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I Don't Think I'll Truly Love The Detroit Pistons Ever Again

I know how this works. This will be one of those blogs where people only read the headline and tell me to kill myself because I had an opinion they don't have. I also know that by posting this, I will probably get tweets every time the Pistons win, slamming me as if I'm actively rooting against the team. That couldn't be farther from the truth. I am absolutely in love with the job Troy Weaver has done with the Detroit Pistons, and my general apathy has nothing to do with the way he's rebuilt this franchise. I am 100% certain that under his leadership, he will turn the Pistons into a championship contender again, and I'm so excited to see Detroit sports fans happy about their success. I've tried to get invested, but as I watched them come back in their opening game against the Magic last night, something occurred to me. I don't care. 

When I say, "I don't care," that doesn't mean I'm rooting against them. I will never root against a Detroit sports team. I'm actively rooting for their success. Just because I feel apathetic doesn't mean that I'll never go to a Pistons game, and it doesn't mean I won't watch the next time they make the playoffs. What I'm trying to explain here is that the genuine passion I have for other Detroit sports teams simply doesn't exist with the Pistons. No team in Detroit has bothered me more over the last ten years than the Detroit Pistons. And that's saying something considering they play in the same city as the Detroit Lions. The difference is the Lions are genuinely pathetic. To expect anything out of what is truly the worst organization in sports history is perhaps a silly notion at this point. The Tigers have been awful, but at least I can pull up Tigers highlights from the last decade that made me smile or excited me. That's not the case with the Pistons. And before I go any further, none of my criticism has anything to do with Troy Weaver or the current regime. You can't blame people for past sins they had no control over. I think he's doing an excellent job. So before you quote tweet my shit into oblivion, make sure you don't take me out of context.

The 2004 Detroit Pistons were one of the big reasons I fell in love with sports. I remember my brother and me crying as the final seconds wound down against the Lakers that year. I'll never forget that group, and while they should have won multiple rings, the fact that I was lucky enough to watch one of my favorite teams win a championship is something I still cherish. You see, kids, there was a time when Detroit sports teams cared about winning titles. Nowadays, they care about making the playoffs, and that's where my frustration lies. The post-2008 Detroit Pistons were a collection of losers who lowered the bar daily and created this idea that making the playoffs was somehow good enough. Blake Griffin, who I liked and still like, getting a standing ovation in game 4 of a first-round matchup against the Bucks was one of the lowest points of Detroit sports in my lifetime. I don't blame fans for the ovation; Blake Griffin was incredible that year. I blame an organization that believed that making the playoffs in a league where it's nearly impossible not to do so is somehow an accomplishment. 

Again, and I can't stress this enough, none of this has anything to do with the current regime. I'm not blaming Cade Cunningham because the Pistons got swept in 2018. That's ridiculous. But what I've run into with the Pistons is what I know many people will run into with the Tigers if they don't turn it around. You have to earn your fandom. I gave the Pistons the benefit of the doubt for years, and they continually responded with remarkable incompetence. If Scott Harris doesn't turn things around fast, the same will happen with the Tigers. There will be a whole generation that doesn't know what good baseball feels like. I don't blame those people for turning their backs. Life is too short to buy into nonsense. 

The Detroit Pistons, to me, are the deadbeat dad that tries to come back into your life after being absent for years. It's why I adamantly, ADAMANTLY push back against the idea that if a team wins the championship, everything is good, and you can wipe your hands clean and enjoy the ride. That's bullshit. You can't give me those 14 years back. And I can see the criticisms right now. "All of this coming from the guy who watches 162 Tiger games a year?" This is correct. I acknowledge I'm being remarkably hypocritical. Personal taste is a thing. I like baseball more than I like the NBA. Oops. Sorry. 

I'm aware that many people are giddy over the Pistons right now and are probably waiting on pins and needles for the next game. To those people, I say, "awesome." Anyone who rips another for being passionate about something is an ass hat. I'm not trying to piss in anyone's cornflakes or tell them not to be amped. Somewhere out there is a person who watches every second of the Pistons the way I watch every pitch of the Tigers. They will be rewarded one day, and that's fantastic. But I can only give my opinion, and while I'll continue to root for their success, I feel a genuine sense of emptiness every time I watch the Pistons. It has no reflection on their current status. The future is remarkably bright. I want them to win, but I don't think my heart will ever be into them again. Maybe this will change one day; I sure hope it does.