Detroit's Manager Provides Reason For Optimism in Motor City
Before the Reds managed to muster a modest streak, winning five out of seven, they had been taking a beating in the press. Perhaps the most interesting piece regarding Cincinnati's futility was a satirical premise involving another team struggling this season, the Detroit Tigers.
Joe Posnanki published a May 11 column called “The Resistable Force Meets the Movable Object,” the crux of which ponders the results of a theoretical matchup between the lowly Detroit Tigers and the lowly Cincinnati Reds.
He opens by providing a multiple choice approach, citing five possible outcomes of a series between the Motown Tiger Lilllies and the Queen City Blues. The first option would be that no runs would be scored forever, based on the inefficiency of the two offenses.
Another outcome, according to Posnanki's Substack page, would be that no outs would be recorded and the runs would never stop coming. That scenario of course reflects the pitching disasters making up each club's staff, the main reason they are currently in the cellar of their respective divisions.
Choice five is the correct answer for the outcome of the game that will, quite fortunately for baseball fans, not take place. Simply scribble in letter E, “Really Bad Baseball.”
While the Tigers and Reds do happen to own the worst records in baseball, there are other teams Posnanki could have substituted for either. However, no one who examines statistics could justifiably argue against his choices, not even in fans in Detroit and Cincinnati.
Which group do you think has the more reason for hope during the 2022 season and beyond? Well, here is a hint: this team did not lose 22 of its first 25 games.
Detroit has the seventh best earned run average in the American League, while Cincinnati ranks dead last in the N. L. with a 6.61 mark. The Reds are second to last with a team batting average of .217, while four A. L. teams are hitting worse than the .221 mark of the Tigers.
Not only have the Tigers fared better than the Reds both on the mound and at the plate, but Detroit's manager has a World Series Championship and several pennants on his resume. Detroit fans can afford more optimism knowing their team is in the hands of A. J. Hinch, who won it all while managing the Houston Astros.
Cincinnati's skipper, David Bell, has not even a single postseason victory (nor even a single postseason run) in his tenure. The two things distinctions he has as a manager are both of the dubious variety, a record number of ejections and near tragic mishandling of the bullpen.
A sign of Detroit's faith in its last place team can be found in a remarkable stat, the size of its crowds. In spite of the continual losing, the Tigers have improved their attendance more than all but two other teams.
Aided undoubtedly by Miguel Cabrera's pursuit of 3,000 hits, Detroit in 2022 has enjoyed a 27% boost in attendance. Only the Blue Jays (59%) and Marlins (32%), two teams who have played winning baseball so far, have higher rates of increased spectators.
Less than ten percentage points below Detroit, ranking seventh best overall in increased rate of attendance, is Cincinnati. Even though its team started the season 3-22, fans of the Reds have boosted their average attendance by 15% in 2022.
Obviously support for these two struggling teams has remained strong, evidence of optimism in both cities. So Joe Posnanki could add a sixth possible outcome for the theoretical matchup of the Tigers and Reds, in addition to the assumption of poorly played baseball:
The game would have better attendance rates than three quarters of the rest of Major League Baseball.