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.