Detroit Tigers: A summary of 2020 from one baseball fan.
An overview from writing about the Detroit Tigers from the perspective of a co-expert.
On December 13 of 2019, I took the position of co-expert for Motor City Bengals. One of my responsibilities of course is to write about the Detroit Tigers on a semi-daily basis. In total, I have written over 200 articles, done about 61 podcasts in a year in which we saw only 60 games. Along with my co-host Chris Brown, we got to talk to Jay Jaffe, Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline, and various prospects.
The paragraph above is not a humble brag by any means. I love baseball. It has been a passion of mine since I could walk. In many ways, the love of the game has introduced me to some great people who are a part of my life.
This year, however, due to what is going around us in which we can’t be fans like we once were, it has been tough on anyone who loves the game of baseball. For myself, there was no trip going down I-96 west towards Grand Rapids then over to 131 to check out the West Michigan Whitecaps and write up what I saw for the Tigers Minor League Report.
There was no drive down I-75 to check out a Mud Hens game with the stop at the Taco Bell off Alexis Road because they have chili cheese burritos that my friend’s wife loves. I adjusted to the landscape along with others who covered the game.
As Detroit Tiger fans, we saw Al Kaline, who was a hero to so many fans pass away this year. We waited to see if a season was going to happen. We had doubts about who was going to win the third base battle only to see Jeimer Candelario come to form and become a force in the Tigers’ lineup. The Tigers made things interesting, going 16-16 into September before injuries took their toll on the team.
The future arrived, with Casey Mize, Isaac Paredes, and Tarik Skubal arriving in Detroit on the same day. We saw Gregory Soto make strides out of the bullpen. The Tigers were competitive and that’s all the fans could ask for.
The retirement of Ron Gardenhire led to the hiring of AJ Hinch, who was coming off a scandal that rocked the baseball world. Hinch and the hiring of his staff gave Detroit a spot on the national stage once again, even if it was for a minute.
This off-season so far has been a quiet one and the rumblings of how much teams made during the pandemic and the lack of spending across the board have been confusing and frustrating to some fans. The Tigers continue to trim payroll and fans want answers. Our own contributor, Michael Sicilia, wants to have a chat with ownership.
So where I am going with all of this? Even with the possibility of the season not starting until May and as a collective here on the site writing free agent review pieces to the choir of comments of “not going to happen” or “wait to spend for the future!’ I press on into 2021 with a bit of optimism.
We all took a mental beating in 2020. Nothing came easy. Heck, even content sometimes was drawn from places that were not in vocabulary until recently, like the MCB Slack (never used the app until 2019) channel or the various calls to Jay Markle, Jacob Boes, or Chris Brown. The constant back and forth on Twitter with fans who engage in giving feedback also provided a boost.
The optimism exists among Tiger fans. It is not much, depending on what type of fan you are. There are two types I have noticed this year. Fan type one does not like criticism of the team and believes mediums like ours and Bless You Boys are just “angry fans” venting and don’t know jack about baseball. The second type could see a piece that explains pitch design to make it more palatable for fans to understand and does not mind questioning aloud what is next for the direction of the team.
There could be another type of fanbase, I don’t know but all I know that 2020 will end like every year since 1984, which becomes further and further away. We just want a winner. That’s all. The optimism from the prospects, the hiring of AJ Hinch, all of it will go away if the off-season is stale. Fans are not asking to spend a ton of money but moves that could make the team better.
I love baseball and the Detroit Tigers. It is in my opinion, to be objective and fair when it comes to discussing the team. I will never waiver from that.
In closing, I want to thank our outstanding list of contributors who have written for the site in 2020 and to our readership, which has grown this year.