DETROIT -- Former Tigers owner Mike Ilitch made a point for years to be part of the team photo. No matter the circumstances, Ilitch would be in the front row, middle, with the manager and general manager at his side, a tradition that continued until his health made it too
DETROIT -- Former Tigers owner Mike Ilitch made a point for years to be part of the team photo. No matter the circumstances, Ilitch would be in the front row, middle, with the manager and general manager at his side, a tradition that continued until his health made it too difficult.
On Friday, Ilitch's son Chris was at Comerica Park to continue the tradition. The Ilitch Holdings, Inc. president and CEO plans to keep it alive for a long time.
"I am committed, and we are committed, to long-term Ilitch ownership of the Detroit Tigers," he said.
Mike Ilitch served as the Tigers' owner from 1992 until he passed away in February at age 87. Chris Ilitch had been active in the organization for several years, including at Owners' Meetings.
Friday was Chris Ilitch's first time taking part in the team photo. It was also an opportunity for him to talk to reporters at Comerica Park, where he discussed the Tigers' rebuilding process.
Ilitch also gave a vote of confidence to general manager Al Avila.
"I am very confident the Detroit Tigers are on a path to sustainable success," Ilitch said, "and I am very pleased with how decisive and determined Al Avila and his staff have been to move our organization forward. We're energized with the infusion of young talent we've added. I was at the Draft this past June; it was impactful to see firsthand the hard work, the commitment of our baseball operations staff. And we are going to continue to provide all the resources and tools to Al and his staff to build one of the finest player development systems in all of baseball. They have us on a path so the Tigers can compete for World Series championships."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.