A Fan in the Face of Futility
Tiger team tests the limits of loyalty
By Ken De Laat
Anyone who is acquainted with me is likely aware of the unending devotion given to the baseball team that plays their games just a few hours from our corner of this bipeninsular paradise.
My loyalty to the Tig’s was forged in the mid to late 50’s so there has never been the highest of expectations and hope was often a mainstay of May before dissolving into a summer of ennui followed by wondering who the Yankees would play in the World Series.
So it’s not like the bar is set anywhere close to what could be described as high.
But man, this is one dreadful start.
How bad is it? There's a term baseball geeks use called the Mendoza Line.Named after light hitting shortstop Mario Mendoza Sabermetrics guru Bill James coined the label when referring to a player that struggles to reach the .200 mark in hitting. Many feel once a player has slipped below that line their relative value to the team in other areas is outweighed by their futility at the plate.
The Tigers, as a team, are below the Mendoza Line.
They’re hitting .194. I truly don’t care what kind of glove guy you are or how much your teammates like you,if you can’t hit your weight (and only one currently is) you shouldn’t be going up there to begin with. I know it’s early I get it but, man, this team reminds me of the winless Fred’s Trading Post team I played for at Pinery Park Little League in the early 60’s and while most of us hit our weight few if any of us weighed over 100.
In a game against Boston early this week they somehow managed to send 7 players across the plate. Of course they yielded 11 so they lost for the 22nd time in 30 games. And a glance at the box scores shows that in the 3 and 4 slots in the batting order, key positions reserved for a team’s very best hitters, the Tiger hitters are batting .105 and .181 respectively.The Red Sox 3-4 guys by comparison were hitting .349 and .351. You may remember one of them JD Martinex who the Tigs traded away a few seasons back.
Oh and the players of the future Detroit got in return for dealing away one of the best hitters in baseball? Yeah, not a single one is on the Tiger roster 4 seasons later.
So I’m a bit discouraged at the current ‘rebuilding’ effort thus far.
Recently I’ve spoken to local contractors who are dealing with the struggle it has been to find the material they need to build.
And a lack of material seems eerily similar to what the Tigers are going through.
“Baseball really is a glorified game of throw and catch. And if you don’t have guys who throw it really well, you can’t compete for long.”-Tucker Elliot
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