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:

https://www.mlb.com/tigers/video/must-c-tigers-turn-triple-play/c-1820956383?tid=

 

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. 

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.