No more than just a couple weeks ago, the yearly tradition of “April in the D” wasn’t looking so hot.
It seemed as though the first week of April would be a wind-down of the regular season for both the Red Wings and Pistons, as the Red Wings were outside the playoff picture, the Pistons were in need of a warm streak to get back in playoff contention. The Tigers looked to be the only hope for April, as they were still in spring training.
For the fans of Detroit sports, those last couple weeks couldn’t have turned out a whole lot better than they actually have.
With two games left in the regular season, the Red Wings have leapfrogged the Boston Bruins for the third spot in the Atlantic Division, currently holding a two-point lead as both teams have two games left on their schedules. The Wings can actually clinch a divisional playoff spot with a win of any kind in their head-to-head matchup in Boston on Thursday. The Wings have been in the playoffs in each of the last 24 years… they can’t start missing out now, right?
The Pistons have warmed it up lately as well, going 7-3 in their last 10, and jumping up to eighth in the Eastern Conference. Their magic number to clinch a berth in the playoffs is one, meaning a win against the Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, or Cleveland Cavaliers would put them no lower than eighth in the conference at the season’s end. Since the team has not qualified for the playoffs since the 2008-09 season, “DE-TROIT BASKET-BALL” has extra meaning this April.
The remaining part of April in the D is the beginning of Tigers season, which has been a small scale roller coaster ride so far, but sees the team off to a 2-0 start. We’ve already seen a base hit from Justin Verlander, a pinch-hit home run from Victor Martinez in both games, strong starting pitching, and yes, a bit of concern from the bullpen.
Now, with both the Wings and Pistons having the chance to clinch playoff berths in each of their next games, and the Tigers getting off to a solid start, “April in the D” has been given the chance to flourish once again.
Surely the folks behind the campaign are ecstatic with the way things are shaking out across the landscape of Detroit sports right now, but who are the real winners?
That would be us, the fans.