QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Kurt Snyder and Holly Horning

After 159 games (63-96), the Tigers are headed for their worst season since 2003.   So, it’s safe to say we are all ready to put a fork in this season and move on.

Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on as many issues as possible. Let’s see what Kurt and Holly have on their minds this week. They don’t share their Saturday topics and it’s only for the readers’ benefit. So, expect a wide array of thoughts.


KURT

COMMENT

When I hear about the Mets situation with an owner who has been protecting a manager under so much scrutiny, it makes me wonder who has it worse. The Mets and the Tigers are not in the greatest of shape. They share many of the same issues with how they treat injuries and up until now, a manager being protected by someone high up in the organization.

COMMENT

Regardless of the resulting draft order, I have a small amount of satisfaction now that the Tigers will not be losing 100 games this season. As our lame duck manager said, 99 seems to sound so much better than 100. But wait, does that mean that he plans to lose all the games in Minnesota – sorry Brad, I couldn’t help it.

KUDOS

When all is said and done, Nicholas Castellanos will have had the breakout season many predicted and hoped for when the season began. Now on the cusp of a 25+ HR – 100 RBI season, he will be one of the cornerstones of the Tigers and potentially a good #3 hitter in their order, depending upon how Miggy recovers. I had predicted an All-Star appearance for Nick this year, but it took a little longer to get rolling, which he is doing in a big way to close out the season.


HOLLY

COMMENT

One need only to look at how JD Martinez and JV (and to a slightly lesser extent, Justin Upton) have over-performed since leaving the Tigers and believe that this is not a coincidence. It makes you wonder about the lack of motivation overall with the team this year with almost everyone underperforming. And it points to how inept Brad Ausmus was in his inability to getting the best out of his players, which is one of the manager’s primary jobs.

CONCERN

So many conflicting stories about Miguel Cabrera, his back, diagnoses, tests, extent of his injury and who’s to blame is enough to make our heads spin along with the concerted effort by the team to quell the social media uproar. But no matter the results, or the actual truth, this entire year-long story doesn’t paint a good picture of anyone associated with this injury – and the blame is more than enough to go around. The manager and GM were ineffective, the medical/training/conditioning team failed, team mentality took a backseat to individual desires, and it all resulted in the team’s biggest player and investment – the franchise face – being allowed to waste an entire year.

COMMENT

Now that Ausmus is leaving, members of the media and within the organization are spilling their secrets about why he was retained for so long. It was well-publicized that around the time of the Sweatshirt Slam-Down incident, Mike Ilitch had asked Jim Leyland to resume the helm, but he declined. Now being revealed is that Al Avila kept Brad Ausmus as manager because the Ilitch family told him if he fired Brad, he would have to hire Ron Gardenhire as manager.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

OPEN MIKE!

microphoneIt’s Friday, folks, which means it’s your day! This is the day for you to be heard. Today is the one day during the month where you get the opportunity to comment on the Tiger topic of your choosing.

This is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can really get those juices flowing. Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.  So, pick a topic and let us hear from you. We know there’s a lot on your minds…


 Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

 

 

 

BRAD’S FINAL ACT

By:  Kurt Snyder

Andrew Romine will play all 9 positions in Sunday’s season finale.

In other news, somewhere, paint is drying and grass is growing!

Former Tiger Shane Halter did it in 2000. And there have been others who have achieved the same ‘incredible’ feat during a baseball game.

I would normally ask at this point, what about this staged event is in any way exciting? I would normally ask a question like that. But I won’t. I can’t. I don’t care!

I didn’t care when Shane Halter did it during another year of bad Tiger baseball in  2000, in the last game of the season. And now the Tigers are planning to do it on Sunday with Andrew Romine.

What I will acknowledge is that this is a testament to the versatility of 2 valuable utility players. And Andrew Romine has done it all for the Tigers. He has been extremely valuable and actually, he has played too much for the Tigers this season.

I have been one of Romine’s biggest supporters. I understand how valuable his role is for a baseball team. You can plug him in anywhere. I acknowledge that. We all know that. But why make a charade out of it?  As a fan, I don’t need the side-show.

Is this what losing teams resort to for attention? Well then, let’s break out the circus animals! Bring out the elephants!

Heck, at Comerica Park, you aren’t far from the circus to begin with as the Ilitch family thought of everything for a “baseball” stadium. The Merry-Go-Round! The Ferris Wheel! How about a dunk tank? Or a pie eating contest?

Who wouldn’t want pie? (That’s for you, Dad)

What’s next, make the fences so far away, only the ‘strongest man in the universe’ can hit a ball out?

‘Step right up and watch the big strong man, Juan Gonzalez, hit a ball all the way to the warning track!’

Remember Juan? He was to be the ring master as the Tigers opened their new ballpark after moving from Tiger Stadium. They even offered him the most money ever offered to a bum. Fortunately for them, he mindlessly declined. Good times. Good times.

Let’s face it, we all know how difficult next year will be. And I am afraid to see the lineup of promotions next season to get people to come to ‘the greatest show on earth.’

‘Ladies and gentlemen! Step right up and watch one player move from position to position throughout the game!’

Imagine the thrilling intensity!

That’s right, why stop this year? Why not do it every year! Imagine the interest!

Last night, the Tiger announcers, following their sheep-like direction, described how interesting it was, how unimaginable it was that one player could play all nine positions in a game.

Mario Impemba described how it will affect the other players in the game and how much strategy it will take to achieve the feat.

Excuse me while I go out to my patio to scream.

I know this doesn’t sound like someone who loves the game of baseball, but I do. I love watching the game. The game within the game. But don’t “play games” with the game.

Respect the game. Honor the game.

Baseball is unique in that there have been some strange and quite entertaining events throughout history that did indeed find their place in the record books.

Eddie Gaedel, at 3’ 7” was sent to pinch hit against the Tigers in a game between Detroit and St. Louis in 1951. Strange but true.

In 1973, Norm Cash came to home plate with a table leg because he had already figured out he wasn’t going to hit Nolan Ryan anyway. That was some funny stuff.

But these events were a long time ago. The game was different.  Interests were different.  All the entertainment at the ballpark for fans was the game.

Today, it’s tough to grab the interest of fans who have a hard time keeping their eyes off their cell phones. But I can tell you one thing. Watching Andrew Romine switch from position to position ain’t gonna move the needle, folks!

Especially in Minnesota. Twins fans will be concentrating on their team and their Wild Card clinching, if they haven’t already celebrated it.

Back here in Detroit, I hope those 5 Tiger fans watching on TV, 2 of which will be Holly and Kurt, enjoy the amazing feat at the center of the Big Top.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

WRITERS’ WRONGDOINGS

By:  Holly Horning

The Journalist’s Creed:
(abbreviated for this blog)

– I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

– I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

– I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

– I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

– I believe that… bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

– I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

– I believe that the journalism which succeeds best …is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid…is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob…


It’s been a tough week here, folks. The least of which centered around the news of Brad Ausmus’ imminent departure. But never fear, as a Tigers manager, expect to see him back here at some point in the future to join the other 6 former managers. Pretty soon, they’ll have enough members to field their own team.

Sorry, I just couldn’t help it. It’s been really hard lately trying to keep my snark factor in check…..

Anyway, it’s times like these that remind me why Kurt and I started this blog. And that is to give Tiger fans a respite from the constant spin offered by several of the local papers. For us to offer both sides of the story. To offer insight about issues others are afraid to address. To offer opportunities for real discussion. And to offer opinions that are not tied to favors or access.

And this week is a prime example of what is wrong with journalism. At least by a select few writers.

If you haven’t read The Journalist’s Creed listed above, please do so now. Its tenets are important to the rest of this blog. Besides, there will be a quiz later.

Allow me to tell you a brief history of my background. I am the daughter of a journalist. I have a sibling who spent 25+ years helping to run the world’s largest media organization. And I married into a family with journalists. So I know the rules and the expectations.

And what I have read this week has been unbelievable. Unbelievable because of the flood of revisionist history. Unbelievable because at least 1 writer openly admitted he purposely kept readers in the dark by not sharing information crucial to fans’ knowledge. And truly unbelievable that his editor allowed the confession to be published because it flies in the face of The Journalist’s Creed.

What has happened in the last 4 years and undoubtedly going back even earlier, is that certain reporters have withheld a couple steamer trunks full of information that would have shined a spotlight on why the Tigers spent 10 years and over $2 BILLION $2 hundred million and had some of baseball’s best players for exactly ONE win in 2 World Series appearances.

First, the revisionists. Writers who have consistently backed Ausmus as manager for the past 4 years. Backed him without giving a shred of proof about the skills he brought to the game. Unable to offer a single quality beyond his character that supported his work as manager. Yearly grades that had the highest curve ever recorded with glowing reports that sounded like they were about Joe Maddon or Terry Francona, not Brad Ausmus. All that despite no playoff appearances since his first year and 2 last place finishes.

But now that Ausmus is officially leaving, they are changing their tune. Some scrambling to change their stories. It’s a fun exercise to go back and Google their previous articles over the years. The same ones who are now saying that Brad should have left 2 years ago. One who seriously wrote last year that Ausmus should win Manager of the Year. And several who are now saying that someone who hadn’t managed before shouldn’t have been hired.

Maybe if they had said something after Max Scherzer was pulled in the playoffs so the crack bullpen could come in, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. Maybe even Justin Verlander would still be wearing the Olde English D. And maybe, just maybe, there would be a World Series flag flying over Comerica. Maybe if they held some feet to the fire.

Continuing with our adventures, then there are the confessionals. Writers now admitting they were privy to information they didn’t share with their readership. Stories about a toxic clubhouse with fighting amongst some of the players. Other players telling them it was a “country club atmosphere” with everyone doing their own thing and no one being held accountable. Problems with Victor Martinez. Serious issues with Bruce Rondon that impacted the entire clubhouse. And issues with Brad Ausmus still behaving like a player, not a manager, and being unable or unwilling to set standards and expectations for the group.

Not a single word, or even a hint of concern, was said for 4 years.

And when fans noticed that there were problems among the players? When they saw the fights between McCann and Iggy, JV and Brad, Price and Brad, and then Vmart and JV? They were told it was inconsequential, even normal. An attempt to pull the wool over the collective fans’ eyes.

The list of writers’ wrongdoings is not yet done. We even have a confession from one who had information that probably would have gotten Ausmus released earlier. But this writer decided he was going to be both judge and jury and decided himself that Brad should finish the year. Un-believable.

And a handful of writers who knew that there was friction between Brad and Al Avila over Bruce Rondon. Friction that carried over into the clubhouse. Hints that Rondon was being forced onto the roster and statements that Brad purposely threw Rondon out in the 8th inning under circumstances that would not create good results.

So when we all look back and wonder why Rondon was trotted out in the most unlikely of situations, we now know why. And absolutely no concern that one could draw conclusions that the manager was willing to lose games in order to get his GM to change his stance.

Can’t make this stuff up, people.

Last I looked, we, the paying fans are the ones who watch all of this. And some journalists believe that this news should be kept from us?

And for those writers who feel strongly about writing what they see? Well, they get transferred to cover other sports. One, who is a terrific and thoughtful writer, and is often considered to be one of the best in Detroit, now covers golf and college sports along with an occasional article on the Tigers.

As you know, I live on the East Coast. Nothing and no one is sacred here. I live in a town where journalists are free to criticize owners, GMs, managers and even the franchise faces. And you know what? It inspires accountability. Their work gives fans the info they need to know. When things don’t work, fans understand why.

And when the Nationals several years ago had the identical problems that the Tigers have with a rookie manager, big payroll and star egos, they wrote about it all. And it opened the curtain as to what was wrong with the team. It inspired the owner to make sweeping changes. And look where the team is now.

So if we want to place blame about who contributed to the failure to achieve the desired results this past decade, let’s add some journalists to the mix. Maybe if some of them had written about both sides, we wouldn’t be wondering why this team hasn’t won a World Series in over 34 years. We also may have been able to look forward to a brighter future.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

TWO FOR TUESDAY

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

As we fight our way through the remainder of a difficult season, plenty can get to you. All the losing. All the controversy. Everything that comes with a team already knee-deep in a rebuild. Absolute horror for fans, enough to drive you crazy.

Today’s topic sums it up for sure.

As is the norm, Kurt and Holly have not shared their responses to today’s topic. It’s the best way for our readers to get the best bang for their buck. So here is our question to address.


Al Avila is on his way to see the Wizard of Oz. (No, not Ozzie Smith.) Should he ask for a heart, brain or courage?


HOLLY

Let us hope that Al learns a lesson from Dave Dombrowski’s and Jim Leyland’s previous trip to see The Wizard back in 2013 when they were both warned to stay away from the field of Big Popi but failed to heed the advice. (Sorry, yes, this season has forced me to cope in other ways.)

But once Avila arrives, I know what he absolutely shouldn’t ask for – a heart. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.

Al has too much heart and is described by many as being “loyal to a fault.” So loyal that he protects those he knows through thick and thin and even repeated failure. Emotion and attachment overrule common sense when it comes to making decisions.

This is why he failed to terminate a single employee when he became the GM, bucking the expected tradition. This is why he rehired scouts who had worked for the Tigers years ago and also former managers/coaches who burrowed back into the Front Office.

And it’s also why he failed to fire Brad Ausmus after his first year. Most GMs replace the managers they inherit but despite the Tigers going from playoffs to last place, Brad still had his job – and kept it for 3 more years despite failing to qualify for the playoffs the entire time.

Even with this abysmal year, earning the honor of worst team in the AL and second worst overall in MLB, Al says he regrets having to see Brad go and that he didn’t want to do it. This man has some serious separation issues.

Which is why Avila needs to ask for a double dose of courage when he sees the Wizard. He’s gonna need it if there’s any hope in overriding that darn loyalty gene, especially if he wants to keep his job.

As we read more and more each day, this team has had some serious issues going on for a while and Al must right the ship and make some significant changes.

But most importantly, he’s got to cut ties with the past which means he needs to say “buh-bye” to a lot of old faces. Scouts, Front Office people, coaches and last, but not least, the crack medical and training/conditioning departments. (Or at least let me do it.) And trade or release those players who have been part of the problem in the clubhouse.

A lot, and I mean a lot, of changes need to happen to this team in order for it to function properly again. Al’s gonna need all the courage he can get.


KURT

OK, this is as odd as it gets on Tuesdays. The Wizard of Oz? Really? Is this nuts or what?

Well, not really, because it’s a great question when you need to form an analysis on Al Avila.

Al has 2 of the 3 that the Wizard has to offer; for one, he has plenty of heart. How could he not when he not only didn’t name a new manager to kick off his regime, he kept him around for 4 years, when Brad gave him very little in return. If the Wizard were offering loyalty, Al for sure needed none of that. He has mastered loyalty, and then some.

Does he need a brain?  Of course not. You may disagree with a lot of what Avila does and says but he has been a very good evaluator of talent throughout his career, and you don’t do that as long as he has being stupid.

But courage? Al may have some, but not nearly enough. He needs the courage to act. He needs the current to act more quickly. He needs to trade in some of that loyalty he could afford to shed, in return for courage to lower the boom on the people who are getting in the way.

Rebuilds are ugly and they can be ruthless. But can you see Al Avila being ruthless? There certainly is no sign of it; but he needs to come down hard on this organization. Hose out the garage, Al – don’t worry about who goes out with the water.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

EARN THE INTERVIEW

By:  Kurt Snyder

An extensive search. It’s what it has been called. The criteria? Major league or minor league managing experience. These are Al Avila’s words.

Do you agree with it? Does it stop there? Did Al feel this way when Brad was brought in to take over for Jim Leyland? Or did he learn through the failures of Ausmus, that yes indeed, experience is key?

Boy, did we learn the hard way over the last 4 years. And the Tigers, in the worst way, needed an experienced replacement for Leyland at a time when they still had a very capable team. A powerful team. A team loaded with great starting pitching.

And inexperience helped blow it all apart. Recognize that I did use the word “help.” Dave Dombrowski’s decision to hire the inexperienced at a time when having it mattered most, was his worst move ever as the Tigers’ GM.

Ever.

He did a lot of good for the franchise, but the Ausmus hiring helped to knock things completely off course. It made you wonder how Brad got an interview.

Experience? Yes, please.

But it means something different now, doesn’t it? What is a more challenging task for a manager? Coming into a situation when you are expected to win big? Or coming here knowing that things will be ugly and losing is expected?

I can’t even imagine Brad, walking into a situation where a team of stars has gone through the wars, won division titles, played in the World Series and he is brought in to keep it all going, having not even managed a game in his backyard with the neighborhood kids.

Now imagine the guy who walks in to manage the Tigers today. There are still expectations. And they will have earned the opportunity based on the battles they have fought.

Set aside winning for the moment. You can lose games in many ways. You can be beaten. And you can beat yourself.

And that is where we stumble on the first rule. Don’t beat yourself. When you have a team now heading into a rebuild, teaching is of utmost importance.

Fundamentals took a severe hit during the Ausmus regime. Baserunning was poor, outfield defense was poor. Offensive execution, consisting of moving baserunners and working pitch counts, was an extreme weakness.

You want to see a team that is strong fundamentally, that works hard, plays for, respects and is motivated by their manager.   Combine that with continued infusion of more talent and now you can build.

So, this is a difficult spot in an organization’s history to hire a manager. You can get interest from all levels of experience. But who has the best ability to teach? Who will command the most respect? What about the next manager who will command the most respect?

I have been on both sides of the aisle on this one. I can see the merits in a Ron Washington. He’s a guy who has guided great teams to the World Series. But he’s 65. And I think even though he has taken teams to the Series, respect and the ability to motivate will trend downward.

I can see the merits of a Dave Martinez who serves as Joe Maddon’s bench coach and who can’t help but learn plenty about motivating, teaching and fundamentals. Having served under Maddon would come with a lot of caché, especially now that the Cubs have won a World Title. That will command respect.

But Martinez hasn’t managed and he has been passed over for several managerial positions.  Why?  Dare we say lack of previous experience?  He’s been a bench coach but not much else.

So, this ain’t easy, folks. Al has a tough job ahead of him.  And there is one more rule to remember as he sifts through candidates.

When you are interviewing for a job, the resume normally earns you the interview. A history of good, relevant experience is important to the company looking to fill a position.

The Tigers ignored the resume yet were “blown away” in the interview last time they hired a manager. This time it will be important to make sure candidates earn the interview.

I am not sure Brad ever did.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

UNDERSTANDING THE AFTERMATH

By:  Holly Horning

Sometimes the big stories need 24 hours to settle for the smaller stories of some significance to emerge. Even the expected stories like the announcement of Brad’s imminent departure. Yesterday, Kurt and I offered our initial reactions to the move. Today, I want to offer a little deeper dig – on the past, today and what the future  may hold based upon interviews with all the decision-makers.

Here are my thoughts about what I saw yesterday…..

1. Al Avila was asked on Wednesday if he had made a decision on Brad and he said “no.” Reports have Ausmus getting the answer on Thursday but yesterday, Brad said he had gotten the final decision several days before that. Just goes to show you that a healthy bit of skepticism should be kept on all statements about the team.

2. Also be skeptical about Brad’s statement that he probably would have turned down an extension. Only 2 have done that in recent years and they were due to pursuing bigger interests and not wanting a 1-year contract extension. The MLB Managers Club is an exclusive one with no one wanting to leave and former ones dying to get back. This sounds more like an attempt by the organization to eradicate any potential negativity.

3. Al Avila said that he has no regrets about keeping Brad as manager and didn’t want to make the move. Yet, in the next breath, he says that any new manager must have managerial experience. Now why would he say this? And don’t these two statements conflict with one another?

4. But maybe Al’s statements were made because the Tigers refuse to admit they made a mistake in hiring a rookie manager. They continue to fight the outside voices that have continuously suggested that this move was the undoing of the team. This is an organization with a Teflon mentality.

5. Once again, the Tigers avoid using the word “fire” at all costs. From Jeff Jones to Wally Joyner to Dave Dombrowski and others. Now Brad is “not having his contract renewed.” My goodness, they are creative with their wordsmithing, aren’t they?

6. The Chris Ilitch statement and quick interview (2 questions) was the real story. A rehearsed sales pitch and nothing more. An attempt to boost fans’ morale and say “all is well” with a liberal dose of cheerleading. He used phrases such as “on a path to sustainable success”, “very pleased with the decisive and determined moves” and ending with “We are energized!” Oh, and the customary statement about the goal to win the World Series.

7. As is habit, anything negative is avoided by this organization. No words at all from Chris in reference to Brad. But when asked pointedly what the status of his GM was, Chris stopped and took a pregnant pause – looked up, sighed and rolled his eyes – before changing the subject to the great job the entire Front Office was doing.

8. Meanwhile, Chris has given his GM 2 official votes of confidence. When you have to go there, it’s never good.

9. Speaking of which, “the (sic) owner doth protest too much, methinks.” Chris once again stated his family will continue to own the Tigers. The identical statement he made before with no further explanation. Short and sweet as the lawyers always advice because it allows you to change your mind down the road. Don’t rule out the options for the Ilitches to sell but remain minority owners or to state that they were forced to sell because of the unexpected high estate taxes.

10. I expect we’ll hear more stories about what happened under the Ausmus regime. Already, one player (my guess is Ian Kinsler) has told the media the clubhouse has been akin to a “country club atmosphere” over the past 2-3 years with relaxed attitudes, no leadership and no accountability with players essentially all doing their own thing. Don’t expect the local papers who depend upon clubhouse access to write about any of this.

11. Funny how only now that it’s become official have the local reporters come back to write that Ausmus was kept too long. Writing what fans have been saying for 3-4 years and now attempting to rewrite their legacy to save face. That, or now free of their muzzles.

12. Al Avila says he is looking for a “new approach and a fresh start.” Let’s see how he defines “new” and “fresh.” And if he keeps any of the old guard, it will be “old” and “stale.” He needs to walk the walk on this one.

13. Avila: “Let’s take a whole brand new road and opening up to new things.” He also says that the organization needs “a new beginning, a fresh start” and that “we’ll have new leadership, fresh leadership.” If any of that includes Jim Leyland, Gene Lamont or any of the other current coaches, then it’s just another year of the same group think. I’d also include anyone who oversees the health and well-being of the players, too.

14. Will Avila take the step that at least 3 other teams have done this year? That is, they’ve cleaned house from the scouts to the front office to the special assistants. One team even broomed their successful former players and coaches who were special assistants. Maybe Al needs to talk to Derek Jeter, who just did that.

15. My summary on Brad – He’s a nice guy who had no idea what he was getting himself into with this job and was put into a position where failure was almost guaranteed. Yes, he’s to blame for not adequately performing well, but if we want to direct real anger, we should aim it at the one who led the search (Leyland), the one who said Ausmus “blew him away” in the interview and green-lighted the hiring (Dombrowski), the owner who signed off on the hire (Mr. I) and the guys who kept him employed for 4 years (Dombrowski and Avila).

16. The new managerial search will really define Al Avila’s impact as a GM. His job will depend upon it. A first managerial failure always goes to the manager. A second one is on the GM.

17. More than one national analyst has mentioned that if the Tigers had hired an experienced manager in the first place, they may not have had to sell off so many beloved players, including 1 of their franchise faces. And they also would have had a better chance at that ring.

18. One analyst today, a former GM, summarized many of the fans’ emotions quite succinctly. He said it “has been a painful tease of a decade for Tigers fans.” Perfectly said.

So let’s leave it there. Let’s do our mourning. And then let’s pray that wiser voices will rise to the top and have more influence.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab. Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

 

SPECIAL EDITION: BUH-BYE BRAD!

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Obviously today, Totally Tigers must take a detour from our usual Saturday segment – one we look forward to doing because so many different topics are addressed.

However, since BRAD IS LEAVING, our writers will switch gears and gladly comment on the big news that many have been awaiting.


HOLLY

The news that Brad is leaving as manager is not really shocking nor even surprising. Now if the Tigers had decided to offer him another contract, that would have been shocking – and horrifying!

My hypothesis about a decision already having been made appears to have panned out. Al Avila had been asked on Wednesday whether a decision had been made and he said “no.” But right after Thursday night’s game, less than 24 hours later, Brad was told he was no longer wanted. Again, I believe the Tigers simply wanted to bury all speculation and controversy by ending it asap after yet another excruciatingly bad whumping.

And this is where the organization continually falls into their constant bad habits. The Tigers have, for decades, had absolutely no sense of urgency. Always the last to the party in terms of advancements and improvements after the rest of the baseball world.

Over a decade in which they had the best pitching rotation in baseball and some of the top players and never learned lessons that would get them closer to that ring.

A window that steadily closed with each year and a refusal to hire a manager who was unbeaten in World Series games, won 2 rings and is going back to the World Series for the second year in a row with his third team. And then the hiring of a guy only 3 years out of his playing days with zero managerial experience.

Realistically, Brad should have been fired 2 seconds after losing to the Orioles in the playoffs. But he lasted another 3 years. Everyone outside of Detroit had pegged Ausmus to be gone. Every year, like clockwork.

This has been a team with a pattern of being unable to pull the trigger until the very last moment before the final crash. An organization that is timid and afraid. A group that is so focused on not creating controversy that they will continue bad habits until things get so bad that they are forced to change.

And here again, the Tigers took great pains to avoid saying Ausmus was fired or even being released. Al Avila had the audacity to remark that he still believes in Brad and insinuated that he didn’t want to take this path. He said he also had no regrets about keeping Brad as manager all this time. Let’s hope this is only diplomacy at its extreme.

Not offering Brad a new contract is a step in the right direction but honestly, most of the other teams would have taken this route at least 2 years ago.

The big step, really, is what happens next. Are the Tigers truly changing their vision and how they do things? Is there really going to be a corporate culture change? Do they even recognize the need for one? Are they finally going to get bold and make decisions to cut out the old and familiar? Those are the big questions.

In Friday’s press conference, Avila said that the Tigers will consider any of the current coaches to become the new manager if they are interested. We know that Lloyd will be one. Maybe even Omar. It worries me that Avila says he wants a fresh start and new direction yet he will consider retaining members of the old regime.

And speaking of old, Jim Leyland still appears to be whispering in ears according to established media sources. Jon Morosi is reporting that Mike Redmond’s name is circulating once again. The same guy who played for Leyland with the Marlins. The same guy who lost out to Ausmus for the Tigers’ job. The same guy who was selected by Leyland himself for the short list.  Leyland had been appointed by Dave Dombrowski to head up the search for the new manager back in 2013.

So, this is where I focus now. How new and how different the Tigers will become.

Whether they keep the old or bring in a whole bunch of fresh faces. Whether they keep the same old influencers who have continually helped in taking the Tigers down the wrong and disappointing path. Whether they tweak a few bits or do an overhaul. Whether they employ a dustpan, broom or bulldozer.

Today is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s what is under the surface that will matter most.


KURT

The Tigers have finally done the obvious. But haven’t they looked foolish having waited so long for what seemed to be so obvious to all of us?

We are just fans.

And fans always have the disadvantage of what they don’t know versus what they do. But watching the games will tell you a lot if you are paying attention. And a Brad Ausmus-led team has been unspeakably disjointed. A boat without a rudder.

But I am not going there anymore. The man will be gone soon and it’s time to move on to the next great mystery of this team. There are more obvious moves.

Rebuilds, if you are serious about going through the correct process, are not conducted in this order.

You don’t relieve your general manager of his duties and promote one of his people. You clean out all his people. You don’t pussy foot around.

You don’t assume the next guy up is qualified to be a GM. You bring in a GM just as decorated as the one you let go. There is no settling.

Al Avila, after putting us all through so much misery by continuing to trot out Brad as a manager leading a team into a ditch, should also be leaving.

What kind of a franchise lets go of the very manager the GM kept around, but holds onto the GM to influence the next important moves? It’s all inexplicably backwards and frankly, a plan that has disaster written all over it.

The Tigers are littered with old blood, influencing a lot of decisions, when they have never needed new blood across the board, more than ever before. So, what should you bet on? That the old blood will continue to affect the future.

The Tigers are living in a vacuum and ignoring opportunities to benchmark winning formulas. Sure, Brad is leaving but fans have been screaming for that until their faces are blue?

They have made the obvious moves way too late. And if there is one thing we can count on continuing, it is more of the same.

Buckle up. Hope you have a strong stomach.


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab.  Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

FORUM FOR FRIDAY

microphoneHappy Friday! It’s time again to head into the weekend hearing from our readers.   You have the rest of the week to hear from Kurt and Holly, today is the day to let them know what you’re thinking on a selected topic.

Friday is the one day of the week where we open up the comment parameters for you, so you can get those juices flowing.

Comments on THIS DAY ONLY can be expanded to a maximum of 8 sentences.

We can’t wait to get your thoughts on the following topic.


Who is more in the wrong, Brad Ausmus for allowing Miggy to continue to play, or Cabrera for continuing to push himself?  Support your argument.


 Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab.  Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.

 

 

 

 

WHAT IF BRAD WAS GONE?

By:  Kurt Snyder

Here is a hypothetical situation that I would like for you to consider:

Are you ready? Close your eyes and picture the Tigers without … close them tight … Brad Ausmus.

It’s a relief, isn’t it? Doesn’t it feel good? Or are you still mad that it took the front office and ownership all this time to discover what all of us have been saying for years. Brad just isn’t the guy.

Remember, this needs to remain hypothetical, because we can all assume that Brad will be gone following this season, but we don’t know for sure. Most would act surprised if he stayed but deep down, they wouldn’t be.

OK, good job, you have all fallen into line and are playing along, which is great. I need everyone on board. So, help me with this.

Where do we go from here? What have we learned about what a candidate will need to not only lead the Tigers down a rocky road, but be around to win when it’s time? Alan Trammell was hired to take on a Tigers team that had little talent and was let go before they could win again.

Did the Tigers hire Trammell because they thought he could win, or was it a move to draw fans, bringing back an old hero? Sadly, I believe the latter.

Let’s hope for our sake and the new manager’s sake that we don’t go down that road again.

What about coaching or managerial experience? Have we learned that a candidate needs to have it to qualify? Well, I would think some level of managerial experience, yes. And in the Tigers’ case, someone with minor league managerial experience is an area where they might want to concentrate. They need a hungry, aggressive personality with a motor. A fire. Unafraid to embrace an ugly yet good opportunity in a great sports town.

Now, we don’t know what the Tigers will want this manager to be. Do they want the new manager to be a stop-gap, someone who has won before who can teach, but maybe won’t be the guy to finish the job? Maybe. Could be.

The Tigers have certainly been here before. Jim Leyland succeeded a stop-gap manager. Sparky Anderson did as well.

Ok, so now that we have spelled out the kind of candidates who could take over, let’s talk about where to search? It’s an easy one, isn’t it? You would think so.

You tap the perennial winners, the contenders, the frequent champions. The Dodgers, the Cardinals, the Indians, the Cubs and the Giants, to name a few.

Who are the coaches or minor league managers within those organizations who are looking for that shot with a big club?

Who are the up-and-comers?

Who have been sponges in great organizations, who have witnessed smart baseball, led by consummate professionals and leaders?

Who are veterans who have won, who maybe would entertain managing again, even though they may be in the twilight of their careers?

Am I on the right track? Am I thinking the right things? You certainly would head for the frequently successful franchises or the ones who have been turned around by new upper management, right?

Keep in mind there is another important consideration.

Who should not be considered candidates? Feel free to let me answer this one right now.

No one from the current coaching staff. Hypothetically, Brad and all his coaches would leave together.

No manager in the Tigers minor league system should be considered. None of them. And I don’t even know all their names. I’m not interested. Sweep them all away. The franchise needs the freshest of starts.

Ok, not bad. Now I need you to take this and run with it. If you agree with what’s been laid out, hypothetically find some candidates. You have your marching orders. Feel free as our readers to feast on this topic.

Totally Tigers may at some point put a list of candidates together who would be fit to handle this transition. But right now, I am not going to go completely hog-wild hypothetically. I just want to get used to the idea of how it would feel to contemplate a replacement for Brad Ausmus.

But putting together a list of names? No way am I taking that hypothetical step. Let’s make it real first.

Then I can go nuts!

(Psst … start with the Cubs though. I really like that Maddon pedigree…)


Totally Tigers reminds readers to follow the rules found above the Comment box as well as those listed under the Rules tab.  Comments not meeting these requirements cannot be published.