It can be a tough town, the D that is.
Yes, we love you when you’re one of us, represent us well, make us proud.
But if you decide to disrespect us, shun us or leave us … well, don’t expect any sentimentality. In fact, you can count on being booed the next time you come to town, and we’ll likely hold onto that grudge for years to come.
Just ask arguably the greatest basketball player ever, Michael Jordan, who verbally trashed Detroit and the Bad Boy Pistons after his Chicago Bulls swept them out of the 1991 Eastern Conference finals.
While Jordan received thunderous ovations during his farewell tour around the league 12 years later, the crowd at the Palace of Auburn Hills booed him loudly, letting him know that Detroit never forgets.
Which brings us to Wednesday afternoon, when Mike Babcock, the coach of the Detroit Red Wings for the last decade, decided to take the money (reportedly $50 million over eight years) from the Toronto Maple Leafs and run out of town.
Babcock’s departure comes on the heels of two major professional sports players, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer, leaving Detroit after testing the free-agent market. Suh landed a six-year $114 million dollar deal with the Miami Dolphins, and Scherzer went to the Washington Nationals for $210 million over seven years.
Each of the three – Babcock, Suh and Scherzer – enjoyed success here, and our accolades and applause, as well.
Babcock’s Red Wings won a Stanley Cup in 2008 and nearly another on in 2009, when they lost Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena to the pesky Pittsburgh Penguins.
Even though he never even won a playoff game here, you might still hear the echoes of “Suuuuuuuuh!!!” bouncing around the rafters at Ford Field if you walked in there today.
And no one will ever forget Scherzer’s gutsy relief appearance in Game 4 of the 2013 ALDS against the Oakland Athletics, escaping a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the eighth inning to get the win. His fist-pump and roar of relief as he left the mound were epic.
But that was then. And even though none of them has trash-talked us – like Jordan did — or fired off even bb-sized parting shots at our city, they still turned in their D cards and moved on, be it for more money or perceived greener pastures.
For that alone, Mr. Babcock, Mr. Suh and Mr. Scherzer, we sentence you to boos and heckles whenever you come back to the D.