Dear Mr. Ilitch,
On behalf of the sporting interest of Detroit, we first owe you thanks for all that your family has done for us. Your late father was essentially the Patron-Saint of Detroit sports and we will be forever indebted to him for what he’s built us.
I can only imagine the shoes you’re stepping into and the incredible amount of responsibility that now rests on your shoulders. But WE BELIEVE IN YOU! If for no other reason, your last name is Ilitch and you have the blood of a builder. A builder of franchises, of businesses, and of a legacy. We know you can do this.
What we ask of you, is PLEASE continue to be as active and aggressive in bringing this city a championship as your father was. The belief is that your father wouldn’t rest until he brought this city a World Series, and I beg you to be as dedicated. This city needs, scratch that, this city deserves a World Series.
We know sports is a business, and according to Forbes, business has been rough at Comerica Park of late (if the $34B loss estimate is correct). Fast forward to this past October when general manager Al Avila suggested an off-season fire sale, and then made very few moves. I hope you reassured him that the team is willing to spend. After all, the city is giving you $250m in bond revenue to build your new Little Caesar’s Arena.
I understand cuts can be inevitable in any business, but please don’t punish us. I promise you we will continue to pack your stadiums, buy your pizzas, and flock to your casino. I hope you fully realize that the heartbeat of this city in the summer is the Tigers, and when it’s not, it’s the Red Wings.
Both teams have been straddled with albatross contracts and unproductive free agents. Perhaps we reevaluate who is negotiating these contracts and find new talent to build this next generation of Detroit sports. I can only imagine the fury it must cause to pay someone $8 million to NOT play for your team, but in the case of Mike Pelfrey, it was a necessity. This can be done cheaper, but don’t cut our nose in spite of our faces.
Mr. Illitch, please show us you hear us and, waive Anibal Sanchez! Pay him his $21 million buyout to go away and prove to us that our hot-and-ready money is going to good use.
Your family has been the best sports owners in the best sports town for the better part of the last four decades. Please carry that torch, high and proud, like we know you can!