If you’ve spent any time on the internet in the past
month, odds are you’ve run across someone posting constant reminders on how many days until pitchers and
catchers report. Spring Training is coming, huzzah! Hooray for Grapefruit
League Action! (INSERT PLAYER HERE) is feeling great and ready to win a
This is because people every year seem to forget
that Spring Training is long, boring, and annoying.
“I’m in the best shape of my life”, we’ll hear
countless times. Recently injured players always feel 100%. Guys who have
struggled in recent times are looking better than ever. The manager and coaches
will tell reporters that players that have never produced are now knocking the
cover off the ball. The rarely televised games will see actual MLB players out
of the contest by the 5th inning in most cases.
Basically, Spring Training is the month-plus of lies
and nonsense leading up to actual baseball in April. If you’re an eternal
optimist, incredibly gullible, and/or a reporter getting paid to be in Florida
instead of Michigan in February/March, I guess it’s a nice time. For me,
though, it’s a month of reading and hearing things reported that I can’t
understand any rational human believing.
So instead of the sunshine and puppy dog tails that
you’re likely reading everywhere else, let’s flip Two Face’s coin to the other
side. What DOOM and GLOOM are waiting for us in the upcoming months?
Let’s examine these nightmares in our Official
Pessimist’s Guide to the Detroit Tigers Spring Training!
(Note: Since roughly 80% of the Tigers fanbase seems
to have the sense of humor of Bill O’Reilly watching The Daily Show, this is where I must remind everyone that this is
mostly for entertainment purposes. Sigh.)
On occasion, I’ll sit down with my laptop and do a
running stream of consciousness thing as a game goes on. I call it “Keeping
Score” because I’m unoriginal and/or not very bright. It's been a while, but past games I’ve done can
be found here, if anyone is interested.
Since there’s not a lot to talk about quite yet, I
thought I could do a few of these with some big games from the past. A couple
weeks ago, I got a DVD set called “The Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers”.
Included are Game 5 of the 1968 World Series, Game 5 of the 1984 World Series,
the final game at Tiger Stadium from 9/27/99, and Game 4 of the 2006 ALCS. I
also have a DVD of Justin Verlander’s first no-hitter sitting around here
somewhere, too, that I’ve never watched.
I decided to begin with the 2006 game. I’ve never
seen the television broadcast of the game since I was in attendance for it. The
night before, I dropped something like $650 for a pair of tickets in the third
row down the third base line. After over 20 years of watching the team play
mostly bad baseball, if they were going to make the World Series, I wanted to
be there. It was worth it.
After six long months, our national
nightmare is over. Daddy has come home. Tell your friends.
Howdy, jerks. Welcome to TigerSnark,
possibly the only voice of reason in online Detroit Tigers writing. Due to a
toxic combination of personal reasons, apathy toward the team, disgust with the
media, Don Kelly taking up a roster spot, and the leftover bitter taste of the
Doug Fister trade, this site has remained dormant for half a year. I’ve decided
to give it one more shot.
For the uninformed, this blog is an attempt
at a humorous look at the Detroit Tigers baseball team and those that cover it.
Try not to take it too seriously. I’m writing this from Toledo, Ohio, a 45
minute drive from Detroit, which is famous for its undrinkable tap water,
unnecessary road construction, and the world’s largest collection of poor
tattoo art…usually on the neck. (I basically live in the world’s largest
Walmart.) Our mayor dropped dead last week. Welcome.
In the coming weeks leading up to the
season, I plan on revisiting some games from the past, getting caught up on the
past six months of news, and putting focus on the upcoming season. Unlike last
year in the wake of the Fister debacle, I’ve come to miss baseball, miss
writing about it, and am looking forward to the upcoming campaign. But first, I
want to address an issue that shows no signs of improvement. This issue is the
ongoing disconnect between many fans and the media.
I'm kind of a jerk and I don't think it’s any secret that I'm easily annoyed by the majority of the
Detroit Tigers fanbase. Any time I attend a game, the conversations of the Inge
jersey wearing mouth-breathers around me leave me wanting to jump off a bridge.
The comments I read on the Detroit News, mLive, or other popular news sites are
often mind bogglingly stupid. Sports talk radio is an abortion. The illiterates
that populate Twitter make me weep for the future of the human race. And where
were all these people in the late 90’s and early 00’s when I sat in an empty
stadium so many times a year while watching clowns like Felipe Lira and Shane
Obviously I don’t mean ALL Tigers fans. I’ve been lucky to meet
and connect with many intelligent people over the years. And maybe I’m a little
arrogant about what I expect out of my fellow fan (know who’s on the team, hate
bunting, have an IQ over 80, etc). And is my belief that any fan that
participates in the wave be immediately stoned to death a little
extreme? I don’t think so. But possibly, I guess.
Hey, kids. Yes, I’m alive. Sorry to disappoint some of you.
I’ve been stuck in a strange place in between writer’s block
and complete apathy for most of this year. You see, I don’t really care for the 2014
Detroit Tigers team and have found it hard to devote time to writing about
them. Of course, I still root for them, but it's just not the same this year. Blame my job. Blame my growing disdain of the internet and the people
that inhabit it. Blame the Fister trade. (Seriously, mostly blame that.)
So this is my first attempt at writing about the team in
nearly two months. There’s a lot to cover. Let’s try something new and hit up
26ish topics from A-Z.
One of 2014’s most frustrating players to watch for Tigers
fans has been right fielder Torii Hunter. Torii’s a five-time All-Star and nine-time
Gold Glover in his career. And he’s always been one of baseball’s more likable
players. But this year, he has looked nothing like the old Torii. Instead, he looks like Old Torii. It’s like he
has somehow aged a decade since the end of the 2013 season.
His defense is atrocious. I mean, it’s laughably bad.
Magglio Ordonez was a statue at the end of his career in right. Ryan Raburn was
a comedy of errors out there. And Brennan Boesch was a sick, bizarre combination
of both. Torii is managing to outdo those three in the two and a half months we’ve
seen this year. It’s sad.
And at the plate? Ugh. When Hunter arrived from the Angels
last year, he seemed to be trying to hit every ball to right field. And he had
success, lacing base hit after base hit the opposite way while putting up a
.304/.334/.465 slash line. This year? He seems to be trying to pull everything.
He does that goofy bat chuck after every swing, as if he thinks every ball is
leaving the yard. And he takes walks about as often as Phil Coke throws clean
innings. It hasn’t been a good combination.
It’s not surprising that Torii has been compared a lot to a former
Tigers punching bag, Delmon Young, by several fans online. Bad defense? Check.
No patience at the plate? Check. Embarrassingly low on-base percentage? Oh
But is the comparison fair? Has Hunter’s stock really fallen
that far? Luckily, TigerSnark is here to solve this mystery with the exact
science I like to call “Catfight”. Ten categories, Delmon vs Torii, and we’ll
see who the better man is.