Trying times test the temperament of Tiger fans
By Ken DeLaat
They are terrible.
Don’t get me wrong I love the Tigers. Always will. I’ve survived plenty of their down years and reveled in a handful of up years but the Tig’s get into your blood and when your team finally gets there, contends for real and on occasion makes it into the postseason with hopes of taking it all it’s sweet.
Then of course there are those golden times they indeed take it all.
Twice in my lifetime. Once when I was 16 and again when I was just a kid of 32.
And I love baseball. Always have. I can watch it on any level and when you see it played real well it is an absolute exercise in pure karmic confluence. A literal art form of action.
And this team?
They don’t play the game well.
They make errors, they give up way too many walks and lots of home runs too, a truly lethal combination.
And to say they can’t hit is an understatement of epic proportions.
More than half of the players in the ever changing lineup aren’t even sniffing the Mendoza line (.200 batting average, a bottom boundary of barely competent batting ability) and the power outage is such that they are 29th out of 30 teams in home runs and in the same position when it comes to runs scored.
Who’s the 30th you say?
Miami, the team that just swept a 3 game series on the Tiger turf to extend the freefall to 10 straight losses.
It is destined to be a long long summer for we of the Tiger Nation. This current streak of futility will surely not be the last one of the season and the trade market will be heating up again come the latter part of June when anyone who might yield a few younger and considerably less expensive players will be moving on to participate in pennant races.
Oh, the youthful players taking the field will show some flashes and the vets and journeymen looking to hang on a few more years will occasionally put on display the reasons they are still a valuable asset in the Bigs. The pitching isn’t that bad most days except for a frequent tendency to turn bullpen ineffectiveness into a group experience. Ron Gardehire is the perfect manager for this group and knows when it’s time to be patient as well as when it’s time to rip into a few players. While his post game interviews aren’t the classic Leyland variety they’re more entertaining than when Brad Ausmus was at the helm.
They will win some games they probably shouldn’t and most assuredly lose many games they could have won with a rally or two. In other words a typical ‘rebuilding’ year.
Disappointment is generally attached to expectations and this year (and hopefully just a few more) the hope for any aspirations beyond landing around the same 64 wins they posted the last two years can only result in a dispirited despondency.
Come mid July LSC Lil and I are heading down to CoPa for our annual visit. It’s not the same as the days when we frequented the hallowed, revered, stale beer and cigar scented halls of Tiger Stadium, but it’s a great place to see a game and while it doesn’t have the charm of the old barn it also doesn’t have the obstructed view seats behind what always seemed to be a proliferation of poles.
By then the Bengals will likely be about 20-30 games out of first and the post season a faded, forgotten dream. There will be pennant races taking place all over the midwest in Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.
But not in Motown
The season may not be over in July, but the season will indeed be over for the Tigers.
But take heart Michiganders.
Come August the Lions return and...and...uh....
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