Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Tigers are in first place? Best record in baseball? Who knew?

Just as Steve McCroskey said, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue," the Tigers sure picked the wrong week to become the best team in baseball.

Looking back at my posts over the last month, with the majority being NBA and Pistons related, you'd think TWFE was strictly a hoops blog. I've also posted several times about our favorite functionally retarded Pesident and GM, Matt Millen, a couple of stories bitching and moaning about ESPN, a handful of Red Wings rants, and I even mentioned the Fab 5. But what of the best team in baseball? The first place team in the AL Central? I mentioned the Tigers once. Only once? Why is that?

I could think of a few reasons...

Monday night Justin Verlander threw a complete game 4 hit shutout against the Royals, but did anyone see it? I would have loved to watch. But I ended up switching between "24" (Jack Bauer stopped nuclear armageddon, killed his mentor, kidnapped the President and took him down, saved Democracy as we know it, and was capured by the Chineese government, all in 2 hours! I can barely write 1 blog post in 2 hours.) and the NBA playoffs. Why? There was no TV. None. Zip. Nada. Even the ESPN "Baseball Tonight" guys said that the lack of local TV was criminal.

Well, what about radio, you say? Don't make me laugh... I can barely tune in WXYT during the day, let alone after sundown, and I live only 25-30 miles out of the city. It's asinine, when you think about it, that in order to hear a locally broadcast game static free, I'd have to either move next door to the transmitter, subscribe to satellite radio, or buy the MLB internet audio package. I live in the freaking suburbs for chrissakes! The Tigers broadcasts used to be on the blowtorch of the Midwest. Now they are on the Bic lighter.

I think there was more than a little disbelief involved as well. If there is a team in town that we have a total and utter lack of faith in, it's the Tigers. 2 decades of bad baseball does that to a fanbase. It was never "Hope for the best, but expect the worst" when talking Tigers. It was just "Expect the worst." The Tigers have been so bad for so long, we kept waiting to the other shoe to drop. We all expected the Tigers to come back down to earth, thinking a 10 game losing streak was around the corner. Except a losing streak never happened.

Maybe they would give away games late. Not have the ability to come back from behind. That's been the Tigers modus operandi for a generation. Then we see backup catcher Vance Wilson, of all people, hit a game winning home run against Johan Santana. Johan Santana? Over the weekend, Joel Zumaya proved he is actually human, and gave up a backbreaking grand slam to Ken Griffey Jr, giving the Reds a late game lead. Game over, right? Wrong. Curtis Granderson hits a 2 out game tying home run, and the Tigers win in the 10th. That was the sort of game the Tigers have been unable to win for what seems like an eternity. Games like those are making believers out of all of us.

There's that, and the fact that if they only play .500 ball from here on out, the Tigers will win 90 games. That will have them in the wild card hunt all summer. A pennant race. Wow. I've forgotten what those are like. If I remember correctly, a pennant race is , quite possibly, the coolest thing in all sports.

But still, all this has been happening under the radar. I'm as guilty as anyone. I've been obsessing over the Pistons. We all have. Unfortunately, when the Tigers miraculously have a TV game, the Pistons seem to be playing at the same time, last night being a prime example. I was able to catch brief glimpes of the Tigers during TV timeouts, but I was totally focused on the Heat - Pistons game. In most households, a Piston playoff game will trump an early season Tigers - Royals game every day of the week. I mean, come on, the 2006 Royals are the next coming of the 2003 Tigers, God bless 'em. It's a fact of life the Tigers are going to have to live with till the Pistons playoff run ends. Which we all hope isn't for another 3 weeks, give or take.

So here's a tip of the cap and an apology to the best team in MLB. The Detroit Tigers. They deserve...No demand, our attention. They have mine.


  1. I still am not ready to turn my attention to the Tigers yet, I just can not take my focus off the Pistons right now. I have said it all along though, this is a baseball and football town first and foremost. If either of those teams start making some real noise this place will go crazy. Hockeytown - whatever!

  2. Agreed, Dude. Detroit is a sleeping giant of a baseball town that is just starting to wake. But today is another example of the Tigers awful TV/Radio package. No TV, the weather is wreaking havoc with my AM radio reception, so the only way I can follow today's game is over the web.

    But I'm sure I'll be back to talking Pistons soon enough. Like later tonight...