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Game 77: Twins at Tigers

Can prankster extraordinaire Maeda bring some fun back to the Twins?

Minnesota Twins
DETROIT - 1997: Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins bats during an MLB game at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo by MLB via Getty Images

Time: 5:40 Central

Weather: Showers possible early, 69° at first pitch

Opponent’s excellent SB site: Bless You Boys

TV: BSN (for now, future still hazy). Radio: Not in your Tesla

Maeda’s back! According to Baldelli, “nothing can help a team with such a bad manager and inept front office.” OOPS he ACTUALLY said “I mean, as a whole, I think he’s probably been 89-91. When he was even at his best with us, he was probably pitching at 90, 91 most of the time, too. So I think he’s got everything he needs, arsenal-wise.” It’s this kind of soaring rhetoric we love you for, Rocco.

Young Tigers lefty starter Joey Wentz last pitched on Saturday, and set a career high in strikeouts with 9. Guess who he was pitching against? You don’t have to guess, because you are a Knowledgeable Fan. Most of you, at least.

Wentz throws a 94-ish fastball, a cutter, curveball and change. That fastball’s been getting hit hard this season. After a promising debut last year, Wentz has struggled in 2023, somewhat because of bad luck (and somewhat because of pitching badly). Back in 2015, he was in the Junior Home Run Derby in Cincinnati, and belted one of his dongs 543 feet. Using a cheaty bat, though. YTD digits (avert your eyes):

The urban development woes of Detroit are well-known, and basically caused by the city’s historic marriage to the auto industry. When a region is hugely dependent on one industry, be it cars or mining or llama farming, that industry can get all kinds of concessions which other businesses don’t, simply by threatening to move. And then, in the end, move anyway.

So, as an attempt to reinvigorate downtown Detroit, the city has wisely chosen to focus a gigantic proportion of development funding on… oh, one company. Specifically Ilitch Holdings, which now owns a majority of downtown property. As well as the Tigers, and the Red Wings hockey team.

Mike and Marian Ilitch co-founded Little Caesars in 1959, which has the virtue of being not quite as bad at pizza as Domino’s (and responsible for fewer car crashes). They bought the Tigers in 1984, and soon enough began wailing and gnashing teeth about how old and decrepit Tiger Stadium was.

It was old, having been built in the same year as Fenway Park. But it was in roughly the same shape, and just as cherished a local landmark. There was a significant grass-roots effort to save it, which aptly enough began in a meeting of Tigers fans over pizza. (Presumably not Little Caesars’ pizza.) The Ilitchs won, and got the new stadium which nobody particularly loves or hates… although it does sell tickets to seats with a foul pole blocking views of the diamond.

Much, much sleazier than getting a new stadium are the massive subsidies given to Ilitch Holdings for a development project called District Detroit, which you can read about in frustrating detail here. We’re talking well over $400 million in tax breaks alone, for development that’s mostly been between slow and nonexistent. Ilitch Holdings has even found the gall to request another $800 million, for Even Better proposals including a whole lot of… office space! (Because more office space is what EVERY CITY NEEDS since 2020.)

All pretty disgusting and depressing, to be sure.

But, after Mike Ilitch died in 2017, CNN found out that Ilitch had quiety been paying Rosa Parks’s rent for the last decade of her life.

Does helping out a civil rights hero make up for your family taking millions from a city, millions that could have otherwise gone to schools and social services? Probably not.

But it’s a pretty decent thing, all the same.

Today's Lineups

Donovan Solano - 1B Zach McKinstry - RF
Carlos Correa - SS Spencer Torkelson - 1B
Byron Buxton - DH Kerry Carpenter - LF
Royce Lewis - 3B Javier Baez - SS
Kyle Farmer - 2B Nick Maton - 3B
Willi Castro - LF Matt Vierling - CF
Max Kepler - RF Miguel Cabrera - DH
Christian Vazquez - C Zack Short - 2B
Michael Taylor - CF Jake Rogers - C
Kenta Maeda - RHP Joey Wentz - LHP

(I think Kepler is starting against a lefthander just to troll Ben.)