By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on many different issues. With the news this week that the Tigers will field trade offers for just about everyone, speculation is running rampant.
Holly and Kurt don’t share and it’s only for the readers’ benefit. It almost always translates into a wide array of thoughts.
What is going on with the umpires this year? There has never been more controversy and teams irate at their calling of balls and strikes. But now I’ve seen it all with one of their worst, Angel Hernandez, selected as one of this year’s “best” umpires, to work the playoff games.
I will never understand those who say that managers either don’t make any difference to a team’s performance or have little impact. The most visible proof is this year’s playoffs where the moves of Bochy, Maddon, Roberts and especially Francona have become more of a topic of conversation than the actual play. There is no coincidence that these 4, and their teams, ended up in the playoffs.
Given the new edict of “younger and leaner”, we are potentially facing the dawn of a new era with the Tigers and that means we need to view components of the team, including the manager with a fresh perspective. While Brad was not the match for a team that needed experience and guidance to get them to the post-season, the pressure may now be off him. His ability to maintain a calm clubhouse, coupled with his ability to nurture young players, could be a real asset to a team expected to experience the stress of multiple trades and an influx of youth.
He may no longer be manager, but make no mistake; Jim Leyland still pulls many of the strings for the Tigers. Now with Lloyd McClendon back as the hitting coach, JL’s whole gang is back together. And it’s not hard to fathom who will take over as manager when Ausmus’ single option year expires after 2017 if JL is still employed by the team.
The sudden death of Drew Sharp this week should really make us all take pause. Drew was a controversial writer in Detroit, often known for rubbing readers the wrong way. His sudden loss should make us all step back and consider what we say about members of the media; they all have lives and they all have talents. So, I am saddened by the death of one of the pillars of the Detroit media, who routinely extracted passion from his readers, the ultimate goal for all writers.
Mike Ilitch has been known to be one of the greatest team owners in sports. His passion for the city and his sports teams is quite evident, but I feel at long last that he has failed Tiger fans. We have all been blinded by the bright lights of the big stars on this team, when in the background they have represented irresponsible management of a baseball franchise, and it looks like we are all about to suffer for it.
Did you ever think at the time of Brad Ausmus’ hiring that he would continue to hold onto the remnants of Jim Leyland’s staff? Gene Lamont continues to hold down a spot on the Tigers bench, Jeff Jones survived the transition from Jim to Brad before ultimately leaving and now Lloyd McClendon has now returned as hitting coach. It’s strange how the Tigers have decided they need to be more responsible and progressive with their roster, but strangely seem to have taken the opposite position with Brad’s coaching staff; please join me in my confusion.
Did Al Avila introduce to his ownership the risks involved with signing Justin Upton? Did he make it clear that it may cost the team one of their most popular players down the line? This new team direction towards a more fiscally responsible approach is a year too late where one big signing too many now forces the Tigers to potentially give up a very popular player in JD Martinez; a student of the game, as he continually took notes after every at bat in his constant and successful effort to improve.