Tigers owner Ilitch 'didn't anticipate' team taking step back

Updated: September 26, 2008, 8:11 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch said he is as upset as fans about his team's failure this season.

"Just like all of you, I didn't foresee all the holes that we did [have]," Ilitch told The Detroit News on Friday. "Beyond my wildest dreams, I didn't anticipate that."

The Tigers, who were in the World Series in 2006, made many moves in the offseason including acquiring Miguel Cabrera from the Florida Marlins. Despite an all-star offensive lineup, Detroit was last in the AL Central entering Friday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I thought we had a good foundation we could build from and keep the ballclub up and contending all the time," Illitch said. "But it didn't work out, so it's cost us a little bit of time, maybe a year, or year and a half."

Ilitch, at Comerica Park on Friday for the team picture, said the Tigers have to make some decisions about the future. But he does not anticipate raising the payroll for 2009.

"As far as payroll, I'm not sure what we'll do on payroll, that's the last thing I'm going to look at," Ilitch said. "I'm not afraid to go and spend money. It's been very costly, but I'm not going to change my ways. But I'm not sure that this is the year to go after people. I'm more concerned with getting the team in shape and seeing who we have and who are the real Detroit Tigers.

"I just want to get back to where I thought I was, competing with the Bostons, and all the good teams, and holding your team up year in and year out, that's my goal personally."