81-72, Graph of Lesser Doom

Source: FanGraphs

A comment recently caught my attention. “I almost hope the Tigers don’t make the playoffs,” it went. “This team is so unsound.” How odd it is that we get so caught up in every single game in a pennant race. How odd it is that we think our team must win every single game, show us that they are so much more superior than any other baseball club, that any setback no matter how miniature creates so much more havoc than any victory. Well, here’s a victory, the team is a half game out of first place with nine to go. Yet according to some, making the playoffs is an achievement this disappointing team is unworthy of. Then what, I ask, is the purpose of watching sports?

Justin Verlander, 28.2%

Austin Jackson, 14.2%

Alex Avila, 12.1%

Luke Hochaver, -19.3%

Mike Moustakas, -10.6%

Jarros Dyson, -9.6%

  • verlander

    I don’t care how unsound they are, as long as they make the playoffs.

  • whitaker

    Now wait a second. Here is what I wrote, verbatim–as much as I enjoy your blog, I don’t believe you characterized my comment fairly:
    “I hate to say it, but I almost hope we don’t make the playoffs. This
    team is so unsound fundamentally that it figures to be humiliated when
    facing a real playoff team. I know anything is possible, and if our top
    three starters are on their game we can conceivably beat anybody, but I
    fear a reprise of the 2006 Series bloopers reel.”
    I didn’t say what you said that I said; I couldn’t care less if we are “worthy” or not. Obviously if we have a better record than the Sox, we will have earned a playoff spot. We will be worthy. We will have been crowned the Tallest Midget in the A L Central. But I remember how painful the ’06 World Series was, the gleeful, insufferable Cardinal fans (whom I have hated since being forced to listen to Harry Caray on the network broadcast of the ’68 Series) holding up signs saying “Hit it to the pitcher!”, and seeing our team, which was a hell of a lot more solid than this year’s edition, thank you very much, implode and humiliate themselves. I really don’t want to go through that again. I also fear that if we win this putrid division, the front office will consider itself vindicated and feel no need to do the hard work required to build a real championship contender.
    But I still really like your blog.

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