Thoughts on Thoughts that Extrapolate to more Thoughts

expectations are so stinkin' constipatin'

I didn’t write a word yesterday. I’m going to write thirteen hundred words now.

Actually, I should clarify that. I did write words. I wrote words onto a check, I wrote words onto a customer’s document, I wrote words onto the side of a coffee cup, I wrote words on an employee evaluation, but I did not write words on the editing tool for this blog. Why? Well, if you’re going to pry, it’s because I was super duper busy. So, yeah I did write words but they were words no one enjoyed reading and I certainly didn’t enjoy writing them…especially those ones that went onto that check, but hey, enough with that. We’re here and that’s what’s important.

The other thing that is important is Tigers baseball. Everyone loves Tigers baseball; I mean, that’s why you’re here, right? Because you love the Detroit Tigers and you’re a fan of their baseball team. Therefore, you love Tigers baseball. You can be annoyed with Tigers baseball; you certainly should be annoyed with Tigers baseball if you were one of the many who, at the start of the year, claimed that Tigers baseball was going to enjoy an easy year. The Tigers were no doubt winners of the AL Central and you were basically looking at September games as a countdown to the playoffs.

Well, now the Tigers are 20-21 and in third place in the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians look like a really, really solid baseball team, and the Chicago White Sox have Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn, and Paul Konerko and they’re not exactly playing like the Minnesota Twins (don’t you dare look at your computer screen like that! You know that the Tigers beat themselves in that two game series.). The Kansas City Royals are lurking in the shadows, too, though it’s hard to imagine them coming out from behind those shadows, because of that that poor, poor pitching staff. You almost feel bad, but then you remember that it’s the Kansas City Royals and you don’t feel bad anymore.

don't make him angry, you won't like him when he's angry

What I’m trying to say is, there shouldn’t be any shock in the fact that there are other good baseball teams in the AL Central. And there really shouldn’t be any shock to the fact that the Tigers are 20-21.

Don’t look at your computer screen like that, it’ll make your face stick that way, and then you’ll look super silly all the time.

When you watch or pay attention to a large amount of baseball over the course of many, many years you begin to look at the bigger picture. This is especially true when it comes to Detroit Tigers fans, who, for many years have suffered through horrible team after horrible team. You end up stepping back from a bad situation and comparing your team to other teams or other equally as painful seasons. When you do this, you begin to see trends. One trend that never changes is the fact that baseball is a streaky game. The 1984 Tigers shot out of the seasons gate like a cannon. They were 35-5 through 40 games and on their way to an eventual World Series title, yes, I know, the last one Detroit professional baseball has seen.

Of course, most people don’t know or remember that they went 22-22 over the next quarter of the season.

Good baseball teams are not measured by a quarter of a season. Good baseball teams are measured by four quarters of a season. Bad baseball teams are measured by four quarters of a season. What I’m trying to say is that there are 162 games in a season for a reason and that reason is, teams actually play all those games.

However, people tend to use the first 40 games of a season and multiply it over the next 120 and declare the final result. That’s basically the dumbest thing I have ever heard, and I have heard a lot of dumb things.

Every so often, it’ll hit me. Maybe I’ll be scanning over statistics on Baseball-Reference, or maybe I’ll be checking out a player’s updated numbers in Gameday. Most recently it hit me when I was thinking about Andy Dirks’ above-.950 OPS.

We’ve been dealing with the Detroit Tigers for so long that our standards are kind of warped. What we consider to be the line between acceptable and unacceptable is not the same as it is for other fans of other teams.

awesome rogers

 Consider:

Before 2006, the Tigers hadn’t made the playoffs since 1987. That is a very long time. Then the Tigers went through four years before they made the playoffs again, last year. That is a very long time, but a little shorter. I think we’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like to support a good baseball team, and what kind of production a team needs to get there. Then when we get there, we’re not really sure how to handle it.

Up until August of last year, fans were getting ready to be okay with not making the playoffs again for quite some time. The Tigers might have had a good team, but there was just something stopping them from making it into October baseball in the past that made future considerations seem silly.

Then, last year something different happened.

2006 was a dream season. The 2006 team won 95 games. 2006 was also a lucky season. They won the Wild Card. I mean, can anyone remember another year the Wild Card didn’t come out of the AL East? I can’t, and I’m not looking it up.

Last year the Tigers also won 95 games. They won their first division title since 1987, which was also the last time (other than 2006) they won over 90 games. Last year, the rest of the AL Central stunk up the joint. This lead to an optimistic off season. Everyone told Tigers fans that the Tigers were going to be awesome in 2012, and if they weren’t totally awesome, it was fine. The other teams would suck so much that it wouldn’t matter. But, that’s not the case so far, through the first quarter of the season.

It’s not like this is our fault. What the Tigers do is out of our hands, so if we’re going to stick with the Tigers, we need to be flexible. The only thing we can control is what we’ll put up with, so in order to put up with the Tigers, we’ve lowered our standards.

That is, we did until last year.

Now the Tigers are trying to build to something. They’ve been trying to build to something all along, but now they seem to have the best plan, which is spend money, and spend a lot of it. The idea is that the Tigers have the talent to win now is pretty a pretty common one, and a pretty accurate one. They do have a really talented roster, or at least, they have a half dozen near superstar level players, so they should at least carry the team to greatness.

Now, that they are sitting under .500 a quarter of the way though the season, people are beginning to get upset. How can a team that won 95 games last year, then go and spend $214 million dollars in the offseason and not get better?

troublemaker

Well, this is why money can’t buy happiness. It only buys expectations. Remember this when you are getting that big promotion at work. Everything just gets more complicated after that.

So, remember the next time you start cursing Jim Leyland or Dave Dombrowski or Jose Valverde. Remember the next time you cheer a Justin Verlander complete game, or a Miguel Cabrera home run.

Remember that money only buys expectations. Remember that good teams are measured over the course of a full season. Remember that bad teams are measured over the course of a full season. Remember that you watch baseball because you enjoy baseball. Also, remember to pay your bills and don’t let them all sit until the Tigers have an off day.

This team has definitely had their moments, but they haven’t inspired much consistent confidence at the plate, which is kind of a thing good teams need to do. This team has definitely had their moments, but they haven’t inspired much consistent confidence (outside of Austin Jackson) out in the field, which is kind of a thing good teams need to do. This team has definitely had their moments, but they haven’t inspired much consistent confidence out of the bullpen (though it’s been much better as of late), which is kind of a thing good teams need to do.

When you watch a good team, you’re supposed to have faith that they’re good.

But the Tigers are good. They have some serious talent on the roster (which is why people are so frustrated). They have ¾ of the season to go which either means you still have a long way to go to enjoy the season, or a long way to go until the Detroit Lions start playing games.

It’s up to you, but I choose to enjoy my sports teams.

Go Tigers. Boo every other team.

  • Perry

    Nice. Not getting your hopes up is my secret to being a Detroit Tigers fan. It was an art taught to me by the Chicago Cub fans I call Mom and Dad.

  • Bert

    I somehow actually feel better after reading that. Why do I feel better after reading that? Curse you, Doc, and your logic!

  • Paul Johnson

    The fact that this makes so much sense saddens me….I didn’t even realize how much I was talking about the team in a negative way until now. Thanks Doc, you’ve inspired me to be a better fan.

  • http://www.walkoffwoodward.com/ Josh Worn

    I can’t tell if you’re all being sarcastic or not…

  • Ken J.

    I always remember that I am watching the Tigers for entertainment — like a long-form TV miniseries — and since 2006 I have never felt that I was wasting my time following the team.

    • Eric Wright

       I like that a lot. TV Mini Series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elise-Jackson/100003808087074 Elise Jackson

    Yes, we are Tiger fans.

    Yes, we are frustrated with the expectations of greatness, but with the reality of losing.

    Yes, we wanted the season to be easy, but now cringe whenever Valverde comes to the mound and pretty much automatically gives up at least one run.

    Yes, we hoped adding power to the lineup would bring us lots of offense and sigh as we watch our defense make yet another error.

    Yes, we expected excitement to inspire us on a daily basis, yet see a team which is OK with losing because we are “only ¼-way through the season.”Yes, as you suggest, we are Detroit fans who already see the possibility we will not make the playoffs again this season.Yes, there is always next year!

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