It is a truth universally acknowledged that winning baseball teams are the most fun to watch.
Teams bound for the postseason are even more fun.
Teams languishing under the .500 mark whose season is all but dead, well... they’re not as much fun, are they? But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Whether or not the Tigers are heading for the postseason — you true believers saying “They’re only 7 games back from the Wild Card!” I love your enthusiasm — there are plenty of reasons to keep tuning into games.
It can be disheartening to see a team you love go on an eight-game losing streak, or simply lose repeatedly by giving up early leads or not show any offensive fire. That’s the story of the 2017 Tigers in a nutshell: frustrating, disappointing, and just mediocre enough to keep us hoping for something better.
So, while it may seem like an easy solution to call the season a wash and give up, here are five reasons to keep tuning into games.
This is the last time we’ll see some of these guys
There’s no doubt about it, some of the players taking the field every day this season won’t be back next year, and some of them might be guys you like. If the franchise continues to make big moves in the offseason in the hopes of setting up a rebuild, players like Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, and yes, even Justin Verlander may not be back next season. Might as well enjoy them while they’re still here.
The young guns will see more play in September
If the season isn’t on the line, the last month of regular play is a great time for teams to see what their young up and comers have to offer. We may get to see a fair bit more of Joe Jimenez, Jeimer Candelario, and other young prospects who fans have been eager to see in action all season.
Who saw the Mikie Mahtook experiment panning out this well? Mahtook, who was initially meant to start as a platoon center-fielder alongside Tyler Collins and JaCoby Jones, is now the team’s every day center-fielder, batting second (and occasionally lead-off) in the order, and currently has a .298/.347/.479 line with eight home runs, two of them coming in back to back games. The nice thing about a season like this is being able to focus on the achievements of individual players who might otherwise not get any notice.
The Nick Castellanos outfield experiment
This will either find a place where Nick can prove his usefulness defensively, surprising us all, or will be an utterly hilarious, groan-inducing disaster. Either way it’ll be fun to watch. Which leads me to the biggest reason to keep tuning in...
Baseball is fun
This one should probably go without saying, but baseball is fun to watch, even if the Tigers do own the second highest game-length average of the season at 3 hours 17 minutes. In the depths of winter, when we cling to every mention of the team and every rumor, we would trade a limb just to hear the crack of the bat or see our favorite players take the field. Just because the team isn’t going to be playing October baseball doesn’t mean they can’t still be fun to watch.
Let’s remember why we started cheering for the team in the first place. Win or lose, we’re Tigers fans.