By: Kurt Snyder
When you take on a project to cover the Detroit Tigers; timing is everything. You are stuck with the hand they dealt you.
When you promise readers you will cover topics that are a departure from what the mainstream press offers, you begin to see patterns.
When you cover a team as deeply as we have at Totally Tigers, patterns of discussion develop. And I believe we would all agree that in the Brad Ausmus era for starters, the same patterns present themselves every season. Same goes for the Dombrowski / Avila eras.
And if you had to choose one consistency to talk about, it’s been injuries. Yep, sorry, were talkin’ injuries again. And if it has become one of many stale topics you have read here on this site, I’m sorry you feel that way.
But you have to remember the source. There have been so many “what if” scenarios with this franchise over let’s say, the last 5 years, that it begins to drive you mad.
Our local football team has been stuck with the label, Same Old Lions, for decades. And our local baseball team is beginning to earn the same moniker. Are they The Same Old Tigers? Well, I believe they are.
The Tigers are never lacking for talent. But the talent never seems to last the season. The Tigers are never lacking for stars, but most of their uniforms are sparkly clean while they sit in the dugout in September.
I really can’t wait for the day that someone who actually gets paid to write about this team, exposes inadequacies within the Tigers’ training department. Hopefully, it will be us. Hopefully, we are the ones to do it. Because this season has been the topper.
We had a team chasing down Cleveland while they struggled, closing within 2 games, even while dealing with key players on the DL. But one by one they continued to drop, to the point where things are now getting away from us again.
Many people ask me, “What’s wrong with your Tigers?” And I generally just tell them to look at the names on the backs of the jerseys. We are fielding a lineup with names like McGehee instead of Castellanos; Aybar instead of Iglesias; Romine instead of Maybin. Only in the starting rotation have we unearthed legitimate talent to fill in admirably for the injured.
And don’t forget Collins and Presley instead of Upton. You see Justin has been missing from the lineup all season with an injured soul. And I am not talking feet here. The one guy we need to produce in the worst way in the middle of all this carnage hasn’t been able to become anywhere near the hitter we expected when Ilitch decided we needed more offense.
So, it’s all getting rather stale, isn’t it? Year after year, Same Old Tigers. Lofty expectations followed by the customary injuries culminating in disappointment and “what could have been” dreams.
This folks, has been the Tigers since their revival in 2006. There has been excitement; years where they came close, years they made it to the Series, where they shut it all down when they got there. They seemed to have nothing left for when it was winning time.
And those World Series appearances seem like microcosms of these last few seasons where the expectations were tempered by how the teams were managed and cared for. They had the teams, but no proverbial spit left to finish the job.
Someday, the Tigers are going to wake up and find out their franchise is living in the dark ages. They puzzle annually by paying big money for players and then gamble with their health and wonder why they continue to break down physically.
The Same Old Tigers. The Same Old Tiger franchise. Dare I say the Same Old Owner? Ilitch has provided the players, but no one is providing a staff to keep them fit.
So accept our apologies. When we choose to cover the Tigers, this is what you get, the same old thing, year after year. No one would love to see things different more than us. And someday, hopefully soon, there will be an organizational housecleaning from top to bottom. Sometimes when you scrub every corner, you find things you don’t expect, or the proof of what you already suspected. That scrub needs to begin real soon.