Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
The folks at Funny or Die know it. Baseball can bring out the competitiveness in Midwesterners. We may have our disagreements – Cubs or Sox, Tigers or Tribe, Twins or Brewers – but no matter who you cheer for in the Midwest, chances are your local economy picks up just a little this time of year.
By now, you know that Earvin “Magic” Johnson is one of the new owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers. But there’s also a Chicago connection in the deal.
Magic Johnson in his MSU playing days
Johnson, the Lansing, Mich., native, Michigan State and NBA star, led a group of investors who paid $2 billion for the Dodgers, a record for a baseball franchise.
Speaking with ESPN2′s Baseball Tonight on Wednesday, Johnson said he’ll be actively involved in running the club, and has loved baseball since growing up as a fan of the Detroit Tigers.
He admitted the price was high, but said marquee clubs do not come on the market often, so he thought the team was work it.
One of the people who’ll be making sure the deal pays off is Mark R. Walter, the chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, which has its headquarters in Chicago and New York. According to ABC News, he’ll be considered the team’s controlling owner, meaning he’ll represent the team in Major League Baseball activities. Continue reading →
Spring training is underway, and avid Detroit Tiger fans are counting the days until April 5, when it will be Opening Day at Comerica Park.
Comerica Park, by Micki Maynard
This year, there’s a lot of attention surrounding the team, which stunned baseball when it snapped up slugger Prince Fielder. Opening Day tickets sold out in 45 minutes last Saturday, and demand for regular season games is soaring, which will bring a lot of people downtown.
And the impact will be even greater if Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch get his dream of a World Series.
We want to know what the Tigers mean to you. Are you a lifelong fan, or did you only catch Tiger Fever last year? What are your memories of Comerica Park (or as some of us won’t stop calling it, Tiger Stadium)? How do you think the interest in the Tigers will affect Detroit?
Take our survey. Send us your thoughts, memories, photos. We’ll feature them every day during Opening Day week.
Then re-live last year’s Opening Day. See you at the ballpark!
If you’re a baseball fan, you already know that the ground shook last week when the Detroit Tigers signed slugger Prince Fielder. His nine-year, $214 million contract cost the Tigers as much as Ford plans to spend on a new engine plant in Brazil.
Prince Fielder at his first Detroit Tigers press conference
That word comes from Chris Ilitch, the son of Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch, and the president of Illitch Family Holdings, Inc., the family’s group of companies that includes pizza giant Little Caesar’s Enterprises.
Those companies, including the Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit’s Motor City casino, generate about $4 billion in annual revenue.
In 2010, the latest year for which information is available, the Tigers had annual revenue of $192 million, according to Forbes.com. Continue reading →