Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Stop Booing Players

We were playing the Baltimore Orioles and knocking Chris Tillman around. I was happy because the Tigers were winning. The Orioles fans were decidedly UN-happy. And they were making sure Tillman knew it. I actually felt bad for him.

WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO PROVE?

Imagine for a moment that you had a responsibility/job to do. The only person that this affected was you, but you were failing at it. You would feel terrible. You would feel like a failure. Now imagine that you have a job that affects approximately 30 people immediately around you and tens of thousands of others. Oh, and you get paid a LOT of money to do this job. Now when you fail, it feels even worse.

Do you see? Chris Tillman, and any other baseball player struggling, is essentially failing at his job right now. He's probably beyond frustrated. He knows he's letting his teammates down, his manager down, the fans down, and it's probably killing him. So what do players who are struggling need from the fans? The last thing they need is us voicing our frustrations. That's all booing them accomplishes. It tells them we are unhappy and makes them feel even worse. It doesn't improve the situation at all. 

TRY TO BUILD THEM UP 

What if, instead of booing when they fail, we cheer loudly and exuberantly when they succeed? Even if it's throwing a strike, let them know we appreciate when they do a good job. Because they already know we are frustrated. (And we are not more frustrated than they are). Rather than complain about how terrible someone is doing on our social media platforms, find something good that they are doing and praise them for it (and tag them too!). There is pretty much ALWAYS something good and positive to find, if you know how to look for it. 

LET'S BE HAPPY

Baseball is a game almost designed to bring heartache and sorrow all on its own. Why should we create more discord by our words? I implore the baseball fans - look for the good. Search long and hard if you have to, but try to find at least one good thing in a bad start, in a loss, in a crummy season. You have no idea how much it will improve your overall attitude toward the game, the players, and even life. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trades & Rebuilds


I don't really like July. That's because July is trade deadline month. There has only been one trade in the time I've been following baseball that I was legitimately happy about. J.D. is gone and I'm sad. I knew it was coming, and to a point I understand it, but I'm still sad. I'm also pretty stunned that we won last night's game. I fully expected us to lose, so I was pleased and surprised when I woke up this morning to see that we had won, and not by a small margin. Enough with all that. I have a few thoughts I want to get off my chest today.

THE TRADES THAT MAKE SENSE

As much as I don't like to see players leave, there are some trades that I can admit make sense for a team. Usually those regard players who will be free agents. Dombrowski traded away Cespedes, Price (okay, maybe two trades I was happy about), and Soria because they were going to be free agents and we weren't going to be able to keep them. 

When you have a very talented player who you are going to lose at the end of the season anyway, I can understand that you'd want to try and get something for having that player. Otherwise, you lose this great guy and your team is just the loser. With a trade, you at least might get another good player in return.

I've been meaning to write this post for a few days, so I was going to cite J.D as an example, but Alex Avila is another. I was SO excited this past off-season when we resigned him. I don't want to see him go. But we have John Hicks and there is no guarantee we'd sign him again this coming off-season, so if a trade worked out, I'd understand it. Not like it, but understand. 

THE TRADES THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE 

Justin Wilson? Seriously? With all the struggles this team has with its closer position, why on earth would we trade a guy who is actually doing a decent job? Very rarely would I say that one player makes or breaks a team, but trading Wilson might just condemn the Tigers for a while. I know everyone talks about Joe Jimenez, but we all thought the same things about Rondon, and it doesn't look like he will pan out the way we imagined. Who's to say Jimenez won't do the same thing? Regardless, he's not ready. 

Along a similar vein are the rumors about Fulmer. Purportedly, Al Avila's goal (and that of the Tigers organization) is to get younger and cheaper. So yes, by all means, trade away one of your young, cheap players. (Do you hear the sarcasm there)? Trading Fulmer runs counter to everything the Tigers have said they're trying to do. 

I'm not even going to talk about the rumors for Verlander (what I said last off-season still applies to Verlander) and Cabrera. I think they're ridiculous and nothing more needs to be said. 

(As a side note, does anyone else find it very interesting that only in sports, can reporters get away with spreading rumors? It's all scare tactics, and in any other form of reporting, it's not allowed to write unproven information, but it's just fine in sports?)

Ultimately, we the fans have to trust Al Avila and the Tigers front office. Did Dombrowski make some decisions that didn't seem to pan out? Yes. But overall, he did a great job. I trusted him because he was in the position of GM for a reason. I don't have all the knowledge he does, so it is really my place to question? The fans have to trust that Avila will do what's best for the team. We may not always understand it, but I don't believe he'd ever do anything to purposefully hurt the Tigers. Might things not work out? Sure. He's human, the players are human, injuries happen, things don't go according to plan. That doesn't mean second guess him and blame him for everything. The powers that be have tasked Avila with the job of General Manager, and everything that goes with it. We have to trust their decision as much as we have to trust Avila himself. 

REBUILDING????
Here is something I don't understand - how is trading ONE player rebuilding? As far as I know, a rebuild is clearing your roster of almost everybody and virtually starting over. One trade does not a rebuild make. The Tigers don't have to start with a clean slate. We can - and are - changing our roster philosophy. We are getting younger. One could say we've been "rebuilding" for a couple years now. I don't think we are officially "rebuilding" with one trade, nor do I think we even need to "rebuild". I think the guys who write articles like to be dramatic. 

It's not up to me or you and we don't know what the Tigers brass will do. But I try to look at things as logically as I can and that's what I write for you here.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Instant Replay, Scheduling, & Inter-League Play


This is a hard article to write, because, as frustrated as I am, it is hard for me to put it down. I really don't like being negative or complaining. Sometimes though, things just push me over the edge. I will preface with the fact that I may be a little sensitive since it seems like these are contributing to the Tigers problems, but regardless, there are some issues here.

INSTANT REPLAY

I thought instant replay sounded like a good idea when they initiated it three (?) years ago. The first year they had some minor issues, but everyone assumed it would get better as the years went on. After all, it was just the first year; of course there'd be some bugs. But it actually seems to have gotten worse. 

Dan Dickerson and Jim Price know baseball. They've been broadcasting for years and Jim played for a long time too. They look at the replay videos while New York is deliberating and they tell you what they assume the call will be. They're not biased; they look at the video and tell you what they see. In the past couple of years, they were right more often than not.

Not so this year. 

A play will be obviously safe or out to them, and New York calls it the opposite. It's to the point where they say "here's what we think, but we have no idea what they might say". That's ridiculous. 

I like the idea of the umpires in New York not knowing the call made on the field. Just call them and say "take a look at this play and tell us your call". They make the call, unaware of what the call at the game was. Maybe that will fix some of the issue. 

Replay was supposed to get calls right. At the moment, it's failing, and it can cost teams a game. 

SCHEDULING

I'm sure this is not just a Tiger problem. I have not looked at other teams' schedules, but ours seems set up for failure. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but two West Coast trips? Why? We have two West Coast trips, multiple three-city road trips, and we're starting and ending on the road. At least this year, it's in the American League.

No team should start and end on the road and no American League team should end in the National League. A National League team could end in the AL, because it doesn't handicap them in any way. That's a discussion for another post.

INTER-LEAGUE PLAY 

Related to scheduling is inter-league play. I am NOT a fan. First and foremost, I don't see the point. But, whatever. Major League Baseball wants some inter-league play. Fine. But we don't need/want this much. The Tigers have SIX. Now, some of them are here, but still. At the end of August, we go on the road for six games - three at the White Sox, then we go all the way to Colorado for three, to turn around and come home. There's no point!

It's kind of become a tradition for us to play a home-and-home with Pittsburgh. If you want inter-league play, pick two maybe three teams to play per year. One can be a rivalry or a traditional opponent and you can work in other teams. But again, why? I really don't see the point of it. What it has done in past years is take away games from your own division who you need to play a lot, especially near the end of the year.  

CHANGES, PLEASE

Major League Baseball is trying to make lots of changes, but they aren't really asking fans their opinions. They aren't asking if we want some of the changes and they aren't asking what changes we might like to see. Instant replay needs work, the scheduling can be done better, and inter-league play needs explained. We need to know why it's done, and even then, we don't need as much of it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has these opinions and wants to see some attention to them from MLB.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

Some Think We're Done

A notification popped up on my screen - Windsor: Too soon to start a fire sale? The Detroit Tigers look finished.

Un. Be. Lieveable. 

Things are bad right now, I won't deny that. I'm extremely frustrated and disappointed in the way we're playing, but our schedule for May pretty much seemed set up for failure. (That's a rant for another post). 

I keep a notebook every year since 2012 of every single game throughout the season. Last year, around this same time. We were hovering around .500 or a game or two below. This year, we're four games below .500 and, while that is worse and it's bad, we ARE NOT FINISHED. It's way too early for that.

The Tigers are better than they've been playing. Other teams in the Central are worse than they've been playing (I mean, come on, the Twins are in first place. That won't last). The Central is still a close game and IT'S MAY FOR PETE'S SAKE! 

People are frustrated, I get it. I'm currently not listening to the games because it negatively affects my attitude too much. But I haven't given up. I know we'll do better because we have to do better. Verlander will get better. Miguel will start hitting. Our offense will score runs. We've done it before and we'll do it again. 

Baseball better watch out because when you underestimate a team, sometimes that leads to great things.  


UPDATE: Anthony Fenech is my favorite sportswriter right now. His article is brutal and honest, but also positive and hopeful. Read it here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

We Got TWO MustC videos!!!

The Tigers catchers were flashing their gloves in defensive wizardry the other day vs. Texas. Watch the awesomeness!!

 http://m.mlb.com/det/video/topic/47076644/v1410935683/must-c-catches-mccann-avila-make-fantastic-grabs


We also had the bats going in full force, starting in the 1st inning. We haven't done this in the first inning since 2013.

http://m.mlb.com/det/video/topic/47076644/v1410412083/must-c-combo-tigers-go-backtobacktoback-in-1st 

I wish I could post them so they look like a video, but this is all I know how to do. Enjoy!

Monday, May 15, 2017

J.D. Martinez

How about J.D. Martinez, huh?

Last year, he misses seven weeks, has no rehab assignment, comes back and promptly hits a home run off none other than Chris Sale. This year, he spends seven weeks or so on the DL again, comes back and singles in his first at bat, but hits TWO home runs in his second game back!!!

I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, with him missing fourteen weeks (roughly) in just a couple of months, we might get to keep him this off-season. But, when he comes back like this, I just don't know. 

The other thing in our favor is, free agents are no longer going to be getting the huge payouts and players can't get huge raises, thanks to the salary caps, luxury taxes, and penalties for going over. It may not matter, we may still lose him, but at least this is good news for other guys who will become stars (say, Michael Fulmer). 

I obviously have no clue what will take place in the off-season or anytime before that, but you might just want to savor this now. Enjoy watching J.D. play, because you might not get to see it for much longer.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

All Star Voting







The email arrives and I sigh as I roll my eyes. Those same eyes turn to check the calendar. Yep, we are one month into the season and we're voting for the July All-Star game. Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

I try to be really upbeat and positive in general and especially here. But I have to point out what I view as a major problem.

TIMING
All-Star voting starts one month after the season starts. What that means is, there are players who are off to torrid starts who will cool, players who are starting off slow who will heat up, and players who are on the DL now. Fans have the unfortunate tendency to vote based on current numbers, not track records, or they look at the wrong numbers.

Two examples from the Tigers (because that's what I know best) are Jim Adduci and J.D. Martinez. It would be lunacy to vote Adduci into the All-Star game now because A) he might not even be in the Majors by July and B) he won't sustain the way he's hitting right now. J.D., on the other hand, has missed the entire season so far, so he won't get hardly any votes, based on past voting patterns. 

LOOKING AT THE WRONG THINGS
Here is the problem with how people vote - they vote based on hitting only and what your team did. Hitting changes. Players go through slumps. A really good hitter can be in a slump when he goes to the All-Star game. The flip side is, no one seems to really care about defense. I don't care how good he is as a hitter, if he's not the best defender, don't vote for him. 

The way I try to vote is a mix. I'd prefer to have a guy who is a better defender than hitter, but I usually try to pick guys who are pretty good at both (disclamer: I honestly believe we have several guys like that on the Tigers).  

To give another example, I'm voting for Alex Avila for catcher. He won't win, but I'm voting for him anyway. James McCann will be an All-Star someday, but for now, Avila is the better defender and, especially at catcher, you want a premier defender. I really don't even care about hitting for the All-Star catcher. He needs to be a brick wall behind the plate. 

I mentioned people vote on how teams perform and that's not fair to certain players. When the Royals were winning big for the past two years, they got so many players into the All-Star game. I'm not saying they're not good players, but it's not fair to exclude really good players, just because their team isn't performing as well. 

I don't have any numerical evidence to back up these claims, I'm simply stating the trends I've seen. I don't mind people voting for their team's players, unless their player is not good enough. There were several years when I didn't vote for Castellanos at third because there were simply much better options. I think he has earned the trust to go to the All-Star game. Do I think he will? No. But he has become a player that is good enough at his position. 

The solution to this problem? Postpone the voting until June. June 1st the All-Star game voting starts and you have about a month to vote. That's plenty of time and it will give a better sample size to see who really is having an All-Star worthy year.