Interesting headline seen recently -- Truancy Task Force says (school) attendance is key to achievement (of their goal).
Well, butter my butt and call me the world's ugliest biscuit. These people are GENIUSES to come up with such a brilliant solution. And for the small fee of 50 bucks, they'll allow you to listen in on one of their brainstorming sessions. One word -- puh-leeze.
But back to sports. Don't look now Detroit Tiger fans, but that ticking you hear getting louder in the background is the playoff clock winding down on your team. They were supposed to win the AL Central Division going away -- remember? With about only 20 games remaining, they find themselves 2 behind the KC Royals, who have a very favorable remaining schedule, and in a virtual tie with the Seattle Mariners for the second/last wild card spot.
After all the hoopla about the Tigers having the best starting pitching rotation in all of baseball, and adding David Price to boot, things don't seem to be working out.
Former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is a journeymanesque 12-12, with an ERA approaching 5.
Fellow former Cyster Price is only 13-11, and has gone 2-3 since he joined the Tigers. This wasn't supposed to happen to a couple "aces", but it has. Anabel Sanchez remains on the shelf with an injury, and whether he can return or not this year is unknown. Even if he can, how effective would he be after such a long lay-off?
Relative (25) youngster Rick Porcello has pitched fairly well over the season. He was considered a good pitcher, but after starting out hot, he's come back to earth with a 15-10 record. Lately, Ricky P has been shelled here and there. Perhaps the long season is finally taking its toll on him.
Max Scherzer has followed up a Cy Young year with yet another stellar campaign (15-5). But here's the thing about Scherzer ---- after this season -- color him gone from the Tigers.
Before this season started, Scherzer turned down a whopping $140 million dollar long term contract extension to stay with Detroit. Even given his continued excellence, it's certainly debatable whether another team will offer him more next year. Turning down $140M guaranteed might not have been the smartest of moves. With that amount of dough a person can live in the lap of luxury for life. Does the name Juan Gonzalez ring a bell? Bet he still wishes he could have a mulligan on that decision back in 2000. Regardless, chances are mighty slim Scherzer will be wearing a Tiger uniform next year. Hey, he was born and bred in Missouri, even originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe he'll pull a Lebron, sans the championship rings, and go back home for less money.
Hitting-wise, slugger Miguel Cabrera's numbers have come down a bit. Much has been made about him having a lingering sore ankle. That may be, but it's unrealistic to expect even Cabrera to put up outrageous Triple Crown numbers every year.
The Tigers signed perennial All-Star free agent Ian Kinsler away from Texas. He's been OK, but nothing terrific. Better than what they had before at second base, which was basically a ham sandwich with a glove.
On the positive side, Victor Martinez has been having a monster year. Yes, he's a good player, but few would have foreseen the success he has had this year with the bat. Along the same line, nobody, repeat NOBODY saw J.D. Martinez banging the ball all over the park the way he has this year for the Tigers.
So in the end, things sort of balance out. Some players perform better than expected, and others not as well. Ya win some -- ya lose some. And injuries are a crap shoot. Ya never know what the next pitch, swing, or play in the field will bring.
As mentioned above, KC plays the majority of its remaining games against sub- .500 teams. Meanwhile, the Tigers have a home-friendly (13 home, 6 away) schedule for the final three weeks. Normally, that would be considered an advantage, but the Tigers have actually been a better team on the road this year than in the friendly confines of Comerica Park. At home, they're a pedestrian 36-32. On the road, they're 42-33.
Nevertheless, it's 143 down and 19 to go for the Tigers. Currently, they find themselves totally out of the playoffs. This was.... not..... supposed..... to..... happen.
And their handsome, suave, debonaire, rookie manager Brad Ausmus seems to spitting a lot more these days, not to mention going gray up top faster than Obama. Tough jobs.
But the countdown continues. Tick, tick, tick......