It should be noted the Tigers entered September down by 3 games, carrying the burden/expectation of baseball’s sixth highest payroll. In the first two weeks of the month, they managed to teeter-totter near the lead, but again found themselves three games down with only a couple of weeks to play. They started September with a record of 55-50.
Enough has been said here at Baseball Jerks about the Tigers payroll and expectations. Owner Mike Ilitch’s “pizza money” for the time being has paid off. Lest we forget Detroit lost in last year’s ALCS to the Texas Rangers in six games. Adding Prince Fielder at first base after Victor Martinez’ offseason injury was a crapshoot, but to their credit, Ilitch and General Manager David Dombrowski put together the first Tigers team to win back-to-back division championships since ’34-’35.
You’re saying to yourself: this is Sports Jerks, why the sentimentality.
It’s well known that I live in Detroit and am a fan of the Tigers, and eat dozens of hot dogs a year at Comerica Park, but the fact of the matter is that the Tigers should have clinched the division last week.
Don’t let me invoke the Debbie-Downer-esque attitude of Detroit’s baseball pundits, most notably Mike Valenti of 97.1 FM’s The Ticket, but let me point out that the 2012 Tigers slipped into the playoffs with the help of the Chicago White Sox, making the Sox jerks, to an extent.
Chicago won tonight in an 11-0 blowout at Cleveland, but in their last thirteen games have gone 3-10, essentially handing the AL title to Detroit.
What’s done is done. The Tigers have sealed the deal, and the seal has been broken in Chicago. Look for the White Sox among our leaderboards for September Jerks of the Month.