Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers Continue to Receive No National Love

Max Scherzer did something only two other pitchers have ever done. Yet the feat warranted nary a mention on ESPN and its competitor Fox Sports 1 Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday morning I made the fatal mistake of flipping between ESPN and Fox Sports 1. Despite having several amazing story lines, your Detroit Tigers continue to get shafted.

Fox Sports 1, since its premiere just over a week ago, has tried to answer the cries from those fed up with ESPN (yours truly included) by covering all sports/teams equally. What I have seen thus far has been a bit better, but not very.

The sports media are gaga about the NFL. This is not unexpected considering the monster numbers football receives. ESPN has always stated it just gives viewers what they want, which means tons of NFL, Yanks-Sox, Tiger Woods, Lakers, and about five minutes of hockey coverage per calendar year.

One of the shows I still occasionally turn to ESPN for (as opposed to avoiding almost everything else on their airwaves) is the SportsReporters. This show goes way back on the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader,” and was the forerunner to the “Embrace the Debate” shout-fest that fills the weekday airwaves. SportsReporters often touches on the hot-button issues of the sports world (not just Tim Tebow), and do so in a calm and respectful manner.

They disappointed me Sunday by spending the entire first segment discussing preseason football: Peyton Manning, the New England Patriots struggles (no mention of the Detroit Lions beating those Patriots, by the way), and other pressing matters on practice football.

Their second segment was about baseball.  The topics were:

  • The Dodgers being a great story for baseball because they play the game fun. (Umm okay and no other teams do that).
  • Will Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees be detrimental to baseball if they make the postseason? (Yep, discussing a fourth place team)
  • The Red Sox are happy that the Rays are beating up on the Yankees.
  • The Rays should draw more fans.
  • The Cardinals are a good team.

You’ll notice nowhere in their obligatory baseball segment were your Tigers mentioned. Here are some of the topics they could have discussed:

  • Max Scherzer becoming just the third pitcher in Major League history to win 19 out of his first 20 decisions.
  • Miguel Cabrera being the best hitter on the planet, vying to become the first back-to-back Triple Crown winner in baseball history.
  • As of Sunday, the Tigers were the best team in the American League and were tied for the second-best record in all of baseball.
  • The Tigers could have the MVP three straight seasons, with Miggy winning it two straight.
  • Detroit could sweep the major postseason awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year–Jose Iglesias), which would be a first for any team.
  • If they wanted to get negative, talk about Justin Verlander‘s struggles. Can he regain form for the postseason?
I am quite certain if any of these players or story lines were on a New York, Chicago, Boston or L.A. team, the media would not stop talking about it.

With the Yankees far back in the playoff chase, the Red Sox no longer disfunctional, the majority of the MLB press has gone to Yasiel Puig and the resurgent Dodgers. But are they a better story than all the good stories in Detroit? Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I was initially pretty annoyed, but honestly what should I have expected? I stay away from ESPN for their no-holds barred bias (should have stayed with MLB Network per usual). I was hoping FS1 would be better, however a majority of their baseball coverage has been devoted to the Dodgers and Yasiel Puig. Make no mistake, L.A.’s rise from the ashes is a great story, but is it better than Miguel Cabrera? Max Scherzer?

As I calmed down, I thought perhaps all this is a good thing. The Tigers have often been at their best when they are marginalized, not discussed, and generally forgotten. No one gave them much of a chance in 2006. When the 2012 regular season was a disappointment, the sports media figured the then red-hot Oakland Athletics would wax them in the first round, or the Yankees would dismiss them in the ALCS.

When expectations are higher for Detroit, they seem to run into trouble–2007 when the defending AL champs had the best record in baseball at the All-Star break but missed the playoffs, 2008 when they were supposed to score 800 runs and win the World Series easily, and 2011 when they won the AL Central by 15 games but were overmatched by Texas in the ALCS.

Perhaps if this is the year the Tigers finally win it all, they’ll sneak right by the players and teams who are the media darlings.

And I’ll be just fine with that.

Topics: Detroit Tigers, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Max Scherzer, Miguel Cabrera

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  • Carolyn Restivo-Dobson

    To defend ESPN for a moment, on SportsCenter, Cabrera was the “Best of the Day” or whatever they call it.

  • chrisHannum

    Sounds like there was also a conspicuous lack of coverage of the Braves, Pirates and Reds – as well as Texas and Oakland. Whenever national sports media tries to cover baseball in brief, they stick to the coasts. The Tigers will get a lot more coverage on something like Baseball Tonight.

    • Matt Pelc

      Baseball Tonight used to be my refuge, but they are still ESPN and still talk about A-Rod, Yanks-Sox, Dodgers. The barely show highlights–at least on the Sunday show and I used to make sure the Sunday BBTN was a must-watch.

      I will say that MLB Network is great. Very fair to all the teams. I just like to torture myself sometimes and turn on the ESPN. It will only get worse now that football season officially starts Saturday.

      • chrisHannum

        It will get better in October, though

  • http://www.LambertKlein.com Lambert Klein

    Hey the fans love the Tigers.

  • Adam

    You know I stuck with ESPN when a lot of fans were jumping ship but the past two years I rarely, if ever, turn the dial to their networks anymore. It’s always Jets, Patriots, Heat, Tebow, Lakers, Dodgers, Yankees. Oh yea and Manziel. I mean that’s literally ALL they ever talk about. MLB network has gained a fan in me for sure.

  • beelza

    I totally agree with Lambert Kleinfeld. Tigs have massive fan support outside Detroit. It’s not what the Red Wings enjoy – yet, anyway. I view the opposing teams media to see and hear what they are saying. All the things you’ve said in your column are nearly identical with what the opposition team’s fans and media are saying about Detroit. But the one thing I’ve seen consistently is, and I quote, “Why the blank, blank would anyone pitch to Cabrera, blank, blank.” Cheers, I enjoyed the article.

  • louwhitaker

    This was my issue with the interminable Ken Burns “Baseball” PBS series. They decided that only the teams that played at some point in NY, or, for some reason, the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox were worth discussing. They glossed over the 1968 season by saying that the nation was in such turmoil that nobody cared about baseball in 1968. Still, Bob Gibson was covered ad nauseum, with much made of his 17 strikeouts in the first game of the ’68 Series. Somehow, it was not worth mentioning how the rest of the Series came out. And somehow, by the next year, 1969, all the national turmoil must have been miraculously resolved, because they went on at inexcusable length about THAT World Series, which, curiously, was won by a New York team.
    I strongly suspect that if Denny McLain had pitched in NY, they would have had a thirty minute colloquy featuring every insufferable East Coast intellectual they could find (what in hell was George Will doing on that show, anyway? “Men at
    Work” is without question the worst baseball book I ever tried
    heroically but failed to read.) waxing philosophically about what Denny’s rise and fall had to say about the zeitgeist of our nation in the late 60s.

    • Matt Pelc

      I agree, I was really looking forward to watching “Baseball” way back then and I just felt most of the other charter AL and NL teams got shafted. One of the middle “innings” was called the Capital of Baseball–featuring stories on the Yankees and the then, Brooklyn Dodgers and NY Giants.

      I see it replayed during down times like the off-season on MLB Network and I occasionally watch it but get annoyed and stop watching, since really the most coverage that the Tigers got in that was to took at what an @sshole Ty Cobb was.