It’s no secret that the Detroit Tigers have had a disappointing first half of the season. As one of the loudest cheerleaders for the team, I’ve been optimistic about the fortunes of the boys in the Old English D.
My expectations were (and, secretly, still are…I’m hopeful for a comeback in the second half of the year) high for the Tigers in 2017. I predicted a 1st place AL Central finish and had high hopes that the team would do some damage in the playoffs. One last ride for Miguel Cabrera and his Immortals.
Sadly, that has not materialized through July. Detroit is 39-48 currently. Good for 4th place in the AL Central and 8 games out of the top spot in the division. The Tigers are 6.5 games out of a Wild Card playoff spot as well. Are these insurmountable odds? Not in my mind. This team is just too talented to count out. That said, the chances are very slim that the team will be able to right the ship. It appears they will be selling at the trade deadline which can be exciting in one respect, ultimately, it’s just not what we were hoping for.
All of this has created frustration. While I’ve maintained my positive outlook through monthly Inside The Numbers pieces (here, here, and here) there have also been times when I’ve been critical of the team, their play, and attitudes. (here, and most recently here.)
The fans and writing team here at DSN have not cornered the market in disappointment. The players are clearly frustrated. These are competitive guys. They want to win and, frankly, expect to. When that doesn’t happen and they don’t perform up to expectations, whether it’s due to age, injury, bad luck, off-field issues, or being outplayed by an opposing player, it wears on them. No one is more frustrated than the players and management.
Here is a suggestion for the second half of the season. A “Post-All-Star-Break Resolution,” if you will. I plan to enjoy these players while I can. As a team, they may not pile up enough wins to make the playoffs (even though I’m not-so-secretly still predicting that), but, they can be fun to watch on their individual merit.
Young superstars like Michael Fulmer, J.D. Martinez, and flashy Jose Iglesias. Sun baked veterans like Ian Kinsler and Alex Avila. The elder statesman Victor Martinez who recently recorded his 2,000th major league hit. Career Detroiter Justin Verlander who is still staring down hitters from a stoic, 5-o’clock shadowed face.
Even the bullpen has players to watch. It’s fun to watch Scowlin’ Shane Greene toe the rubber in the middle innings. How about the ‘Law Firm of Wilson and Wilson’ Alex and Justin, respectively, doing their thing?
And, of course, we can’t leave out the greatest hitter of our generation. The Hall of Fame swing of Miguel Cabrera is a beautiful thing to watch. Not to mention his joyful approach to the game.
So – let’s all take a deep breath, Nation. Yes, we will continue to report on the fortunes of the team this season. However, I think we can all get behind taking a break for a few days and learning to appreciate what we can with the Detroit Tigers during the second half of the season. No matter what happens in terms of the team’s record, these are our players. Let’s celebrate them. We are all Tigers and we always will be.