Saturday, April 16, 2005

Are Tigers Cursed? Yeah, But Here's How

So the Tigers' new crown jewel, free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez, has been diagnosed with a hernia and may miss months, if he returns at all. Tough break, no question, and already the question has been asked around town: Are the Tigers cursed?

You bet they are. Cursed with poor decisions, bad trades, awful drafts, questionable contracts, and mind-boggling front office strategies.

Actually, make that, they were cursed. All that nastiness changed when the team hired Dave Dombrowski as president in November 2001. Dombrowski had the smarts to fire general manager Randy Smith, for starters. Remember when Smith, barely into his 30's when the Tigers hired him in 1995, was this hotshot young executive? Well Smith, now barely into his 40's, has all but vanished from the scene. I'm pretty sure he has a baseball job somewhere, though it may be as a clubhouse attendant for all I know.

Dombrowski has done as good of a job as any exec could, considering what he inherited. The Tigers were a team bereft of hope, devoid of legitimate young talent, when he took over. In less than four years, the team is considered one on the rise, and a potential Central Division champ in the near future. And they're still only two seasons removed from that mind-numbing 43-119 record of 2003.

Dave Dombrowski, plotting his next move

But before Dombrowski -- B.D. if you will -- the Tigers were indeed cursed. In fact, the team was mostly this way ever since Mike Ilitch purchased it in 1992. But this was no Bambino or Billy Goat thing, like they have in Boston and Chicago. This "curse" was simply an array of boneheaded decisions, bad front office hires, and amateur drafts that looked as if they had been conducted by amateurs. Nine years of this nonsense went by, then Ilitch snapped Dombrowski up, and the train is now back on its track.

So while Ordonez' hernia problems are a bummer and discouraging, he will be back. But his illness has nothing to do with a curse.

Who would have done it to them, anyway? Ty Cobb?

No comments: