June 21, 2012
I’m suffering from a malady that’s threatening my peaceful summer existence. I am Detroit Tiger Conflicted.
For those of you unfamiliar with “Who’s Your Tiger?” it’s a marketing ploy that’s recycled whenever the current marketing strategy bombs or gets old. It’s successful with fans that take the team very seriously, the game slightly seriously (or not), and young children. I’m under the impression that those Tiger fans who are die-hard baseball enthusiasts feel that such a slogan is only worthy of the proletariat.
There are as many ways to choose a Tiger as there are Tigers. I’ll venture to say that some fans take the easy way out and choose the superstar that’s currently winning the media popularity contest. Others use stats, and still others have a Tiger chosen for them because they get a jersey with a name on it for their birthday. They’re stuck.
I’d like to say I choose my Tiger by logic or statistics. But I will maintain my integrity and admit I choose my Tiger based on emotions and/or hormones. I’m not proud of that, but it’s a fact of my life I’ve learned to accept. I’ve had two Tigers in my life (although Mark “The Bird” Fidrych will always hold a special place in my heart). Nate Robertson was the first (cut me some slack.) He became my Tiger in 2006 but I was loyal to him until the bitter end, (those of you whose Tiger was Brandon Inge can understand).
I tried to use a form of hormonal logic when I chose a Tiger after Nate left. I’ve chronicled my journey here if you’re interested in the sordid details. If not, suffice it to say Brennan Boesch became my new Tiger in his rookie year. And he still is my Tiger. I think.
This season I started noticing Alex Avila because he reminded me of someone. I finally realized he reminded me a cute Shih Tzu. This isn’t a slam against his manliness. Any man that can start the game clean shaven and have picture-perfect scruff by the ninth inning has no need to defend his masculinity.
I didn’t realize how dangerous the situation had become until Alex was put on the Disabled List (DL in baseball speak. I know a few things) and I missed him a lot. I started feeling guilty when Brennan came to bat and I wasn’t very interested. And I began to whine, “When is Alex Avila coming back?” (nothing against Gerald Laird). As I listened to the familiar buzz of my whining, I realized that I was indeed Tiger Conflicted.
I am a very loyal fan (as the Nate Robertson incident proves), and I will never throw Brennan Boesch under the bus.
But I am ecstatic that Alex Avila will be back in the game tonight.
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June 29, 2011
I went to another Tiger’s baseball game a few nights ago with my sister-in-law. It was a cool, beautiful evening. Perfect baseball weather. We would have been by Brennan Boesch, but he was playing left field instead of his usual right field position. Maybe that was a forewarning.
In the third inning, the people sitting in front of us arrived–six teenage girls. A few of them had been drinking. I don’t think any of them ever once looked at the game. I know this because they were busy taking pictures–of themselves. And asking everyone in the vicinity to take pictures for them. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they took at least fifty photos–of themselves.
Once that image of six giggling, tipsy girls, unaware of any ballgame and having photos taken–of themselves, is firmly planted in your mind, imagine that one of these girls (the one who had imbibed the most alcohol) wanted to be the center of attention of the entire universe. OK, I admit I’m exaggerating. I think she just wanted the attention of everyone in the stadium. Well actually, only the males in the stadium.
This girl was being very suggestive in a voice that carried throughout our entire section. To her credit, she had more than one salivating male buy a beer for her. At one point, she decided that the Jay’s player, #19, fielding near our seats was the guy for her. And she was determined to let him know just how “sexy” she thought he was, and some of the things she would like to do with him. She would screech, “Hey baby, number 19…” I don’t think she ever learned his name (Jose Bautista).
It was slightly bizarre, because some of the guys who’d bought beer for her were obviously jealous and they tried to warn her of #19′s various shortcomings. When that didn’t work, they resorted to yelling comments, in Spanish, (not their first language) about the player’s mother.
It was very annoying. As I listened to her remarks becoming more lewd and suggestive, I found myself actually feeling sorry for her. I remember all too well those years that my self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence were inextricably, inexplicably tangled up somehow with boys. Most of my friends were the same.
In our world, attention from boys equaled worth. I didn’t get much attention in that area. I was always the best friend that guys vented to about their girlfriends (usually my friends). On the scale of self-worth and confidence, I was in the negative numbers.
I had friends who were very popular with guys, for the same reason the girl at the Tiger’s game was popular. These friends had more boyfriends than I, but no more self-esteem or confidence.
It would be easy to blame guys for this predicament, but it’s not that simple. We were the ones who decided that we would settle for attention based on our looks and bodies. Didn’t we realize how empty that was? Or, were we so desperate, we didn’t care?
I wasted so much of “me” in those days and I’m so thankful I outgrew that mentality. Part of me wanted to put my arms around the girl at the game, and tell her that she was worth so much more than she was giving herself credit for.
But I don’t think she would have believed me.
The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us.
~Robert Louis Stevenson
April 1, 2011
Chances are you’ve never heard of the “Detroit Tiger Curse” or where it came from. I can’t keep it to myself any longer. I need to tell someone.
I live in a suburb of Detroit. Everyone loves our baseball team, the Tigers. A few years ago the Tiger’s slogan was “Who’s your Tiger?”. Everyone had a Tiger. I decided I wanted one too.
I chose my first Tiger, Nate Robertson, after watching an interview with him. I knew he was the one for me. He seemed like such a nice guy with a nice smile. He was a very good pitcher too. And to top it off, his wife had just had a baby. He was a family man.
I watched with dismay as his stats began to slide. I began to pray for him. He had a baby to support for heaven’s sake. When he got sent back to the minors, I cried.
My kids told me to get a another Tiger. As if it could be that easy. Did they not learn loyalty from me?
Even after Nate left the Tigers, it was a while before I could choose another. But the time came. Although I would never forget Nate, I had to have a new Tiger to cheer for. I was determined to pick one that would last. No pitchers. A young one. Good-looking wouldn’t hurt either.
I watched the games with an eagle eye. I didn’t pay attention to what was going on; just to the players.
Hey, number 26 just hit another home run! Who is he? Brennan. I love that name and he’s good looking (name and looks: the same strategy I use for choosing wine). I didn’t want to make a rash decision so I kept my eye on him. When I found out that he hit a home run his first time at bat in the major league just a month earlier, I made my choice. Brennan Boesch became my new Tiger. (I’m sorry, Nate).
Things were great for a few months. His name was being bandied around for Rookie of the Year. Then the nightmare began again. Boesch hit 12 home runs and had 49 RBIs in the first half of the season. In the second half, he hit 2 home runs and had 18 RBIs. I had cursed him as well.
Officially, the “Who’s Your Tiger?” campaign was discarded a few years ago, but here we still have our Tigers and no front office can take that away from us.
As the 2011 season gets underway, I am faced with a dilemma. Can I be selfless? Do I relinquish Brennan Boesch in an effort to reverse the curse I’ve placed on him? Or do I selfishly hold on, and hope and pray during the season that the curse will be broken?
BTW-Click on the link to read a great interview with Brennan:
PS-I still miss you Nate.