It's no cause for champagne protective goggles or splurging $30 on a t-shirt, but it's certainly worth mentioning and commending. 10 years ago at this time, Tigers fans were relieved — some celebrating — the fact the team would not lose 120 games. Hooray! Now, over the last eight seasons, the Tigers have made the playoffs four times, World Series twice and are a win in their final four games from winning their third straight Central Division championship. A World Series title needs to cap it all off, but these are the good times.
And yet, some Tigers fans can't help but continue to bicker. Should've clinched the division last week … This team, the team with the 5th highest payroll, has no excuses not to win 100 games and run away with the division … Managers would love to have this team's talent and 'bumble their way to 90 wins.'
'Bumble their way to 90 wins' is something somebody actually said on a public forum last night. I get it that expectations have changed dramatically due to the increase in payroll and ticket prices, but c'mon — 90-plus wins is rarely, if ever, stumbled upon. Citing payroll like wins are automatic with every million spent overlooks the fact that the A's have less than half the Tigers' payroll and are in good shape to host a divisional series; two of the league's Top 5 payroll teams will not even be in the playoffs. Ultimately, it comes down to player production and, while maybe the Tigers aren't playing up to their potential, 90-plus wins is not something we should scoff at.
All too familiar are the feelings of that 2003 Tigers team and, more recently, what it's like to have an expensive bunch of players and still lose (see 2008-2010). The Tigers won the division with just 88 wins last year and have improved upon that, as they should have with the addition of Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez. They can't control the Indians and Royals winning more games against their other opponents. (Tigers have a better combined record against Cleveland and KC this year.) So you won't find me griping about the Tigers winning a division on September 25 as opposed to September 18. Or that, man, those 92-95 wins sure were a struggle. It's a damn good time to be a Tigers fan, and, while I'm admittedly less enthusiastic about this playoff berth than any other and anything other than a World Series title would be a crushing disappointment, I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me fucking Tigers playoff baseball.