Welcome to oblivion. Welcome to last place. I don’t care about the payroll and dollars per win or any of that. I care that my team, my emotional and time and financial investment, the way I choose to “enjoy” my summer, is going out with a whimper. A team in last place in a division that is hardly daunting. And it seemed to happen so effortlessly.
At this point in the season, the losses don’t kill me anymore. At least in the individual game sense. The bullpen melt downs which once left me furious just leave me shaking my head. But the way last night’s 5-0 game went down had me seething in my seat. I couched it in that the Tigers had some hard hit balls with runners on that managed to find gloves instead of gaps, but in the end it was another shutout. And everyone seems okay with that, with Jim Leyland tipping his cap to the other pitcher.
The same Jim Leyland who earlier said that he stunk this year, and that “”The days of the babysitting and the milking along, that’s over with.” While that same pitcher who just shut down the Tigers on 4 hits was highly critical of his performance, saying he couldn’t locate at all. It’s pretty much the opposite of what we’ve heard from Tigers starters – even when they get lit up – that they “had great stuff” or were “a couple pitches away from getting out of it.”
Sometime around the 7th inning we moved down to the second row behind home plate. I could see in the dugout and was wondering what was going through the players’ minds. As for my mind? With the Tigers 6 outs away from another shutout, I wanted to stand up and say: “Last place. You guys are 6 outs away from being a last place team. Are you prepared to accept that? You’re too good for this. You have too much pride to let it happen. You’re too good to go out without a fight. You’re breaking your fans’ hearts. The three millionth fan of the year showed up tonight, and that reward is this listless shutout? Please, give me something.” Essentially I was pleading for anything.
I’m but one fan, but if any Tiger happens to read this, you’ve crushed me. You’ve broken my spirit and my heart. I’m mad, sad, frustrated, angry, fed-up, and every other negative feeling. But mostly I’m broken down.
Improved draft status or not, last place is too much to bear. I did that for too many years. I can’t go back.
Last place, with a whimper. Could there be any other way?
*Analysis with numbers and some objectivity will begin to flow in the coming days. This post is the “fan” portion of fanalyst.