Thursday, August 23, 2007

EVERYBODY PANIC!!! - Fans are blithering idiots edition

After Tuesday's loss to the Tribe, if you checked out the Detroit Tigers message boards, or tuned into local sports talk radio, you'd read/hear the following...

Gary Sheffield's shoulder may need surgery. His career is over!

Did you see that last at bat?! The Tigers need to cut ties with Pudge Rodriguez, IMMEDIATELY!

Justin Verlander is overrated, he should be pitching lights out!

Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Verlander aren't themselves, they need to be sat down, and skipped a start. In fact, while they are at it, let's clean out the bullpen, and cut of all the deadwood!

Another loss? The Tigers season is over, no way they make the playoffs!

In other words, it's Chicken Little time in Tiger Town.

Pardon my French, but this needs to be said...

What the fuck is the matter with you people? Think before you fucking post or talk! Let your emotions boil back down to a simmer before pulling such off the wall, knee jerk, reactionary opinions out of your no-nothing ass! The Tigers slump has you fans losing your fucking minds! I've never seen such a God damn bipolar fanbase. 1 win doesn't make a season, 1 loss doesn't end it! Take your fucking meds before the damn game! Get yourself together, and act like you've lived through a pennant race before!

OK, now that is out of my system, let's try to look at these issues somewhat rationally...

Sheffield's shoulder: According to media reports. straight from Sheffield's quotable mouth, his shoulder is a painful mess. As someone who lives with chronic shoulder pain, I can sympathize with Sheff. It can make you absolutely miserable. Honestly, I would not be surprised if he misses more than just the home stand, and it ends his season. But that might be for the best. In the long run, anyway.

If surgery cleans up his shoulder, combined with an off season to rehab it, there is no reason to expect Sheffield couldn't come back 100% in 2008. Considering he has 2 years at $13 million per season left on his contract, he has 13 million reasons to come back, with his bat speed hopefully intact.

The Sheffield situation bears watching closely. It's a big blow to the Tigers chances if he's out for more than a few games. But it's still much too early to call Sheff's season, and career for that matter, done.

Pudge: He ended tonight's game with an awful at bat, swinging at what was probably ball 4 on strikes 2 and 3. Pudge's OBP is dropping dangerously close to Craig Monroe territory. His defense looks to have fallen off as well. He obviously in decline, as any catcher in his mid 30's would be. The catching "Situation" is definitely something the Tigers will address, in some way, this coming off season.

But let's say the Tigers do cut ties with Rodriguez going into 2008. Who do you have replace him that's already on the roster? Mike Rabelo? Get serious. Vance Wilson? He may not be healthy by the start of next season,after missing 2007 in it's entirety.

There's no catching in the farm system. You don't find any catchers on the waiver wire. They are next to impossible to come by in free agency. It's going to take a big time prospect, or a front line player, to get a good major league catcher in a trade.

It's either that, or keep Pudge for one more season, and pick up his expensive contract option. It's a qunadry, to be sure. But either way, you don't cut ties with Pudge unless you have exhausted each and every option in finding a young, big league ready, catcher. Good luck in doing so, as you are going to need it.

I doubt Pudge is going anywhere, because there is no other option. Period. Get used to it. No walks, bad OPB, declining defense and all that comes with him...

Verlander: For the 2nd season in a row, he may have run out of gas. Verlander is definitely struggling, without question. His velocity isn't always there, and his command, to put it bluntly, has gone to shit. Verlander may have hit the proverbial wall.

But to call him overrated? Say he needs to do more? Please, get a God damn grip. Verlander may be the best young starting pitcher in baseball. He has the chance to be great. It's a bit much to expect greatness in the kid's 2nd major league season, at the ripe old age of 24.

Verlander has pitched more innings in the last 2 seasons than he has probably pitched in the 5 years previous, combined. And many of those innings have been of the high pressure sort, in the middle of a pennant race.

Despite what some fans think, Verlander shouldn't have to be, or expected to be, the Tigers ace. Not in his 2nd season.

Fans are expecting too much from Verlander. He's going to make mistakes. He's going to have bad nights. He sometimes throws, rather than pitches. But remember this. He's only in his 2nd fucking big league season!

Skip starts, and/or make sweeping changes in the pen: OK, say you skip Bonderman or Verlander a start or 2. Which leads to one question. Replace them with who?

Jair Jurrjens? He's already in the rotation in place of Kenny Rogers. Admittedly, he was great against the Indians, but it was only his 2nd big league start. He could be pitching over his head, and the league may soon figure him out. It's too soon to tell.

Chad Durbin? He was no great shakes in his recent spot starts. For that matter, who takes Durbin's place in the pen? I thought you wanted that to be wiped clean of the likes of Zach Miner and Jason Grilli?

Zach Miner? See what I said about Durbin.

Virgil Vasquez or Jordan Tata? You want to thrust them into the middle of a pennant race? Please. The Tigers are already gambling with Jurrjens. You can't seriously expect them to continue to catch pitching lightening in a bottle. It's too much to ask.

If Verlander or Bonderman were skipped a start or 2 at this point, if they aren't legitimately injured, the Tigers brain trust would be considered criminally insane. Why? Because they don't have any one else!

If you were going to skip their turn, you would have done so by now. It's too late in the season, and the games are too important, to start resting pitchers who are currently your number 1 and 2 in the rotation! It's too damn late. You might as well hand the division to the Indians on a platter if you do.

Same goes for the bullpen, it's too late to clear the bench. I want Grilli gone just as much as the next guy. But who do the Tigers have to replace him, or anyone else, in the pen? Rodney and Zumaya are already back, and pitching well. What of McBride, Capellan, Bazardo, Lopez, De La Cruz? If they were considered good enough, they would have stayed in Detroit, and not looking for an apartment in Toledo.

The Tigers have what they have in the rotation, and in the bullpen. You don't make make sweeping changes when... 1 - It's late August! And.. 2 - You are only 1.5 games out of 1st place! You just don't...

The Tigers season is over: Again, it needs to be repeated. It has to be repeated, over and over. The Tigers are only 1.5 games out of 1st place! That's one and one half games, with more than a month left in the season. No way is the season close to being over.

Cleveland hasn't been any better than the Tigers over this past month. The Tribe are just as flawed a team as the Tigers. It's not as if the Tigers have to pass a juggernaut to win the central.

Yes, they are struggling. The Tigers have stumbled badly. But they are totally capable of ripping off a 7 or 8 game winning streak. Admittedly, they are just as capable of losing 7 or 8 straight games, but that is besides the point. The point is that the season isn't over!

It's a 162 game season. Have they played all 162? Last time I checked, they haven't.

Want an example that the season isn't, as they say, over till it's over? Just go back to 1987.

The Tigers lost 3 straight to the 1st place Blue Jays with little more than a week left in the season. Talk about a season being on the brink, but it wasn't yet over.

Detroit won the last game of the 4 game series, much in thanks to Kirk Gibson hitting a monstrous home run at Exhibition Stadium to tie the game 1-1 in the top of the 9th. The Tigers went on to win the game in 13 innings.

The Tigers then finished the season on a 6-1 tear. The Jays went into a death spiral, finishing 0-7. Tigers won the division, even though 1 week earlier, it looked as if, (Say it with me...) "The season is over!"

So to go and say, "OH MY GAWD! Teh Tigers is teh suck! Indians pwned them! Teh season is over!" when the Tigers are still in both the divisional and wild card races is ludicrous. Sure, if, and that's "IF," they continue to stumble around like a bunch of drunken Seattle Pilots circa 1969, of course the season will end sooner, than later. But to say it's a done deal? Come on...

Today's another day, and another opportunity to make up a game against the Tribe. Win or lose, at the very least, save the Chicken Little shit for September, OK? Till then, I don't want to fucking hear it...


  1. Al,

    This is the 3rd or 4th time you've posted a blog containing YOUR complaining on the average Tigers fans and their feelings... it's late August and it's time to realize that this team just may not make the playoffs... I believe this is your way of taking out your anger on the team and it's getting a bit tired.

  2. anon,
    You seem to be missing the point, which is that making emotional reactionary phone calls to radio stations, writing blog postings, and making fan comment board messages after every negative event that occurs with the Tigers, proclaiming the end of the season, is highly foolish. At no point in this post is it guaranteed or even predicted that the Tigers will make or miss the playoffs. Rather, it is pointed out that despite this extended slump, the Tigers are 1.5 games back of first place. That is the key point, along with being a fan of a baseball team in a pennant race requires patience. Try to relax, there are still thirty-six games left.

  3. Anon, I appreciate your criticism, and I agree that the Tigers may not make the playoffs. I don't mind fans venting, but recently they are going off the deep end. Internet and sports talk radio fandom and their other the top reactionary statements has become a huge pet peeve of mine, so I can help but write about it. People tend to forget that it's just 1 game, and are ready to tear the team apart after every loss.

    Thanks for having my back, Chief. Could you picture what it would have been like in 1987, if we had every game televised, and sports talk and the web existed, during that awesomely tense stretch drive? Heads would have been exploding, just like in the movie "Scanners."

    Thank God there's a game this afternoon, so we can all move on from last night's loss.