OPEN MIKE!

Congratulations!  In recognition of the holiday weekend, you have been granted an extra Open Mike opportunity this month.  Today, you get an early opportunity to comment on the Tiger topic of your choosing.

Today, 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. What’s on your minds?


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum response length.  All rules are at:   https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

 

RANDOM THOUGHTS – PART THREE

By:  Holly Horning

Let’s continue with the final installment of my collection of short, but meaty tidbits. Topics and issues that are too small for an entire blog, but huge in terms of importance. (Or in some cases, just too entertaining.)  Questions and thoughts that, according to C&C Music Factory, “make you go hmmmmm.”


If you didn’t read the first two blogs, here they are:

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/?p=10098&preview=true

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/?p=10113&preview=true


Let’s continue to create conversations with one another and focus on some unanswered questions pertaining to former players, finance and the weird and the wacky. Grab ahold of one of these topics listed below and run with it (as long as it’s 4 sentences for each individual post). Let’s create some back and forth dialog with each other.

FINANCE

1. Back-loaded contracts (where the majority of the money is placed at the end of the contract) are just plain stupid. If you can’t afford to pay a player the full salary in the beginning, you don’t currently have the money and need to put the checkbook down. It also means that as he gets more expensive, and older, you have a snowball’s chance in hell trying to trade him down the road.

2. Mike Trout is said to be avoiding the Angels’ Front Office’s multiple requests about signing an extension. Is it because the top free agents have yet to sign or because he has his doubts about his new manager, Brad Ausmus? Or could it simply be that most analysts say the Angels have too many holes and aren’t seen to be serious contenders for at least the next couple of years?

3. Over the years, the Tigers’ strategy for winning created head-shaking moments. Big name starting pitchers, but no solid relievers. Big bashers but almost no defensive wizards. Huge outfield territory but few guys with great gloves and speed. How much of a priority was placed on marketing the team instead of developing a winning strategy? Do the Tigers mirror the Red Sox of 2011 when Boston’s marketing department was given free rein in advising whom to sign which resulted in the GM, manager and most of the Front Office to resign?

FORMER PLAYERS

1. Justin Verlander finally got his World Series ring. But how satisfied does he really feel about getting it given that he only spent two months with the Astros?

2. For years, Max Scherzer reminded me of someone but I couldn’t put a finger on it until I saw a picture of another ballplayer. Go back and take a look at some pictures of a young Johnny Bench. It’s the face, it’s the nose, it’s the mouth. It’s just not the eyes.

JUST FOR FUN

1. TigerFest is the best way to determine which players management loves and which players could create uncomfortable moments for the team. Every year, a couple of the top athletes are “unable” to make it due to (and it’s always this reason), “family commitments.” Last year it was Miggy (child custody lawsuit) and Iggy (expiring contract couple coupled with his “strong” personality). They both had “family commitments” but someone forgot to tell them it wasn’t a good idea to go partying together at a Miami nightclub and then post the pictures to social media the day of TigerFest. This year, it’s Nick Castellanos and Shane Greene, both next up on the trading block, who got to use the yearly excuse.

Ok, time to create some conversations!


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

THE HEART OF THE FAN

By:  Kurt Snyder

You have read the title and I know what you’re thinking. Another Snyder tug-at-the-heart-strings to distract us from the rebuild.

Well, you’re partly right. We spent most of the off-season sounding the alarms about a rebuild that should have started at the top. And because it did not, it’s extremely hard to focus on anything else.

As fans, so far we have been robbed of the ability to sit back and watch the progression of a proper rebuild; one handled correctly and strategically planned. I believe we are a sensible and logical group of fans, and throughout our discussions, there hasn’t been much debate about how things are going.

This rebuild will be longer than it should be because at some point, even this team of Tiger ownership and top management will discover that we don’t have the right people in charge. Plan B will then be run out in front of us. And I don’t even want to discuss where our heads will be when that happens.

There will be one big ‘I told you so’ spilled all over the place.

The rebuild is already driving me mad. It already had its own built-in challenges with salaries crippling the ability to move players and improve the talent in the organization.

So it’s time to simplify and narrow our scope. And the way to do that is to shift our concentration to what is happening on the field. I don’t know about you but I  need a break from what’s going on in the front office. I need a break from wondering about the passion and the urgency of our ownership.

It’s the game that we love. And at the very least, we still have that.


For now, I am turning my attention to players. I’ve already targeted 2 players I will root for during the spring. One of which I believe deserves a break, because it seems he has had his fair share of bad luck. It’s Daniel Norris.

No one else on the roster can say they have endured even close to the kind of health issues that Norris has endured. What gets forgotten is his battle with cancer a few years ago; a battle that he won. But since, he has endured countless injuries responsible for turning what was a once promising future when he arrived here from Toronto, to a questionable one.

From there I move to the bullpen, to focus on someone I feel is ready to take a huge step. He arrived in exchange for a pretty popular player who didn’t spend much time here, but while he was here, made a difference. After the 2016 season, Cameron Maybin was traded to the Angels for Victor Alcantara, a relative unknown.

And you know what happens when a favorite is traded for someone you haven’t heard of previously. People freak out and start criticizing the decision without thoroughly understanding who and what we received in return.

In return, the Tigers received Alcantara, a talented pitcher for our bullpen. A hard thrower with wicked breaking stuff. Victor is electric and a tremendous find. He is one guy no one is talking about, and that alone should motivate him.


So there you go! Wasn’t that a much healthier analysis? A more productive focus? Let’s get back to smelling the grass, knocking the dirt out of our cleats and playing a little pepper.

For us, it’s always been about the game. Watching players play is at the heart of the fan. Let the experts take care of everything else.

You know, the experts who have yet to arrive in Detroit to rebuild our baseball team.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

RANDOM THOUGHTS – PART TWO

By:  Holly Horning

Last week, I blogged some short, but meaty tidbits of information and
insights.

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/?p=10098&preview=true

Each is too small for an entire blog, but separately, they can create some great dialog. And even though they are small topics, they are huge in terms of importance. They are, simply, too important to ignore.

Today, let’s continue creating conversations with one another and focus on some unanswered questions pertaining to the strategy of the game.

Grab ahold of one of these topics listed below and run with it (as long as it’s 4 sentences for each individual post). Let’s create some back and forth dialog with each other.


1. Comerica Park is 19 years old and has one of the largest expanses of outfield grass in MLB. It begs for players who are athletic and fast, with strong arms and defensive wizardry. So why haven’t the Tigers, in all these years, focused on syncing the players with the outfield requirements? Why do the Tigers keep bringing up players who are defensive liabilities?

2. Was the tendency to overlook strong defensive players part of the strategy to focus on power hitters who would help create a more exciting game and lure more fans as a result? Was the strategy of how the Tigers played based upon a priority given to a strong marketing strategy?

3. A reporter revealed that many years ago, he had a conversation with Mr. I about the size and dimensions of Comerica. Mr. I revealed that he was completely surprised and somewhat upset with how big and difficult the ballpark dimensions ended up. One report has it that it was done on purpose in order to attract free agent pitchers. This also begs the question about who was in charge helping create, oversee and approve the building of the stadium.

4. Years ago, Dave Dombrowski stated that he never interfered with his manager’s coaching selections and that his manager had free reign to select whom he wanted. At some point after Dave left, someone within the Front Office changed that policy and both Brad Ausmus and Ron Gardenhire had the majority of their coaches appointed by others. The Tigers have deviated from the MLB norm in this respect. Why this change ?

5. Down the road, the Tigers will need to make a change from Ron Gardenhire as the team evolves. What new manager, especially one with experience, would want to be the Tigers new skipper if he wasn’t allowed to select his own coaches?

Let the conversations begin!


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

DH OR NOT, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

By:  Kurt Snyder

If you have scanned the web  and have seen it littered with all the talk about the “universal DH,” well, maybe you have heard enough.

But I have a question? Can you endure just one more article? Don’t you want to hear from Totally Tigers?

To me, you haven’t heard enough about the designated hitter until you’ve heard it here.   This is about you folks, the fans.

There are reasons we are talking about making the designated hitter “universal.” In 1973, the DH made its debut in the American League. The AL approved it but the NL did not.  Two leagues. Two separate sets of rules.

How did the fans take it?  Oh well, they are all over the map.  The fans who have the DH. The fans who don’t. The fans who want it “universal” and the fans who don’t.  The fans who want one way universal and fans who want the other.  And of course, the fans who just want peace (will explain later).

It’s why this is such a combustible topic within our sport. Every fan wants their own piece of the pie.  We have had 2 different games for so long that it would be tough to explain to a new fan what the DH is and why it only exists on one side of the ledger.

The game was hurting for offense back then; the DH was proposed and the National League didn’t buy in.  And since then, the two leagues have done their own thing.


Which version of the game is better?

Well, why do we have to have that discussion? It’s been good for bar stool conversations over the years, and God knows I have  had a few of them.

I don’t remember much baseball prior to, say 1972. I remember sitting in the backseat of the car in the parking lot of my old grade school, listening to the radio after the Tigers lost the final game of the ’72 playoffs versus the Oakland A’s.

Before that I don’t remember that much.  The designated hitter is really all I know.  However, I do respect ‘the other side of the game.’  The ‘baseball’ side.

That’s what it was, really and is, really. It is the game.  The NL plays the game the way it was meant to be played. Nine positions. Nine hitters. Pure and simple. Baseball.

One set of fans if they had their way, would spread it across the board.

In their minds, the Commissioner ought to be considering making baseball ‘universal.’ In their eyes, the designated hitter can take a hike and pitchers should hit again, across the board. Bring the game back, they would say. Universally.

Well, how about the fans confused by it all?

Fans of the American League where their team resides.  They want the DH. They like the DH.  It was brought in for a reason. The game needed a booster shot and the DH was proposed to give the game a shot.

This group of fans wants the NL to come to the party, because the AL gives up everything when the postseason rolls around. In the playoffs, suddenly the league wants baseball again, but they want the DH too. It’s where confusion reigns.

The National League fan loves baseball …without the DH.

They will fight long and hard just like the AL fan did 46 years ago. They just want to keep their game and spread the good news.

There are also the fans who just want peace. 

These are the fans who just want 1 game. They want baseball to have order.  Do they want the DH?  Do they want the game the way it is played in the NL?  Or do they prefer the American League way of life?  They have answers but they are tired of expressing them.

Do something, they say. Anything, just make it all the same!


Come on people!  We need to get together! 

I love this game and all of its wrinkles. But it has to evolve in order to grow.

The game of baseball, the one played in the NL, has roots and those roots run deep.  Every fan who walks through those turnstiles has a voice and a desire to see the game from their eyes. They have a passion for a game they recognize as baseball.

But it’s going to change, again and again.  For better or for worse.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

It’s time again to hear from our readers!   Today is the day to let us know what you’re thinking on a selected topic.

Sunday is now 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.


What was your initial impression of the proposed universal designated hitter?

Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

THE SATURDAY SURVEY

 The Saturday Survey offers another way for readers to weigh in on a relevant topic.   So here is another poll to gauge the pulse of our baseball-lovin’ peeps.

As always, we welcome your comments, so please vote and then submit your reasons ( 4 sentences max!) for how you voted in the usual comment box.  Don’t forget to come back later and view the results!


Hall of Famer Frank Robinson died on Thursday at the age of 83.   In Baltimore, fans are mourning the loss of one of their greatest ball players, maybe even their best.  What will the poll determine about who is the greatest Tiger of all time?



Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

 

TWICE AS NICE

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Usually the Hot Stove League is over when Spring Training comes around, but this season the two threaten to overlap. Soon, pitchers and catchers will report, so it’s not too early to talk about what to expect in Lakeland.

As always, Holly and Kurt have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspectives.  Let’s see what they have cooking this week.


Spring training is almost upon us. What is the one single thing you will be most anxious to see in Lakeland?


HOLLY

While it would be really nice to see the return of Miggy to his old self, this really is about the future. I need to see the Tigers looking forward…moving forward… and not just treading water.

I don’t want to be wandering through the wilderness for years, waiting for the Tigers to rise above .500. There needs to be a sense of urgency about this rebuild which means that the Tigers can’t be hanging onto the past.

They can’t be clinging to players once presumed to be stop-gap solutions and now possibly may become entrenched on the roster.

So the sooner they move along, the better, so they can gauge the rookies earlier and make the necessary changes more quickly.

This means that I want to see the promising players more than I have in the past spring trainings. Give them all a long, hard regular look instead of the occasional auditions.

I think Ron Gardenhire is more capable of doing this that the previous two skippers who either played their favorites or were too intimidated to bench the veterans.

What I’d really like to see is the promise of youthful talent who show solid skills on the field and revisit the feeling we all had when we saw the likes of Tram, Whitaker, Parrish and Morris rising through the ranks decades ago.


KURT

The spring of 2019 will kick off the ‘anchor watch’ which may not qualify as one single thing, so forgive me.

The ‘anchor watch’ will consist of another spring of taking a hard look at the likes of Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris, whose performances have not lived up to their billing and are holding the team back.

Jordan Zimmermann and his neck injections should continue to scare the life out of us. There is a limit to what we can expect from him, given his health. And considering everything, his limitations make him a very expensive liability.

Michael Fulmer’s injuries have hurt the team’s ability to trade him. Not long ago, he was one of our top trade prospects. However, injuries and surgery took him off the block.

Daniel Norris enters a pivotal season as the Tigers have been patiently waiting for things to click for him. Just an injury-free year may be all he needs, but his failures seem to mess with his confidence.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

RANDOM THOUGHTS – PART ONE

By:  Holly Horning

I have a habit of collecting tidbits of information about the Tigers and MLB. Tidbits that are interesting and offer a small, yet informative window into the game.

But sometimes those tidbits are too small to write about extensively and they end up sitting in a folder on my computer, waiting to see the light of day.

But no more.

They are way too important and thought-provoking to be sitting in the dark recesses of my Totally Tigers folders. And when they start to gather in numbers, it’s the perfect opportunity to sort them into topics and present them to you.

It’s also the perfect time of year to throw some of these questions out to you. After all, do we really want to discuss the changes in the logo size of the team’s caps or ponder what the players do on the bus during their goodwill tour throughout the state?

So today, let’s address some of the small, but meaty information and questions I’ve gathered over the past couple of months. Today’s blog is focused on management issues. Next week, we’ll cover issues about strategy, former players and finance.

Grab ahold of one of these topics listed below and run with it (as long as it’s 4 sentences for each individual post). Let’s create some back and forth dialog with each other.


1. On the radio the other day, several GMs were laughing about the “good old days” when certain managers had so much power that they were able to call the shots. They specifically mentioned that Jim Leyland would tell Dave Dombrowski which players he needed and gave Dave a shopping list.

2. Is it a coincidence that Detroit is filled with disappointing sports teams which rarely win titles, let alone championships, and go for decades without winning? Is it really due to a collection of owners focused solely on profits or are loyal fans who are easily appeased the real problem?

3. Why is it that many teams fire their managers even when they lead their teams to first place and into the playoffs, but the Tigers consistently hang onto managers despite multiple last place finishes that contained talented rosters?

4. Ron Gardenhire was diplomatically outspoken last year by questioning the effectiveness and lack of improvement of his players’ fielding skills and especially their bat discipline. Is this his way of showing his unhappiness with not being allowed to hire his own coaches? Is it part of a strategy to eventually force management to allow him to make some changes in his coaching staff?

5. Given the increasing public criticism of Al Avila’s hold-nothing-back communication style, why is it that he continues to be so brutally honest and open? Is there no one within ownership and management who is able to convince him to modify his style?


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.

MIGGY MUST BE DANGEROUS AGAIN

By:  Kurt Snyder

Who would have thought that Miguel Cabrera would have to prove himself? After all these years. At this point in his career. After everything he has done in a Tiger uniform.

Last year, the Tigers endured their first full season of the rebuild. Avoiding 100 losses was their only accomplishment.  It was everything we thought it would be.

But despite the ugliness, Tiger fans still searched for anywhere they could hang their hat.  And the answer for many was Miguel Cabrera.

At least they had Miggy.  Until he tore his bicep swinging the bat.

Another season. Another Cabrera injury. It has become almost predictable. Seemingly every year, Cabrera arrives at spring training looking in the shape of his life, coming off an injury, only to suffer another one during the season.

But 2018 was different. Never had Cabrera suffered an injury so severe that it ended his season long before the All-Star Break.

Certainly, there is never a good time for Miggy to get hurt, but during a time that offered so little to look forward to, at least you could look forward to his next at-bat. But there would be no next at bat. Unfortunately, we all got another taste of life without him.

I guess you could say there’s always next year, because in the blink of an eye, another season is approaching and Cabrera will get thrust back into the spotlight. And as he looks around, the team will kind of look like a bunch of rubble after a big fire.

More than ever, Miggy has a job to do.

This could be the biggest challenge of his career. With all of his distractions outside the white lines dominating the news while he was hurt and then bleeding into the off-season, it’s time for him to do something not many feel he can handle.

Miggy has to lead.

He must. There is no one else.

Nick Castellanos is in the lame duck year of his Tiger career. He knows he will be traded. He just doesn’t know when. He was beginning to take on a much-needed leadership role but we can’t ask him to continue, given his future with the club.

It’s got to be Miggy.

So many of his teammates will look to him for guidance. He has been here the longest, has experienced so much and still stands as one of the game’s greats with a space reserved for him in Cooperstown.

Ron Gardenhire, who only got a small taste of having Miggy in his lineup every day, surely will look to Cabrera to lead. He has so much to offer, given his talents and his success.

It’s where all the focus should be. We are all very familiar with his weaknesses but they all need to be put away, and his strengths need to take center stage.

So that’s the speech. That’s the fluff. It’s what we all want.  But what will we get? What do we really expect?

Well, don’t expect Miggy to gather the team and give speeches or walk through the dugout clapping and encouraging his teammates. That has never been him and it shouldn’t be expected now.

When I say that his strengths need to take center stage, leading by example may be all we get out of him.  And if that sounds negative, it wasn’t my intent. Because Miggy’s example speaks volumes.

The man knows how to hit. He is a surgeon with runners in scoring position. He is a master at hitting the ball the other way, an art many can’t master. He hits for power to all fields and he knows how to work a count.   He’s a competitor who deserves respect.

This is how he can lead. He is surrounded by the young and impressionable. And if they want to know how to hit, frankly, they are going learn a whole lot more from Miggy than they ever will from their hitting coach. That’s just a fact.

Miggy has already said this: “I want to be dangerous.” And I love that. Because when he is dangerous, this town can’t get enough of him. And neither can his teammates.

When he is at the plate and is dangerous, everyone takes note. No one is leaving the room. No one is leaving their seat to get a hot dog. None of his teammates are on the bench. They are all hanging over the dugout railing, waiting to see what he will do next.

Who is fooling who? We know what to expect from Miggy. Leadership skills? From our vantage point, does he have many?

He celebrates with his teammates. He jokes with his teammates. But he doesn’t always know their names. So we can’t sit here and ask for things that Miggy has never given us before.  He can only be what he is. He can only strive once again for what he was.

He was dangerous.

And if he can be that again, many will learn, just by watching.


Totally Tigers loves your comments!  But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length.  All rules are at:  https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.