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Matt Shepard

Shep's Take: Pardon This Interruption, Michael Wilbon

 
Posted July 11th, 2014 @ 7:10am

So a self-absorbed big wig at ESPN took his shot at us here in Detroit.

Many of you heard it. Michael Wilbon, from ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption," was upset that Detroit Tigers fans had the nerve to boo Justin Verlander on Tuesday night, after he surrendered five earned runs on five hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wilbon cited examples on why he thought the treatment of Verlander was unfair. He mentioned Detroit hasn't won squat since 1984. He clamored the Pistons stink, the Red Wings are going in the wrong direction and the Lions have always been bad. Plus they no longer have Barry Sanders.

Don't you love it when smug members of the national media, who have no pulse on our teams or our city talk as if they do? Suddenly, Wilbon has given himself a reprieve from sucking up to the NBA, LeBron James and the World Cup to take aim at us.

After all, it is a mandate from the Worldwide Leader to spoon all the above, and no one does it better than their talking heads, who are more concerned about their catch phrases and face time. 

I know some fans were upset at his jab, and justifiably so. I laughed at his ignorance.

Michael Wilbon commenting on hockey? Hilarious. Has he ever watched a game that didn't include his Chicago Blackhawks? Do you think he knows the Red Wings have made the playoffs 23 straight years? Do you think he has any idea they had the second most games lost to injury last year, that included long stretches without two of the best two-way forwards in the world? Does he know the Red Wings were third in the league in attendance, and played to capacity every night?

That is loyalty.

Does he know the Detroit Lions finished 1-7 last year, yet they still played to 99% capacity? Do you think he's researched Detroit Tigers attendance figures? If he had, he would have noticed they've drawn 3 million fans in each of the last two years, and three times in the last six seasons.

Finally, if Wilbon had any clue about Verlander he would have noted that the former Tigers ace has a 4.84 ERA and that he's allowed four runs or more in an inning more than any other pitcher in baseball. And by the way, he's due to make $28 million in each of the next five seasons. His WHIP and ERA are at all-time highs, he's getting fewer swings and misses and he's walking more hitters. 

Photo/Getty Images

Joe Nathan has struggled too, but I doubt Wilbon watched enough of Tuesday's game to notice the fans chanting, "Let's go Joe" as he eyed the save.

Wilbon and Kornheiser, and others on the national scene, will continue to take their parting shots at Detroit. Go ahead. We're an easy target. We're used to it. We can take it.

You know why?

Because we've persevered over more adversity than any other big city. We've also proven we can put on world class events like the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, Super Bowl, Ryder Cup, Final Four and Frozen Four.

We do it right and we do it with class. We love our sports. Our athletes are the stars.

Just because we have high expectations doesn't mean we are slobs. Detroit sports fans can be emotional, just like any other fan base. But for the most part they are educated -- something you can't say about Wilbon on this topic.

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