By JOHN MACDONELL, Staff Columnist
By the time this edition goes to press, the Detroit Baseball Tigers will have played two games against the upstart team of the Oakland Athletics in round one of the MLB playoffs. The outcome of these games could either be favorable or leave a feeling of despair in the pit of your stomach.
If I could predict the future, you’d all be reading how the Tigers had done right now. But I can’t, and you won’t. Instead of writing a piece on how I think the Tigers are going to fair in this Divisional Series, I decided to take a look back as to why this Tiger’s season, to this point, was far below expectations.
I tend not to sugarcoat my material and this is entirely my opinion. Was it just me, or was everyone else frustrated by the lack of consistency shown by this team on a day-to-day basis? They would constantly win three, lose four. Win two? Lose three more.
This was a roller coaster ride.
The team could never pull together and go on a solid, 7-0, 8-2, or 10-3 run. There were also nights where the offense was basically nonexistent. This team lost an improbable amount of one run ball games. Clutch hitting was never there. The “well they’ll get ‘em tomorrow” approach didn’t cut it with me this season.
I remember it was toward the end of July where I mentally checked out from watching this team. I was exhausted. I couldn’t stand seeing Ryan Raburn strikeout every game. I cringed watching a ball hit towards Brennan Boesch out in right field, fearing an error. They could never seem to catch the surging White Sox. Listening to all the angry callers on the radio didn’t help ease my frustration.
“Well this team can’t hit,” and “Fire Jim Leyland,” was seemingly on every caller’s mind. However this team hung in there, I will give the credit for that. But that brings me to my final point which is the Payroll.
Do any of you know how much Mike Illitch is spending on this team this year? If you guessed that they’re in the top 15 of MLB payrolls, you’d be correct. If you guessed top five, you’d be even closer. Truth be told, this team is ranked fifth out of 30 teams.
I’m not sure about you but I expect greatness out of a team that simply outspends its competition. Hey Prince Fielder! If you’re due to make over $200 million throughout the duration of your career here in Detroit, you better damn well play like Superman. (Fun fact of the day: Three of the top five teams that spend the most money didn’t even make the playoffs. Those fan bases should be outraged).
Simply put, I expected this team to run away with the division outright and be World Series contenders. But the post-season offers them a chance at redemption, a chance at never-ending fame. Anything can happen. October Baseball is upon us.