Listen up long-timers,
The year was 2003 and the Tigers ended the season 43-119. 119!!!!! Dombrowski was the GM (he came in 2002). Alan Trammell (all time Detroiter) was the Manager. C-Mo, Dimitri Young, Bobby Higginson, Carlos Pena, Fernando Rodney, and Shane Halter were the “stars” on the team. And now…. they are all in the record books for one of the worst teams in MLB history.
Things did go up from there; it was the only possible way to go. The Tigers followed that turd of a season with 2004 (79-83) and 2005 (75-87). During that period, Dombrowksi made some all time great moves bringing in guys like Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, Placido Polanco, Pudge Rodriguez, and Carlos Guillen. Then, Dombrowski brought in the key pieces: Kenny Rogers, Joel Zumaya, Justin Verlander, and Jim Leyland as Manager. They took us all the way to a World Series.
It is pretty amazing when you think about it. Going from 43-119 to the World Series in four years is unreal. Obviously things didn’t go our way in the World Series, but Dombrowski was not afraid to spend money and knew how to get us there. He did it again with Miggy in ’08 and Max Scherzer later. Now, don’t get me wrong, we may be experiencing the fall that the Yankees did after breaking the bank and also giving A-rod all that money, but Miggy is one of the best of all time. Tthe math never works out with big contracts like this. We will pay for it in the future; it feels like it is starting now.
With the rumors swirling (for good reason, it makes sense) that Verlander may be headed to the Dodgers, it is a sad day for Tigers fans. We would all love to see Verlander retire in Detroit. However, this team just does not seem to have what it takes to make a run; frustrating because we have some of the best bats/pitching in the MLB. Verlander is a complete stud and will go down as one of the best ace’s in this era. A World Series will help clinch the HOF for him; he got us to 2, but we couldn’t close the deal. Verlander will go down as one of the best Tigers of all time, without a doubt. If he does get traded I will be rooting for him to win it all.
The Tigers are at a turning point. Either we make a run (unlikely after getting rid of JD) or we start building for the future. We no longer have the Manager (Leyland made the difference, if you ask me), we still have the starting pitching, we still have the big bats, and of course we do not have a bull pen (we never did). So, is it over?
That is the question. Leyland was a great Manager and to hand this talented, star powered team over to Ausmus. Brad was set up to fail. To expect a guy to take on a club with these kind of expectations on his first coaching gig, is simply stupid. You need a guy who has some respect/pull around the league. I get that he was a player and everything, but it is too much to ask to have this as your first stint in running a team. Also, baseball managers can’t be good looking; just saying. He needs to go on a few benders/smoke a few packs of cigs before taking on a team. Totally forgot he played for the Tigers in a couple different stints. The irony of all of this is that the Houston Astros, who Ausmus played his glory days with, are doing exactly what the Tigers built. They are contenders this year and had one of the worst records in 2013. Maybe Avila will keep an eye on them and learn a thing or two.