Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Only in Detroit

So the Detroit Tigers are looking for another clubhouse leader ala former Tiger Torii Hunter, eh? Names like Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez, Jose Iglesias, and Alex Avila have been mentioned. Well, let's see.

JV's always been an elitist sort and lent his name to a breakfast cereal that tasted -- shall we say -- not so good. Every time he had a decent outing, Detroit homers wanted to believe he had regained his former form. Fact is, he's been nothing more than a grossly overpaid journeyman pitcher for the last 3 years. His record speaks for itself.

Victor Martinez was once pretty good, but age has caught up with him in a hurry. He can't play a defensive position, is slower than molasses running the bases, and his batting stats have nose-dived. Plus, besides struggling to stay healthy, he wears a mouth guard that makes him look like a werewolf. Let's throw in a short fuse as well. V-Mart can erupt like a volcano at the slightest provocation.

Slick fielding shortstop Jose Iglesias is a young man, but can't seem to last a full season without health issues himself. He typically starts off hot with the bat, then swoons in the latter part of a season. Looks for him to be on the injured reserve list before Labor Day every year. 2015 was no exception.

Alex Avila? Of course this came from his pappy, Tigers GM Al Avila. Nothing like a little nepotism. AA junior seems to be a concussion waiting to happen, and is lucky if he hits his weight. Did I mention he and V-Mart would likely run neck and neck in a footrace? While a one-legged frog would easily blow by both?

These are the potential "leaders" the Tigers have in their clubhouse? Wow. A dismal prospect indeed. Then again, they brought in Brad Ausmus a couple years ago to lead the whole rag-tag crew. BA had never so much as managed a little league team before. Somewhat predictably, the Tigers bottomed out in 2015, finishing dead last, by a lot, in their own division. But true to conventional Detroit wisdom, Brad Ausmus will be back at the helm next year. As will probably Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. The Tigers and the Lions play right across the street from each other in Motown, and both franchises are floundering at the bottoms of their respective leagues.

Caldwell may not be a competent head coach, but at least he doesn't spit through his teeth every five seconds like Ausmus. Let's do a little spit math. Conservatively estimating the average baseball game lasts two and a half hours, that means Brad Ausmus spits almost a MILLION AND A HALF times during a 162 game baseball season. Such a handsome, seemingly suave and debonair man about town. Such a nasty habit. Does he spit in his house like that? When he eats at a restaurant? In church? Probably not. So why do it in the dugout on TV when kids are watching? Brad needs to straighten up. There's no reason for this. Then again, it beats him furiously scratching his crotch with such regularity. That would raise a few eyebrows. Get that man some serious medication -- fast. And keep him out of my neighborhood just in case whatever he has is catchy. It's hard enough watching his team play. We don't need that sort of personal aggravation running rampant in the 'hood.

After a quick start, the Detroit Red Wings have thudded back to reality. This is a team with a few hot-shot prospects, a couple geezers, an unsettled goalie situation, and a brand new head coach. They've dabbled in the free agent market for aging stars in the last few years, but mostly got burned. The Wings may or may not make the very generous NHL version of the playoffs again, but Stanley Cup contenders they are definitely not.

And the Detroit Pistons, who haven't even played in Detroit for decades, have won a couple games. Chances of them making it to the playoffs? A definite maybe, only because they reside in the mostly weak Eastern Conference of the NBA. They could sneak in as a lower seed. If they were in the West -- not a prayer. But hey, even making it to the playoffs would be an accomplishment for the Pistons. Maybe in a few years things will change around the league and the Pistons will have steadily risen into being contenders again. It takes time, smart draft picks, a free agent or two, a GM that can balance the salary cap while keeping everybody happy, and a coach to pull it all together. Other teams will rise and fall over the years. Such is the nature of parity. Can the Pistons catch a wave once again in the future? Maybe.

But for now, the sports scene with Detroit pro teams appears to be rather dismal. The Tigers have bottomed out and a quick fix seems very unlikely. The Red Wings are mediocre in the NHL. The Pistons likely have a few more years to go before they can become a potential force.

And the Lions are -- well -- still the Lions. Some things just aren't meant to be. And all the koolaid in the world won't change it.

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