Detroit Tiger manager Brad Ausmus may be a lot of things. Certainly a handsome middle aged man. Most would consider him fairly intelligent. A nice guy, who's friendly and open to the local media.
And it's not his fault he's stuck with the proverbial hand of players he's been dealt. That blame lies squarely at the feet of general manager Al Avila, and his predecessor Dave Dombrowki. Ausmus can only try and make the best out of the players he has available.
True, he's made seemingly bone-headed managerial decisions here and there, but those calls are easily second-guessed when they don't turn out well. Who bats where in the Tigers' lineup, which starting pitcher takes the mound every day, and when to bring in which relief pitcher can go either way. When it works and the Tigers win, Ausmus gets little credit. Yet when it blows up and backfires, he'll be sure to get the blame. He can't make the hitters hit better or the pitchers become more unhittable. Such are the perils of a major league manager.
And he's also a "lame duck" on the last year of his contract. Given how the team has performed so far this year, it is entirely likely Ausmus won't be back for the 2018 season.
Thing is, it doesn't much matter who the "brain trust" -- and I use that term loosely when it comes to the Tigers -- hires as his replacement. They'll be stuck with the same mess that Ausmus is now.
Several aging players on the back side of their bell curves that make obscene salaries, even as their production continues to wither away.
Ausmus can't be blamed because his team is poor defensively all over the field. Hey, these guys are major-leaguers at their respective positions. They're supposed to know how to field them properly. Good grief, in his rather average, at best, major league career, Ausmus was a catcher. He does't know squat about being an outfielder or shortstop, etc.
Nor can he blamed for the lack of any sort of team speed on the basepaths. It's not his fault the Tigers' bullpen has been in kamikaze mode of late, where no lead is safe. He didn't go out and sign these clowns, Al and Dave did. He inherited it, like I did the bald spot on the back of my head from my father, and his father before him. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do about it.
Ausmus certainly can't be held accountable for the fact the Tigers' front office had the dubious wisdom to gut their entire farm system, trading away top prospects for short-term impact players in a "go for it now" mode, that never quite got there. Like Mother Hubbard, the cupboard is all but bare and poor doggie Brad is hard pressed to even get a bone.
But there is one thing that is extremely annoying about Ausmus and is entirely his fault.
What is it with him spitting through his teeth every 3 seconds or so? It's such a disgusting habit and totally unnecessary.
I mean, c'mon. Does he do this at home while watching TV -- or at the dinner table with his wife and kids? At a restaurant? While driving in his car? How about in church, if he goes there occasionally? It's probably a pretty safe bet the presiding clergy and fellow congregation would not be amused.
So for that very reason, I agree with a local columnist that recently suggested Ausmus should be fired.
It has nothing to do with his baseball acumen, or lack thereof, it's just a matter of common decency. If the Tigers are going to be a ho-hum team, which has become painfully obvious, the least their fans can expect is the manager to act like a semi-gentleman.
Screaming at umpires is OK -- even getting tossed out of a game for the usual ballistic, spoiled first grader hissy fits is acceptable.
Spitting every 3 seconds for absolutely no good reason is not.
Yep, ptui. He's gotta go.