Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tigers' Annual Killing Of Baseball In Detroit Is Inexcusable

Enough is enough.

The Tigers are subjecting us to horrible baseball once again and this makes 12 straight years of meaningless September ballgames. They have long ago tarnished what used to be a proud, respectable franchise. They are now nothing more than perennial losers, never anywhere near .500, and are, frankly, a laughing stock in a league in which they once traveled so gracefully.

I guess you can’t really say that this season was any worse than the others of late, but it may have been one of the most cruel. On paper, these Tigers were supposed to be something, at least offensively, and there were hints that perhaps some fringe wild card contention was possible. Certainly the first half plus the initial few weeks after the All-Star break suggested as much. But then, just when things might have gotten interesting, with the record a fairly credible 61-62, the Tigers tanked it, going 6-19 and looking every bit as ugly as that 25-game record would indicate, and then some. They killed the baseball season here, stomped the life out of it, just as they started to win over a few more fans and just when there was talk of a winning record, finally -- the first in Detroit since 1993.

It’s disgusting, really, the way this team has performed, getting its ass kicked almost daily, even by the doormats of baseball, the Kansas City Royals. These underachieving whiners who had the audacity to bellyache after management traded away closer Kyle Farnsworth, when had they won more games the trade might not have happened, are now making the 1962 Mets -- or the 2003 Tigers -- look like World Series contenders. They are playing with no pride, no guts -- the legacy of losers.

Frankly, I’m not sure if things would change much even if you resurrected Joe McCarthy or Miller Huggins or even Billy Martin and asked one of them to pilot this bunch. Sometimes it seems no managerial change, no free agent signing, no supposed up-and-coming youngster, can save the Tigers from themselves. For whatever reason, the ownership of Michael Ilitch has not been able to find the right combination, from the front office on down to the 25th player on the roster, to even play well enough to win 75 times a year. Of these 12 straight losing summers, only twice, way back in 1997 and 2000, have the Tigers even sniffed .500 as late as September 1. The other ten have been seasons spoiled not long after spring’s first thaw. Sometimes the Tigers have managed to play their way out of contention by Easter. I remember in 2002, when the Tigers were actually, thanks to a stinker start and a hot one by the Indians, 11 games out of first place by mid-April. Think about that for a minute.

I am loathe to suggest it, but where else can you look regarding this God-awful mess than at the manager? Alan Trammell has been beset by injuries, no question, but that is absolutely not to be used as an excuse for a stretch of baseball so horrifying it belongs in an airtight capsule and buried miles below the earth’s surface, as far away from the crust as you can get. I don’t care how many people are hurt; this brand of baseball has set this franchise back years. What does it say when the Florida Marlins, an expansion team for goodness’ sakes (they started in ’93 of all years), have been started from scratch, climbed to a World Series title in 1997, were torn apart, and rebuilt so they could win another in 2003, all within the same time the Tigers have been bumbling, stumbling and fumbling their way through 12 straight losing campaigns?

I am sick of baseball season not meaning anything around here -- forget just September games, I mean April or May games, too. This town is just dying to support a winner again, like it used to consistently, but it is getting the life choked out of it by a string of futility that is simply not acceptable. Maybe this can play in Tampa Bay or Colorado or Milwaukee, but in Detroit it should be flushed down the toilet. The trouble is, the Tigers’ septic tank keeps backing up, splish-splashing putrid baseball on the fans year after year.

Shame on them -- every one of them, from Dave Dombrowski to Vance Wilson. You’ve all made baseball a grotesque sideshow once again in Detroit, so shame on you.

It’s simply inexcusable.

1 comment:

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