Matt Sussman


Recent Posts

The Giants have a two-game lead in the World Series because they been blessed by a leprechaun having a love affair with a unicorn. Any other analysis beyond that is circumstantial at best.

“But why are the Tigers losing?” asks a Tigers fan who started watching baseball last week. Obviously that’s because randomness and clutchiness of a short series is amplified; pitchers make mistakes and hitters miss pitches. If you’ve watched 162 games, you’d understand that. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Jim Leyland knows this.

What he can control, however, is the handling of players in serious situations. Which brings us to the Gregor Blanco line drive that went off Doug Fister’s noggin and into the outfield in the second inning. It became a scary moment for me once I saw the replay and realized that, no, it didn’t wick off his glove or shoulder, but rather the top of his head.

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On September 18th, the Detroit Tigers lagged three games behind the White Sox with 15 games remaining. The stage was practically set for finishing a decisive sweep of the New York Yankees for the American League pennant in the ALCS 30 days later. Right?

Not only did they show resilience down the stretch, but versatility: By defeating both the A’s and Yankees, they beat teams both adored and reviled.

But I also understand it’s not a sexy team to root for. It’s a very traditional baseball team: power arms, power bats, blue-collar city, simple jersey, tons of history and a generic mascot. As a casual observer it’s difficult to get excited for every team you’ve ever seen. Well, nerts to that. It’s time to grab an Old English D hat and here’s why:

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The majority of you don’t know how well you have it.

Yes, your team hasn’t reached the playoffs in a while. Haven’t even been close, really. That was the Detroit Tigers’ fate for an 18-year stretch, which in NO WAY had anything to do with trading away low-level prospect John Smoltz. It was a period of numb feelings, prized pitchers who blew out arms, and shoulders – at least the ones that did remain intact – primarily being used to help the body turn around and see how far the ball traveled. It was a dark comedy that never ended. It was “Fargo” turned into a TV series.

The hope — and when futility spans three decades, that’s all that remains — is that a terrible team transforms into a mechanical war machine capable of producing terror and timely hits. At some point your team will become this, if only for one season. They’ll have a rotation that stays healthy, a lineup that doesn’t chase pitches, and a manager that’s suddenly brilliant.

And then October is going to be the worst month of your life.

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