While spring training is usually filled with optimism, and the promise of warm summer days and pennant runs, the most hardcore among us aren't distracted by such puffery. That's right, serious Tigers fans know that if you want to be taken super duper seriously you need to hate stuff. This is beyond having concerns or being realistic about weaknesses, this is out-and-out disdain.
Perhaps you won't cheer for failure, but you sure as hell will be ready to pounce on any missteps and bark to the world how justified your indignation truly was.
If you want to step up your Tigers street cred, I'm here to help with the ABC's of hating. After all, sports is about winning and being right, not about fun. This isn't pat-a-cake time, boys and girls! Come, drink from my fountain of wisdom.
A – Ausmus. A good hater starts at the top and that means pretty boy Brad Ausmus. It doesn't really matter what he does, because what you do is find the places the Tigers fail and go back and identify the managerial decisions that lead to such failure. You can take permanent posture of hatred and find stuff to legitimize it all the time. Remember, always work backward, never forward.
B – Ballpark experience. Only losers and, even worse, families go to ball games to take in the ambiance and amenities. Real fans stare at the game action icily and verbalize their hatred so those in their entire section can be enlightened.
C – Coaches. The pitching coach is crap. The hitting coach is garbage. Has a pitcher left the organization and improved? That is due to the pitching coach in the new organization being better. Is a hitter slumping? It's clear the hitting coach is just sitting on his hands and not helping the hitter break out of it. Has a player improved? That is not coaching. That is the player finally ignoring the coaches enough to improve. What are we paying these guys for anyway?!
D – Dave Dombrowski. He's clearly lost his touch. Bad trade after bad trade. He has lots of money to spend and has not delivered a World Series to Detroit (see "W," below).
E – Errors. These should not exist. If a player makes an error he is a defensive buffoon and doesn't care about winning or the team.
F – Fat. Why can't players be thinner?! LAY OFF THE CHEESEBURGERS FATTY MC FAT-FAT! A player gets hurt? Too fat. Player gets thrown out at the plate? Too fat. Can't get to a ball on defense? Too fat.
G – Greed. Players are greedy. Can you believe all the money they make? And there is no loyalty. Max Scherzer just up and left to the team that paid him the most. If that's not the definition of greed, I don't know what is. Players are always trying to make more money. So greedy.
H – Hustle. Players don't have enough of this. Who cares if it's an obvious out on a dribbler to the pitcher. RUN TO FIRST BASE AT BREAKNECK SPEED AS PENITENCE FOR YOUR INCOMPETENCE, YOU OVERPAID BUM!
I – Internet insults. (Please mark me down for two Scattergories points for this one) A real man shows his fandom dominance by insulting sunshiners on the internet. If person sings the praises of mediocre player in a comments section, you need to be the one to deliver the beat down. Who else is going to keep the Internet safe for the hater community? Try to work in hurtful personal observations about the sunshiner whenever possible. If that is not available just suggest "quitting", "going away", or worse. Extreme optimism calls for extreme measures.
J – Jim Leyland. The root of all Tigers evil. Everyone knows that Jim Leyland is close with Gene Lamont. Gene Lamont is close with Brad Ausmus. Boom! Wake up sheeple! Can't you see Leyland is still ruining this organization from the inside?! He's sending down his messages of incompetence through Lamont. His smokey stench and food particles still taint the office!
K – Kate Upton. Kate Upton is the symbol of players being distracted. Distracted by money, fame, or gloriously-large scantily-clad perfectly-shaped bouncing bosoms. Why can't players put the game first and focus on what they need to do on the field. With the kind of paychecks they are raking in they don't deserve to be able to date, go to concerts or reproduce!
L – Lineup. It's wrong. The lineup is always wrong.
M – Money. (See also "G," greed) This is the only thing players care about. If a player is doing well he's making a contract year push. If he's playing poorly it's because he's gotten a fat payday or he's jealous of another players' contract.
N – Nepotism. This is the only reason Alex Avila is on the team. Everyone can see he's not a real major league baseball player. And don't get me started on the later rounds of the draft! You don't see classy teams drafting the kids of former stars, do you?!
O – Off-field issues. Ohhh, these are terrific and juicy. Always be on the prowl for stories that showcase a player's personal weaknesses. Remember, their pain is your joy!
P – Pollyanna. This is a term that you want to embrace. Everyone who is enjoying things too much is a "Pollyanna." Drop this word in an Internet comment and watch your status grow as the sunshiners flee the shadow of your might!
Q – Questions. Reporters aren't asking the hard ones. Good questions sound something like, "Mr. Ausmus, why are you such a dumbass," or "Mr. Cabrera, explain your douchbaggery to us in every detail." Reporters have no balls these days.
R – Royals. What a REAL baseball team should look like.
S – Steroids. If a player once played good, but now he plays bad, that means he was on steroids.
T – Training staff. If a player gets hurt, it's because the training staff is incompetent. You gotta wonder what these guys are doing every day.
U – Underachieving. The team is doing this. The players are doing this. Without (obvious flaw) the Tigers would win 110 games!
V – Verlander. He's done. He's washed up. Too old.
W – World Series. The only thing that matters. If you don't win the World Series, the season is crap. Sure, they are very hard to win, but if you start enjoying a World Series appearance or, heaven forbid, an ALCS appearance, it's a slippery slope to enjoying division championships or (gasp!) baseball for the sake of baseball. Don't let this happen to you! Keeping a World Series victory as the only standard greatly increases your chances of being able to destroy Pollyannas for years to come. Plus, when the club does win the World Series you don't have to be jubilant. You can simply say "it's about time" and continue you hatred unbothered by the frivolity of happiness.
X – Xavier Avery. "Bring him up! He'll be better than (current hitter who went 0-4 the day before)!" There is always some minor leaguer that is the obvious solution. Only idiots wouldn't give him a chance.
Y – Youth. The Tigers don't have any thanks to (see "D" - Dave Dombrowski). The window is slamming shut. We traded all our surefire future superstars for broken pieces.
Z – Zumaya. Bruce Rondon. All good things get broken eventually. Don't enjoy them.
There you have it! You now have a full alphabetical arsenal at your disposal to curb stomp those "fans" who cheer too loudly and smile too much. Enjoy your new status as a Power Fan (but not too much).