For both the Detroit Tigers and their fans, this year’s trade deadline was completely bizarre; bizarre because the concept of selling off our best players for prospects—the concept of waving the white flag with two and a half months left in the season—is a concept that’s been almost nonexistent during Dave Dombrowski’s tenure with the organization. In fact, since the turnaround season in 2006, aside from trading Pudge at the deadline in 2008, the Tigers have been buyers just about every season. We’re used to the Tigers being in it. But 2015 will go down as the season where wind was taken out of the sails oh too early.
Which is why I know I’m not alone when I say that shortly after the Tigers traded David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria—and especially after the termination of Dombrowski—there was an uncomfortable sense of nothingness; that the Tigers not competing for a playoff spot in August and September created a void between seasons.
I’ve always felt that the best part of Tigers’ postseason berths is the illusion of the extension of summer. Selling at the deadline felt like the opposite illusion.
But as I sat and watched over the past week as my favorite baseball team continued to struggle—coming to comfortable terms with the idea that Al Avila and his organization are focused more on 2016 than fighting for that 2nd Wild Card spot in 2015—I thought about what got me following the Tigers religiously in the first place. After all, the covenant between myself and the Tigers began in 2003, when all forms of quality baseball came exclusively in the form of the away teams. And even back in the darkest days of the Old English D, there was still summery joy in a trip to Comerica Park.
I’m not trying to sugarcoat what’s been a disappointing 2015 campaign for an organization whose goals of a World Series Championship are expected. The team’s shortcomings have warranted every boo bird, all the angry Tweets, and each raucous listener phone call into the area’s sports radio stations. What I’m hoping to remind everyone is that there’s still memories to me made and summer to be had down at Comerica Park. Because, despite the product on the field, what can never be taken away from Detroit is the opportunity to experience our city’s favorite pastime in our favorite stadium with our favorite people watching some of our favorite players.
It’s not even mid-August yet and while there might not be Championships to be won, there’s still summer to be had.
Going through the turnstiles at Comerica Park, basking in the beauty of the flourishing green field, staring at the names and numbers of Tigers lore, out into the skyline of a city on the rebound, there’s at least some solace in knowing that, win or lose, this is where greatness lives.
Go get ’em, Tigers!