The Detroit Tigers are the worst team in baseball. That’s what the standings say, at least. But am I worried? Have I joined in with the majority of fair-weathered fans and media pundits calling for widespread panic? No. Why am I not worried when others are already thinking about sacrificing their first-borns in hopes of turning things around? Am I smarter than most? As much as I’d like to think that’s the case, it’s probably not. Instead, I’m just relying on level-headed, rational thinking. That’s something I didn’t have before coming to Ann Arbor.
In my four years at Michigan, I’ve learned quite a bit. Deoxyribose is an aldopentose. The Humiliati had a long struggle to obtain papal recognition in the late 12th century. And oh yeah, fans spaz out a lot.
I know, I know, excessive fan panic wasn’t something I was first exposed to in college. I’d seen so-called die-hard fans writing off teams a couple weeks into the season long before I ever shotgunned my first beer across the street from Yost on my way to a hockey game. But the absurdity of PFSO – the Premature Fan Spaz Out – really became apparent to me over the past four years.
Matt Gutierrez is injured? The 2004 season must be ruined. Just don’t tell that to any of the graduating football players who may happen to be wearing Big Ten Championship rings.
T.J. Hensick graduates and the Jack Johnson/Andrew Cogliano duo goes pro? The hockey program will obviously be stuck in rebuilding mode for the rest of the decade. Just chalk up the top-ranked Wolverine hockey team’s trip to Denver as a fluke.
The Michigan basketball team stumbles at the start of the year . OK, bad example.
The point is, so-called lost seasons are rarely that, especially when they get that labeled early in the year, or even before it starts. And that’s especially true in baseball.
Last year’s World Series pitted two teams against each other that had more than 100 combined losses. That’s just a few more losses than the Tigers have accumulated so far in the young 2008 season. Like, by at least 50, maybe even more.
If this losing streak happened anywhere in the middle 140 games of the season, nobody would make a big deal of it at all. Every team is swept at some stage in the season. This skid gets attention because a) it’s opening or closing the season and b) the Tigers had a ridiculous amount of hype surrounding them entering the season. And don’t forget, the hype was there for a reason. This team is good.
So Tigers fans – and Michigan fans preparing to jump all over the football team the first time Rich Rodriguez’s offense has a hiccup – try something new for a change. Give rational thinking a shot. Give it a free 30-day trial, and if it’s not for you, I’ll give you a full refund, including shipping and handling. And I’ll say I’m wrong and stuff. I’ll send you an e-mail. You can frame it and show it to your kids – in between criticizing your favorite teams, that is.
I’m sure games are more fun when you can sit in front of your television with a beer in one hand and a Jason Grilli voodoo doll in the other. But just try watching and enjoying the game for a change. Try to avoid cliff jumping, at least in April.
Try being a fan.
You’ll be surprised how fun it can be.
– Bell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.