By: Kurt Snyder
Over 162 games of a Major League season, fans who have spent most of their lives following their team, battle through the year along with their baseball team. And as much as a baseball season is composed of a series of peaks and valleys, sometimes they take place in a single week.
But most fans will never learn, even the most broad-minded, big picture fans. This is 6 months of baseball. And teams are going to walk into your own ballpark or the ballpark of a rival and do something you didn’t expect. It happens all over the league, all through the season.
Last week, Tiger fans were dumbfounded as the Twins came to town and took 2 out of 3 from Detroit. They were equally as confused as the Tigers visited the town of another inferior team; another team they should be beating most nights; the White Sox. But as you know, they could only manage a split; all while we pulled our hair out watching Cleveland get swept in Baltimore.
It’s mind boggling, but that’s baseball; the phrase we hear so much in the clubhouse as Tiger players and their manager try to explain a loss. That’s baseball. But to be fair, the game is nuts and probably the one sport least wagered on in Las Vegas. Who would have the audacity to try to gamble on a baseball game?
While the Tigers struggled in Chicago, the Twins walked into Boston, a team hoping for a spot in the World Series, and took 2 of 3 from the Sox. Yeah, the Twins. The team all of Detroit was appalled about. The team many think doesn’t even belong on the same field as the Tigers, if you asked most fans. The Twins not only won a pitching duel in hitter-happy Fenway, they played Red Sox ball the next night by out slugging them. The Twins. One of the worst teams in the American League.
It’s baseball, my friends. You try to figure it out. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Any given team can beat anyone on any given night. It’s a phrase heard all around sports, and baseball is no different. You can never relax. You can never assume you are better than anyone else. And you can never assume that your team will perform up to their abilities; or how the stats say they should be performing. You will never figure this game out. Don’t even try. Don’t ever think you know something that someone else doesn’t. Because the game is impossible to predict.
Case in point. Look at this series with the Red Sox. How many felt good about the Tigers’ prospects in this series? I certainly didn’t. Watching the Tigers play so sloppily against the White Sox made my stomach turn. Watching the Tigers try so desperately to score against a Twins team that can’t even pretend to have pitching was exasperating.
So the stage was set. Even with Verlander and Fulmer set to pitch against the Red Sox, the Tigers have not been playing the kind of baseball that justifies any kind of chance to win. But what have we seen folks?
The Tigers have strolled into Beantown and taken the first 2 games of the series against a team that could easily represent the American League in the World Series. That’s baseball folks. Try to figure it out. You can’t.
But deep down, in our sadistic minds, we love every minute of it. So, next time you hear a Tiger player try to explain the game they play and they can’t, they may blurt out, “That’s baseball.”
It’s not always what you want to hear. But a lot of times, there just isn’t much else to say. It’s a maddening game. And when you think you have it all figured out, check your temperature.