Things in Detroit are rough. The city is bankrupt, its public services have been decimated, and there’s even a stray dog epidemic.
But the city’s professional sports teams are still playing and making money.
So one reporter asked Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland and catcher Alex Avila whether they feel guilty knowing they make the big bucks in a broken city.
Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila throws a ball to fan during an interleague baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 in Miami. (Credit: AP)
The question was a little more detailed, Jeff Riger writes for CBS Detroit, but the gist of it was this: How do Leyland and Avila handle “making so much money while living in an area with so many struggling people.”
“I never feel guilty because I think the Detroit Tigers do a lot of wonderful things for the city” Leyland said during a press conference Sunday at Comerica Park.
“We try to have all kinds of interaction with the city and all kinds of programs to help people out, I think the Detroit Tigers have done an outstanding job at that. I think if you’ve ever watched my interviews when I start bawling, I get very sensitive to that. I’m not going to ball today by the way. I think we are very sensitive to that, we really are, I know how hard those people work and it’s a tough thing.”
Of course, it's worth noting that it's not Leyland’s job to hand out cash to the city. His job is to make sure the Tigers win, thereby keeping one of the city’s few cash-generating machines alive.
“During tough times athletics usually blossom and you can make a lot of people happy and forget the tough times that they’re having” Leyland said. “That’s kind of been a history of tough, financial economic times, sports teams do pretty well. We’re trying to put a smile on their face and make it as bearable as possible.”
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 07: ManagerJim Leyland #10 of the Detroit Tigers walks back to the dugout after a pitching change in the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 7, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan (Credit: Getty Images)
And what did Avila have to say for himself?
“We definitely are aware of the situation of where we play,” Avila said. “One thing that motivates us is that we want to be able to bring a championship to Detroit, a place that has longed for one, it’s been a while since there has been a championship here. We feel we are a big part of the reason that people are coming back downtown.”
You can listen to the original audio here.
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