Few things are more depressing for a baseball fan than to reach the All-Star break and have your team hopelessly out of the running.
That’s where Detroit Tigers devotees sit today, with their team eight games back in the American League Central and sliding.
Eight games is not an insurmountable deficit; if the Tigers caught fire and went on a torrential winning streak, they could be back in the hunt. But the team has shown no sign of that kind of spark.
Instead of projecting an “it’s not over til it’s over” spirit, the Tigers have stopped fighting and are simply playing out the schedule. The talk now is not about plugging holes in the lineup, but of selling assets to teams that have hope left.
Fans should be prepared coming out of the break to say goodbye to some favorites, possibly even to such franchise cornerstones as Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera. That’s a pretty sorry point to reach.
Rebuilding will now be the rallying cry. Start from scratch with promising — and less expensive — young players. Maybe the housecleaning will include on-field management and the front office as well.
All well and good. But the reality still is that it’s just midsummer and already the baseball season is effectively over for the Tigers and their fans.
What a lousy thought. Now it’s just waiting for those few weeks of unwarranted optimism about the Lions that always comes before they actually take the football field.