2014 Playoffs: Coda

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.

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Coleman

    October 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Well said, Kevin.

    I’m not sure I would call the Central weak; it is very weak at the bottom, Cleveland is just kind of there, and it is strong at the top. Look at the East, where Baltimore coasted to a 12-game margin, with the 2nd-place Yankees not even in contention for a wild card spot.

    The Royals may be the best team in baseball right now, and could even run the table on the whole thing. The Tigers not only managed to take the division from them, but thoroughly dominated them head-to-head: we may have been the only team that was going to derail their postseason run. That’s baseball, annoyingly enough. One thing is for certain, the Central won’t be seen as a gimme going into next season.

  2. TLT

    October 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I was feeling awfully alone before reading this edition of “Tiger Weblog.” In fact, almost didn’t read it at all. Haven’t been able to enjoy the post season games or anything “baseball.” Your article helped me to realize I was just in mourning. During the season it’s easy to “turn the page” on a loss because there’s usually another game tomorrow and our Tigers are seemingly never better than the next game after a loss. Now it’s time to shake it off and get on with it. Thanks for the great season of “Tiger Weblog.”

  3. StorminNorman$

    October 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    well stated Kevin! I also have avoided all MLB games/highlights…but I did see the recap of DD’s ‘state of the tigers’ press conference today…and will follow and complain about the FA activity (bye Max, twas good while it lasted…good luck)

    …it seems like every DET fan I know (no matter how optimistic) reserves the right to anticipate (OK…’expect’) disappointment… so this is not new territory for most. Que sera sera.

    Great input (and humor) from everyone this year!…and a very special thanks to Kevin, Coleman & Loon – the foundation that make this venue possible.

  4. KW

    October 14, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    No real surprises from the DD presser except this about Ausmus:

    “He’s our manager. He’s back. And it’s a situation where I think he did a fine job for us. It’s a situation where I would think — and I don’t want this sounding in a negative perspective — anybody comes back the second year, and in turn the fifth year, then you’re better than the first year. You would hope that would always be the case. …

    “I reflect on my own case. You’re ready to to do the job as a general manager, but you learned a lot from the first year. But he’s a good baseball man, he’s very knowledgable, he’s hard working, he communicates well, with the players, with the front office. He’s on top of situations, he tackles situations with the players. I think he’s really done a good job for us. I think he’s really good. I think he’s only going to get better.”

    Oh joy.

    The rest here: http://beck.mlblogs.com/2014/1.....t-version/

    • Kevin in Dallas

      October 14, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks KW. I gotta admit, I got excited for a minute thinking about what Gardenhire could do here, but we had a guy every bit as good as Gardenhire and we ran him out of here (me included). Let’s not confuse 2014 Ron Gardenhire with 2010 Gardenhire. I had to look it up, but Gardenhire hasn’t had a winning record in 4 years, and never made it to the World Series.

      Ausmus will be better next year. He’s a smart guy. I’m watching an Ivy League football coach grow up here in Dallas.

      Dombrowski can find top level talent, and we’ve got another 3-4 years of the greatest hitter of our generation. We’ll be in the mix again for years to come.

      That said, the excitement – anxiety scale is sliding to the right every year…

  5. StorminNorman$

    October 15, 2014 at 7:37 am

    http://www.mlive.com/tigers/in.....mptom.html

    …KC keeps rolling and appears to be WS bound – but DET has the secret weapon (AAvila) coming back next year to continue the reign over the AL Central

    • jud

      October 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      AAvila senior says AAvila will be back. And to us fans AAvila said AAvila isn’t on the team because he is AAvila’s son. AAvila is on the team because………………………………………. AAvila will be back because………………………………there must be some reason??????