We are three games and five days into the regular season. I don’t know about you, but for me, this season already feels like a slog. The Detroit Tigers closed out their first series on Sunday, getting swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was an interesting series, but a sweep nonetheless, and the type of thing we are certainly going to see again.
If you weren’t paying attention to the full series I don’t blame you. The Michigan Wolverines are playing basketball in April so I can see where folks might be distracted. Check out our friends at Maize n Brew for coverage. There are only a few more hours until they get tuned up by the Villanova Wildcats. Then, you can turn your focus toward the Tigers. Until then, here’s some stuff you may have missed.
The Tigers are only carrying two catchers this year and it’s a decision that has already affected the way Ron Gardenhire is managing this team. When faced with a situation where he might want to pinch-hit John Hicks, he was reticent to give it a shot because he didn’t want to leave himself with one catcher. Right now, it’s Hicks and McCann. Although Gardenhire talked a bit about figuring out a third catcher option in spring training, it never happened. Gardenhire said he wouldn’t put Victor Martinez back there. I’m not sure he could if he wanted to. I think if Martinez crouched down, his knees would explode in two clouds of dust.
The bad calls are starting early
It only took one game this year for Major League Baseball to remind us that instant replay is a golden opportunity to gather all the sufficient evidence to make the right call and then say, “Nah, we’re good.” It’s frustrating, especially for a Tigers team where wins are going to be at an absolute premium. Gardenhire, to his credit, trotted right out after the call like an angry grandpa Santa Claus and got himself ejected.
This is a move that will endear him, for the time being, to many members of the fanbase. After the game, Gardenhire said the team was asking the league to review the play in hopes of better understanding what they saw that everyone else didn’t. If nothing else, I enjoyed the shenanigans because they resulted in me, for the first time as a Tigers fan, having no idea who the guy managing the team for the rest of the game was. Oh, Gene Lamont. Where have you gone?
Who needs tickets?
If you are looking for any other indicators that this team is not projected to do so well this year, allow me to point you in the direction of ticket sales. The first game of Sunday’s doubleheader had an official attendance just shy of 15,000. That’s the lowest number since May 2006. Yes, it was Easter and the weather was terrible, but the crowd for both games on Sunday was the kind of sparse groups I remember seeing in the dark ages of the early 2000s. I’m sure those numbers will pick up a bit when the weather heats up, but I wonder how much. Hopefully, it’s a reminder to ownership that you need a good product if you want a good crowd.
Remember when the Tigers were looking for a new manager in the offseason and folks wanted someone super innovative? Be careful what you wish for. The Philadelphia Phillies chose Gabe Kapler, a guy who gets many folks in the analytics crowd more excited than Craig Monroe when he sees a sale on plaid suits. From pitching a position player by the third game of the season to calling a guy from the bullpen who didn’t know he was supposed to be warming up, he has done some, let’s say, notable things so far this year. I know it’s early, but Kapler is kind of a mess. It should be an exciting year in Philly.
Johnny Kane: Food Detective
Tell me you wouldn’t watch that show.
I mean yeah the Tigers suck this year but that gives us more time with Johnny Kane. We are all truly blessed. pic.twitter.com/mprY5wkxJF— Richie Cozzolino (@RichieCozz) April 2, 2018
For the love of God, go away Marlins Man
I don’t know if this is some kind of a cruel joke, or another indication of just how bad this front office is at basically everything, but the word is getting around that the Tigers may be wooing Marlins Man. If you don’t know who Marlins Man is, just imagine an intelligent, reserved, tasteful baseball fan. Once you have that image in your head, think of the opposite.