QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, KUDOS & CONCERNS

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

With October baseball now underway, all eyes are on one of the most intriguing set of teams in years. For Detroit fans, having the rosters sprinkled with ex-Tigers has added another layer of interest.

Saturday’s segment is a day to touch on as many issues as possible. Let’s see what Holly and Kurt 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.


HOLLY

COMMENT

While I am absolutely thrilled for the tremendous success both Justin Verlander and JD Martinez have had with their new teams, I can’t help but wonder what forces prevented them from having even near the same level of impact with the Tigers. JD became Player of the Month and is considered in the running for the NL’s MVP while JV went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA – while the media runs stories about former Tigers who have all been the difference-makers for their new teams. It’s so very sad to think of all this talent that could never be effectively harnessed in Detroit and had to go elsewhere in order to reach the desired higher levels.

CONCERN

I’m not so concerned just yet upon hearing some of the same old names mentioned as potential new managers for the Tigers. I expect that some of these names are courtesy interviews coupled with the requirements MLB has put into place to ensure fair consideration. But if Ron Gardenhire, who is one of Jim Leyland’s 2 best friends, advances in the process despite his anti-analytics stance, we will know that Leyland is still influencing the organization way too much which will be detrimental to the stated desire to move in a new direction.

COMMENT

It is painful to see Justin Verlander wearing the “H” instead of the “D” while also knowing that the Tigers are paying the Astros $16 million (plus a PTBNL) to take him. Somehow, I believe that Dave Dombrowski could have managed a better deal for him – and JD, too. But the most interesting detail to come out of this was JV’s interview about how lucky he was to move to a team which scored runs in multiple and unconventional ways – and not be on a team where its weaknesses were exploited in the playoffs. (JV’s not-too-subtle parting shot.)


KURT

COMMENT

With a solid handful of very successful ex-Tigers on display in this year’s playoffs, I can’t help but wonder how Detroit is viewed among fans across the league. During the playoffs, you tend to get more player background giving fans an education on how teams were built. Beyond the obvious stars like Verlander, Scherzer and JD Martinez, don’t forget the likes of Robbie Ray, Chad Green and yes, Fernando Rodney, to which fans must be asking themselves, ‘Geez, they had them too?’

COMMENT

Despite the presence of ex-Tigers David Price and Rick Porcello, I doubt there are many fans in Detroit rooting for the Red Sox during this year’s playoffs. No offense to these guys but I can’t help but think that the last thing fans in Detroit want is to see Dave Dombrowski win a title in Boston after 14 failed years with the Tigers. DD finds himself in a familiar position already though, one loss away from another failed attempt at a title, after two punishing losses in Houston.

QUESTION

Won’t the decision on who to hire as the next Tiger manager determine the type of front office changes the team makes? A manager well-versed in analytics should drive front office moves to support that approach. Given that all of that makes sense, it only reinforces my skepticism about the Tigers’ ability to hire the right manager and make the corresponding front office moves.


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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.


If you had to choose, which current MLB playoff franchise would you target in search for the next Tiger manager?   Support your argument.


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HOPE BEFORE TRUST

By:  Kurt Snyder

This already has all the makings of a great post-season as we begin watching the best-of-the-best fight for the right to play in the World Series.

We knew the potential of how good this could be going in, didn’t we? Three teams have eclipsed the 100-win plateau and others include explosive offenses, great pitching and of course, don’t forget the defending World Champions.

Even the team that went down early Tuesday night, the Twins, have an extremely bright future with so many young players who will only get better. They have formed a nucleus led by a phenomenal talent in centerfielder, Byron Buxton.

And the Tigers? As we look back to the beginning of the season when the core was given another run, they proved to be unworthy to even sniff the kind of baseball the teams who have made the playoffs have been playing.

If you needed a reminder of how important a strong bullpen is to win in the playoffs, you need to look no further than the Yankees, who probably don’t advance without the performance of such an incredibly deep group of quality relievers, which includes a tremendously talented young pitcher and ex-Tiger, Chad Green.

Only one game into the 2017 playoffs, we are learning a lot about winning baseball. One game taught us so much.

What an opportunity for front offices across the league, leaders of teams who did not fare well enough to play October baseball, to learn from the best.

How much fun would it be to study the paths of success of all these teams? How did they get here? What players brought them here to this point, playing October baseball? And who made those players mature and improve and succeed?

Better yet, who are the people who found these players, and what did they see in them enough to hold onto them, before they began to reach greater potential.

Because that’s what I think with Chad Green. That’s what I think with ex-Tiger Corey Knebel, whose team didn’t make the playoffs but he has gone on to be one of the better closers in the game.

This is why we all hope the Tigers restructure during this rebuild. Because none of these teams get to where they are without the right people finding and developing the right talent and having the foresight to keep them in the stable until they are ready to run.

It’s what we all hope, isn’t it? Sure, the Tigers made some promising deals this season. But we still know so little.  We can only go by what the ‘experts’ say about the talent the team has received.

But players aside, the franchise is in a world of hurt. The rebuild must include every area of the organization before Detroit will see a winner again. If we are going to hold onto our talent and develop it, then we must put people in place to do all that, who have proven experience in doing it.   Right now, I don’t see it.

This is not an expansion team, but I would like to see the organization take on some of those “build a new franchise” type of activities.

Wipe the slate clean.

Baseball is evolving. The Tigers are not. And that’s a problem. A big problem.

Players will still leave this team. That job is not done yet. And others will arrive, but they will be low profile types of additions filling holes while our talent hopefully develops.

And I will keep using that word ‘hope’ until the Tigers begin to announce significant moves within their front office and scouting departments. Moves lauded by the rest of baseball when they happen. Maybe then we can move from hope to trust.

I wore a Tiger shirt to work yesterday with the Old English D emblazoned on my chest. A co-worker says to me, “You need to put that away, they are done, it’s time for the Red Wings.”

I just smiled and thought to myself, “Sorry pal … same owner.”


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PREVIEWS, REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS

By:  Holly Horning

It’s official, folks. There were hints along the way starting with the rentals of David Price and Yoenis Cespedes back in 2014 and then their subsequent departures in 2015. And now, that window is officially slammed shut. Nailed, super-glued and duct-taped.

Now it’s time to move on. But before we do that, we need to put closure on the past 12 years. Or 14 years if you include the 2 years of signing the first high-priced talent.

Our first assignment is to recognize how we truly feel about these years. Do we feel happy that the Tigers were almost constant contenders? Do we feel somewhat frustrated that we got so close yet never got it done? Or are we feeling angry about the slow tease of great baseball but without that flag flying?

And the answer is that it depends. Depends upon your circumstances, memories and your level of patience. Everyone is coming from a different place with a different level of expectations. Just make peace with it if you can.

But there’s also something else we all need to do. We need to understand what went wrong. We need to get on the same page about the factors. We need to identify all of the reasons.

Because here’s the deal. There was not just one thing that did the Tigers in. It wasn’t just Brad. And it wasn’t for the lack of a bullpen year after year. And it wasn’t Jim Leyland or even the inability to play fundamental baseball.

As in almost everything in life, failure to achieve a goal is due to multiple factors. Some of them small, some of them large. A couple big issues, many small ones or even a mix is to blame. And if you read the social media threads, everyone is all over the page. And a majority believe that it was primarily just one thing that did this team in.

But if the Tigers truly want to compete again, and on a regular basis, they must look deep within their soul. They have to be willing to assess the ugly bits. And they have to do a thorough analysis.

Most importantly, they have to be aware. Awareness is the single biggest factor in achieving success. It is the ability to look at oneself honestly and ascertain where the strengths and weaknesses are. It includes the desire to become the strongest and best person or organization you can possibly be. It is the ability to not settle for current circumstances, even if they are fine at the time. It is a practice of constantly thinking how you can be better.

And this is what the Tigers need to do. They need to sit down as a group and look at each facet of their organization. They need to give honest feedback and they need to find solutions that will answer the problems of the past.

As an analogy, this team built a very expensive house upon a shaky foundation. But now this house is crumbling and they need to get to the root of the problem. They simply can’t patch the house or replace the doors and windows because it’s just going to start showing cracks again. They must dig beyond the bricks and shutters and go underneath the surface. They need to unearth the foundation and figure out what went wrong. And they will probably find out that the foundation was built incorrectly or was situated on shaky ground.

And if they don’t go below the surface, if they only address the talent, then they will experience the same issues once again.

So what exactly are these issues? I’m so glad you asked…….


Twelve to 14 years of missing the ultimate goal cannot be summed up in one blog. There’s a lot to identify and discuss including:

– Ownership and the Front Office

– Supporting departments

– Spending and payrolls

– Philosophy

– Leadership

– Priorities

– Strategies

– Players

– Intangibles

– The culture

– And more!

Which is why over the coming weeks, we’re going to tackle each of these topics and give them all the attention they are due, starting with Sunday’s blog. And it’s going to be up to each of you to determine how big an impact each one had on the performance of this team.

We’re not going to delve into them now. But I do want to offer today’s blog as an opportunity for closure. Please take this opportunity to share where you are on the spectrum and why.

And while we do that, let’s hope that the Tigers are in the process of doing a thorough review while Al starts his interviews. Let’s hope that they remember the words of George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”


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OVER? NOT HERE!

Now the real fun begins!

If you were looking for Kurt’s and Holly’s dueling blogs today, we’ve got a surprise for you…


Now that the off-season is here, Totally Tigers is just getting ramped up. This is the season of intrigue and even more in-depth discussion. Hopefully, lots will be happening with the team over the next 4 months, and we plan on covering it all. So stay tuned and visit us every day because there will always be a new blog to read and discuss.

But we have something more. We want our readers to weigh in and help craft our vision for the off-season. We want your ideas! Today, we ask that you leave comments about what you want to see. Ideas re topics, new formats, new ways of interacting. Tell it all to us and don’t be shy. We can honestly say that we have the best and most thoughtful readers on any Tigers’ blog. We know you won’t disappoint us.

We’ll publish your comments so everyone can get inspired. Come up with your own – or add onto someone else’s. We’ll even break the rules and allow you to post more than once! (You can always suggest topics and ideas throughout the year via the comment box.)

And to get you excited about the upcoming months, we’ll have a mystery guest writer who is an expert on the Tigers sit down with us for a little Q&A.

So grab your keyboards and let’s get crackin’!


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20 SEPTEMBER THOUGHTS

By:  Kurt Snyder

Shut this God-forsaken season down! What a September to forget. Having won only 6 of 30 games, the pain never subsided until we put a bow on this pile of you-know-what.

Let’s look back on September and look forward as well. These are my 20 Thoughts.


1. Never in our wildest dreams did I think JD and JV  would raise the bar to the levels of performance they have delivered for their new teams. The numbers are nasty on both ends. Good for them!

2. I see Derek Jeter has walked into Miami and done some dirty work with the Marlins’ front office. How will the Tigers reorganization compare, if they have one at all, beyond a new manager?

3. So, the #1 pick in the 2018 draft is our consolation prize for a nightmarish season. Got any guesses on what position the Tigers will go after?

4. “All Nine” Romine did the trick Saturday, so I am told. I did drive by Wrigley on Saturday as daughter #1 now calls Chicago her home. That’s as close as I got to baseball all weekend. Sorry, Andrew. I am sure it was special.

5. Miguel Cabrera: the mystery of 2017? Not so sure about the mystery, now. One thing is clear. The  team blatantly disregarded the importance of their most expensive asset.  They let him linger all season with a back injury that got progressively worse and didn’t seriously address it until September. Nice work all around, Tigers. Disgraceful.

6. September saw the end of seasons for VMart and Michael Fulmer as surgeries ended both of their campaigns. Here is to fast recoveries on both ends so one can go on and have a quality life and the other can regain his pre-All Star game form and settle in next season as the ace of the staff.

7. Will Victor retire? It’s not looking like it. That last big pile of bank looks to be way too enticing to leave behind. I will still be listening intently in the off-season, however, as VMart, I am sure, will be subject to plenty of career-related questioning from his family.

8. What’s your take on Brad’s future in baseball? I am sure many here think that he is not worthy of another managerial position. But I would not be surprised to see him with another job as soon as next season.

9. I feel horrible for endorsing the re-signing of Victor Martinez to a painful contract that never seems to end. I am witnessing a point in his career where he is now hurting the ball club, with still one more year to suffer through. What makes me feel the worst is that he has been a great and very respected player for the Tigers, and yet, after 2018, he will have been here 2 years too long. (Carryover from August)

10. We have more than likely seen the last act of our keystone combination at second and short. This is a big statement I know, but I think defensively, they were better than Trammell and Whitaker.

11. Shane Greene has eliminated the need to wonder about who will close next season for the Tigers. He seems to be a natural and appears to have gained more confidence each time he heads out for the ninth. (Carry over from August – nothing has changed here.)

12. By far the highlight of September was Matthew Boyd’s near no-hitter. For those who missed it, I understand. For those who didn’t, I think we can all agree that it was great to see a player so important to the team’s future, put on such an impressive display of pitching. Heck it even beat the All Nine Romine show.

13. Is it safe to say that Bruce Rondon will be one victim of the off-season player purge? When it comes to players who have left a bad taste in your mouth,  it’s Rondon who needs to buy the first pack of gum.

14. My vote for best first impression begins and ends with Jeimer Candelario. The early returns are in and all signs appear to have determined that the Tigers have acquired a talented third baseman for a future that has already begun.

15. We have real trouble with Jordan Zimmermann. Since the discovery of his nervy neck issue in the spring, he has been much more bad than good, and with lots of years left on his contract. Even though he did return for a couple starts at end of the season, we should be very concerned with his health and contributions going forward.

16. What kind of fan am I that I based my game attendance figure this season on the performance of the team? Fickle or just plain smart? One game attended this year, the brawl of the century!

17. I have been pleasantly surprised that Nick Castellanos did not let his new position distract him from having the most productive offensive season of his young career. Sometimes players get so preoccupied with one phase of the game that it negatively affects the other phase. Nick is still feeling his way in the outfield, but I must say, he may hit better as an outfielder, if that makes any sense. I know. It doesn’t.

18. I am really encouraged about James McCann heading into next season. He improved immensely at the plate the last part of the season and should be a mainstay for Detroit.

19. Dixon Machado will be a starter next season in Detroit. No way will the Tigers head into next season with both middle infielders intact. He will head into the winter knowing he is in the running for a starting role at short or second. (Carryover from August – feel stronger about this more than ever now.)

20. Final word on Miggy. Anyone identified within the Tiger organization who had a role in the mismanagement of Miguel Cabrera and his back ailments this season should be fired immediately. Knowing the team and how it operates, don’t expect anything.

(The season may be over, but Totally Tigers rolls on!  We will continue to publish daily so stay with us as we dissect the past year, analyze off-season moves and look into the future.  We’ll cover it all!)


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JUST ONE THING

By:  Holly Horning

The 2017 season is mercifully coming to a close and it’s about time, too. Now, the focus has turned to the managerial search and a hopeful broom of many of the familiar faces who fans feel have outstayed their welcome.

But it’s the face – and voice – of someone who lurks in the shadows who we really should be focused on. Chris Ilitch. This is his official first season in charge of the Tigers and what he does – or doesn’t do – will speak volumes about the direction of this team.

But it’s not whether he removes Al Avila, or a couple other people, that really matters. And it’s also not solely about how tightly he may control the purse strings.

There is one thing Chris can do that will have the biggest impact on this team’s future success.

He must change the corporate culture. That’s really all he needs to do in order to make the best, and most lasting, improvements to this team.

All successful organizations have one thing in common – a winning corporate culture. Adopting one is the key to getting struggling organizations, or teams, back on track. And if you read about the movers and shakers in today’s baseball world, they all have something in common. They went into a new organization and changed the corporate culture. People like Terry Francona, Joe Maddon, Theo Epstein and Farhan Zaidi being the most notable.

So how does one define corporate culture? According to the Harvard Business School (HBS), you address at least 6 elements – vision, values, practices, people, narrative and place – and then you clearly communicate the standards and enforce the behavior. (The insiders joke that the graduate school’s motto is “There’s no BS, like HBS.”)

Theo Epstein is baseball’s master of corporate culture. He took 2 perennial losers and turned both around to win World Series while still in his 30’s and early 40’s. For a closer look at how he changed the Red Sox and Cubs, these 2 blogs are a must-read:

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/building-a-winner-part-1/

https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/building-a-winner-part-2/


Now, let’s look at the Tigers’ corporate culture using just one example for each category. At best, it is a weak one. At worst, it is non-existent.

VISION – It is the mission statement and gives an organization purpose.

For over a decade, it has been about winning a ring for Mr. I. It has been about the immediate while ignoring the future and it’s left this team shattered. A barren farm system for the most part, star players gone, overspending and now the worst team in baseball.

VALUES – They are a set of guidelines on the behavior of the organization coupled with the mindsets needed to achieve the vision.

For this example, the Tigers were among the very last to develop a handbook on how to play the game. But if you look at the team, there is still no set standard of behavior or play. Players are left on their own to determine what to embrace. Do we even know the values of this team? Do the players?

PRACTICES – It is about ensuring that the employees consistently practice the values laid out by the company.

Was there any kind of uniformity when it came to running the basepaths? Fielding? Working the pitch count? Were the players even working together as a team? And other than Bruce Rondon, no one in management or coaching has, in recent memory, called out or benched a player for failing to follow the expected level of play.

PEOPLE – The employees are the engine that drives this train. For it to run, everyone must be willing to embrace and practice the core values. They must all be on the same page and working towards the same goals.

For a team and owner desperate to win a World Series, they hired a guy with no experience or fire in his belly to manage the team. The end result was a team overall lacking in motivation with widespread underperformance becoming the standard.

NARRATIVE – The ability to tell a story about your organization’s unique history and create a widespread interest and respect.

Despite being one of baseball’s original teams, the Tigers remain one of the few organizations not to have their own Hall of Fame or retire the numbers of their most famous players (who do not yet reside in Cooperstown). And when former players come up for Hall of Fame voting, the Tigers, unlike other teams, fail to support any of them in their bids to get elected. (Talk about timing! As I’m writing this, Denny McLain is on the radio railing about the Tigers’ failure to work at getting deserving players into the Hall.)

PLACE – How does an organization inspire its employees to practice the values and enhance everyone’s behavior? In most cases, it is about regular contact between management and employees and the ability to communicate ideas and concerns among all levels.

It is about the owner and GM visiting often and the manager interacting with his players in the clubhouse. In his last years, Mr. I was unable to interact with the team as much as he wanted and Chris Ilitch remains an enigma. The last 2 managers have stated that the clubhouse should be a “manager-free zone.”


So what do the Tigers need to do now regarding their corporate culture?

It starts with Chris Ilitch, not Al Avila. All successful corporate cultures start at the very top and trickle down. Chris has to decide the vision – whether this is a team looking to be better or a team that wants to be in contention on a regular basis. He needs to set the goal. The steps that follow must support the desired end result. And he must invest in the organization beyond players’ payroll.

The organization’s values must then be defined. Who is going to set the standards of leadership, responsibility, play and mental fortitude? Will the myriad of excuses being used for past shoddy performance still be acceptable or will people actually be held accountable? Will the standard of “being good” outweigh the old of “good enough” or “that’s baseball”? Nothing less than the best should be acceptable if you truly want to win.

With defined values, comes the practices. For this team, a defined standard of play. It’s not enough to have a manual on The Tigers’ Way. Who is going to oversee the emphasis on the long-forgotten way to play fundamental baseball? How will the team get the veterans to sign on and change their old habits? And the emphasis on loyalty over performance and accountability must stop once and for all.

Which brings us to the people. Can old dogs learn new tricks? Can you take the same failed culture and hope to create something new out if it? Of course not. Current employees have to personally sign on to doing things a new way – or leave. Fresh faces, new perspectives and updated ways of playing are the best and fastest way of instigating permanent change. And in this case, Jim Leyland and his extensive coterie of former coaches should be thanked and shown the door. It didn’t work then and it ain’t gonna work now.

Pride in the team and its history will be more important than ever so the narrative needs to be more high-profile. But forget trying to placate fans with memories of 1984. It’s sad. And desperate. And transparent. Gimmicks more reminiscent of a visit to the circus should be banned. Restore the roar and start working to raise the profiles of certain ’84 players who will be coming up in front of the Veterans’ Committee in Cooperstown. And start building a Hall to honor your own. Heck, make it part of District Detroit.

The new manager must make it a point to choose the place in which he will be seen the most. And for what is expected to be largely a group of young guys, he needs to be in the clubhouse more often, taking the pulse and leading by example. He’ll need to be a nurturer. And he needs to talk to Joe Maddon about how he bonds with his players.

But the best thing of all? A top corporate culture takes relatively little investment other than time and dedication. That should be music to Chris’ ears……

(The season may be over, but Totally Tigers rolls on!  We will continue to publish daily so stay with us as we dissect the past year, analyze off-season moves and look into the future.  We’ll cover it all!)


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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.


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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…


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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.


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