By:  Kurt Snyder

How dedicated are the Tigers to winning? How selfless are they? Have they formed a bond as a team? Do they have a pulse, a drive? Do they show enthusiasm?

If you want to call someone a 5-tool player, well, you know, I guess I want to know what tools they possess beyond the talent.

Managers have never had it so difficult. It is their job to make their group of players a team.  There are different personalities. Different nationalities. Different pay scales. And yes, different levels of intensity. Or they have different ways to show their intensity.

There are no rules for how they should act. There are examples of stars in this game who never seem to show a pulse, who show very little expression on their faces. But many are winners. It works for them. No one will be critical of them if they help the team win.

But if these seemingly emotionless players do not perform, the level of criticism among the fan base will rise. Fans will begin to question their will to win. For the most part, they struggle with cerebral athletes. They identify more with the guys who show that fire while they succeed.

Take Ian Kinsler for instance; an incredibly popular player in Detroit. Why? He’s a worker. A competitor. A winner. A leader. And a heck of a baseball player. The superlatives can go on and on. He’s got fire, intensity and desire – characteristics you would like to see the whole team have.

Take Cam Maybin for instance. The Tigers traded him after last season. The response? Well, you had 2 segments of people comment. One side said he’s injury prone and not worth further investment. The other side? They talked about his fire. His leadership. His enthusiasm. He had fun,  he made everyone around him loose, and for those reasons alone, he will be missed.

To remain strong and bonded throughout a 162-game schedule, you need as many of those players as you can get. They help to develop a potentially explosive bond.

Explosive? Yeah, I think so. Get 25 players on the same page, with the same lofty goal, the same high level of intensity and it can be explosive. And that’s the kind of mindset that can be lethal heading into a pennant race.

It’s not just about talent. You need all of it. And there has been a common complaint about our hometown Tigers. They have been accused of being listless in their approach. They have been viewed as lacking in many of these areas. And doesn’t it say a lot when one player like Maybin can turn heads? It makes it evident that you don’t have enough of those players. You want the team to turn heads with that kind of attitude, not 1 or 2 players here and there.

Ian Kinsler said something after the WBC that I felt was very telling. “I play with a little more emotion than most players during the season. Everybody has their own style!”

Kinsler may have ever-so-slightly, called out his team. What he says is true, everyone has their own style. And that’s fine if every style combined, builds a high level of energy. But on this Tiger team? It just doesn’t happen to be the case. At least that’s the way it looks on the field, where it matters the most.

We can only hope this pivotal season will energize this team and take them to another level.

 If you’re not yet on Twitter, you need to be!  It is so much more than 140 characters.  Totally Tigers presents the best articles, videos, pictures and radio/tv interviews for the most relevent news on the Tigers not found easily or locally.  We do all the work for you and bring you the latest news as it breaks.  And we’ll always leave you thinking.  Read us in the morning and get updates on the latest news throughout the day on Twitter.

      Tons of video on all the top Tigers

      In the batting cage with Nick(olas)

      More CF shopping rumors

      Good news on Bruce Rondon

      Jones imitating Kinsler

      Updates on all the news and injuries hours before the newspapers report it

      JV’s killer commercial

      What JV and Lolich have in common

      The New Kaline mural

      Bat flips have been replaced with ????

      McCann’s interview evaluating all the young pitching talent


  1. As a coach I always preach to my kids to not get too high when you win or too low when you lose . I discourage outbursts of emotion typically as a selfish me oriented action. Even keeled players like yzerman are my favorite. It makes the kinsler lows harder to put up with the kinsler highs


  2. The player I hope will bring that kind of intensity is J-Up. I hopethis year he feels like he is now a part of the team. Maybe management sees that in him and is partly why Maybin was let go.


  3. Avoiding canyon sized lacking of our coach in this area. I recall JV having equal parts fire and emotional leadership, especially before the surgery. Nothing builds confidence in a staff like when one of their own throws well and is charged up. Would love a return of that.


  4. An excellent illustration of Kurt’s point here is how the Dodgers became an entirely different team when Kirk Gibson joined them in 1988. The downside of emotional intensity is the near inevitability of burnout. Billy Martin’s teams always collapsed after a couple of years.


  5. I want to feel the players are as emotionally invested in the game as I am. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing expressions of indifference or boredom on the faces in the dugout (manager/coaches included). Someone needs to pick up the reins where Maybin left off & breathe life back into the team.


  6. Don Cherry said the main thing that saved the NHL from a wings dynasty,and Canadian announcers said the same several different years was”the wings seem to not like inspired players. They play without emotions. Except for a few dropped to a fourth line and yzerman no one up’d thier play. That and all the scarers played the same style. Same owner same observations both teams.


  7. Few oplayers in MLB possess the attitude( fire) and talent that Ian Kinsler has. He’s throw back to when players loved the game.


    • Yep, he is a member of the old Gas House Gang reincarnated. I hope he retires a Tiger and then becomes a manager somewhere in the Tiger system.


Comments are closed.