“It’s been a difficult season.”
Right in the opening paragraph, Tigers’ general manager Al Avila cuts to the chase. In a letter sent out to season ticket holders this week, he appeals to long-time fans for patience and understanding in the wake of a difficult year. The letter, which is surprisingly lengthy, discusses everything from the Tigers’ plans going forward, to Avila’s obvious awareness with fan frustration.
It is a surprisingly candid move, and one made from the business perspective of a team hoping to keep paying fans in the seats, but there is also something genuine about the effort. Avila has been a part of the Tigers family in Detroit for years. He’s as much a part of those championship years as he is of the seasons he has been general manager. If anyone can appreciate how weary the fanbase is of losses, it’s Al Aliva.
“The franchise is transitioning into a new era, and that transition is well under way,” the letter says. He then goes on to detail the Tigers’ new initiative to work on “home-grown” players, developed within the organization. He talks about approaches to domestic and international scouting, the attention paid to renovating the Tigers’ facilities in both Lakeland and the Dominican, and a brand new analytical focus.
There’s obviously a lot of hope and excitement for the future in his letter.
“As a season ticket holder,” the letter says, “you are an integral part of our Tigers family, and truly central to our organization. There’s a unique bond we share in our pride of the Old English D, and we say with heartfelt conviction that Tigers fans across Michigan, our great country, and around the globe are the most passionate and dedicated in baseball.”
The letter concludes with information on new incentives for ticket holders going forward, but it is the opening content that is most interesting. The appeal to fans to stick around, to keep coming to the park, to just have a little patience.
The road to a rebuild was never going to be a smooth one, but this letter appears to be Avila’s way of telling fans “We’re trying.”
Read the complete letter below.