Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Season, New Blog

Hi, I'm Matt Wallace. You might remember me from such baseball blogs as Take 75 North or Bless You Boys. I've been out of the blogging game for the better part of a year now, and lately I've found myself with an itch to write. Actually, there is a quote from an old screenwriter, Michael Kanin, in which he said, "I don't like to write, but I love to have written." I saw that a few months ago and realized it applied to me, so here I am with a shiny new blog. I briefly considered going in to a big introduction and giving some thoughts about what I want to do in this space. Since I've been blogging, though, I've always had a rule against metablogging and I've already come dangerously close to breaking it. So let's just jump right in.

It's difficult if you follow baseball at all to not know that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training next week. I know my Twitter feed is littered with people counting down the days. I've never been one to get excited about a third of the roster showing up to play catch, but I understand the point. It is a scheduled baseball event. Many view it as the official start of the baseball season.

As the season starts, whenever you consider that to be, our thoughts naturally turn to expectations. Those have changed a lot for Tiger fans in ten years. Our preseason arguments have switched from "Are the Tigers the worst team in baseball?" to "Are the Tigers the favorite to make it to the World Series?" I don't think you'll find too many people who preferred taking part in the former argument. The latter, however, does not come without its pitfalls.

The Tigers have now won two straight division titles. They have made two straight trips to the American League Championship Series. Twice in seven years they have been to the World Series. As they've achieved these team goals, they've fielded consecutive MVP winners and many would argue they should have a two-time Cy Young. In other words, unless you are pulling for the Tigers to be listed as Baseball America's choice for the top farm system, it's pretty clear there's only one thing left on the checklist for most Tiger fans.

We should be careful viewing the season through such a narrow lens. Right now, we're not excited about the season starting because we're envisioning a dogpile on the field at the end of October. Sure, the possibility of that makes the season more exciting, but what we're excited about right now is watching a beautiful diamond where baseball is being played.

Now, before the hype starts in earnest, is the time to remember we're not baseball fans because of the World Series flags flying on the rim of the stadium. We're fans because of random Saturday games when a non-prospect named Billy McMillon hit two homers in his Tiger debut. We're fans because Curtis Granderson running down a fly ball to center looked as good in a disappointing 2008 as it did in the magical 2006.

We're all excited that the Tigers might have the best team in the American League. We're definitely excited that might lead to the first championship in nearly thirty years. But after four months of cold weather and no called third strikes, we should take care to remember every season is worth getting excited about.


  1. I live in northernmost Delaware now, working in Philadelphia. I attended the last time the Tigers visited the Phillies, which was on Father's Day, and was Justin Verlander's "Johnny Vander Meer" game (first start after his no-hitter against Milwaukee). The Phillies, at that time (and still, to some extent), were a team reliant on the long ball. A bunch of theirs fell short that day (probably Verlander-induced). Granderson ran a lot of them down, mostly making them look like easy outs. A random Phillies phan who happens to be seated next to me leans over and says "Who's that guy you've got in center? He's killing us today!" Me: "Remember the name: Curtis Granderson. That's what he does. That's why we love him."

  2. Glad to see you back in the writer's seat.

  3. Welcome back Matt. It's good to see you writing again.

  4. Thanks for the welcome, guys. It's good to be back and I hope my voice is distinct enough to carve out a space in Tiger blogdom.

  5. I'm a bit late to this party, but I love seeing you writing again, Matt!

  6. Thanks John. It's liberating to free myself from the minors.