Pessimist’s Guide to the 2012 Detroit Tigers


Afraid to say it out loud?  Fine, you can just read it in print then:  The Tigers will not win the World Series in 2012.  I know what you are thinking – there is always a pessimist out there to rain on the parade.  But in my defense, I am not one of those fans who secretly hope their team fails so they can go on about how right they were.  I will be hanging on every pitch this season, pulling for my Tigers to be the last team standing.  I have reason, however, to think they won’t be.  As a disclaimer, I have no statistical rationale for this prediction.  It is merely the dysfunctional thought process of a fan that can’t pull his head out of his butt no matter how hard he tries.

I loathe high expectations.  I have never known a Detroit team to live up to championship expectations (before the comments start flying, I am referring to my time as a real fan, early 90’s to present).  I know the Red Wings have won championships in that time, but they have had championship expectations every season for 20 years.  That being the case, they have actually fallen short of expectations more often than not.  The championship Detroit Pistons of 2004 had a great run, but it was largely unexpected.  They were a playoff team certainly, but not many expected a championship that season.  Now, the next three seasons, a championship was definitely the only satisfactory result; but alas, it did not come.  The Detroit Lions . . . well . . . let’s just move on, shall we?

That brings us to the Detroit Tigers, who, until 2006, had no other expectation other than staying on the back page of the sports section.  In 2007, many believed the World Series awaited us, but instead, the Tigers spent September watching the Cleveland Indians run away with the division.  The 2008 Tigers reloaded, and were again a popular pick to win the World Series.  That team finished dead last.  The fact is, the Tigers three postseason appearances in recent years (2006, 2009, and 2011) came when most prognosticators had them missing the playoffs entirely, and many fans were just hoping for a competitive divisional race.

So, as the 2012 season begins, I take pause.  Yes, there is enough talent to win 100 games.  Yes, the division stinks.  And yes, they have a wealth of experience in October baseball.  But wouldn’t it be nice to fly under the radar?  Last season was so fun because in September and October it felt like we were playing with house money.  When the Tigers lost game six to the Rangers, I was disappointed of course, but I reflected more on how great the season was.  This season, anything short of an American League pennant and I will not be fun to be around in October.

I hope for everybody’s sake that I am dead wrong (wouldn’t be the first time).  I hope I can read these nonsensical ramblings in seven months and laugh at my hopelessness.  What’s the fun in being a fan when you always expect the worst, you ask?  That’s a great point, but who said fans are supposed to have fun?  If you are like me, you feel two emotions toward your favorite teams:  disappointment on one end, relief on the other.

Relief, while a far cry from fun and excitement, is a wonderful feeling.