An era has come to an end for the Detroit Tigers after they moved Justin Verlander just over a week ago. How should this time be remembered?
August 31, 2017 will be remembered as one of the saddest days in Detroit Tigers’ history. In the earlier hours of the day, news came from Ken Rosenthal that Justin Upton would opt out of his contract, and that trade talks had begun. Within the hour, he had been moved to the Los Angeles Angels.
What came next was something that hurt a lot more than that. Rosenthal also reported that Justin Verlander trade talks had come up again. To Tigers fans this was nothing out of the ordinary, as he had been in trade discussions throughout the season.
But this time, it was different. I know that I had a feeling that there was some real potential behind this one. Next, was one of the most disappointing moments that I had experienced in my life time. Fans like myself had to face that final reality that Justin Verlander was no longer a Tiger. What came with that was much more than just losing a stud player, but the end of an era in Detroit sports history.
My first thoughts on the end.
There is not much that can bring me to tears, but when I saw that Verlander was an Astro, I definitely shed a few. It just didn’t feel right, it just showed the absolute disappointment of no World Series.
At first, I was angry, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Honestly, I have shown throughout my articles this season that I had hope that some guys like Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmerann could turn it around. I had hope that this team could maybe give it one more shot next season. But, it’s amazing what just one guy being traded can do to a fans’ morale.
A part of me died when I remembered the rotation of Justin Verlander, David Price, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello didn’t get us a pennant. I couldn’t believe that Miguel Cabrera as a perennial MVP candidate couldn’t and won’t lead this offense to a World Series victory. It was hard to imagine a team that dominated the AL Central for 4 years never got the job done. I didn’t want to believe that it was over. I didn’t want to believe my Detroit Tigers didn’t win a World Series, and won’t again for a few more years.
My sentimental thoughts.
Then I thought back to some of my favorite moments of the early 2000’s Detroit Tigers. The first one that popped into my brain was Magglio Ordonez hitting a three run walk-off homer to send the Tigers to their first World Series in my lifetime. I remember seeing the joy on my Dad’s face as it was the first time he’d seen it in 20+ years and screaming my head off with my family as we celebrated that win.
(P.S. I still get chills watching this)
Next, I remember meeting Justin Verlander at a game at Angels Stadium in Anaheim and getting a picture with him in his rookie season. Then, making a trip to Anaheim nearly every summer after to see our Tigers face the Angels. Later, Verlander would win a Cy Young and MVP awards, and be a fan favorite player. I can still feel the moments of excitement watching Justin Verlander take the mound in 2011. Because lets be honest, we all knew that he was going to get a win.
I remembered the Tigers acquisition of Dontrelle Willis and a young prospect named Miguel Cabrera who I knew nothing about when I was so young. Little did I know that he would end up being the first ballot Hall of Famer that he is today. Especially after his back to back MVP season and a Triple Crown performance.
All these memories rushed to me quickly as I lay in bed contemplating and trying to understand the magnitude that Detroit Tigers’ baseball had on my life.
The reality of it all.
When it was all said and done, this was something that was bound to happen. The Tigers had fallen too far below .500, they lacked a farm system, and motivation. Their payroll skyrocketed to 4th in the MLB. Their GM and manager had left and retired. They also had a manager that took them from one of the best to one of the worst teams in baseball. And their beloved owner had passed away without a ring and a World Series flag flying in center field.
Changes need to be made, and Al Avila did the right thing in starting the full-scale rebuild of this organization. Avila restocked the farm system with a herd of young talent, and made it one of the best in baseball by selling veterans. No matter how much it hurt for fans, the Tigers organization did the right thing by calling an end to this era, and starting a new chapter in the Detroit Tigers’ organization.
Even with the absolute disappointment of the Detroit Tigers not getting a ring, this era shouldn’t be remembered for its failures, but for the memories it brought to fans. The Cy Young/MVP Verlander, the Miguel Cabrera Triple Crown/MVP, the should have been perfect game, and the 2 trips to the World Series are just a few highlights of this incredible time to be a Detroit Tigers fan. Most importantly, it gave fans hope that someday the Detroit Tigers would be World Champions again. And with the exciting young talent they now possess, hopefully they have taken the right step to get to a Series and win it in the future.