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Drew Sharp, Stop Pissing on Imaginary Fires. - Sauce1977 [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Drew Sharp, Stop Pissing on Imaginary Fires. [Sep. 30th, 2009|06:00 pm]
Sauce1977
[Current Location |Detroit, MI, USA]



Drew wrote a professional piece of drivel here, calling out Detroiters on the perceived lack of attendance at Comerica Park for last night's Tiger game.



Tigers fans missing on electric day

BY DREW SHARP
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

This was the most important night of baseball Detroit has seen in three years, but you wouldn't know it from the vast swaths of empty seats at Comerica Park.

Where were the fans?

Were they curled in fetal positions at home, praying for divine salvation yet believing that the Tigers will ultimately break their hearts?

It's embarrassing for a city that showcases its sports passion that the combination of a Tigers' must-win and potential Justin Verlander brilliance Tuesday night couldn't come even remotely close to filling up the ballpark on what was truly an electric day.

The Tigers aren't that good. That was verified long ago.

Get over it.

When you get to the 157th game clinging to a one-game lead in the standings, it stops being about what you're aren't and everything about what you are because that's all there is when you arrive at the moment of judgment.

All that matters now is timing.

Blemishes and all, the Tigers claimed the same two-game divisional lead over Minnesota following Fernando Rodney's final pitch at 9:57 p.m. that they had when Rick Porcello threw the day's first pitch at 12:07 p.m. They accomplished their main objective in a day-night doubleheader -- surrender no ground in the standings, and place even more pressure on their pursuer.

The time was right for Verlander to cement his role as one of the premier aces in the game when the Tigers had no alternative but winning the nightcap following their 3-2, 10-inning loss in the opener.

The time was right for Magglio Ordonez's first multiple RBI game since July 21 and only his sixth extra-base hit in his last 32 games.

The Tigers took a big step closer to becoming the most underappreciated divisional champion ever in this city. Neither appearances nor history hold any relevance when you can count magic numbers on one hand. It's all about winning any way possible, culling whatever determination remains from a grueling six-month marathon that has finally reached the finish line.

These were two fabulous games Tuesday, each embodying the raw energy and hypnotic appeal that's unique to baseball's pennant chase.

"It's October baseball in September," said Jim Leyland, who admitted not long following the Tigers' 6-5 victory that his heart still hadn't stopped racing.

Verlander couldn't bring himself to watch the first game. He didn't come to the park until after 4 p.m.

"I tried to watch a little," he said, "but it made me too nervous."

Verlander officially arrived as the pitching horse this franchise has lacked since the days of Jack Morris -- that guy who wants the ball in clutch situations because he knows he's money. He threw a season-high 129 pitches -- his third-straight start in which he's thrown a minimum of 126 pitches.

"I was calm when the (second) game started," he said, "because I knew that I wanted the pressure on me in a game that we needed to win. You want to be in that situation."

That's the "good pressure" of which Leyland speaks.

It's inexcusable they're not getting 40,000 a night considering the heightened drama. The economy excuse has grown some graying whiskers. It's less about how little money people have in their pockets but how little faith they have in this team.

This is the time when "good pressure" is fun and should be relished regardless of how unsightly it might occasionally look.

Contact DREW SHARP: 313-223-4055 or dsharp@freepress.com.





I want to stress a particular offending paragraph:

It's inexcusable they're not getting 40,000 a night considering the heightened drama. The economy excuse has grown some graying whiskers. It's less about how little money people have in their pockets but how little faith they have in this team.

Here's a second offense:

It's embarrassing for a city that showcases its sports passion that the combination of a Tigers' must-win and potential Justin Verlander brilliance Tuesday night couldn't come even remotely close to filling up the ballpark on what was truly an electric day.

Okay ... let me take you to a similar time, on October 1st, 1987. Tigers beat the Orioles. They were in the middle of a pennant race, a close one, at that, just like they are, now. Back then, it was Detroit and Toronto. It went to the 162nd game before it was decided. But there's an interesting number you should see ... 19,749 people attended the game at Tiger Stadium that night. Granted, it was a match vs. the Orioles, who were not in the mix in the slightest, but it was an attendance number under 20,000 for a team in the middle of a close shave for the division championship, a number that falls far short of the approximate 52,000 capacity Tiger Stadium held.

Again, in later games, Drew probably got his 40,000 number from the Tigers / Jays series, both in Toronto at Exhibition Stadium, and at Tiger Stadium. That is a higher number, for sure, and the Jays and Tigers were constant rivals in that day, so naturally the attendance would jump. Just a few days later ... the final game of the year approached a capacity number. But it's important to note that the Tigers weren't netting 40,000 every night even in the last successful division race.

Drew, baseball gives a city 81 chances to see their home team. That's 40 more than the home team in the NBA and NHL. That's 73 more than the home team in the NFL. There is no sky-high demand for baseball tickets. People get the most number of chances to see their home team play in MLB.

Granted, late-season research to the latest top club, Philadelphia in 2008, shows that the Phillies crowds were near 40,000 each night toward the end of the season. There were a lot of people in attendance during the Rockies late-season stretch in 2007, as well. However, it's almost never a case where a baseball club is selling out the tickets to its home games, no matter what the state of the club. And, Detroit isn't a worst offender. There's other instances in other cities. In 2003, 25,311 attended this 157th game between the Florida Marlins, the eventual champions, and the Phillies at what is now called Land Shark Stadium. The Marlins were fighting to make the playoffs. The capacity that year was only 36,000, but the weather was a balmy 81 F. The Marlins are a usual case among MLB clubs ... no matter how close something might be, a MLB team isn't likely to sell-out or get close to that number.

Faith has nothing to do with it, Drew. If nobody cared, and everyone was down on this team, that game's attendance would have been less than 10,000. On September 25th, 2003, only 9,296 attended Comerica Park for the Tigers win over the Twins. That year, Detroit only won 43 games. Their 119 losses set an American League record previously held by the 117-game-losing 1916 Philadelphia Athletics. They missed tying the MLB record for team losses by one game. So, in a sense, Detroit was in a heated race to avoid singular infamy that year, and look how the fans responded. 9,296 is lack of care, Drew, and things were almost as bad for the city then as they are now.

If someone wants any kind of explanation to the low attendance beyond usual baseball attendance routine, then look to the weather. Last night was in the 50s for temperature. Tonight, it will drop to the 30s. That is not the kind of weather that draws fans into a park for a regular season game.

Comerica Park seats 41,782. If the Tigers end up hosting playoff games, then the numbers will increase. If it comes down to a game-clinching event, the attendance will also spike. But until then, 25,000 in lousy weather in a terminally-depressed region is a fucking testament to the peoples' support of sports. 30,000 made it to the game last night ... 35,000 to the early game. Get it right, Drew, or blog for free like everyone else.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: thecesspit
2009-09-30 11:40 pm (UTC)
The economy excuse has grown some graying whiskers.

Maybe so, but there hasn't been some magical injection of money into Detroit to suddenly stop the fact people are hurting there.

SI has done a nice piece on the Tigers this week.

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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2009-09-30 11:51 pm (UTC)
I'm somewhat bothered by the SI's "oh it's so quaint, look at them Tigers fans singing songs and holding hands on the Titanic that is Detroit" sentiment, but really, Drew's is a king offense. At least SI doesn't ignore Detroit for EVUN MOAR BRETT FARRRVVUH!!!!
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[User Picture]From: thecesspit
2009-10-01 12:01 am (UTC)
I found their piece about Detroit earlier in the year worse... it was saying how lousy the sports are and bad the auto industry is, and woe is them to have 0-16 team and mass unemployment on every street corner.

Ignoring how well the Red Wings and to a lesser extent the Pistons have done over the last decade. Detroit may have one of the worst run sport franchises over the last 10 years, but it also has one of the best (if not THE best... attitudes vary, but the Wings winning percentage is some kinda awesome over the decade).
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2009-10-01 12:04 am (UTC)

yeah

Wings are the Yankees of hockey, no doubt.

But because it's a Canadian sport, American press covering things for the BRETT FARVUH DALE EARNHARTZ WHOOO DOGGIES crowd thinks that's like curling or something equally strange.

Edited at 2009-10-01 12:04 am (UTC)
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