January 29th, 2009

Ilitch talks Tigers at Red Wings press conference

Apparently Mike Ilitch was at the Red Wings’ press conference to announce their new contract for Henrik Zetterberg, and a baseball press conference broke out. And by all accounts, Ilitch is happy with the way things went for the Tigers this offseason. From the Detroit Free Press story (sorry, I don’t get to go to hockey press conferences):

“I know that when you take chances every so often, you’re going to miss every once in a while,” the Tigers owner said. “And we missed on some. But that’s part of the game. We’ve just got to be a little more careful. But I’m not going to change.”

There was one other quote from the story that I thought stood out.

“Getting humbled a little bit, going from the top to the bottom, I think that’s a pretty big shock to myself, [president/general manager Dave Dombrowski] and our manager,” Ilitch said. “I think we’ll stabilize this year and then, next year, we’ll become very, very aggressive and, hopefully, we’ve got a steady ship and team chemistry.”

In other words, this winter could simply be a one-year slumber for the Tigers on the offseason market.

Reading this brought back a reminder of something Ilitch said during his season-ending remarks at Comerica Park back in September, when he was asked about the team payroll for 2009 and how that would effect offseason changes.

“I’m not sure what we would do on payroll,” he said then. “That would be the last thing that I’m going to look at. I mean, I’m not afraid to go out and spend money. It’s been very costly, but I’m not going to change my ways. But I don’t know if this year is the year to go after people. I’m more concerned about getting the team in shape and seeing who we’ve got and who are the real Detroit Tigers.”

In other words, the Tigers can still spend money, but this might not have been the best offseason in which to spend it. And those remarks came before the brunt of the economic slide.

On an unrelated note, a 12-year contract? For a hockey player? Wow.