Now that the Detroit Tigers have colossally thudded from their once lofty perch in the AL Central division, and all but locked up the basement, it appears they wanted to have a little fun.
The old rookie hazing routine. Different teams in different sports go about it in different ways, but somewhere along the line, the rookies have to be initiated -- pay their dues -- as it were. Though the practice has always actually been quite childish, evidently the veteran players get a kick out of it.
But in this regard, the Tigers did something that may well be a first. They decided to play cowboys and indians. Did I mention childish?
Yessirree, the rooks were made to dress up like characters out of the old west. Assuming they did battle, no word on which side prevailed, and nothing in the news about fatalities. So we can likely assume they were playing with toy arms, much like the Tigers' bullpen this season. Ahem.
Nevertheless, it raises an interesting question. Why wasn't Al Avila part of the spectacle? Isn't he a rookie GM? His mentor, one Dave Dombrowski, likely would have howled with laughter to see AA running around dressed like Wild Bill Hiccup or Chief Spitting Bull. (Change the "p" to an "h" in that last name and it conjures up a whole different mental picture).
But while we're on the subject of spitting and bull, enter one Brad Ausmus. The Tigers' manager seems to spit every three seconds or so, and he's chock full of bull. For that matter, as a rookie manager himself last year, how come he wasn't hazed? Methinks BA would have looked good in a Calamity Jane outfit. Given how things have turned out, it would seem to have been appropriate as well.
The swoon of the Tigers in 2015 was dramatic indeed. After starting 11-2, they now find themselves 73-86, with 3 games remaining. In other words, after a hot first couple weeks, they have gone 62 -84. A whopping 22 games under .500.
Ausmus originally signed a 3-year deal and was guaranteed to be paid for the 2016 season. But many, including yours truly, thought he would surely be fired after the abysmal play of the Tigers this year. We were wrong. In his infinite rookie wisdom, the above-mentioned Al Avila has said the spitter will be back next season to run the team.
Funny, or maybe not, there was no word of BA getting a contract extension. Imagine that. But being a "lame duck" manager doesn't seem to bother Ausmus. He said he couldn't care less about such a status.
Well gee, that should be no surprise. Though it's a tightly guarded club secret, most assume Ausmus has been making somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million a year. Three years at three million isn't the toughest addition problem to solve. Even after taxes, Ausmus will have raked in roughly $6 million take home pay as the Tiger skipper. This is on top of his major league pension as a player and whatever he made during his over 20 years in the league, both as a player and in later various capacities for other teams. It's probably a safe bet to say the Ausmus has surpassed the $20 million mark during his career.
Sure, lots of players get that for a single year these days, hence the ridiculous ticket prices to see a game. And guys like Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, and Floyd Mayweather have certainly made a lot more. That's not even to mention the upper stratosphere inhabited by such folks as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, and nameless Wall Street tycoons.
In pure money terms, these people put Brad Ausmus to shame. Such incredible amounts of income are incomprehensible to the average working stiff.
But it's also likely a fair statement to say most folks would be tickled pink and set for life if they had earned $20 million. Ausmus may go through a lot of saliva, but he's not entirely stupid. Whether the Tigers keep him or kick him to the curb, he's already financially secure.
Still -- cowboys and indians? Is this what its come to? Has it gotten that bad? Really?
One is left to wonder what the Detroit Lions -- who play right across the street from the Tigers -- will come with for their rookie ritual. They're stinking it up -- again -- as well. FOX vs MSNBC? Those would be some interesting characters to dress up as while whooping it up and staging a mock battle. Better yet, the Republican vs the Democratic politicians themselves.
What great fun that would be. It doesn't get any more childish than that.
Hmm. Maybe cowboys and indians wasn't such a bad idea after all. At least we can laugh that off as only a joke.