Max Scherzer was officially introduced as a member of the Washington Nationals at a press conference Wednesday. After his initial introduction, he was asked why he left Detroit behind and he replied:
“It’s pretty easy. It’s one (reason). Winning,” he said. “This team is capable of winning, and winning a lot, when you look at the near-term and long-term. This is an organization you want to be a part of.”
That’s a pretty interesting answer to that question. I mean, as sports fans, our general attitude towards interviews and press conferences is one of low expectation. It’s basically a place where the interview subjects are asked predictable questions and give unsurprising and cliché answers. While Scherzer’s response was predictable, it doesn’t seem very honest.
Let me say this: no one should question the winning potential of the Nationals team, especially with their starting five (Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez, and Max Scherzer) that figures to be far and beyond the best in baseball. But, please…Winning? That’s the “one” reason? That rings hollow to Tigers fans, and even those people who are only familiar with baseball in Detroit on a cursory level.
Detroit has won four straight division championships. Scherzer, acquired by Detroit in 2009, experienced all of these firsthand. Detroit has averaged over 91 regular season wins during the past four seasons. That’s a lot of wins and a lot of sustained excellence. Scherzer has been a large contributor to one of the best teams in recent baseball history.
The reality is, Scherzer has been very well acquainted with winning for most of his career, which has been in Detroit. So, while naming winning as the one reason for going to Washington is a good quote for the papers, it’s frankly nothing more than a stock phrase and an empty platitude. This tweet from Tony Paul of the Detroit news just about says it all:
Just saw that Max Scherzer will be paid $80,000 a day for the next 14 years.
— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) January 22, 2015
Read that again.
According to CNN, the average American annual household income in 2014 was just short of $54,000 dollars. Scherzer stands to make 45% more per than that per day over the length of his contract. If that doesn’t make Scherzer’s comments during his first press conference as a Washington National a little bit disingenuous, I don’t know what does.
Scherzer was an integral part of a special organization in Detroit. One that has produced MVPs, Hall of Famers, and Triple Crown winners. A team that is loved by it’s city. A ball club that is supported by an owner who is dedicated to winning and to the city of Detroit. An organization with a GM who has shown, time and time again, the shrewd ability to make big deals for the right players at the right time, and who has overseen the team from the rebuilding of a franchise in the early 2000’s to an annual playoff contender. Max Scherzer effectively started his career, and became a superstar, in Detroit, Michigan.
One does not need to go to Washington to find a ball club capable of winning. The Detroit Tigers have shown that they are a team with a long, celebrated history of winning, as well as a future where winning will be the focus. That said, Scherzer has every right to pursue the best possible contract he can. He is being paid what the market will bear and good for him. It’s just unfortunate that his reason for joining his new team isn’t more believable.