It’s with a great deal of angst and frustration that I write this.
Admittedly, I’ve browsed a few articles here and there, and forced myself to stay with sporadic MLB highlights before changing the channel to something less kick me in the gut, but the sting of the 2014 playoffs still remains.
I know you feel it.
As Tigers fanatics, we have entered into that dangerous limbo of good but not great, where expectations crescendo into a World Series or else mentality, and anything less is, well, unacceptable.
I remember seeing empty seats at Braves home playoff games in the 90s, and more recently in Tampa Bay, and thinking what spoiled, thankless punks those fans are.
Now our Tigers fans have not fallen to the same level of apathy; but I can see how that would be easier than the disappointment we are experiencing now.
For a while, early on, this team had it. The 27-12 start was a mix of offense, clutch hitting, and shutdown pitching, from both the starters and relievers. But for some reason, in early May, we lost it, and we spent the rest of the 2014 season looking for it. The talent on this team was so overwhelmingly good, that the Tigers were still able to win the division (I get that the AL Central is weak, but we can only play the schedule as given) even though the club played .500 ball for the final 3/4 of the season. This team lacked leadership and decisiveness at the top, and the lack of those intangibles manifested themselves into a shell of a playoff baseball team over four days in October. That “playoff team” was, unfortunately, exactly what we had come to expect.
And so we’re left to yearn for what could have been, or even worse, to try to ignore the yearning. It wrenches my sports heart, and clouds my ability to enjoy some entertaining baseball being played right now.
But eventually, the pain and disappointment will wear away. I know this from experience.
Somehow, some way, in the not too distant future, the pain will be replaced by hope, excitement, and even blind faith, though those feelings will be just a little bit weaker than this year’s. And so the pattern will continue until we are no longer contenders, or win on the final day of the baseball season.
So says a fan.