I said, I watched a resurgence of Detroit Tigers baseball in 2006 led by manager Jim Leyland and, at the time, rookie pitcher Justin Verlander. The team would later be stocked with talent like Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Torii Hunter, Max Scherzer, etc. But I want to focus on Mr. Verlander.
He was the leader of Detroit Tigers baseball. He will always be a Detroit Tiger and he will enter the Hall of Fame as a Detroit Tiger one day, you cannot deny that lokoing at Justin Verlanders’ stats. He was the face of baseball here in Detroit and he pitched a wonderful 13 years here. He also did a lot of charity work for the city. The one thing he was never able to do here was capture a World Series title.
But he now has one with the Houston Astros. And I could not be happier.
Of course, it’s very fair to say that Detroit fans have mixed emotions about Verlander winning a World Series and celebrating as a Houston Astro. I mean, he has always been ours. He has always been a Detroit Tiger and there is still a deep connection to him here in Detroit.
But that being said, I’m still very happy he won a World Series. I have been rooting for the Houston Astros solely because of him. I wanted to see him finally get a ring, and that’s exactly what he did.
Let’s be clear about this. He did not leave Detroit on bad terms. In fact, it took him until the final second of the deadline to waive his no-trade clause and become a Houston Astro. He was very torn because he loved Detroit and felt a connection to this city. It’s where he started and where he’s pitched his entire career up until the last 2 months.
There has been a ton of buzz around here regarding this. I think most people are happy for him like I am. Some are bitter, and I don’t understand why. I certainly understand the wish that he had won it here in Detroit. Of course. I’ve desperately wanted to see a Tigers World Series title.
But the fact of the matter is that the Tigers will not be any good for a few years. Verlander made the right decision to leave and go pursue a ring that he was not going to get here. And he also did the Tigers a service by leaving and sending prospects back to Detroit in return.
At the end of the day, I look at it like this:
Justin Verlander left here on good terms, he pitched a ton of great baseball here for 13 years and also did a lot for the city of Detroit. There is nothing wrong with rooting for him to finally get a World Series ring and fully complete his Hall of Fame career.
Congrats, JV. I’m happy for you man! And I’m glad that most others here in Detroit feel the same way.