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 Halter play?
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.
Yet I don’t think the fanbase is spoiled, as my friend Kurt at Bless You Boys put it the other day. He’s wrong, in my humble opinion. And here are 10 reasons why.
1. The Tigers haven’t won a World Series since 1984.
2014 marks thirty seasons since the team last won a championship. It’s hard to be spoiled when you never get the one thing you actually want.
2. Having high expectations does not mean fans are spoiled.
Kurt compares Tigers fans to entitled Yankees fans in his piece, but New York has won five titles since ’84. They have the highest payroll in baseball by a landslide every season. They sign high-priced free agents every offseason. Of course their fans expect a title every year. Their ownership puts them in that position each season.
Tigers fans did not get this treatment until recent years. Owner Mike Ilitch has increased payroll to be among the top teams in the game. They are by far the team with the highest payroll in the AL Central every season. The team is loaded with stars. Should people NOT expect to win what is on a yearly basis the weakest division in MLB? Should they not be pissed that the far less talented Royals have passed them in the standings?
Fuck, I’m amazed anyone still watches this team after Game 163 a few years back.
3. The bullpen is a joke. And it always is.
Jose Valverde had a “perfect” season a couple years ago where he did not blow a save. Other than that, Joe Nathan is just another in a long line of shaky Tigers closers and relief pitchers. Nathan, Valverde, Todd Jones, Fernando Rodney, Jason Grilli, Phil Coke, Zach Miner, Ryan Perry, Matt Anderson, Brad Thomas, Daniel Schlereth, Brayan Villarreal, Ian Krol, and Evan Reed are just SOME of the slapstick jokes that have tumbled out of the clown car that is the Tigers bullpen in recent years. And whenever fans start to get excited about a young stud like Joel Zumaya or Bruce Rondon appearing out of the pen? His arm explodes.
Only Joaquin Benoit has been consistently good and the team let him walk to San Diego this past offseason for less money than they gave the aging, overpaid Nathan. The bullpen has been tragically ignored and/or taken for granted by the Tigers front office for years while most other teams do not seem to have issues like this every season.
Now I have never booed a player in person and I think it’s childish and silly for grown adults to do so. But I’m not everyone and I’m not going to tell people what they can and can’t do at the ballpark. Other than the wave. Screw the wave forever.
So yeah, some people are going to boo seeing crappy bullpens every season.
4. Fuck Joe Nathan.
Joe Nathan owes much of his career to making Tigers fans upset. Until joining Detroit this season, he faced them 61 times in his career racking up 36 saves. Only his 43 against the Royals are more than his total against the Tigers. He pitched 62.2 innings against us with a 1.44 ERA and 75 strikeouts. The dude has spent the majority of my adult life making me hate him.
And he’s done little to change that as a Tiger. In 44 innings, he has allowed 45 hits, 24 walks, and 25 earned runs. He has blown save after save. His ERA is 5.11 and he has a 1.57 WHIP. He blames his teammates and he makes offensive gestures to the fans. Also, he looks like a sweaty horse. A sweaty horse that is being paid $10 million this and next year and was signed after the team traded away a popular starter to make payroll room for him.
I just might break my “no booing rule” for Nathan. He is a cockwallet that is obviously working undercover for the Twins. And I’m not going to get that upset at my fellow fans for doing the same. Fuck Joe Nathan with a rusty tire iron.
5. The Doug Fister Trade was a disgrace.
POP QUIZ: From 2011-2013, which pitcher had a higher WAR, Doug Fister or David Price?
Trick question. They each had an identical WAR of 13.3.
No, WAR is not perfect. But it’s still a pretty good stat for telling you how good your players are. And the Tigers traded a reasonably cost-controlled pitcher of that caliber for:
A. A terrible utility guy that was quickly traded for a 90 year old shortstop that didn’t last a month
B. One of the worst relievers in baseball this year
C. A middling pitching prospect
And Dombrowski actually got angry when fans and national media questioned the trade. He acted offended that fans care enough about the team to call him on this bullshit despite a lot of good will he built up in previous deals. It was a salary dump and he got upset when called on the truth. I hated the trade then and I hate it even more now. Dave Dombrowski is the one that reacted like a spoiled brat when told that he was a bad boy.
Are we spoiled for rightfully getting mad at a terrible trade? Someone needs to call the team out when they do something stupid. It’s not like Rod Allen will.
6. Fox Sports Detroit is the Ministry of Propaganda for the team.
There is no greater insult to the intelligence of every Tigers fan than the daily TV presentation FSD gives us. Rod Allen and company are nothing more than paid shills for the team. They NEVER offer constructive criticism of anything the team does. The main studio analyst is noted belt thief and shitty human Craig Monroe, who not only constantly and mindlessly shills for the club, but does it while mispronouncing every third word he attempts to say. (As for the shitty human part, just trust me. I know things.)
If Tigers fans were spoiled, we wouldn’t have to watch this nonsense on a daily basis. Dodgers fans get Vin Scully. Brewers fans get Bob Uecker. Giants fans get Jon Miller. Those fuckers are spoiled.
We get Rod Allen, Jim Price, C-Mo & The FSD Dipshit Posse. Only Dan Dickerson is worthy of listening to in regards to this team.
7. The print media is even worse in Detroit.
Quick! Name a good writer that works for a major outlet in Detroit! Go!
I thought so. Lynn Henning hasn’t been right about anything in years. He’s spends most evenings trolling his followers on Twitter and writing insane articles about how good the woeful Tigers farm system supposedly is. Drew Sharp is a joke. Wojo is terrible. Mitch Albom is a national punchline these days. Jerry Green is a real-life Grandpa Simpson that the Detroit News has write for them. I’ve spent years mocking the drivel mLive let Bill Simonson write on their site. And while nice enough guys, the local beat reporters have the basic facts, but hardly ever offer real opinions or ask tough questions. Important information on the Tigers is often broken by national media guys before the local guys get a hold of it.
I do like Tony Paul. But I see everyone else bitch about him on a daily basis for some reason on Twitter. Probably because they’re not used to honesty from the media.
Is there anyone I’m missing? Shouldn’t a spoiled fanbase have a decent media covering it? Yankee and Red Sox writers can be annoying, but they’re not afraid to publish the facts about the team, warts and all. And ESPN can’t shut up about them. THAT’S being spoiled.
(Note: I’m not going to get into the terrible sports talk radio. Talk radio is terrible EVERYWHERE and anyone that listens to it should expect the worst.)
8. So many awards…and no big trophy.
We’ve seen Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander win MVP awards. We’ve seen JV and Scherzer win Cy Youngs. We have another Cy Young winner in David Price. Verlander won a Rookie of the Year and Miggy got a Triple Crown.
Is it “spoiled” to expect a World Series trophy among all that hardware? Just one?
9. Don Kelly is STILL on this team.
Six years. SIX FUCKING YEARS I’ve had to put up with this clown. In those SIX YEARS, Don Kelly has hit .234/.294/.343 with 23 home runs in 1,110 plate appearances. He has been DFA'd twice with no other team claiming him and the Tigers always bring him back. This year, he has a grand total of four extra base hits (including 0 home runs) in 124 plate appearances. It is AUGUST FIFTEENTH and he’s still sitting on our bench and being inserted into the #6 spot by our genius manager. Last year, he was used 16 times as a pinch hitter by Jim Leyland. He want 0-15 with 1 walk.
And our fans LOVE THE GUY! “THEY CAN’T STOP DON KELLY”, Braindead Rod bellows and our fans turn it into a rallying cry and internet meme! I see DK jerseys at the park and there’s even a Don Kelly t-shirt website now!
Because our fans are fucking stupid. They’re not spoiled.
10. The fans deserve what they pay for.
I crap on Tigers fans for not showing up to watch the awful teams like I did in the past, but they sure show up now. Detroit is famous for its terrible economy, but 3 million plus fans show up every year at Comerica Park despite big ticket prices, heavy parking fees, overpriced food and drinks, and a remarkable lack of men’s rooms for 40,000 people.
There are idiots like me that struggle to put together a clothing combination that doesn’t have an Old English D on it somewhere. Fans pay ridiculous prices for game used merchandise, jerseys of players that will be gone in a season, and other worthless, expensive crap.
Tigers fans are not shy about giving the team their money, despite living in terrible financial times. Is it really “spoiled” to want just ONE World Series win out of all that?
No, I don’t think we are spoiled as a fanbase. I do think we have a lot of assholes in our group. In fact, I look at one every day in the mirror. But what fanbase doesn’t have their share of jerk fans?
We’re not spoiled. We’re just starving. We’re hungry for a championship.
I’ll take a hungry fanbase over shitty one that doesn’t support their team like those pricks in Cleveland any day.