No. 52: Detroit Tigers

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:53 PM ET
By Ian Gordon | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 52
Title track: 44
Ownership: 11
Coaching: 56
Players: 65
Fan relations: 87
Affordability: 32
Stadium experience: 34
Bang for the buck: 78

As far as the Ultimate Standings go, the Detroit Tigers are a model of continuity: Detroit joins the Chicago Cubs (No. 112) as one of two teams ranked in the same spot as last season. Even the addition of slugger Prince Fielder couldn't boost the players ranking, and affordability took a 10-spot dive following a 5.7 percent ticket-price increase at Comerica Park. Strangely enough, that bump -- the second in two years -- didn't seem to have any effect on the popularity of owner Mike Ilitch, whose rating improved once again this season. And though the "Every Kid, Every Sunday" promotion is a cute idea -- give children 14 and younger something free at Sunday home games, like a Doug Fister growth chart or a pair of replica Jose Valverde glasses -- it's apparently not enough for Detroiters, who docked the Tigers in both fan relations and stadium experience. Maybe, just maybe, the Fielder bobblehead (complete with arm tattoos per his request) will tip the scales back in the Tigers' favor.