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LansingGuy

Are Sportswriters Out Of Touch?

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If you take a look at todays recaps and editorials of yesterdays home opener, you would think that we should all pack our bags and leave town to support another team. Apparently, we should just give up on the the team, there is no hope at all.

When exactly did hometown sportswriters become so cynical? Are they not part of the fabric of the community, are they not supposed to help us be positive about our team, despite what we all know?

The thing that upsets me the most I guess, is that they feel we need to be forced fed this constant drivel of all the negative points of the team. But more than that, they think we live in some kind of bubble and we don't see what they see. So they keep pounding it home, day after day after day.

I don't think I'm a stupid person, I know and follow this team as fervently as I did 30 years ago. I know the realities and how good or bad this team actually is. And as a result, I don't need a silly sportswriter telling me every single day what those points are.

What ever happened to loyalty to the team they are covering? For the life of me, if I was a player on the Tiger team, I would never give any of them the time of day. The old adage, if your not for me, your against me, applies. LG

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I agree with everything you said and the only explanation I can think of is that the sports columnists in this town feel that we feed off of negative press. Look at the Lions and how much they've been bombarded in the papers through the years. Whether it's deserved or not, negative press seems to get more people interested and fired up.

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IMHO

Sports reporters, be they newspaper/radio/tv, are much like news reporters in that they are more concerned what their colleagues think of them than they are about the team they cover or their readers/listeners/viewers. Showing support for the team they are covering shows "weakness." If the reporter actually buys into what the Tigers are doing, they're seen as "kow-towing." The good ones - i.e. J-P McCarthy, Joe Falls, even Ernie Harwell, don't give a rip what their colleagues think. They root(ed) for the Tigers.

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Sports columnists specialize in hyperbole.

This form of writing gets your point across very well because you pound it into your readers head. A convenient tool when the only alternative is using your critical thinking skills and trying to analyze and understand what you're watching. Why bother when you can just take a populist opinion and hammer it home with some nice emotional language.

Plus, writing something negative is a lot more fun than being positive.

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'Learning to respect the game'

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

By Bob Becker

The Grand Rapids Press

DETROIT -- Look at it this way. The Tigers are only a game out of first place in the American League's Central Division.

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It is very possible that this will be the last time in 2003 that we will be able to say that.

The pitching wasn't bad Monday -- Mike Maroth was effective over seven innings, hurt only by Dustan Mohr's second-inning homer -- but the hitting was anemic.

Defensively, the young kids up the middle looked pretty good, and the new fences will no doubt help the home run production in Comerica Park, unfortunately more for the visitors than the home team.

All-in-all, Monday's opening day went pretty much as expected. It was cold -- and the Tigers lost.

Alan Trammell has the makings of a great manager. But he isn't a miracle worker, and it would take a conjurer of great skill to turn this ball club into anything remotely resembling a contender.

But hey, you have to start somewhere.

In past seasons, the Tigers started the same way, knowing they had no chance to contend. They also did not have a viable plan, nor any promise, to begin winning any time soon.

This year things are different. The chances are good that the Tigers will lose 100 games again, the third time in a row. If they dodge that bullet, they will nevertheless be close to that 100-loss season.

But this time there will be method to their madness. Twelve of the 25 players who dressed Monday were making their first opening-day appearance. Seven had less than 100 days of Major League Baseball experience, 11 have yet to complete a full season of major league play, and 17 have not been in the bigs for three years yet.

You call that building a foundation.

And they are building in the right way.

"All these young kids are learning what it means to be a professional," Hall of Fame Al Kaline said. "They are learning to respect the game. That has been missing for awhile.

"They will make mistakes, but they will learn from their mistakes. They will get better, because guys like Tram and (Kirk) Gibson and (Lance) Parrish will demand it of them."

"I'm excited," Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell said. "There is nothing to say that this team will be good this summer, but I think they will play hard, and I think fans will appreciate the effort and the fact that they will play hard and conduct themselves in the right manner. This is how you start getting it back."

Both Omar Infante and Dmitri Young made running errors Monday, Infante not hustling on a liner to short that was dropped, and Young not running at all at a ball that rolled in from of first.

They heard about it when they got to the dugout.

Later in the game, it was Infante who scored from second on an infield hit, never slowing down when he rounded third.

That is the kind of baseball Trammell is teaching. He knows the Tigers have to manufacture runs, he wants them running, always looking to put pressure on the defense.

"We have to make things happen, we have to take advantage every time we get on base," leadoff man Gene Kingsale said. Kingsale dropped a bunt down the third base side of the pitcher's mound to open the Tigers first, but was out trying to steal second.

This is not your typical Tigers team. There are similarities -- look under the loss column -- but Trammell is having an impact. There are 50 some pictures of former Tigers all around the clubhouse, to remind the players that this was once a respected franchise. And it could be again.

"Other teams do this," Trammell said. "We want each of the young players to understand what this organization is about."

He also opened an alumni room, inviting back former players any time they are available to visit.

"People who have been around for awhile know what this organization was about for many years," Harwell said. "You need talent to rebuild, but you also need players who respect the ball club, who appreciate and understand its history."

I know you are tired of hearing "It's going to take time."

Well, IT IS GOING TO TAKE TIME!

This time, however, the Tigers are doing things that make sense. The are re-connecting with the past, bringing back pride in the Olde English D, and they are putting the future in the hands of kids who can get better.

Eric Munson...Omar Infante...Carlos Pena...Ramon Santiago...Jeremy Bonderman. Think about it. When Bonderman is pitching, the entire infield, including catcher Brandon Inge, will be 25 or younger. Inge, in his third season, is the veteran.

This could be an ugly season. But I'll tell you this right now: The future is going to look a whole lot prettier.

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A perfect example of a sportswriter, who speaks as a fan would. He understands what we think, he understands that we know the team is not going to be a division contender, but he gives us hope. His idea of the direction the team is going is what most fans feel. Not this hopeless doom and gloom forcast. Excellent piece and thanks for posting that. LG

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Originally posted by LansingGuy

A perfect example of a sportswriter, who speaks as a fan would. He understands what we think, he understands that we know the team is not going to be a division contender, but he gives us hope. His idea of the direction the team is going is what most fans feel. Not this hopeless doom and gloom forcast. Excellent piece and thanks for posting that. LG

Yes, it was a good article. I'd say that the majority of the articles in the Free Press and the News are trash. The only reason I read them is to get quotes, verify trade rumors, etc. Their opinions are ,for the most part, irrelevant. MLive and the Tiger web site are far superior.

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Originally posted by estrepe1

By Bob Becker - The Grand Rapids Press

Trammell ... also opened an alumni room, inviting back former players any time they are available to visit.

Not to be nit-picky, but didn't Phil Garner or Luis Pujols do this, too? I seem to remember talk about something like this a year or 2 ago. Maybe it never got implemented.

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