I love the Detroit Tigers. Chances are if you are reading this article so do you. If you follow me on Twitter you know I despise tanking. Tanking is for losers and losing should never be rewarded. All the incentives for this scorched earth method employed by some teams who don’t mind making their fans suffer immensely with an ever-changing moving target of when it’s time to compete should be removed from the game.
The slash and take the profit model the Detroit Tigers and other teams have employed with varying success needs a Luke Skywalker taking on of The Death Star ending. The promise of better days for a half-decade with no end in sight instead of being an organization with pride and consistently putting at least a competitive product year in year out like the St Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and many other examples is a disgrace.
A couple of down years to reload, sure, but not what we are being forced to experience. However, now I pose the question: Is it time for every Detroit Tigers fan, even those of us who despise losing, tanking, and playing for draft position, time to move to the Dark Side of the Force and just root for an outright disaster?
This breaks my heart to even suggest, and I am not going to go statistics heavy here as we know any in-depth dive is just going to support how ugly the current situation in the Motor City is but here is the one number this morning that prompted my thoughts: -60. That is the Tigers’ run differential just 28 games into the season. The next worst is the ever floundering Pirates at -23. If this doesn’t illustrate the need for regime change when we are potentially staring at possibly the worst record of this never-ending rebuild, when it is allegedly the build-it-back-up phase of the major league product then I don’t know what does.
I think it is time for the unholy alliance between Tigers fans who want to root for wins daily and a successful end of this rebuild to throw in the towel and join the insufferable tank for draft position crowd and the portion of fans who never gave Al Avila a shot from the start, who I now believe has proven to be correct that he was not going to be able to get the job done. This farce has to come to an end. We now root for embarrassing losses, long losing streaks, and outright futility. We are seeing it on a near-daily basis anyway so why not just embrace it and hope that a true disaster pushes Chris Ilitch into action? We are just spinning our wheels hoping for the best at this point.
There is precedence for this to work. The fan anger and the embarrassment that followed the 2003 season which featured a run at the 1962 Mets 120 loss futility finally convinced Mike Ilitch to say enough is enough and spurred the signing of Ivan Rodriguez, signaling the beginning of a new era of Tigers baseball.
Make no mistake, Chris needs to have his Pudge moment this offseason and he will have the opportunity (cough Corey Seager, cough cough Carlos Correa) We have to have Al Avila out of the equation before the next major decisions, do we really want him making the decisions on who to sign when his big acquisition idea to shore up the pitching and to try and keep the Tigers competitive for a couple more years was Jordan Zimmerman? Do we trust Big Al to find a Carlos Guillen type acquisition via trade? We see how his flips of stars and veterans have worked out with the prospects he has received in return, can we afford to give him another trade deadline to do more damage? The answer is a resounding no as far as I and the vast majority of our readers are concerned.
I will still watch daily and look for positives to focus on as far as individual players. It is not their fault that quite frankly most of them would never see the field for a legitimate major league team. They are giving their best effort despite what many people might see as listless efforts. When you are overmatched offensively and lack talent it can easily be confused with not giving 100 percent. Plus being all negative all the time is simply not fun, nor is it healthy.
As far as the team results I think we need this ugliness to continue, get worse, and be sustaining until we end up with a new General Manager and a course correction from ownership. Move the loyal Ilitch organization soldier into the Jimmy Devellano role with the Tigers. Big Al will be fine sitting in on some owners’ meetings and having eggs benedict and espresso with Chris while he whispers sweet nothings in his ear and a real general manager is working on the team.
I truly do like Al Avila the person, he seems like a very good man and is a baseball lifer who is simply in over his head and he needs to be saved from himself for the sake of all Tigers fans and the future of the organization. Being a big-league GM is a tough job, one that I or any other fan, writer, or follower could never do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t say that Al Avila can’t finish off the job here.
He tore it down just fine, but the rebuilding portion is too much for him to handle. The trade returns and no lasting impactful rookie performances from the restocking of the minors have provided more than enough evidence. Where is our Pete Alonso or even our Brady Singer? Do we really want to spin the wheels with this same management team while we wait another season or two to see what we have with Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson? Or is it wiser to have them in the pipeline and a competent GM simultaneously cleaning up this mess while they finish off their minor league apprenticeship?
Until the regime change is finally completed, I think it’s time for unity between all the factions of the fanbase. Demand better. Be loud and vocal. Bring out the torches and pitchforks. The grumblings have now turned much louder on social media, turn it up another notch. Laugh at all the futility, point out the failings, and see every blow-out loss and miscue as an opportunity to call for change.
Maybe we can make a difference, maybe we cannot, but what we can no longer do is accept the product we have been given and this failed “plan”. The less important decisions this current front office is allowed to make, the quicker we can recover from this broken dream. The power of the dark side of the force should no longer be resisted, before there was Return of the Jedi, we had The Empire Strike back. It time for us as fans to play our role as Darth Vader until the forces of good make the necessary changes to succeed.