Thanks to the luxury of a pretty set roster, Tiger fans have been left caring about players no longer on the team. The signings of Delmon Young and Ryan Raburn would’ve received considerably less attention had the Tigers been desperately trying to fill a gaping hole in the lineup.
But since we have nothing better to debate with Spring Training just around the corner, we’re once again sucked in to talking about two of the most frustrating footnotes in Detroit Tigers history.
And I think that’s why in some sick and twisted way, I’m going to miss them. And Don Kelly. And Jose Valverde. And Gerald laird. (Although in the case of Laird, I think he’s the perfect backup catcher and I legitimately wanted to keep him, but that’s neither here nor there).
This motely crew of Bad News Bears-esque players helped make the last couple of seasons memorable as a Tiger fan. Yes, just as memorable as the run to the World Series and the pennant race and the Triple Crown/MVP debate. These imperfections on an otherwise perfect (or close to perfect) team added some flavor to the Tiger fan experience.
That’s not to say we’ll miss them as players. They were awful. They added nothing of value. Unless you count reminding us how good legitimate baseball players like Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder are as valuable. Then yes. They were VERY valuable. They were constant reminders of an era long ago when the Tigers fielded eight Ryan Raburns and a Delmon Young on the mound
(Yes, Young isn’t a pitcher, but when you think about how awful the Tigers were in the late 90s and early 00s, could he have done much worse?)
Ultimately they were just funny. They provided levity in otherwise tense moments. Reading fan reactions on Twitter and blogs almost made me forget about how stressed I was about the actual pennant race. Sure, they caused stress. But at times they were so comical they relieved it, too.
I don’t want any of these guys back on the team. I’m glad they’ve left and I’m glad I can experience their ineptitude from afar (although, let’s be honest: Raburn will end up killing the Tigers in Cleveland. Let’s just accept that).
But I’m going to miss them. And I think when we’re in the dog days of summer and the Tigers lose a tightly-contested baseball game during a tense pennant race, we’re all going to miss them a little bit, too.
Hating on Johnny Peralta or Andy Dirks or Omar Infante just won’t be the same.