I’m guilty of it.
And if you read the Fungo, there’s no question you are too.
We watch our Tigers every night, but we do it with one eye often straying in a different direction, towards the out of town scoreboard. What’s the Twins score? What’s the White Sox score? Hey, does anyone know who’s pitching against Minnesota tomorrow?
And that’s okay…to a degree.
I got a text message from my friend following Miguel Cabrera’s strikeout to end the game against Arizona last Saturday. It said, and I’m paraphrasing because he was a tad bit more coarse, “screw Cabrera, this is a 5th place team in a .500 division.”
While I was disappointed as well, it highlighted something that has been occurring to me lately: Mo’ is fickle, my friends.
Ask Jim Leyland what he thinks about momentum. He’ll tell you the same thing every time, which is, in so many words, it’s meaningless in baseball.
It’s not that he denies its existence, but he suggests that the more expedient approach to success over the daily grind of a 162-game schedule is to be levelheaded. For all my qualms with Leyland, he’s dead on there.
As a passionate fan base, we tend to get so caught up in every game and series that we have trouble putting perspective on what is a marathon of a season. I receive countless emails and messages asking me what I think about the upcoming schedule, how we have to win all 16 games against the Indians, and even some who are ready to throw in the towel after losing two of three to the Royals.
I include myself in all of this. I wrote a column following the Tigers brilliant performance against the Yankees and Red Sox earlier this season that basically crowned them AL Central champs.
Within 15 minutes last Saturday, there was a huge change in the shape of the AL Central landscape. The Twins were down 9-4 in the ninth inning, while the Tigers had the bases loaded, no outs, and one run home in the first inning of their game. The Twins, at the time, were .5 games ahead of the Tigers for first. 15 minutes later, the Twins were up 10-9 and the Tigers were down 2-1. That’s crazy! I thought to myself, are you kidding me?
Momentum is so fickle. If we continue to do emotional gymnastics over every series, every game, every at-bat, every pitch for 162 games, then our game, meant to be a marathon, not a sprint, are we really enjoying it?
Some will answer yes, saying that’s part of the fun. But I’ll tell you this. Last year, I ran into a few White Sox coaches following a mid-season weekend day game in Detroit. I asked them who won the Twins game earlier that day. Their answer? They had no idea. They told me they weren’t paying attention.
These guys were focused on their team, their players, and what they could control. They don’t get caught up in the daily standings watch.
It’s one thing to keep an eye on the schedules, and even check the scores everyday. But the violent emotions of hating the team one day, and praising Brennan Boesch the next, are a waste.
I’m going to do like the White Sox do.