October 14, 2011
Lions, Tigers and Cars: Detroit on the Rebound?
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

It seems like it is a pretty good year for Detroit.  At least comparatively speaking.  In 2008, Detroit didn't appear to be able to catch a break.  Who can forget the outrage generated by the CEOs of the Big Three Detroit car companies when they flew to DC on private jets to ask Congress for billions of dollars in bailout funds?  The outrage notwithstanding, it was relatively clear that the Detroit car companies were in severe distress.  In 2008 Ford experienced its worst year ever, reporting some $14.6 billion in losses, yet seeking to remain afloat without federal aid.  And it seemed like Detroit sports were going the way of their auto industry.  In 2008, the Detroit Lions made NFL history with their perfectly winless 0-16 record.  In baseball news, even though so were saying they could win the World Series, the Detroit Tigers finished last in the AL Central and with one of the worst records in the league.  And in basketball news, the Detroit Pistons ended the season with a losing record after being swept in the first round of the playoffs.  So the sports woes and the corporate woes seemed to be piling on.

Which is why (even as a Red Sox and Patriots fan), I will admit to rooting for Detroit these days, as it seems to be making a dramatic climb back.  Indeed, while Detroit's auto industry is not yet out of the woods, there are signs that the auto industry is experiencing a recovery, with companies reporting increases in sales and profits as well as increases in worker benefits and plant investments.  And the sports teams appear to be experiencing a serious comeback.  The Detroit Lions are 5-0 for the first time since 1956.  And after beating the Yankees in game 5 of the ALDS, the Detroit Tigers beat the Rangers yesterday in the AL playoffs, keeping their World Series hopes alive though they are down 3-2. I have found myself pulling for them.  Partly because the optimism about Detroit sports' teams seems to impact optimism about the city and its economy.  In that regard, it certainly feels like all the industries are seeking to rebound together, which could mean that the city, its auto industry, and its economy could be looking at happier times--even if they cannot manage to bring home any titles.  Game 6 is today though. . .so Go Tigers!

Oops--looks like Game 6 is tomorrow. So one more day to wait it out.

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