Some people react to news differently than others. Fans are all over the map in their response to something they hear. And when it comes to Tiger fans, you can be reasonably certain that the opinions and feelings about the news that Justin Verlander may indeed be on the trading block within the next couple of weeks, would be wildly different.
Of course, a lot of these stories that come about are fueled by rumor, and they do their jobs for the most part. They get our attention. They make us react emotionally. They make us talk about them. And this post is proof of that, isn’t it?
I had originally told myself that I would not react to this report. But sometimes you have to break your own rules. Mainly because when you are covering the Tigers, any mention of JV potentially wearing anything but the D on his chest causes an emotional stir.
And it’s not only because you feel a certain loss of a player we like to call our own. It’s the fact that he would be leaving without a championship in Detroit.
It’s the reason teams sign stars of the game to high dollar, long-term contracts. It’s foolish, especially for a pitcher, to think that they will have the ability to produce throughout the life of the contract. That’s really not the point. It’s about the ring.
These contracts are handed out in hopes that they will help to deliver a championship or 2 before someone like JV begins his decline.
But getting to this point, where JV, one of the faces of the franchise, is considered to be a candidate for a trade, is a failure. A disgusting failure.
Seeing Verlander pitch for another team would turn my stomach. In fact, I feel a little squeamish over just discussing the notion or the possibility.
When Verlander and Miggy signed their long-term deals, the Tigers were officially on the clock. You only have so much time to take advantage of their great talents. There is indeed a window.
And I have fought for a while about the window and whether it is closing or not. I have never been very cooperative in discussing a closing window. Mainly, because just when you thought it may close, there was Mike Ilitch pushing it open again with another big trade or signing.
But it’s over now, and I guess you could say it was a good run. I could say that, really I could. I could brush off all the individual accomplishments accumulated by our great stars since the 2006 World Series. I could chalk up all those things as exciting to experience, but never contributed to the accomplishment of the big prize. The MVP awards, the Triple Crowns, the no-hitters, the Cy Young Awards, none of them have gathered anything but dust.
But I can’t look at you with a straight face and say, oh well, we have to move on. Sorry. Ain’t happening.
I just wonder what fans across the country must think of the Tigers. How on earth could all these huge individual accomplishments be accomplished by one team over the course of 10 years and none of it equal a single World Championship?
And now here we are talking about one of those players, Justin Verlander, potentially boxing up all of his awards and heading out of town, all because an office full of supposed baseball geniuses couldn’t figure out how to complete the formula.
On a recent Sunday Night Baseball game, a weekly nationally televised game on ESPN, during a game televised from Detroit, the subject of Justin Verlander came up. The discussion went in a lot of different directions. But one direction hit home. The theory that Verlander would play anywhere else but in Detroit wouldn’t seem right. That JV should always be a Tiger.
I understood it. I agree with it to a point. Emotionally, we hope the faces of the franchise stay around forever. We are fans, we get used to having these guys around. We count them as our own.
But they are here to do one thing, and it’s the one thing they want themselves more than anything else, and that’s to win a title.
A failure to do that before they have to leave reflects badly on ownership and the people who run the team. And it sickens me that Justin Verlander could potentially walk out of this town without having held the trophy that carries the most weight.