The Angels beat the Tigers, 3-1, Thursday, finishing off not only the series sweep but the season series sweep. Not good. Tigers fans high and low came out of the woodwork to voice their displeasure. They demand answers! They demand blood!
How can so much talent lose like this?
Could it be possible that the team is actually fine and has simply been unlucky? Rogo shared these adjusted standings from Baseball Prospectus earlier today. Take a moment to find the Tigers. See those big, negative red numbers under D1, D2, and D3? That means that based on the Tigers performance they "should have" won between 3 and 9 more games than they have. Could it be that that they just need to simply keep playing the exact same way they have been and they will win more?
Nooooo! We need to blame! There must be explanation!
Well, Phil Coke did not have a good outing and is having trouble getting right handed batters out. The media asked him what the deal was. Was it release point? Is he pressing? Was it velocity? Phil said he really didn't know. Everything is the same, he's just not getting results.
He told Matthew B. Mowery at the Oakland Press...
"I don’t feel like I’m trying to do too much when I’m out there. I don’t feel like the whole team’s weight is on my shoulders or anything like that. I’m going out there and doing my best to execute pitches that I’m being asked to throw. I don’t have the results to show for it."
Maybe Phil and the adjusted standings are trying to tell us something. That something is WE NEED A GIMMICK!
Yes, you know, something silly to get the mojo flowing. You might remember such classics such as...
The back pockets flipped out: This was a fun thing for a while. Carlos Guillen and a couple of others would flip out the lining of the pockets like little middle finger flags pointed at the commissioners office. Unfortunately the league threatened enough so they went away.
Gum time!: Basically Nate Robertson jammed a ton of gum in his mouth and the Tigers came back to win the game. Simple and effective.
Quintin Berry: Quintin Berry was a career minor league centerfielder who got a chance to play when Austin Jackson was injured. After witnessing his excitement and a 4-hit game Tigers fans fell in love. He smiled, he clapped, he stole bases. He seemed to propel them to new heights of greatness. The only problem is that it was a mirage. He had a long, strike out prone swing and, as our friend Grey Papke pointed out, the Tigers were only 17-18 in his first 35 games with the team.
But a gimmick isn't entirely about luck or mojo or even results. It's about a distraction. The sillier and more pervasive the gimmick is, the more likely the media and fans turn their attention to it. People start asking questions about it and will focus less on other particulars. The more players get into it the more it frees their mind from over thinking on the mound or at the plate.
Also, it's just plain fun. Baseball has a long season. Sometimes it takes a break in routine and a laugh or two to ease the stress.
So what options do we have. Let's take a look!
Get fined for something: Maybe do something with the uniforms. How about everyone starts wearing Fielder style do-rags? Or this; Max Scherzer mistakenly wore a jersey with the Sparky Anderson commemorative patch. He pitched well and won the game. Get everyone to wear them!
Mustaches: Austin Jackson has some facial hair going on, let it spread. Everyone loves mustaches. Even when they are Adam Morrison bad they are still good!
Rally object or animal: We've seen monkeys, squirrels, praying mantises, even plantains. How about a seagull? Maybe we could kill one and get it taxidermied or something.
Call up an interesting minor leaguer: This, of course, could be Nick Castellanos, but he doesn't have to be that good. In fact, if he's got an interesting story it could be anyone. Put him in front of a camera. The media will ask every other player about the kid. The perfect feel good diversion.
Dugout or clubhouse hijinks: Remember when Verlander set Donnie's shoelace on fire?! Hilarious! Maybe there is something else that could happen to Don to give people some laughs and divert attention. No idea what that could be though.