Meet Your 2015 Detroit Tigers

As a displaced Detroit Tiger fan in New England and more specifically right on the Mason Dixon line of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, I need the Tigers to desperately win a World Series championship. The Red Sox have won three championships in ten years and the Yankees won in 2009 and have won 27 of them. I’m starting to need Marty McFly’s time machine to get me back to even remembering 1984. There’s been much angst with fans about our new manager, Brad Ausmus, and how he managed the worst bullpen in baseball. And there’s been the same angst towards Dave Dombrowski, our General Manager, who failed to solve the bullpen problem that prevented the 2013 Tigers from advancing (and causing me much pain and suffering in New England losing to the Red Sox). Some of the criticism is correct and some is displaced. This is a Tigers’ team that… Read More…

Defining the 2014 Detroit Tigers’ Regular Season

Perspective Somewhere amid Derek Jeter’s fourth or fifth finale on Sunday afternoon, John Farrell spent most of his time faking a smile, trying to be a part of all the pomp and circumstance as another baseball season came to a close. In many ways, the season for Farrell and his Red Sox ended months ago. No doubt the sting hurt more on Sunday, as mathematical elimination and inevitable closure became a physical reality as the sun finally set on Fenway Park, its home players and Beantown’s most faithful. I imagine John Farrell muttering about in his mind of what went wrong; surveying the field on the last day of the season, questioning and second guessing every decision and asking himself how the Red Sox went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel. He’s been there before, looking up from the basement as the manager of Blue Jays…. Read More…

Post-Season Tigers: Ethical Crossroad for Detroit Fans (Moral-less)

Tonight the Tigers give it another try.  Under Jim Leland, they’ve been to the post-season many times and twice been to the World Series–crushed by the Cardinals in ’06 and crushed by the Giants last year.  It’s a battle of the big-dough, Little Caesar’s fortune against Billy Bean’s rummage-sale sabremetrics (although he’s never publicly endorsed the scheme). Poor Mike Ilitch (a phrase not heard often), born just four months before the stock market crash, has had to endure plenty of Great Depressions.  He transformed the 1970’s Red Wings from a group outdrawn at Joe Louis Arena by the Ice Capades into the Yankees of hockey, not missing the post-season in over twenty years, to the point, when the team doesn’t win another Stanley Cup, it’s a disappointing season. As the Tigers were moved from one pizza czar to another in 1992, Ilitch patiently tooled, re-tooled, then re-re-tooled his team (and… Read More…

The Anatomy of a Great Game

  As I write this, my favorite baseball team won their 12th straight game and 4th straight against their division rivals 10-3. Our ace went 7 strong innings to win his 17th of the year. The 3rd and 5th hitters in the lineup had 3 RBI each. And we taxed their bullpen so much, that they had to bring in their utility player in in the 9th inning to pitch. All that and yet—the excitement, fun and thrills didn’t come close to the game that preceded it.  On August 7th, 2013, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians fans were treated to what was absolutely the most exciting game of the year. Yes, Indians fans too, even though they were on the losing end. The August 7th match was one of those games that comes around once or twice a year, and goes the way of a team like the Tigers, who… Read More…

Jose or Jhonny? A Choice Between Right and Braun

 Let me show you what is probably the only defining baseball moment for Detroiters—surely my generation of Detroiters—to come out of the mid to late 90’s: If you can look past the fact that Frank Beckmann was a part of this, it’s a pretty incredible moment. The scene is the last game ever to be played at historically legendary Tiger Stadium. One of the only bright spots in a dismal baseball future, Robert Fick, steps up to the plate with the bases loaded. With one swing of the bat, Fick immortalizes himself in baseball history, hitting a grand slam off of the roof—the ultimate send off to every Michigander’s favorite sports venue. He’s wearing Norm Cash’s number, and Frank reminds us that Al Kaline said before the game that he’d hit a homerun that day. And he did. This is the kinda crap that provokes lines from screenwriters like Aaron… Read More…