DETROIT (CBS Detroit) — Owning the Detroit Tigers for nearly 25 years, the late Mike Ilitch wanted nothing more than to win a World Series.
His team made it to two Fall Classics — in 2006 and 2012 — but couldn’t finish the deal. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus hopes that his players come into the coming season hoping to deliver that elusive championship in honor of Ilitch’s legacy.
“Because the way he went about his business — proving to the people around him, the fans the players, that he wanted to win — I hope that it makes a difference,” Ausmus told Dan Leach live on 97.1 The Ticket on Saturday. “I don’t know that in reality over 162 games it does, but I think it should.”
Though Ausmus hasn’t personally spoken with any of his players since Ilitch’s death on Friday, general manager Al Avila told him that players themselves are upset they couldn’t get over the hump.
“It bothers them because Mr. I made commitments to them as players and they understood that Mr. I was a guy that wanted to win,” Ausmus said.
Ausmus said that he is personally disappointed he could not win one for Ilitch in his three seasons at the helm of the Tigers.
“It’s disappointing to me as a manager — he put the stamp of approval on me as a hire — I knew that he wanted a World Series Championship and it’s disappointing to me that we haven’t been able to give it to him,” Ausmus said. “If that can push us over the edge this year — I hope so — and hopefully at the end of October, beginning of November next year we can say ‘this is for Mr. I.'”
Ausmus isn’t worried that his team isn’t anyone’s favorite to win it all this year.
“We can lay in the weeds, everyone just talk about the Cleveland Indians and I have no problem sneaking up from behind,” Ausmus said.