The Malik Report
by Paul on 10/20/12 at 11:17 AM ET
from Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News,
After the pennant was clinched and the World Series berth secured Thursday, Mike Ilitch spoke briefly on the dais, the size of the moment heavy in his voice. He thanked Tigers fans, gave a thumbs-up to manager Jim Leyland, was steadied by general manager Dave Dombrowski, then quietly exited the back of the stage.
There, away from the lights and the celebratory roar, Ilitch sat in a golf cart, surrounded by family, and posed for pictures. Minutes later, the cart zipped away with Ilitch and disappeared into the right-field tunnel.
The Tigers owner is 83 and moving slowly these days, but that's OK — he only has one thing left to chase. Of all the forces driving the Tigers, this is the most persistent one, the one that most desperately needs to be fulfilled. A World Series title has become Ilitch's last grail, and after nearly achieving it in 2006, when the Tigers lost to the Cardinals, the quest has grown more urgent....
Ilitch has four Stanley Cup rings from 30 years of owning the Red Wings. He has the Little Caesars empire, the Fox Theatre and so much more. He and his family are a towering force in rebuilding Detroit, and that would seem to be enough for several lifetimes.
But Ilitch unabashedly says his life wouldn't be complete without a World Series title. He's a former Tigers minor leaguer who forever harbored baseball dreams, and even though he no longer regularly bounds into locker rooms to greet players, they get the message. They see it in the team's $132 million payroll (fifth-highest), in Comerica Park's three million-plus attendance, in the fervent tones of a front office clutching a mandate that needs to be met soon.
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