I haven't watched the Tigers much lately. The National Hockey League playoffs have a lot to do with this. May doldrums and an outbreak of decent weather have helped too, but the fact that Detroit has played seven games in the last week and a half against the Houston Astros has served as a major demotivator.
The Astros, or as my Texas-based Uncle Brian calls them, the DisAstros, are not just garden variety bad. At 11-30 thus far, they're a sort of incompetence not rivaled since the infamous 2003 Detroit Tigers. I'm very familiar with the 2003 Tigers. In fact, you could say I'm something of an expert on bad.
Little League season has finally begun throughout the Copper Country. Most of my career Little League trophies were of the participation variety, though I still fondly remember striking out the biggest kid on the VFW team for the save one batter after taking a comebacker off the face.
That was the highlight. The lowlights are much more numerous, including an 0-fer season on the stamp sand with Pizzaland. My pitching career was equally unimpressive, as I might have been the youngest junkballer in Little League history, though my hand was small enough to grip the ball with all five fingers and gain that coolest of traits for any young player, a pitch that has movement or at least the perception thereof.
Once my baseball career officially flamed out at age 13, I pulled the reverse Michael Jordan and gave basketball a try.
I was the 16th man on a 17-man roster and even that's somewhat disputed. Our league actually had fifths to get everyone playing time. There were three six-minute periods in the first half, one for each string, before things got a little more legitimate in the second half.
So, I wasn't good enough to play all of the third-string fifth and in that limited time, I scored exactly zero career points.
This might have been more excusable if I'd been on a juggernaut, but the Gwinn Middle School eighth-grade boys' basketball team won one game that season (against Phelps [Ishpeming]). I remember the postgame celebration to this day. There were hand signals and other general silliness, probably learned from watching one too many music videos of which I regret the content on musical grounds before moral ones.
By this point, I'd retired from the game to save my alma mater and myself the embarrassment.
We won the tournament on High School Bowl my senior year, but they never did put the sign up at the city limits. It's OK. I have VHS tape to prove it happened. But otherwise, there wasn't much glory to be had for the Black and Gold those days.
I?have since moved on to golf, in which my only significant accomplishment is nearly killing my boss with a seven-iron I?hit off the hosel that cracked his cart's windshield ... from the inside.
The point of this story is not to regale you with my athletic non-accomplishments. However, if you'd like to hear about my church camp sand volleyball career, I'll gladly share.
The point is that, though I have yet to earn my way onto the back of a bubble-gum card, I turned out all right. And you will too, if you work hard and stick with education, no matter how many guys (or girls), you may have walked in a 15-run game.
Charlie Brown was a legitimately awful pitcher and victim of quite a few comebackers to the mound. And yet, not only is he one of the more famous fictional pitchers in baseball history, he kept getting the ball day after day.
There's hope for him, there was hope for me, there's hope for the Houston Astros (after all, the '03 Tigers were AL champions in just three seasons) and there's hope for you, too.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.