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SB Nation FanPulse: Tigers fans still approve of Ron Gardenhire, but for how long?

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Gardenhire is still getting high marks from Tigers fans despite the team’s recent poor form.

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Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The promotional bit: Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Detroit Tigers fans, sign up here to join FanPulse.

Throughout the young MLB season, SB Nation has been sending FanPulse surveys to Tigers fans asking a few weekly questions related to the team and the league at large. There is some week-to-week variation, but the two consistent items involve the team’s direction and how manager Ron Gardenhire is doing. Gardenhire’s approval rating was sky high heading into the season despite his team losing 98 games in 2018.

But how will he fare as the shine starts to wear off of the team’s hot start in 2019?

Fans are still pretty happy, it turns out.

A whopping 89 percent of the fans surveyed this week said that they approve of how Gardenhire is doing this season. I’m still rather surprised by these results, but also pleased with the week-to-week consistency of our voters. Gardenhire also had an 89 percent approval rating heading into the season, and it has hovered right around that mark throughout the first few weeks of the year.

This may not last, though. Gardenhire’s approval rating did dip by five percentage points last week, from 94 percent on April 8 to 89 percent on April 15. The Tigers are currently riding a five-game losing streak, and fans might not be quite so patient now that the team is back below .500 (fortunately for the sake of this poll, the White Sox are coming into town this weekend).

The other results were a little more surprising.

Are you confident in the direction of the team?

70% Yes
30% No

The result to this question has fluctuated a bit more over the first few weeks of the season. The Tigers’ 70 percent approval rating is down 12 points compared to last week, but higher than the 62 percent “yes” vote they received from our pollsters on April 1. If their record continues to dip, expect this approval rating to fall even more.

How do you feel about Fox Sports Detroit’s “Players Only” broadcasts?

48% Love ‘em!
52% Never again!

This vote was a lot closer than I expected. Nearly all of the tweets and replies to Fox Sports Detroit’s ambitious venture were negative. The broadcast booth seemed to lack focus — not surprising, considering there wasn’t a true play-by-play man to be found — and the Skype calls to former Tigers greats were... well, not great.

To those of you who liked them: what did you see? Were you truly excited about the idea, or are you just cautiously optimistic about where the broadcasts could go in the future?

Elsewhere, everyone is worried about Ozzie Albies

This week’s national question had to do with the contract extension fest currently happening around the game. Ozzie Albies’ dirt-cheap contract seems to be the lightning rod for debate over whether players are giving up too much when signing early contract extensions.

Given the results of the poorly worded poll question, fans seem to agree with the above sentiment.

Personally, I think Albies’ agent did a poor job on his particular deal — the same agent represents Craig Kimbrel, so he’s not having a great 2019 — leaving his client with one of the most team-friendly deals in all of baseball. But I can’t blame a young player, lofty signing bonus or not, for taking a huge payday that sets him up for life before he can even rent a car.

What do you think?

As always, remember that you can sign up for FanPulse here.