Detroit Tigers: Opening Day always a treat, even in a rebuild

Sammy McLean, 29, of Windsor, Ontario celebrates with friends after the Detroit Tigers score a run on Opening Day.
Sammy McLean, 29, of Windsor, Ontario celebrates with friends after the Detroit Tigers score a run on Opening Day. / Brian Kaufman / USA TODAY NETWORK

For Detroit Tigers fans, Opening Day is still a treat.

The Detroit Tigers kick off their 2023 season today, beginning another stretch of 162 games with a nearly zero percent chance to sniff the playoffs without massive overhaul and changes to make this team do a complete 180.

Now, I'm not saying the team will do that; they're content with the rebuild process and giving Scott Harris time to do his thing after inheriting the dumpster fire that is the Detroit Tigers organization. He's had his work cut out for him since day one, and today marks the first time the team takes the field for a regular season game in 2023 under his watch.

Many Tigers fans have thrown in the towel on the season, and a pitch has not yet been delivered, or a bat has not been swung. Many have written off the Tigers for 2023, 2024, and heck, even beyond, with the negativity within this fanbase.

I'm not here to tell you not to be angry. I'm not here to tell you the Tigers are playoff-bound, and I'm sure not here to tell you to go purchase season tickets and be ready to be thrilled with the results; I'm here to tell you it's Opening Day, one of the greatest days of the year.

Even though the Tigers open up at home, many around metro Detroit will tune in for the broadcast. Even fans who have left the metro-Detroit area, like me, will still try to find the game on a streaming service or tune into 97.1 on the Audacy app.

Fans will throw on the radio while they're at work to hear Dan Dickerson call the game with Jim Price talking about his buggy whips. We won't speak about the television broadcast, but there is hope, with some new faces stepping in during the 2023 season, for it to be a little more bearable.

It's the first day of the regular season of Tigers baseball in 2023. Even if this team goes 0-162, there's just something about that first game, that first pitch, that first hit, and that first day of the regular season. Sure, by March, half of the fans who listen/watch today will not give a hoot, but today.... today is Opening Day.

Now I may be off my rocker on this, but even with an Opening Day on the road, it's exciting to tune in and watch the players don that Tigers jersey & cap to take the field for the regular season. Sure, it would be nice to see Casey Mize on the bump on Opening Day; they will have to settle for Eduardo Rodríguez. Then again, it's more the spectacle that is the game itself rather than the result on Opening Day.

Things could get ugly as the season progresses, but Tigers fans should take a minute and marvel at Opening Day because there are plenty of new faces and new players who have joined the organization this off-season who are going to get chances to play every day in 2023.

With Rodriguez on the mound on Opening Day, the Tigers could very well get smacked and have it taken to them by the Rays. But at least the leadup and buildup to the game and hopefully the first few innings make it fun.

It's that feeling of a whole season ahead. Good or bad. A feeling that there will be Tigers baseball and news aplenty for the next six months. As the Tigers get things going, tune in, and enjoy all that is Opening Day.

If not, wait for next Thursday when the Tigers open up at home. It's going to be just as much of a spectacle. Even with a lack of fan support and many displeased with how things are going, it will still be a party in downtown Detroit. Fans will still pile into cars and head downtown and get hyped about Tigers baseball; again, even if they go 0-162 on Thursday, it will not matter... It's Opening Day.

The point is Opening Day is still a special one, even for struggling teams. Fans get their first look at home or away after Spring Training, getting to see games that count. There will be folks heading downtown to the local watering holes, getting some liquid warmth before heading into Comerica to watch some Tigers baseball.

Whether you're excited about another year of Tigers baseball, regardless of the result, frustrated with the teams' lengthy rebuild, or have zero faith in the Tigers, Opening Day is always a treat in its own right.

No matter what happens the rest of the season in 2023, nothing can change the excitement that comes with Opening Day.

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