Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Answering the Detroit Tigers burning questions: I hate the Baggiedome edition

It's burning questions time, kids! Let's roll tape...or something lile that...

So the Tigers lost 2 of 3 to the Minnesota Twins, falling to 42-42 for the season. A sign of trouble, or a momentary speed bump?

Not that I normally answer a question with another question, but after winning 6 consecutive series, don't you think the Tigers were due for a bump in the road? They weren't going to continue playing .800 ball, it's an impossibility. (Though the Red Wings might challenge that thought thanks to their recent signings...HOSSA! WOOOO! Dude, get back to the subject at hand, huh? You have plenty of time to talk Wings.)

Compound the Tigers being due for a fall with the fact they rarely play well, let alone win, in that farce of a stadium called the Baggie/Hefty/Homer/Horrodome, I expected them to lose. The Tigers did manage to win a game in Minnesota, always a tough place to play, and that's fine by me. I've seen far too many weird and awful things happen to the Tigers in Minnesota to be upset with losing a couple of games.

Do you have a grudge against the Twinkies? You seem to have quite a chip on your shoulder.

A grudge?! Jesus, where do I start? That's easy, the 1987 playoffs.

I still have nightmares thinking about '87. The talent difference between the Tigers and the Twins wasn't even close. The Tigers were by FAR the better team that season. You'll never convince me otherwise.

But thanks to the the Twins’ huge home field advantage their house of horrors gave them (The God damn whistles blowing and the white hankies waving for 9 innings non stop? That's my idea of the sixth circle of Hell), and the Tigers being gassed due to the east division title battle going down to last game of the season, they never had a chance. The Tigers were a World Series quality team in 1987, and so were the Blue Jays, for that matter, yet a barely over .500 team in Minnesota won it all.  God damn Twins.

I've never forgotten, or forgiven.


Wait! I'm not done!

There is also that utter monstrosity of a stadium.  I HATE that place. Nothing good ever happens to the Tigers there, ever. I’ll dance a jig the day they implode that arcade football stadium masquerading as a baseball field. They don't play the game we know as "baseball" in Minnesota. Thanks to their Mickey Mouse stadium, rock hard turf and the roof colored so lazy fly balls disappear from sight, it’s an arcade version of the game.

The Baggiedome is also horrific to look at, with 1000’s of yards of cheap looking blue plastic draped everywhere. It's as if the designer looked at a Tupperware bowl, and said "Eureka! That's what I want the interior of the Metrodome to look like! Make it happen"  And they did...

The Baggiedome is an assault to the eyes. Right field is a fucking joke, with that huge sheet of saran wrap standing in for a wall. Plus I just plain DESPISE astroturf for baseball, where ground ball singles roll all the way to the outfield wall, and fly balls bounce like super balls when they hit the turf.

The whole scene in Minnesota, thanks to their embarrassment of a stadium, is a bastardization of the great game of baseball. How anyone could enjoy a game there is beyond me.

Feel better? 


Now your Minny rant is over,where do the Tigers go from here?

Seattle, duh!

Seriously, I expect the Tigers to continue to play fairly well. Seattle is far from being a juggernaut, and if you have to play on the road, as good a place as any for the Tigers to get their winning mojo back. Though the injuries piling up is becoming a major concern, and could throw a money wrench into the works...if they haven't already.

The likes of Clete Thomas, Matt Joyce and Michael Holliman can add a spark for a few games, even a week or two. They've played well, but are scarcely replacements for Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers need them to get well, and get well quick.


Or the Tigers will soon find themselves too far back to mount any sort of serious threat to the White Sox and Twins. They don't need to be fighting for the division lead at the All-Star break, but the Tigers do need to keep the division leaders in reasonable sight.

They could be 7 games behind the White Sox after tonight's games, and I really don't want to see the Tigers fall much farther in arrears. I wouldn't exactly be happy if the Tigers find themselves closer to 10 games back of the Sox, than...let's say 5 games, at the break. I can live with it, though the fewer games behind and teams to leapfrog within the division, the better.

Now that the Tigers have passed the halfway mark, and conisdering their awful start and numerous injuries, what would be their mid-term grade? 

They get an "I", for incomplete. They've had too many injuries to their core, and it's taken most of the first half to gel as a team, so I take issue with giving them a letter grade. I also believe Detroit's brain trust will be doing their damnedest to shore up their pitching at the trade deadline. The team we see now may not be the same team we see at the end of the month.

Isn't that sidestepping the question? 

Sure is, but it also what I actually believe. The season won't truly start for the Tigers till after they return from their road trip, when 5 of their next 6 series are against divisional rivals. After the All-Star game, they'll be on the road for the rest of the month, save for a quckie 3 game home stand against the White Sox.

If the Tigers are still within shouting distance of the division lead August 1st, then we'll be watching a tight playoff race the rest of the summer. But if they fall on their collective faces?

The rest of the season is gonna suck. Big time.

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