Perhaps my expectations are unusually low but when it comes to the Detroit Tigers, I am thankful for competitive baseball.
This is a completely asinine statement to a baseball fan in New York or Boston but my history with the Tigers means I can’t take a relevant team for granted. Don’t get me wrong, I was crushed by a loss in game 163 in 2009 and severely disappointed with a .500 record in 2010. That being said, following a Tigers team that can legitimately be discussed as a division contender is still a bit surreal for me, even though the Tigers have been around that level for five years now.
For much of my childhood, the Tigers were out of the playoff race by Memorial Day, Independence Day meant the All-Star Game was just around the corner and I might get to see my token All-Star play with the games greats, and my attention was turned to football by Labor Day. Not much of an existence for a baseball fan.
I am Thankful that free agent targets are now guys like Victor Martinez rather than Craig Paquette. I am Thankful that Justin Verlander is our ace rather than Jason Johnson. I am thankful that a third-place finish is a disappointment rather than a mirage of hope.
I may want more but I can find some contentedness in what I have in the current state of the Tigers. I don’t always agree with everything they do but I sure am glad that it is even worth arguing.
The sense of apathy among fans is a thing of the past. This was particularly reinforced this past weekend. I was a Tigers fleece (an orange version of this) and received unsolicited Tigers commentary at the auto parts store and the gas station. It is the off-season and the middle of football season and I was finding people excited about the Tigers.
With a not-so-distant past checkered with irrelevance, competitive baseball is something to be thankful for.