The Detroit Tigers kick off the second half of the season with more questions than answers.

As Michiganders approach the end of July, many are looking forward to checking out their favorite team with optimism and renewed confidence. If you are referring to the Detroit Lions, you are correct, although the same could apply to the Detroit Tigers in 2021. But I digress.

Without beating a dead horse, Tigers fans know what the team has been through. Injuries, a trade that seems to haunt Detroit for a few weeks (Isaac Paredes in July .193/.281/.333 2 HR) and one of the historically bad offenses of all-time. Oakland, who they are playing a doubleheader against today, is 29th in home runs with 70. Detroit, who is last in the league, has 53. 

Manager A.J. Hinch is realistic about the season. He has tried everything. The quote from Cody Stavenhagen’s piece in today’s edition in the Athletic ($) on the Tigers sums up perfectly. 

“It’s no excuse because we haven’t won enough,”  “We’ve had our share of adversity. We’ve had our share of injuries. We’ve underperformed. You can factor all that in, and your record tells you what you are at that moment in time. We need to look at how we can evolve better as an organization, as a team, as a coaching staff. We can’t be satisfied that we’re trying hard. This is a results-oriented business, and we are not getting the results that we expect.”

Detroit Tigers postseason aspirations were still years away

The realities of the 2022 roster construction became crystal clear early on. There was an expectation for Jonathan Schoop to break out of his early season struggles, similar to last season. However, that did not happen and the regression of Jeimer Candelario has been alarming. The hand injury to Ryan Kreidler early in the season prevented perhaps a tryout of sorts at third. Perhaps Spencer Torkelson needed more time in the minors, but there was no one signed as an insurance plan. 

Robbie Grossman, who had a strong 2021 season, blamed the ballpark for the issues he was having at the plate. Miguel Cabrera’s strong season at ‌age 39 batting over .300 has been overshadowed by mediocre play. 

The 26-man roster on Opening Day is filled with players who have not had consistent production. The Javier Baez signing, for how good it was, anyone who watched him play in Chicago or New York will tell you he was inconsistent. Combine that with two rookies, and a Rule 5 player not too far removed from the lower minors, and this is what you have. The list goes on and on. 

Fueling the anger with hot takes

Then the constant everyday reminders that pop up on social media about Al Avila’s track record. It’s honestly embarrassing for two reasons. 

  1. A narrative has been created about former players who played in Detroit who have been good elsewhere and somehow it’s Avila’s fault. For example, former Tigers reliever Joe Mantiply bounced around in the minors with the Yankees and Reds before finding a home in Arizona and made his first All-Star appearance. Another reliever, John Schreiber, has thrived in Boston but not before a coach in Triple-A noticed something that allowed him to add velocity. 
  2.  Detroit went through a period of success from 2006 to 2015, the best run of success in team history. For older Tigers fans who were around the droughts of the early 70s and the late 80s, this period was outstanding. It makes sense for this reason. The average age of a MLB fan is 57 years old as of 2017, compared to the year 2000, when it was 52 years old. 

The younger fan base has seen nothing but steady success until recently. But don’t you want to keep that younger audience to watch your product? MLB already struggles with marketing the sport. Having some sort of success actually helps. 

I know that is common sense, but think about this for a moment. Take away internet trolls, negative fans, whatever you want to call it for a moment. Detroit fans are a loyal and intelligent bunch. It shows their love of role players like Don Kelly and Jim Walewander. People name their kids after players. One person I know has a brother named Kaline. 

So I just have one request for the second half of the season and for the future. Just stop trying to treat the fanbase like they are stupid. Work out whatever roster battles the team needs to do. Give Hinch something to work with. There are several pieces in place already. Just feels disingenuous to treat the fanbase in this manner. 

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By Published On: July 21st, 2022Categories: Detroit Tigers, MLB

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