DETROIT – Hey Detroit sports fans, we need a little help sorting out a debate in the newsroom.
Our wise and thoughtful editor Matt Triplett walked into the newsroom on Monday and asked an interesting question:
“Which of Detroit’s four major sports teams will have the best winning percentage next season? “
These types of debates are nothing new at Local 4, so of course editor James Jackson and ClickOn’s Dave Bartkowiak and Ken haddad jumped in for fun. Most of the time, we argue about sport, food and whatever else Rod Meloni is passionate about on any given day.
We often have strong opinions on sports matters, but Matt’s question really got us thinking.
We are talking about the upcoming season of each team. So for the Pistons, Red Wings and Lions, it’s the 2021-2022 season. For the Tigers, it’s the one that begins in April 2022.
From the start, we narrowed the discussion down to two choices: the Tigers and the Pistons.
Even Dave, who lives and breathes hockey (he still struggles with the confidence issues of the Barry Sanders era of Lions football), didn’t choose the Red Wings. Steve Yzerman has steered the franchise in the right direction, but not much is expected of this coming season.
The Lions, well, nobody wanted James to laugh at them, so they weren’t brought up. If Ken had even opened his mouth, Matt would have shouted “Kool-Aid Ken” and teased him for being a season ticket holder 100 years ago.
Again, it played out on the Tigers and Pistons.
James and I are baseball guys first and foremost, and we were mostly on the same page. But as is often the case, I got through a little more … franc.
While I think the Pistons are more likely to advance to the playoffs next season, my hunch is that the Tigers will have a better winning percentage.
Of course, with Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, Jerami Grant and other returning contributors from last season, we should all be very excited about what Troy Weaver is building. The addition of Cade Cunningham – who I believe is a sure-fire differentiator with star potential – will increase that excitement ten-fold.
But I think the Tigers have a shot at finishing around .500 next season, and people might forget how big a jump that would be for the Pistons.
Last season, despite all the positive signs and improvement, the Pistons finished 20-52 – the second-worst NBA record and THIRTY-TWO games under 0.500. The roster will be more or less the same next year, with the addition of Cunningham and a few other draft picks. If that’s enough to add over 20 wins in a season, it would be an epic turnaround.
I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it seems a lot less likely that the Tigers will do it because, well, the Tigers have been doing it for three months already.
Since losing 24 of their first 33 games, the Tigers are 38-31 this year. It’s almost half a season of games played well over 0.500 baseballs. It’s not hard to imagine the Tigers flirting with .500 next year as they’re already doing it physically right now.
Take into account that Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning and some young offensive players are likely to take steps forward, and it’s easy to see a path to over 80 wins in 2022.
If the Tigers pay for a free agent shortstop like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story or Corey Seager, that would also be a huge boost. Prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson could also debut at some point.
It should be noted that Ken and I are very high in the direction of the Pistons, and by the time October rolls around we will both be convincing ourselves that they are the No.6 seed in the Eastern Conference. But there are still a lot of Cade Cunningham YouTube videos left, so for now I’m sticking with the Tigers.
Dave agrees with me, because he’s a really smart guy. Ken chose the Tigers as well, but I know his heart tells him otherwise. He has very good opinions on food, so I try not to be too hard on him anyway.
I don’t think Matt or James gave definitive answers, but I feel like they were even more torn between the Tigers and the Pistons than the staff at ClickOn.
What do you think?
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