Detroit is one of the few cities in the country with teams in all four major professional sports and two upper-level college sports schools within 100 miles. So why does it feel like the next two months will be without any excitement?
Around the country, baseball fans are getting excited for the MLB All-Star Game, the trade deadline and the looming playoff race. Basketball fans have free agency heating up. NHL free agency is right around the corner.
In the state of Michigan, though, is it already time to look forward to football? Even though it’s still more than two months away, that looks to be the case. Here’s why:
1. College World Series hangover
Nobody in Michigan expected to get all that invested in college baseball this summer, but when the University of Michigan made an improbable run all the way to the national championship, most of the state was hooked.
The Wolverines took down No. 1 UCLA and a handful of other southern schools to get to the final. Big Ten teams rarely make any noise in the College World Series, so it was nice for fans in the area to experience something unique.
Now that it’s over, and Michigan fell short of a championship, the bandwagon has completely emptied and people don’t know what to follow next. There should be other teams to latch onto, but the next four points will address that void.
2. Detroit Tigers trending toward last place
The most logical option for fans in late June is to turn to the Tigers, and even though fans still care, it’s hard to get invested in a team that has the second fewest wins in MLB, a terrible home record (11-26) and has lost 30 of its last 38 games.
Think about that. Over six weeks, the Tigers have posted a .210 winning percentage, which would translate to a 34-128 record over a full season. It’s not that the Tigers are bad — it’s that the Tigers are hardly even competitive.
Right now, the only race that matters to the Tigers is the race for the No. 1 overall pick, and even that seems like a long shot because the Baltimore Orioles are so awful — 6.5 games behind Detroit.
Even the trade deadline has lost its luster, as starting pitcher Matt Boyd gives up home runs in droves and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos has his worst offensive season in years.
At least every team gets an All-Star, right? Well, Detroit’s representative is likely to be Shane Greene, who at best would pitch one inning in the All-Star Game and will likely be wearing a different uniform a couple of weeks later.
Yes, it’s a rebuild. This is what a rebuild looks like. It’s ugly. But that doesn’t mean fans can’t complain about it.
At least Jordan Zimmermann is back?
3. Casey Mize injury
It’s been awhile since Tigers fans have had a truly elite prospect to get excited about, and that’s exactly what they got in No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize.
Mize was dominating in his first professional season, allowing just eight earned runs in 78 innings while striking out 75 batters. He got promoted to Double-A and promptly fired a no-hitter in his first appearance.
MLB has moved him all the way up to No. 2 in the prospect rankings, and he’s the No. 1 pitching prospect in the game.
Fans were hanging on Mize’s every start with the Erie SeaWolves. It was probably more meaningful than the actual MLB team’s results.
Then Mize got injured, and he’s been out for two weeks. It’s shoulder inflammation, by the way, so even though it’s considered minor, it could flare up at any moment, and it will now be in the back of every Tigers fan’s mind when they get excited about Mize.
It put a damper on the excitement surrounding the organization’s No. 1 prospect and further magnified the major league team’s struggles.
4. Steve Yzerman anticipation