Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dear Sports Writers, Please Make Up Your Mind

I think that people just like being pessimistic and depressed. There's something to be said for being realistic, but you can be realistically optimistic. What on earth am I talking about? Baseball projections.

All the projections are predicting a terrible season for the Tigers this year. But not just this year, no, Tigers fans are being told to buckle their seatbelts for several years of heartbreak. I am so frustrated by this for several reasons.

The standard line for the past few years has been that the Tigers are too old; we're an aging team. Guess what? We're young now, and suddenly it's an issue. Which is it? Are young teams good or bad? This is what I'm saying; these people will never be satisfied. We had a team of veterans and youngsters, but we were "too old" and that was a problem, if you listen to the writers. Now, we have a team where the veterans include James McCann and Nick Castellanos (who only have four or so years each under their belts). It's a little weird, to be sure, but hey! We're young now. This is good, right?

Apparently not. I mean, it's good to get young, but that also means that we have to wait for the guys to grow and mature (become veterans) before we'll be any good. But hold on? At that point, who wants to guess what the narrative will become? Right! That we're getting "too old". And the cycle repeats. 

Let's tackle this idea that a young team has several years of tough knocks to endure. I take you back in time to 2014, when the Royals went to the World Series. Everyone was talking about how many young guys were on that team. Sixteen of players on their roster were 25 or younger. Their average age was 31.5 years old. Looking at that team, they were a great mix of youth, prime, and seasoned veterans. The next year, when they won the WS, fourteen of their players were 25 or younger, but their average age was 30.3. 

How about the Cubs from 2016? All anyone was talking about was their youth! Twenty of their players were 25 and younger and their average age was 29.4 years old. Tell me again that young teams can't do well.

I'm not saying that I think we'll win the World Series this year. I'm not even saying that we'll make the playoffs. This is where realistic optimism comes in. No one wants to set themselves up for disappointment. A lot of our players this year are relatively unproven. So we really can't say one way or another how they'll do, because we just don't know. That drives a lot of people nuts, so they just say we'll be awful to keep expectations low. I get that. I'm not expecting a postseason run. But I do expect us to play well. I'm hopeful for a winning season. 

If you build hopes up too high, you'll be destroyed when things crash. But if you don't hope at all, how is that any way to go through a season, much less life? People swing from one extreme to another. I try to live in the middle, with realistic optimism.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Commissioner Manfred is proposing new pace-of-play rules

I was in favor of video review. I didn't care one way or the other really about time limits on commercial breaks. When they announced the automatic intentional walk, I was annoyed, but it wasn't major. Now things are getting crazy.

New changes proposed by the Commissioner will change fundamental aspects of the game of baseball. I have started a petition with the objective to get the Commissioner's attention and let him know that the fans are not in favor of these new measures. 

Please sign and send it to everyone you know will care. The more signatures we get, the more likely it is that the Commissioner will pay attention.

Thank you.

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Nightmare Is Over

I never thought I'd be glad to have a baseball season end. I hope to never feel this way again. My friend, trying to be optimistic, said, "The Tigers get the number one draft pick." Yes, and it's nice that they get something good out of this mess, but I'd rather not have the number one draft pick, if given the choice. 

This year was a nightmare. But even in the middle of that, there was good. The best and biggest things happened at the end of the season: the Tigers first triple play in sixteen years and Andrew Romine becoming just the fifth player in MLB history to play all nine positions in one game. Those were moments to treasure amidst upheaval and heartbreak. 

You might wonder why there is a picture of a sunrise. To me, the sunrise is a symbol of hope. Despite projections, despite anything anyone says, next season is a fresh start. To borrow from Anne of Green Gables, "the next season is always fresh, with no mistakes in it". I look forward to next season with anticipation. Maybe more than in previous years because of how badly we ended. 

February is a new start.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

After Sixteen Years

Oh yes we did. The Tigers turned a TRIPLE PLAY last night in Toronto. (Can we just pause for a second and be amazed at how many Tigers fans were at the Rogers Centre last night? It sounded like Comerica Park). Drew VerHagen did what he does best, got a ground ball right to rookie Candelario who snagged it, stepped on third, fired over to Kinsler, who quickly turned to throw to first and just barely got Kevin Pillar. Absolutely incredible and SUPER EXCITING!!! We have not done it since 2001. Take a look:


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Miguel Cabrera Conundrum

Everyone knows it - Miguel Cabrera has had a tough year. I'm an optimist, but that doesn't mean I deny reality. Something is wrong, but I believe it will be fixed and he'll be back to a more normal Cabrera next year. But based on the things I'm hearing, even resting for an off-season might work for a short time and not solve the issues. 

The fact of the matter is, Cabrera has dealt with injuries and played through them the past few years. Playing nine innings is not easy. He won't say much until the season is over, but there have been allusions made that he hurts when he's standing out in the field. So my solution is simple - make him the DH. The details of that transition may be a little more complex, but the idea isn't.

Victor Martinez is currently the DH, but he only has one year left on his contract, and with his health issues this season, the possibility exists that he could retire after the current season ends. No one knows. 

The Tigers don't want to lose Miguel Cabrera's bat and I don't think it's gone. Maybe he does just need rest and thanks to the year we are having, he'll get plenty of it. (See, there is my optimism coming out :). 

It's not like we have a first baseman waiting in the wings, but that is less important than figuring out a way to get Miggy back to being Miggy. I'm sure he and the Tigers are going to be looking at everything they can. They don't need my opinion, but I thought I'd throw it out there for us lay people to mull over. 

(Photo credit: mine)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dear Mr. Commissioner, Please Don't Change Our Game

Dear Mr. Commissioner, 

You are full of enthusiasm for this game we all love called baseball. You want the game to be as great as it can be. But we love the game for what it is and also what it isn't.

This is not hockey, basketball, or football; full of speed and action at every turn. That's okay. We don't want it to be. We watch baseball for what baseball has to offer. Those of us who are baseball fans are okay with its pace. 

Mr. Commissioner, I support measures to take out unnecessary time wasters. A clock on the time between innings - sure. But putting restraints on key components of a game, like regulating how many times a catcher can go out to talk to the pitcher; now you're changing the game in a significant way. Make changes around the game, but don't regulate the timing of the game itself. 

Baseball has always had a large following. I don't see that changing any time soon. Those who like it will continue to like it as it is. Changing the game to make it faster is more likely to lose you fans you already have then draw in more fans. In my opinion, people who don't like baseball as it is probably won't be converted just because it's faster. I think the draw or dislike of a sport goes beyond time and action. 

Dear Mr. Commissioner, please think seriously about any changes you may propose. Please seek out the thoughts and opinions of players - current players but even more, past players. Please continue to let the saying be true, that a player from 100 years ago could come to a game today and still know what's going on. 

Add fun, add excitement, but leave the fundamentals the same. Don't change our game. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

This Year Puts 2015 Into Perspective

Last night's game against the White Sox was a microcosm for our whole season. The numbers, the expectations, the talent all says the Tigers should have the advantage, and yet, we lose. Jim & Dan kept saying, "This makes no sense" and that is the tag line for the Tigers season this year.

In 2015, a season which when over, I said was a year to forget, we at least had a logical reason for our record; significant injuries to significant players. This year, there is no logic. Everything said at the beginning of the year that we should be good; that we might have a shot at getting back into things. It makes sense that Norris and Boyd go through some struggles in their sophomore season, but other than that, the rest of the troubles defy explanation. If someone said that players were being paid off, I'd consider it. It makes more sense than the seeming nothingness we have. 

Okay, I'm being dramatic, but the most frustrating part of this year is that there is no rhyme or reason for it. Everything is there for us to win and we can't win. It makes no sense.