Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wary of whiplash? Then stay away from a Tigers message board

You have to love message boards for their entertainment value alone. Where else can people have mood swings like Sybil with a bad case of PMS?

The Tigers start 5-0, and expectations suddenly rise to inexplicably high levels.

The pitching looks damn good! Chris Shelton looks great, they won't miss Calos Pena. Pudge is back! Chris Shelton is an All-Star! That sure was smart of Dave Dombrowski to sign (Pudge, Magglio, Todd Jones, The Gamber) as a free agent. Chris Shelton is Zeus. Bonderman is going to win 20! Chris Shelton is Buddha. Verlander is the next coming of Cy Young! Chris Shelton is Allah. Zumaya looks unhitable! Chris Shelton is Jesus Christ. The lineup looks like the best in the division. Chris Sheton is God. Dmitri Young looks good now that he's slimmed down. Chris Shelton is the ALMIGHTY. Jim Leyland is a professional manager, makes all the right moves. Chris Shelton is the shiznit. Where's the line start for World Series tickets? S doesn't stand for Shelton, it stands for SUPERMAN!

The Tigers lose the next 2, in well played games mind you, and you'd think it was 2003 again.

The Tigers SUCK! The only reason they were 5-0 was due the fact that KC and Texas SUCK! Chris Shelton left a couple of runners on in scoring position, he SUCKS!. Pudge is on the decline, he SUCKS! They need another left handed bat, not having Carlos Pena SUCKS! Dmitri Young is so fat he SUCKS! Why did Dave Dombrowski sign (Pudge, Magglio, Todd Jones, The Gamber) to such a horrible contract that SUCKS! When will Tata and Zumaya repleace Robertson and Maroth in the rotation, cause they SUCK! Zumaya, Tata, and Verlander were rushed to the majors, and now they are going to SUCK! Leyland is a washed up retread, he SUCKS! Here we go again, same old Tigers, they SUCK!

Just wait, if the Tgers win the next 2 from the Sox, the pendulum will swing back again. The Tigers will be the team to beat in the Central. Till the next losing streak...

So where do the 2006 Detroit Tigers stand after 7 games? If you read message boards, you'd think they were either the 1927 New York Yankees or the 1969 Seattle Pilots.

Sparky Anderson was a very wise man, wise beyond his years. He always said that you can't tell anything about a team till they have played 40 games. Sparky also said, "Problem with Wockenfuss getting on base is that it takes three doubles to score him," but that's another post.

In other words, it's way too early in the season to know what direction this team will head. I've liked what I've seen so far, for the most part. There finally looks the be a young, core nucleus in place, with Shelton, Granderson, Bonderman, Verlander, Zumaya, and Rodney, with more to come from the minor leagues. A lineup that looks tough, 1-9. Solid pitching, with the young guys pulling their share of the load. Not a single error has been committed, which is very encouraging sign of an improved defense.

But still, there are warning signs. A low on base percentage for one, which has been this teams achilles for years. Very little depth, exaserbated by the strange disappearance of Omar Infante. Is his shoulder bad or not? If he's not hurt, why play no-hit Ramon Santiago when resting Polanco? This is a team that can't afford any long term injuries.

But how can you complain at this point? Other than on a message board, that is... Signs point to a team that will play .500 or better ball and there will be some meaningful games after the All-Star break. When was the last time a Tiger fan could seriously say that? (Don't say the 2000 Tigers, as no one actually believed that was a wild card team) Unfortunately, the Tigers now play in MLB's version of a Murder's Row, the AL Central. Put the Tigers in the NL West, and you might have a playoff team. Playoff team or not, this is the best I've felt about a Tiger team since the early 90's.

Even if the Tigers play like professionals, and have the right attitude, that can only carry you so far. To quote the sage Sparky Anderson again...

"If a team is in a positive frame of mind, it will have a good attitude. If it has a good attitude, it will make a commitment to playing the game right. If it plays the game right, it will win...Unless, of course, it doesn't have enough talent to win, and no manager can make goose-liver pate out of goose feathers, so why worry?"


  1. LOVE the Wockenfuss line! Had never heard that one.

    I can't remember who said this, nor about whom, but it was about a notoriously slow-footed guy:

    "He's the only one I know who can consistently stretch a double into a single."

  2. Great post, your examples are exactly why message boards are very entertaining!