By: Eric Thomas
It’s the end of May, and this has already been a tough baseball season for Tigers fans. We were told the team was going to be a monster, and then we were scolded for high expectations. We were told our big guys were going to hit the ball out of the yard, and they are hitting for average. Now as it turns out, according to many in the media, we aren’t even baseball fans in the first place. Thank goodness the media is always available to tell us when we are watching something incorrectly.
The fans have reached an impasse and I understand. They want to talk about the Tigers but it’s too early to talk about baseball. There have been plenty of teams that started out awful for two months and then wound up winning the World Series. Baseball season is 162 games and with the new wild card system up, 70 of them are essentially meaningless. But what are fans supposed to do? Go do something else? What if they want to watch 162 games and talk to people about them?
Saying that it’s too early to judge something is relic onto itself. This culture is not set up to think it out. We have immediate reaction on radio, television, Twitter, Facebook, and text messages. People evaluate everything on a day-to-day basis and why should baseball teams be any different? TV shows are evaluated by episode, movies are turned off within the first hour, and books are abandoned in the first few chapters. Ha ha! Just kidding. No one reads books anymore. I have to make jokes to keep it light.
That isn’t all bad, as long as everyone understands the score. When Rick Porcello takes the hill against the Indians for the first game in the series, his story line is that he was awful in his last start. So we are going to tune in and find out how he does. We also know that Ryan Raburn has laid an egg as of late. So when he is up to bat, we are going to stop playing with our iPads and pay attention for a moment. These day to day evaluations keep us tuning in, and without them there really isn’t a reason to watch.
If the constant answer to everything was “it’s May,” there would not be a reason to talk about baseball. What’s the fun in that? We should watch the games with no more interest than watching cars go by in the street? Media members harangue fans for making assessments then start making assessments in the very next column / blog / radio segment? Isn’t that a little hypocritical?
Having said that, yes, fans whine too much. But what are they going to do? If you have a Facebook account, you have to post a status. If you bought a ticket, you have to (apparently) let everyone in the stadium know how you personally feel. The culture is just going to be like this and there is no stuffing it back into Pandora’s box. Every single fan has the access to make their voices heard loud and clear. Media and players used to be reticent to criticize fans because they were voiceless, but you can feel free now! They have a voice, loud and filled with profanity. But fans have to understand that it’s when you cross the line into “fire someone” or “get rid of someone”, that’s when you descend into madness. It is too early to start talking about firing the manager that convincingly won the division last year. .500 baseball can be tough to watch at times, but it’s more the rule than the exception.
If you want to rip the fans for being jerks that’s fine. It’s ludicrous for someone who is paid to comment on sports every day wave the fans off of the same track. That’s like a person who works at a video store berating someone for renting too many movies.
Maybe I can offer a solution: Let’s just assume that everyone knows judgment is premature, and then move on. Every time that someone says “it’s early” or “it’s May” we can turn to them and shout: WE GET IT. Then fans can go on blogging, Twittering and Facebooking, the media can talk about it and the band plays on. No more signals crossed.
If we adopt this plan, we will all be able to get back to whining and complaining, secure in the knowledge that there will be no serious changes made as a result of it. That’s all we really want, anyway.