By: Kurt Snyder
The holiday season gives us the opportunity to take a look at some previous posts. Some are more than worthy to look at once again. And even though it’s been months since Dave Dombrowski was let go, 14 years of history is hard to get out of your system.
So let’s look back at the post written the very day Dave got the call. What did you think? Did you see this move coming?
We can all act surprised , but are we? We can all wonder what happened, but we kind of knew, didn’t we? We’ve been trying to tell you, and in true Totally Tigers form, we at least got you thinking about it.
Dave Dombrowski was released from his duties on Tuesday and if you’ve been reading this site, we started putting the thought in your head a couple of weeks ago. We are not ones to say we told you so, but we certainty warmed you to the idea. It’s what we try to do, dig for data, look for clues and ask questions. And what happened Tuesday with the Tigers reinforces that we are doing what we promised.
But who really wanted all of this? Did it have to come to this? Where will this new path take the Tigers? These are all questions that we will address in the coming days and week and months. Because this is another new beginning in this ongoing battle to win a title this city has been yearning for since 1984.
I won’t rehash what we have mentioned in previous blogs on Tiger management and the way the team has conducted business, how they have run their team, how they have chosen to build a winner.
You can read them yourselves. If nothing else they will serve to remind you that what we saw, helped to guide us to today’s conclusion; the departure of Dave Dombrowski.
Brad remains in the job because a new GM may be taking over. https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/chicken-and-the-egg/
The possible rise of Al Avila. https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/whos-in-charge/
Time is running out for Dave Dombrowski. https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/very-little-sa…for-dombrowski/
I haven’t enjoyed this week. I started out saying how I had made peace with the situation. I “bought” into selling versus buying. But frankly, I am sure many joined me in my disdain for having to watch David Price perform masterfully in front of his new fans in Toronto and watching Yoenis Cespedes continue his amazing season, but now being forced to watch it continue for the Mets instead.
Fourteen years ago, bringing in Dave Dombrowski represented a commitment finally, to being serious about winning. Dave had the pedigree. He had won a championship. He had built winners. So the minute Ilitch brought him into the fold, the message was clear. We were done cutting corners. And Ilitch began to spread the word to the rest of baseball that yes, the Tigers were indeed serious about winning and wanted to do it right away.
They had in essence announced to all that the bank vault was open. We would entertain any big name that could help this franchise off the mat. And it worked. The Tigers got themselves back in the game and back in the discussion.
So the Tigers started down another road, a road they envisioned would end with a big pot of gold and a championship trophy. We had to endure 2003, which we will not discuss, and then the sun began to shine on this franchise, in the year that started it all, 2006. The Tigers, quite suddenly, had the best team in baseball, but couldn’t validate it with a World Title.
This town has exploded with Tiger fever ever since 2006. I have friends that never even followed baseball until then. It was a pivotal year. We were close.
But now almost 10 years later, we can still honestly say, we were close. If Dave Dombrowski had the opportunity to speak prior to his exit from Comerica Park Tuesday, he may have even said, we were close.
But this is a team game, and no one is without blame here. Dave Dombrowski isn’t out looking for a new job because he failed all by himself. This whole organization failed. Mike Ilitch failed, Jim Leyland failed, Brad Ausmus failed and on and on we could go. But by no means do you put all the blame at Dave Dombrowski’s feet. He certainly had his faults, but everyone played a role. So I don’t want to hear how Dombrowski should take all the blame. He is better at this than most everyone in the business.
But it’s human nature it seems for people to take all the garbage and put it in one basket and decide that’s where it all belongs, and if you want to do that, go find Mike Ilitch. Why? Because he made the biggest mistake.
The biggest mistake of all is that the Tigers got in a hurry. They rushed out and signed Prince Fielder when VMart got hurt. Does that sound like something the Giants or the Cardinals would have done? They signed Justin Verlander to a contract so large, it has been maybe the biggest reason for why Max Scherzer had to leave, why David Price had to leave, why Doug Fister and Rick Porcello and Yoenis Cespedes had to leave.
Sure it’s easy to say now that we shouldn’t have placed that kind of financial investment in Justin Verlander or even Miggy. But does that sound like something the Giants would have done? Does it sound like something the Cardinals would have done? I don’t think so.
It’s been just about everyone’s theory over the years that Dombrowski has had what every GM wants. He had everything he needed so it seemed. He had an owner who trusted him, who had no issue with spending whatever it would take to win, who loved big names, who so desperately wanted to win and win now.
But, the Tigers have been in this mad rush to sign big names, to trade young talent and get even more stars to fortify Tiger teams that were still not ready to win. We had to win now, every year, so we could get that monkey off our backs and finally, well, relax.
It’s been a grind, hasn’t it? For all of us. Imagine what it has been like for Dave Dombrowski. He must be relieved. I believe Mike Ilitch has worn the man out.
Maybe this wasn’t the best of everything for Dave Dombrowski. Maybe he needed an owner with a plan to make progress towards a championship, instead of one constantly pushing all the chips to the middle of the table every year.
Finally and almost mercifully, there were no more chips. And something had to give. The hour-glass has run out, and unfortunately we were right about the victim.