Even the most loyal Detroit Tiger fans are likely exasperated by now. They thought their team was supposed to be a lot better than what they've shown this year. After 100 games they're under .500 and much closer to the basement of their division than the top. Despite earlier high expecations, this is not a good baseball team.
The many flaws of the Tigers have become apparent as the season has gone on and been well documented. No need to go into the gory details here.
But against the Boston Red Sox in their latest loss, the Tigers stepped into another dubious world. Welcome to the Bonehead Files, boys. Bad play is one thing, but consider....
Starting pitcher Shane Greene has been getting pin-balled in recent outings. Manager Brad Ausmus said Greene might have success if he keeps the ball down, but will get hit if he grooves pitches to opposing hitters. Well, no kidding, Brad. Did you stay up all night analyzing Greene's sabermetrics to come to that pearl of wisdom? Bob Gibson or Nolan Ryan Greene is not. Just the best you have right now for a fifth starter. And he wasn't that good to start with.
The Tigers, like most teams, put the "shift" on when left-handed hitting Boston slugger David Ortiz comes to bat. Basically, there's no third baseman. Ortiz is expected to "pull" the ball, so the Tigers deployed regular third sacker Nick Castellanos in shallow right field. So why, tell me WHY, did the Tiger catcher call and set up for pitches to be thrown low and outside to Ortiz? The only place a left-handed hitter can hit such a pitch is towards the left side of the infield -- which they've already vacated. Indeed, Ortiz fouled a couple off down the third base line. That was before -- surprise -- Greene finally grooved one into Big Papi's wheelhouse and Ortiz hit a colossal three-run homer. Either way, they were exercises in stupidity. If it's going to be all that much trouble, why not just walk the guy and take your chances with the next batter?
Per usual, after Greene had been flogged by the Bosox hitters, the Tigers went to their batting-practice pitchers -- sometimes loosely referred to as a bullpen. To nobody's great surprise, the balls started rocketing all over the park. This was great fun for the Bosox hitters and their fans. Not so much so for the Tiger hopefuls, whatever is left of them. By the seventh inning the game had gotten out of hand. Boston was clobbering Detroit 11-1. And then the dumbest thing yours truly has seen in sports in a long time happened.
A Tiger coach came out to the mound to have a chat with the reliever then serving as the latest boxing speed bag for an opponent. So what could he possibly tell him at that point in the game?
Throw strikes? Duh. Don't serve up 450 foot taters? Double duh. Try to keep it close. We're only 10 runs down with six outs to go. Triple duh. The absolute absurdity of a coach going out to the mound for a chat in a game that was already a hopeless blowout just underscores what has already been a very bad season for the Detroit Tigers.
They're not only stinking it up on the field with their play, but now they've spiralled down into a new level of ineptitude. Stupidity on national television.
Here's the clincher. Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski was seen sitting in a luxury box at Fenway Park high above the field. DD had his cell phone out and had made a call. No doubt, he is thinking about the trade deadline that rapidly approaches. Thing is -- nobody seemed to answer his call. Until the cameras mercifully cut to another shot, Dombrowski sat there with a dumb look on his face -- probably listening to the voice mail message of another GM. Now nobody's even taking his calls? Yikes.
For all the above, from the GM, down to the manager, coaches, and players, the Detroit Tigers have certainly earned a place in the Bonehead Files.
Welcome aboard fellas. I have friends in low places too, but at least they answer the phone when I call.....