Yeah, I know... it sucks. I didn't realize until a couple days after Boston wrapped the series up, that I might be in some sort of funk. The wife and I went shopping at our local Meijer and I got really excited when I found all five of the 1984 World Series on DVD for $19.99! We ate a lot of junk the last week as well, and the temperatures here didn't help as they fell into lows in the 30's & high's in the mid-40's -- producing a wintery-wet mix of rain & snow that wouldn't stick -- So I have been feeling BLAH! (Plus I turn 37 years-old tomorrow & feeling possibly worse than Torii Hunter hitting that wall at Fenway).
Plenty has happened since my post Something Like a Boxing Match (Oct 19th), one thing the Tigers are officially out, Jim Leyland stepped down (which yet it shocked me) while something in the back of my mind told me something was going to happen -- I always felt if we won it this season, he was going to retire on top. Sad to see the skipper go, I enjoyed Leyland very much, he made us a winner from the moment he stepped in the Manager's office, he's old-school & he's a class act. I'm ashamed for the people out there that were asking for his head, no one is ever happy & it's so easy for these "fans" to sit there and blame, or look for excuses.
I felt in my bones & soul that this was going to be the year, the year that the Tigers restored the roar. I believe all of Detroit & the state of Michigan was feeling the exact same thing, I believe there has been a universal state of depression this last week here, you can feel it in the air. This one is going to sting for awhile.
What hurts the most is that the state and the wonderful people of this great state have been through so much with the economic strife that has plagued the state, it's still one of the biggest states hit with the economic crisis that the fans really needed an escape. There is not one fan base, or state that needed a World Championship more than the people of Michigan (maybe Pittsburgh); we are talking about a fan base that came to Comerica Park in droves (over 3 million fans -- packed Comerica once again in 2013). There is not a doubt in my mind, and Leyland also made note at his press conference that we let this one get away from us, we were supposed to be the 2013 World Champions of Major League Baseball, I do not believe that Game 2 of the ALCS ever played a factor in this series -- to say we would have went on to a 3-0 series lead on Boston (because we had Verlander on the mound for Game 3) would have been totally insulting a really good Boston Red Sox team.
My point is this, the Game 2 collapse didn't play a factor, what played a factor and was playing a factor since the beginning of September was Miguel Cabrera's oblique injury. It affected everything, he only had two extra-base hits that entire month, and to say that it didn't affect the lineup is downright ridiculous, and since the lineup slumped, it also mean't that our starting pitchers got worked more, got yanked earlier, and our weak bullpen got exposed. The bullpen worked effective actually for a really good stretch during the season, mid-year, wasn't doing too bad in the midst of Summer, but when everything starting hitting the wall in September -- everything was exposed. Looking at his numbers up to September, it's safe to say that Cabrera would have won back-to-back triple crowns. I'm also going to make an early prediction for the 2014 MLB Season, Justin Verlander will have his best season in 2014 to date -- bigger than 2011 even.
SCHERZER TO ST. LOUIS?!
Tigers fans have heard rumors circulating as early as the late LDS with the chances of Scherzer being a Tiger beyond the 2013 season. Scherzer is due to be a free agent after the 2014 MLB Season, and will be certainly getting a pay-raise. The problem is the Tigers have strapped themselves to the huge Prince Fielder deal, the current Verlander deal & a good amount to Anibal Sanchez. Rumor has it, he will be traded before the 2014 to get the best market value in return as possible -- most likely the deal will be done by December. The only way Scherzer stays a Tiger beyond 2014 is if the Tigers somehow can unload Prince Fielder, who Tiger fans are making out to be the scapegoat for the last two post-seasons; Tigers would have to eat $60-$80 million of Fielder's contract to even unload him, and not too many teams with big market money would be in the hunt, the two other biggest markets (Angels & Yankees) both don't need a 1B, unless they want to make him a DH.
The Cardinals name has popped up for Scherzer recently, because rival scouts of the Cards can see such a deal developing. For one thing, Scherzer is from Missouri, plus the Cards have the prospects to trade for the probable 2013 A.L. Cy Young winner. One thing is for sure, Michael Wacha (unfortunately for Tigers fans) won't be part of that package, most likely Joe Kelly, a reliever (or two) in Carlos Martinez, a up-end prospect or maybe someone like Jaime Garcia. Some Cardinals fans may say "We got plenty of pitching, we don't need to trade & acquire Scherzer" -- but on the other hand, their rotation could look like this...
1. Adam Wainwright
2. Max Scherzer
3. Chris Carpenter
4. Michael Wacha
5. Shelby Miller
That 1-4, would become the best 1-4 since, well... the 2013 Detroit Tigers -- plus not to mention the possibility of the Cards coming off a World Championship, with an addition of a Cy Young Winner. The Pirates & Reds would end up kicking themselves, because if this move goes down, the Cards have a legit shot at being a mega-force for years to come. Personally, I don't want to see Scherzer go, I say see what we can do with Fielder, because having a 1-2 pitching duo in Verlander & Scherzer is much more potent & important than that of Cabrera & Fielder (Tigers have other protection options) -- but if we do trade Scherzer, let it be St. Louis, because I think they have the best potential in trade bait.
Ummm... yeah, does a Bear sh#@ in the woods? Personally, it's a no-brainer. Let's get the one matter out of the way first, yes.. his career winning percentage is not amazing, but then again... was Connie Mack's winning percentage (.486) anything to marvel at? Here are some numbers to ponder...
- Joined only two other managers (Tony La Russa & Whitey Herzog) in leading two different franchises to three consecutive division titles. Those two managers: Herzog is a current Hall-of-Famer, while La Russa (Leyland's mentor) certainly will be.
- Led his teams to a total of eight League Championship appearances, winning two of them with the 1997 Marlins & 2012 Detroit Tigers (two World Series appearances).
- His 1997 World Championship with the Florida Marlins, was the fastest expansion team to win the World Title in it's fifth year of existence (Arizona would later break that, by doing it within 4 years).
- Three-time Manager of the Year Award winner.
- Became the 7th Manager ever to win pennants in each of the Major Leagues.
- Passed Tommy LaSorda on the all-time wins list with win #1,600 (LaSorda is a HOF'er).
- 3rd all-time among the Detroit Tigers' all-time victories for a manager (behind Sparky Anderson & Hughie Jennings) with 700 wins.
- 1,769-1,728 career record (.506) -- The Pirates were horrible when he took them over, made them into a power by 1990, had the "fire-sale" season of 1998 for the Marlins & a lousy season in Colorado -- take those out of the equation, and you definitely got a winner.
- His 1,769 victories are the second-most in MLB history among managers who had no MLB playing experience.