Friday, July 5, 2013

What the 2013 Detroit Tigers need is....Leadership!

Detroit sports fans have become a spoiled bunch. We have an owner, who owns both our hockey and baseball team's that is willing to spend whatever amount needs top be spent to win championships. We have a starting rotation that is without doubt among the best in baseball currently, and out Tigers sport the last two American League MVP. Wit hall of that being said the Tigers still have not one a World Series since 1984 and that is so long ago most current Tigers' fans count Magglio Ordonenz's Home Run in the 2006 ALCS as the greatest home run in Tigers history. Fans of my generation still count the blast by Kirk Gibson in the 1984 Fall Classic as the defining home run in their Tigers fandom.

The 1984 team had a few things that the 2013 version doesn't have, a strong bullpen, and excellent bench, and tow names in particular jack Morris and Gibson himself. These men were leaders on that team drafted by this organization and developed into the nucleus that was the dominant force in baseball. It still amazes me that this core of players only won one World Series title.

While the current core of players has won the last two AL central titles this is a baseball town where the goal is to win the World Series each an every year. Given the age and the size of the payroll the window for this core of players to win it all is rapidly shrinking. It seems the biggest thing missing is veteran player leadership. Octavio Dotel tried to be that guy but he was not here long and may not ever pitch for this club again.

The Detroit Red Wings that won two straight Stanley Cup championships and three in five seasons had the Captain Steve Yzerman as the one ice leader. The example setter, but the also had Darren McCarty (for the most part) as the vocal leader in the clubhouse. Before last fall the last Tigers team to go to a World Series had a vocal veteran leader in Kenny Rogers. The current core has two example setters in Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera (we could probably add Max Scherzer to that list, but no vocal leader in their clubhouse. This seems to be an issue for an offense that goes cold at all the wrong moments and a team that fails to score runs late in games. This roster needs a guy to get into people faces and to help the team pick up its late game effort.

The simple fact here is the Tigers for a long time have looked to add veteran leadership via free agency. Thinks about it Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Rogers, Ordonez, and Torrii Hunter were all brought in and yet no home grown Tigers has stepped into to take up that leadership void. That may not mean anything but a team with this amount of talent and the size of its payroll that has only two division title and one AL pennant to its name has certainly come up short.

Veraldner has struggled so far this year, while Max Scherzer is a perfect 13-0. However, JV did go out and shit down the Toronto Blue Jays on the fourth of July in a performance that should announce he is back and that could be a rallying cry for this team in the second half of 2013.

Let us not forget it was an early spring closed door ass reaming by then first year manger Jim Leyland in 2006 that lit a fire under this team's collective butt. It seems that the current version of the Tigers needs exactly the same thing. If Leyland is unable or unwilling to do so Veraldner, Cabrera, or someone else needs to step up and do so sooner rather than later.

If that does not happen we could wind up talking about the 2013 Tigers in the same breath as we do the 2008 version. That would be the ultimate tragedy and let;'s hope one of the veterans on this team figures that out.

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