Peterson: Why baseball offers little thrill
All the signs are there.
The snow banks have all but melted away. I just saw a robin the other day.
The Masters golf tournament, a sure sign of spring, is this week. And even the famous “peepers” of WLUC-TV weatherman Karl Bohnak made their appearance just this week.
So why don’t I feel any excitement about the major league baseball season? It could be because my longtime favorite team, the Detroit Tigers, appear to be headed for another under-.500 season.
It isn’t all about winning or losing, either.
I can clearly remember following the exploits of past Detroit teams that were little better than the current edition.
For example, 1956 Tigers finished in the nether regions of the American League standings, but they had players like Al Kaline, Harvey Kuenn and Charlie Maxwell — guys who provided excitement even in defeats.
And there were many other Tigers teams over the years that inspired little excitement on the field.
Maybe it’s because I’ve become jaded in the latter days of my life.
Still, I place the blame squarely on the inaction of the front office in Motown.
Unlike late previous owner Mike Illitch, this part of his family has been unwilling to shell out the money to put a competitive team on the field.
The elder Illitch was ready to go out and pick up a player like Ivan Rodriguez, who provided the spark and leadership for Detroit teams in the early 2000s. Those Tiger teams grew into contenders.
Fans have seen little of this kind of action lately.
They’ve hired a manager whose reputation was tarnished by the cheating scandal in the World Series a couple of years ago.
The free agent signings have consisted of players like Jordan Zimmerman, who racked up a 1-13 pitching record two years ago with an earned run average of 6.91.
Like many teams of the past who have failed, the current team does have some pieces.
They include outfielder JaCoby Jones and infielder Jeimer Candelario, and possibly Willi Castro.
Highly paid Miguel Cabrera is on a personal mission to reach 3,000 hits and hit his 500th homer, all admirable goals for a future Hall of Famer. But he’s injured more often than not and isn’t a day-to-day player.
The pitching staff is full of guys like Casey Mize who haven’t hit their potential, and may not.
That pretty much sums up my summary for the Tigers for 2021, another frustrating season.