Madelyn Furstenau ‘26, Student Life Editor
For years, the Detroit Tigers have lured fans along just to inevitably disappoint. They typically play very well in their first few games and then decline as the season progresses. This deceitful nature has influenced the attendance of games and pride within the fanbase. Honestly, who wants to admit to being a Tigers fan?
In September of 2022, former general manager of the San Francisco Giants, Scott Harris, was hired to be the new president of baseball operations in the Detroit Tigers organization. Harris replaced the long-time president Al Avila, who had occupied the position for almost two decades. Equipped with a successful record throughout his career, Harris was the light at the end of a (very) dark tunnel for Tigers fans. However, while other MLB teams have invested in trades to improve their clubs this offseason, Harris has instead decided to purchase state-of-the-art lighting for the Tigers’ home field, Comerica Park.
In 2022, the Tigers finished with a record of 66-96, placing them second to last in the American League Central Division (ALCD). They just barely earned this rank by winning only one more game than the Kansas City Royals. In fact, the Tigers have not ranked above third place in the ALCD in over five years. They were expected to perform fairly well in 2022, with many going so far as to say that the Tigers would make it to the playoffs. However, regular stars played their worst season on record and the pitching staff suffered a crushing blow due to injuries. It seems that each year we are promised greatness, but are soon after disappointed by the season’s results.
During the 2022 offseason, several notable trades and signings have been made among teams. The star pitcher of the Houston Astros, Justin Verlander, moved to the New York Mets. Incredible shortstop Carlos Correa agreed to a six-year deal with the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers have acquired only a few new players and have not yet made a trade that will ensure a promising season for Detroit. It seems 472 new LED lights have been prioritized over improving the team. The entire situation has led to the questioning of the practicality of the Tigers’ staff. Why is it that they have chosen to improve the viewing experience only so fans can continue to watch a barely mediocre team? The prioritization of the Tigers organization has proven to be utterly chaotic in the sense that new stadium additions have come before the improvement of a long-time struggling team.
In 2022, the Tigers’ pitching staff was the strongest aspect of the team. Players such as Casey Mize and Matt Manning underwent Tommy John surgery, an operation that replaces a torn ligament in the arm with a healthy tendon extracted from the arm or leg. This operation typically puts a player out for a season or more. Tarik Skubal, another starting pitcher, ended his season about a month early due to inflammation and pain in his left elbow. While Tommy John surgery was brought up, he never underwent the operation. In addition to these starting pitchers, a few bullpen pitchers were also injured during the season. In true Detroit fashion, we lost one of our only hopes for a decent season.
Shortly after the announcement regarding the installation of new lighting, the Tigers made a trade that has been criticized and questioned by many fans. 2022 All-Star participant and left-hand pitcher Gregory Soto and utility player Kody Clemens were traded in exchange for utility players Nick Maton and Matt Vierling as well as catcher Donny Sands. This unusual trade has caused yet another outrage among the fanbase. Not only have we given up two decently skilled players, but we have acquired an additional catcher which is unnecessary for the club at this time.
Despite his recent hiring, Tigers fans are already beginning to doubt the abilities of Harris. Although he has attempted to prove his desire and loyalty to the improvement of this club, he has not yet won the hearts of the Detroit fanbase. Harris still has a few months before the season’s beginning, and we pray he will follow through on the promises he made upon his arrival.