Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grantland Author Sickened By Tigers

I received an email today from a reader named Karen:

Can you make fun of this Grantland piece, please? It would be a service to Tigers fans.

I read it and was confused to what the point of it was. To be fair, that would describe the majority of the stuff at Bill Simmons’ website that is love of everything Bawston. But then I read it again and it annoyed me even more the second time. Now I admit to being unfamiliar with the work of Adam Moerder, but since it’s at Grantland, let’s all pretend that he’s a Pedroia Nation Fanboy like Simmons. It’ll make it much more fun to make poop jokes at.

EDIT: He's a Philly supporter, I'm told. Boring. It's funnier with the Red Sox. And that's the point. I'm a joke blog, not social commentary, people. So sorry, Adam. Being annoyed by Simmons for so long overtakes my ambition to edit out the Red Sox jokes with Phillies ones.

Let’s go through this thing together, shall we?



While watching the Tigers sweep the Red Sox this past weekend, a thought entered my brain

“Fack you, Valentine! Fackin’ Tito was bettah than youwah bullshit!”

“This is beeyah and fried chicken all ovah again! Owah lives are ovah!”

“Nawt owah rivals, so fack you!”

“Come back, Theo! We-ah sawwwry!”

“Faaaaaaaack!”

— more than any other MLB team, the Tigers probably have the best odds of becoming a dynasty this decade.

Hooray!

And that thought sickened me.

Boooo! Really? The Tigers? You mean Boston fans have abandoned their non-stop penis-envy of the Yankees long enough to realize the Tigers exist? No shit. This is Johnny Damon’s fault.

Normally, I try to sit back and enjoy baseball games, without letting any weird arbitrary preferences make me too happy or upset.

“Fack you, Grady Little!”

“Bucky FACKIN’ Dent!”

“Jetah swallows!”

“BUCKNAAAAAAHHHH!”

Something about a potential Detroit Tigers dynasty bothers me, though, and, this being the Internet — where nothing is good enough and no one deserves to be happy — I couldn’t resist the urge to take a big pee on the Tigers’ parade.

The internet is oftentimes an awful place. So, I figure that I’ll somehow make it worse.

Welcome to Grantland.

Now, when I say “dynasty,” I mean that the Tigers could run the AL Central for the next couple seasons, possibly even the rest of the decade. Think of the Yankees' 1998-2006 run or, most famously, the Braves' record-setting 14 titles between 1991 and 2005. You’re probably thinking, Well, that’s great, right? Good for them! Well actually, no. You’re totally wrong.

A team that went through nearly twenty years of being awful, that just won their first divison title in 24 years being very good for a while? FACK THAT! Totally fackin’ wrong.

An AL Central dynasty in the “teens” (or whatever we’re calling this decade) would be a pretty boring, hollow accomplishment, equal to winning a fantasy baseball league or getting 1,000 followers on Twitter.

Oh yes. I can see how a team with Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Justin Verlander could be boring.

Oh wait. No I can’t. I’m not a brain-dead, arrogant, Masshole prick.

And eat me. I haven’t reached 1,000 Twitter followers yet to move on from Bear Scout to Webelo. When I do, it’s going to be a special day. I may have a party and invite Phil Coke’s Brain to entertain my guests with balloon animals and pointing at things in the sky.

The AL Central is something of a soft, gooey middle between the tougher East and West divisions.

Yeah. The Tigers would be in deep shit if they had to deal with the Orioles, Blue Jays, A’s, and Mariners more often.

By the way, they just swept the Red Sox. And should have taken the first two against the Rays. But screw them because the preseason predictions all show them winning. Remember when everyone thought the Diamondbacks would suck last season?

The high-octane Cleveland Indians teams of the ‘90s were the division’s lone instances of elite, sustained success. Last decade, the Twins took home six division titles but were swept in like 100 playoff series. (They really were, I looked it up.) Not to mention the fact that their run differentials in those seasons resembled teams that probably shouldn’t even have been in the playoffs.

Not to mention the White Sox winning the World Series in 2005. Or the Tigers miracle run in 2006. Yeah, the AL Central is pointless.

Fast-forward to 2012, where it looks like no one in the AL Central has the cojones to stop the Tigers. Let’s take a quick survey of the contenders:

Cleveland Indians: Great forward-thinking front office, nice little young nucleus led by Carlos Santana, but a depleted farm system and poor revenue stream could prevent the Indians from breaking through.

The Indians front office is ridiculously awful. They chose to lock up injury machines Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner and let Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, and countless others walk. They didn’t even know Fausto Carmona’s real name until a few weeks ago. Ask any Indians fan, if you can still find one, and they’ll tell you how they are the worst run team in baseball that doesn’t have Kenny Williams in charge.

Their young nucleus consists of Santana and Justin Masterson. The rest of them are mediocre at best. And why is the farm system depleted? Because the inept front office gave every decent prospect they had for overrated Ubaldo Jiminez.

Kansas City Royals: Like Cleveland, the Royals are broke, but the farm system’s highly touted. While their front office accumulates young talent well, many doubt its ability to construct quality teams on the major league level. Plus, sometimes prospects, with all that uncertainty, can be overrated.

Even with their cash limitations, the Royals are looking to be very good for the next few years. They’re only two decent starters away from being a legit contender to the Tigers for the AL Central title and maybe more. Don’t sell Hosmer, Butler, Gordon, and company short.

Minnesota Twins: Karma’s a bitch. After all that overachieving last decade, the Twins' current outlook has gone down the toilet. While revenues shot up with the opening of Target Field, there’s not enough talent to compete now or in the future, sending the front office back to the drawing board.

Plus Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Francisco Liriano getting hurt/regressing crippled the franchise last season. If they rebound, the team easily could, too. Don’t overlook that.

Oh, you did.

Chicago White Sox: They reside in the division’s largest market, but have the worst collection of under-30 talent. To make matters worse, Kenny Williams refuses to pull the plug and go into rebuilding mode. See the 2012 Houston Astros? That could be these guys in three years … or sooner.

Are you fist-fucking me? They won’t go into rebuilding mode? They let Mark Buehrle, Carlos Quentin, Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel, Edwin Jackson, and Sergio Santos all go since this time last year. Then again, I don’t know if that’s rebuilding or Kenny Williams being the worst GM in the history of pro sports.

Meanwhile, life has been a pizza party for the Detroit Tigers.

One division title since 1987. This party sucks festering asshole. 2003 wasn’t that long ago, fuckstain.

Since the hiring of GM Dave Dombrowski, magnanimous owner and Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch has pumped increasing quantities of cash into the franchise. Fangraphs recently ranked every organization in baseball based on a formula that combined 2012 outlook, future outlook, financial resources, and baseball operations. While the science is far from infallible, they found the Tigers’ fortunes — both recent and for the future — head and shoulders above everyone else’s in the AL Central. If the Yankees are the evil empire, the Tigers have become scary to the AL Central on a smaller scale, like a platoon of Stormtroopers terrorizing defenseless little Ewoks.

If memory serves, the Ewoks ended up slaughtering and defeating the Stormtroopers for good in “Return of the Jedi”. They severed the Stormtroopers’ heads and used them as drums! Drums! This is a poor analogy.

What really eats at me here is that this roster reeks of hubris, hubris that the team probably can likely afford not to pay for down the road.

Hubris? From this Tigers team when the Yankees, Angels, and Red Sox are still in existence? According to USA Today, the Tigers are fifth in team payroll in the majors. Look.

Yankees: $197.9 million
Phillies: $174.5 million
Red Sox: $173.2 million
Angels: $154.5 million
Tigers: $132.3 million

So why pick on the Tigers? Because the swept the Sawx? Last year, the Tigers were third in their own division in payroll. This year, they’re first with Chicago and Minnesota both close to $100 million each behind them. It’s not like the Tigers have four Oaklands in their divison with them.

The current infield defense, led by Miguel Cabrera at third (!), is an abomination.

The current defense has less errors than any other team in baseball through their first five games. Can we quit beating this dead horse quite yet? Cabrera’s going to be fine. He’s already better than Youkilis at third.

It reminds me of the amoral world of ‘90s baseball video games, where you could play Frank Thomas at shortstop with impunity because the simulation engine sucked. The combination of Victor Martinez, Cabrera, and Prince Fielder’s contracts would cripple most franchises.

$57 million for three players. That’s UNHEARD OF. Oh, wait.

Yankees: Rodriguez ($29M), Sabathia ($23M), Teixeira ($22.5M) make $74.5 million combined.

Phillies: Lee ($21.5M), Halladay ($20M), Howard ($20M) make $61.5 million combined.

Red Sox: Gonzalez ($21M), Crawford (19.5M), Beckett (15.75M) make $56 million combined.

Mets: Santana ($24M), Bay ($16M), Wright ($15M) make $55 million combined with Wright due a raise soon.

Angels: Wells ($21M), Hunter ($18M), Pujols ($12M) make $51 million combined and that will balloon when Pujols’ deal jumps to $30M a year by 2021 and Jered Weaver/Dan Haren replace Wells/Hunter in the $20M/year range.

Marlins: Zambrano ($18M), Ramirez ($15M), Johnson ($13.75M) make $46.75M combined with Jose Reyes’ deal jumping from $10M this year to $22M in a couple years.

And so on. There are multiple other teams with several high-paid players approaching this number, too. And Mike Ilitch has the money! So who cares how much he pays? The Tigers are still nowhere near the dreaded Yanks. So why do you care?

While it’s great that Ilitch pours money into the Tigers organization, there’s no elegance in Dombrowski snatching top-flight free agents off the shelf with the reckless abandon of a Nickelodeon contest winner.
How DARE Dombrowski sign free agents. NO ONE DOES THIS.

Not very elegant.

What a fucking moron.

Still, even if Detroit’s minor league system pales in comparison to Dombrowski’s masterful work in Florida and Montreal, they’ll probably receive just enough of a boost from the farm (namely, potential no. 2 pitcher Jacob Turner and third baseman Nick Castellanos) to outpace their divisional foes a few more seasons, at which point the octogenarian Ilitch will probably be pushing the payroll into the range of a small European country’s GDP.

What the shit? Assuming the author IS a Red Sox fan, is he just upset that another team is daring to spend money on their franchise other than Boston and New York? Where’s the rage for the Rangers, Phillies, Marlins, Angels, and other teams?

A year ago, I would’ve told myself to relax about this imminent boring Tigers “dynasty.” I’d reason that Kansas City and Cleveland would rise up and make Detroit pay for their impulsively constructed roster. After all, what the Royals and Indians lack in green, they make up for with superior prospects and savvier front offices.

Since when? The Royals and Indians are run like shit! Again, ask their fans. All nine of them.

This is what Moneyball was supposed to teach us, right? That these smart, cutting-edge ugly ducklings would eventually turn into beautiful, cost-efficient, pennant-winning swans?

You’re thinking of the A’s. And they haven’t won dick since the big-money Canseco/McGwire/Eckersley/Stewart days. Don’t let Brad Pitt’s dashing good looks fool you.

Well, I don’t believe that anymore. Not after all the record-breaking contracts being handed out, the lucrative new TV deals being struck, or that we live in a dystopia where big-market franchises are purchased for TWO BILLION DOLLARS.

Waaaah!

Being butthurt over the actions of the Angels and Dodgers has nothing to do with the Tigers, by the way.

Oh yeah, and remember how tiny-market franchises could at least gain an edge on the big boys by spending a ton in the draft and international markets? The new CBA killed that strategy.

Fuck you, Tampa and Arizona. Your recent success was not on television in New England.

All’s to say is, MLB looks like a game of haves and have-nots, and Detroit, barring any wild changes, seems to be the only have in the AL Central.

So because the other four teams have been run poorly in the past year or two, the Tigers are the bad guys in the situation. Ozzie Guillen on an acid trip makes more sense than this.

Yeah, Detroit could be sunk by those big contracts and poor drafts in the same way that, say, the Cubs and Astros are paying for past mistakes, but the Tigers' financial advantage, at least relative to the AL Central, provides a pretty nice golden parachute.

Again, the Tigers were third in payroll in the AL Central alone last year. This year, they’ve jumped ahead, yet Chicago and Minnesota are close to $100 million each. Let’s look at the gaps in each division from the top spending team to their closest competitor. I’m even going to leave out the Yankees who outspend everyone by the GNP of China.

AL East: Gap between Boston and Baltimore: $91.75M

AL Central: Gap between Detroit and Chicago: $35.38M

AL West: Gap between Los Angeles and Texas: $33.97M

NL East: Gap between Philadelphia and Miami: $56.46M

NL Central: Gap between Milwaukee and Chicago: $9.45M

NL West: Gap between San Francisco and Los Angeles: $22.48M

So the Tigers outspent their closest competition by the third most amount in the six divisions. And they’re close to being fourth. Why do they, of all teams, earn your ire?

Because they swept the Sawx?

Now that that’s off my chest, I’d like to add a disclaimer or two:

-I’m a fackin’ dipshit.

-Larry Fackin’ Bird is GAWD.

-NOMAHHH!

There are plenty of good players on the 2012 Detroit roster and the team is legitimately good, regardless of division; Dombrowski’s made plenty of shrewd moves that didn’t require impulsive spending (drafting Justin Verlander!!!); that the fine people of Detroit totally deserve a winner; that wins are wins and no blogger can take them away from you, even if said blogger finds your roster to be constructed in an aesthetically unpleasing manner.

Just … please don’t become a boring dynasty.

Die of painful penis cancer.

I hate Grantland. It shouldn’t be a surprise that any child of ESPN would be shitting on the Tigers for a ridiculous thing like payroll when there’s plenty of better targets out there. But they’re in bigger markets, so they’re off limits.

It annoys me to no end.

Thanks for ruining my evening with your email, Karen! I hope you’re happy.

17 comments:

verlander said...

I refuse to read Grantland. And this "writer" sounds like nothing more than a whiny, petulant baby.

caseyo4 said...

If Grantland had the balls and originality they supposedly do, they'd run your piece right next to that piece of shit article...

Kurt Mensching said...

Grantland is too navel gazy. They deserved a take down. 

Kyle said...

I'm a Tigers fan, but I have to say that I hate how my fellow fans are reacting to this stuff.  Everyone needs to stop being so defensive about this shit.  It makes us look like the assholes!

Anyway, it took me about 2 minutes of 'research' to find out that the author is a Phillies fan. (http://twitter.com/#!/lllMOERDERlll/status/187583140330602497) ...now, whether that makes him better or worse than a Red Sox fan is a personal decision.

It's still just sad to me to see all of my fellow Tiger fans freaking out about "National bias!!!!!"  Tigers are 4-1 and have been beating up on the AL East exclusively to this point. They're gonna win the Central this year by default.  Just relax and enjoy it.  Nothing anyone else says diminishes their accomplishments

Kyle said...

My link doesn't seem to be working, but on his twitter feed he has a couple comments about Philly teams, including "I wrote a post for @grantland33. I'm very worried for the Phils & am grateful for the chance to publicly fret about it" about the first piece he wrote for the site.

SRogo said...

Not freaking out, Kyle. Just makin' bad jokes. And venting. Keeps me from drinking.

Kyle said...

I understand.  I'm already drinking... and I guess venting.  My little rant was probably addressed more at other Tiger fans than at you specifically.  I actually happened upon that article right after it was posted and was a little put off by it, but instantly knew defensive Tigers fans would start pouring in and bombarding the comments section.  Which is exactly what happened.  Oh well.

On the good side, only 1 Tigers error thus far, and I can't think of too many "hits" caused by bad defensive play.  Makes me feel good whenever I read preseason articles about how disastrous the defense would be.

Django McTunes said...

Well deserved fisking. Also, Bill Simmons in his podcast said the Tigers were a "bad team." LOL

Baroque97 said...

Heh. I hate this because of the superior, looking-down-the-nose attitude of "I know, I know, you have a good team and you are winning...but I have no respect for you unless you run your team the "right" (aesthetically pleasing) way." Such bullshit.

It's sports, not a symphony or a fine painting. The "right way" is the way that freaking WINS, not the way that looks pretty to an outside observer. Anyone who doesn't like that can get bent.

frisbeepilot said...

I don't believe I've ever used this phrase before in all my life so far, but it seems appropriate here: Haters gonna hate.

Zak Pashak said...

Simmons called the AL Central going to Cleveland. 

Nick said...

I don't mind when other fans hate us, but it should be because we kick their team's ass, not for illogical crap like this.  And what a hypocrite coming from Philly.  The Phillies have basically become the Yankees of the NL.

Robeartoe said...

Larry Bird is a good honest God fearing American leave him be.

dan said...

'hubris' is a greek word meaning excessive pride. In greek lit and after it is used often to illustrate a tragic hero's downfall. That would indicate some sort of arrogance on our part that we cannot be beaten.  /dickjoke.  This gobshite does not even understand the words he is using. How are we overcome by pride? How are we a tragic hero? It's easy to pick on the Tigers.  Did anybody pick on the Yanks in the late 90s? This dumbass can get kissed by a bag of hammers.

Jay Hathaway said...

"Cabrera’s going to be fine. He’s already better than Youkilis at third."
That line brightened my day.  Truth.

Alice Hoffman said...

I'm a big Yankee fan from Montana...Plan on attending games in
May...9,10,11...Just check some good tickets . If Boston Red
Sox will win the 8th World Series title, then there will be a parade at World
Series Way in Boston in this route.
 

Supersheap said...

"...Kenny Williams being the worst GM in the history of pro sports."


Have we forgot Matt Millen already??