FanPost

It's the journey that makes it fun

We find ourselves today at the traditional halfway point of the 2012 season, the All-Star break. And the only thing we know for certain is that the first half has strayed quite a bit from the script that most of us wrote at the start the season. What many of us envisioned when the club broke camp was a collection of mashers who would hit so many 3 run dingers they would more than overcome any perceived lack of defense. A second straight Central division crown was a given, and the only real question was if the Tabbies could hurdle the Rangers in the ALCS and head to the World Series to finish what they started in 2006. Well, times (and expectations) sure have changed since opening day, and I for one think thats a good thing.

The first week of the season, and all was mostly going acording to plan. After 2011 hero Jose Valverde did the unthinkable and blew the save in the first game of the season, Austin Jackson made him the game one winner with a walk-off, bases loaded single. A 10-0 shellacking of the same Sox the very next game and the only question left was who the opponet would be in the 2012 World Series. A 5-1 record after supposed contenders Boston & Tampa visited Comerica only reaffirmed our belief that we may be witnessing one of those special, once in a lifetime Tiger teams. It didn't take long for those thoughts to come crashing back to earth, as April ended and the once 10-3 Tigers were suddenly the toothless Tigers, struggling to score runs and sporting a positively pedestrian 11-11 record.

Fire Leyland! The MLiver's cried, while the more astute BYB readers were quick to point out that with Doug Fister on the DL, 40% of the rotation was made up of rookies (but damn, Drew Smyly looked good) and Boesch/Raburn/Avila would be kicking it into gear any minute now and all would be good with the world.

May brought the return of Fister, but the loss of a suddenly productive Austin Jackson and the Tigers struggled to score runs and finished the month with a 13-16 record. Fire McClendon! Chirped the MLivers, but their angst was starting to be joined by more traditional media outlets as we started reading column after column in the major Detroit newspapers that stated maybe defense IS important. The Huge radio mouth ranted: "What was Dombrowski thinking when he shelled out $200+ million to sign an overweight "slugger" that only seemed to hit singles for the Tigers?" Delmon Young was embarrasing the team on AND off the field. Jhonny Peralta had 2 home runs...for the year. The Detroit nine were spinning their wheels while the White Sox & Indians both passed them in the standings. Suddenly, the unlosable Central had a couple of bonafide contenders, and neither of them play their home games at Comerica. However, the level headed among us decreed that divisions aren't won in May, and that although Raburn had been sent packing to Toledo, Boesch/Avila/Young/Peralta were certain to get it going any time now.

June brought the return of Fister (again) and...a winning record! Albeit a 14-13 month and a thoroughly unimpressive 38-40 overall number. Fire everyone! screamed the MLive set and even the most optomistic of the BYB family were starting to doubt their beloved team. Boesch, whom we all thought so highly of at the beginning of the year, had become the new first half Raburn, and Raburn, although incrementally better was still a far cry from second half Raburn. The bullpen was a bright spot though, so we took solace where we could find it. But at some time this team was going to have to score more runs, and the lineup that once had nary a hole was suddenly looking like swiss cheese. Trade for Quentin! Trade for Barney! Trade for Anyone! was the daily cry, because many who in April thought the 2012 Tigers only peer were the 1927 Yankees had dramatically changed their opinion. How were we so easily deceived? Victor Martinez was the glue that held this team together, we were now told. And without him we were rudderless, and the guy in charge was old and too set in his ways and the game had passed him by. The season was now half over, with very little to be optomistic about.

Then came July. Time to put up or shut up. And thank God a 6-2 record to bring us to the break at 44-42. Not great, but not sub .500 either. Prince showing a mighty bat flip as he begins to hit homers in bunches, Delmon with 4 bombs in as many games and even Jhonny is getting in on the act as he rediscovers his extra base stroke. Avila, although seemingly always banged up has been bringing the BA north of .250 while Boesch starts to swing a hot b...well you can't have everything, I guess.

The script for the second half has not been written yet, but the promise of an exciting summer is still with us. Despite the constant turmoil of the first half, the Tigers find themselves a mere 3 1/2 games out of the Central Division lead, and just 1 1/2 out of a wild card spot. Max Scherzer is striking out opposing batters in droves as he deals with his own personal loss of his brother's early passing. Quintin Berry, whom none of us had heard of before he tore up the grapefruit league this spring, has been a pleasant sparkplug near the top of the order. Will Dombrowski pull another trade deadline deal to make his team better? Will the Tigers rediscover their roar and bust out in the second half? With perenial MVP candidates like Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera & Prince Fielder, as well as the pending return of Victor Martinez before seasons end, you won't find me betting against them.

The 2012 season has been crazy and unpredictable so far, and not necesarily in a good way. But that's baseball, and personally, I wouldnt have it any other way.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.