Apparently, sources are telling The Spun that Dan Gilbert is in serious talks to buy the Detroit Tigers. I have no clue how they are privy to this information but Detroit media is running rampant with this rumor.
It seems like people are ready to pop the champagne bottles at the simple thought of the Detroit-born business-mogul, who seemingly already owns half of the city, buying the Tigers away from the Illitch family dynasty.
I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I do not believe Dan Gilbert would be a good or effective owner for the Detroit Tigers. It’s quite possible to think that if LeBron James were never a Cleveland Cavalier that Gilbert would be known as one of the worst owners in sports. There’s nobody in the world who has profited more off of LeBron James while he’s been in a Cavs uniform than Gilbert. And that includes LeBron himself.
Dan Gilbert is a business-man, not a sports-owner savant. He cares about making money over winning championships (although it’s obvious that winning leads to profits).
Do people really think Dan Gilbert bought all of these properties and vacancies in Detroit simply because he loves the city? I feel bad for people naïve enough to think that Gilbert’s scheme is not a cash grab. Yes, he is from Michigan. But that doesn’t mean he is willing to lose millions of investment dollars from purchasing these properties just because he has a personal connection. Detroit being on the brink of booming is something mainstream media has speculated at for years now.
Detroit is on the comeback. There will be a ton of money to be made if all of the speculation becomes even 50% reality. Dan Gilbert is set to make a fortune off the Detroit comeback. And I don’t mean to say that with a negative tone, it’s just a fact. He seems to have his hand on the pulse here and knows where the opportunity lies.
This is similar to when Dan Gilbert bought the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2005.
The Cavs were coming off a few seasons as being one of the worst teams in basketball. They had the number one overall pick in 2003 where the franchise selected the player who is now widely considered one of the top two players to ever play the game of basketball. Dan Gilbert saw the upside. He saw the investment opportunity in the rise of Cleveland and succeeded (as long as you forget about those four years LeBron was in Miami).
The Detroit Tigers are coming off a few of their worst seasons in over a decade. In 2017 the Tigers ended the season tied with the San Francisco Giants with the worst record in baseball and secured the number one overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. On June 4, the Tigers selected pitcher Casey Mize from the University of Auburn. They have a young core of talent, starting with the best player and future superstar Nicholas Castellanos while Mize will add to a young pitching staff along with Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris who have all shown signs of brilliance.
Make no mistake about it, the Tigers will once again be a playoff contender within two years if the trajectory and development of players continues at this pace under manager Ron Gardenhire. Not to mention the AL Central is perennially towards the bottom of the league.
But with that being said, attendance was pretty abysmal at Comerica Park this year. The Tigers Present Value is a lot lower than its future value. Forbes currently has the Tigers listed as the 21st most valuable franchise in the MLB. A prime time to buy. I have very little doubts that a man with the business-savvy of Dan Gilbert sees this trajectory and upswing as well. Just like with the Cavs and any business venture, Gilbert’s goal is to make a profit.
The simple fact that Gilbert is from Michigan should not be enough to convince you that he would be a successful owner for the Tigers.
He first bought the Cavs in 2005, two years after the team drafted the greatest player in the history of the NBA. Gilbert refused to spend money to build a team around LeBron James. LeBron left for Miami in 2012. The best and most valuable NBA figure, perhaps the most valuable figure in all of professional sports, walked away from his hometown team largely in part due to his disdain for Gilbert.
Without LeBron, Gilbert struggled to say the least. In four seasons the Cavs finished with the worst record twice and finished no higher than 10th in the East. LeBron returns after four years of absolute misery in Cleveland, orchestrates moves behind the scenes, and leads the city to their first title in a million years.
And once rumors had it that LeBron would bolt again, which he did, Gilbert wanted to max out his profits too reportedly.
While many people are growing tired of the losing ways across the board in Detroit sports, the Tigers are going about a rebuild the right way. The Illitch family has been pounding for a World Series title at all costs over the last decade, dishing out ginormous contracts that we knew would come back to bite us or trading away the farm every year to make that push in October. In a non-sexy market like Detroit, it’s not realistic to think we can be like the Yankees or Red Sox or Angels or Dodgers who attract the biggest free agents every offseason and have more money to throw around than a Saudi Prince.
If Illitch sells, then GM Al Avila would surely be in jeopardy, as would manager Ron Gardenhire, this throwing the whole rebuild off its course and setting it back.
Gilbert could come in and be the George Steinbrenner of Detroit? See how ridiculous that sounds?