The Detroit Tigers’ 2015 season has been called many things: horrid, abysmal, boring, disappointing, etc. Since the season is coming to a close, players, coaches, the front office, and fans are all supposed to learn a lesson if you listen to Victor Martinez.
In an interview earlier this week, Martinez was quoted by Chris McCosky saying:
"“This is definitely a season that will teach a lesson to a lot of people,” he said. “Starting with this clubhouse, a lot of players and a lot of people in the front office. And, believe it or not, it will teach a lesson to the fans, too.”“I remember,” he said. “You want to have your team in the playoffs, definitely. The fans want to win, everybody wants to win. But nobody wants to win more than we do. When we play at home, we want them behind us.“Last year was tough. We came home down 2-0 and the fans were really hard. Now they won’t be angry. There’s no October baseball. That’s why I say this season will be a lesson to a lot of people.”Martinez paused.“You know, sometimes it’s a good thing. You need to take a step back to go forward.”"
First, let’s look at the clubhouse. I do not really know what the players can learn this season. They go out and try to win every game. They should already know how difficult it is to win games at the professional level. If anything, this season pushes the play for a paycheck and to support a family.
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Losing can teach, but only teams who are in last place look back on losing as a teaching lesson. You rarely hear a first place team speaking about how they look back on the seasons they lost 90 games on the ones where they learned to win.
The front office has plenty to learn from this season, but they cannot learn unless Mike Ilitch allows it. Ilitch has gone over the front office’s heads in moves like the Prince Fielder signing and firing Dave Dombrowski for rightfully selling at the trade deadline.
If the Tigers are to win, they need to have competent baseball personnel making decisions, not a desperate owner. If the owner has to keep intervening, the front office is not competent to do its job and needs to find people who can do that job.
Martinez’s comments were not really directed at the clubhouse or the front office, it was directed at the fans. Victor had his feelings hurt in the Baltimore Orioles series in 2014 and has not forgiven the fans. As a fan who attended Game 3, I was ashamed of the fans’ support of the team, but they had a right to be frustrated. The Tigers were the favorites in the American League and they laid two eggs with terrible management and meltdowns.
Victor Martinez has been critical of the fans this season, even commenting that they cannot talk about the game unless they played it. So what are we fans supposed to learn from this season? Are we supposed to appreciate winning because losing is bad? Are we supposed to pretend that losing is alright with us when we expect to win? Are we supposed to learn that baseball is just a game and I should be entertained by anything that is put on the field?
No one likes losing, but as soon as you start pointing the fingers at the fans for not supporting you through it, you lose fans. I still love the Tigers, but all I have learned this year as a fan is that losing, especially in a 162-game season is miserable. Watching is miserable and playing must be too.
Hopefully, we have done all of the learning that we need to do in 2015 so we can get back to knowing everything and winning in 2016.