‘Tigers Way’ an internal handbook, Avila says

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
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"I barely made it through September," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

Nashville, Tenn. — If general manager Al Avila could do it over again Tuesday, he probably wouldn’t have brought up the concept of “The Tigers Way.”

“This isn’t something we’re doing for the media,” he said. “This is basic, sound baseball stuff that we feel is necessary for the organization to have some continuity and consistency in the system. Quite frankly, it’s going to be low-key, under the radar. It’s not something we’re going to put out there — ‘The Tigers Way.’

“That’s not the intent. It’s for our internal use. We want to make sure guys know what we want.”

It’s hardly a new concept. There is the Cardinal Way, the Dodger Way. There’s been Billy Ball and Money Ball. The Pirates came up with their own analytics-based, organization-wide manifesto a few years back.

Manager Brad Ausmus was part of similar organizational plans with the Astros and Dodgers in his playing career. So, when he, Avila and David Littlefield, vice president for player development, began discussing methods and ways to improve the club going into spring training, the concept of an organization-wide handbook was initiated.

“We haven’t had this,” Avila said. “It’s something new. We are going to get the major league staff and the minor league staff together before spring training and hash out a plan for the entire organization. Baseball A to Z. We want players from the minor leagues, when they come up, there’s consistency from what they did in the minors to what they do in the big leagues.”

Avila would not talk about specific tenets or philosophies.

“Once you get into the organization, there’s going to be a certain way of doing things,” he said. “We want more continuity and consistency in base running, base stealing, defensive situations, philosophic views — everything will be uniformed and the transition from minor leagues to big leagues will be easier.

“We want to create a Tigers Way of doing things.”

Ausmus, who originally suggested the plan, said it was even more broad-based than that.

“There’s a right way to do things and there is a wrong way to do things,” he said. “There is a right way to act on the field, a right way to respect your opponent and a wrong way to disrespect your opponent or your teammate.”

It’s not a code of conduct, Ausmus said. The Tigers aren’t going to mandate that players shave, nor are they going to censor on-field celebrations.

“How you act on the field and approach your work in this game is an important part of playing,” he said. “I have no problem with genuine emotion. You want guys to get excited. But you can get excited and not disrespect the team you are playing or your teammates. There is a right way and a wrong way.”

The manifesto will be presented to the players in book form prior to spring training.

“We’re going to really go the extra mile to overturn every stone possible to help us become better — whether it’s on an individual player basis or team basis,” Ausmus said.



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