In a gesture that speaks volumes about the antiquated way the Detroit Tigers do business, Al Avila bellied up to the old typewriter and hammered out a letter directed to disillusioned Tigers “family members” admitting failure and outlining a new direction for the franchise. Makes you wonder if he had to take it over to the office mimeograph machine to make copies.
As news of Justin Upton and possibly Justin Verlander and others breaks this afternoon, it’s clear the missive was sent in an attempt to soften the blow to season ticket holders and convince them to keep spending their money on a franchise that is about to hit rock bottom.
Beyond the standard boilerplate platitudes about a new “home-grown” (ie. “less expensive”) approach and investment in the farm system, my biggest takeaway was his ham-fisted description of their new “decision support program” aptly named “Caesar” that will “house reports from our talent evaluators, as well as baseball analytics.” Have they really just been keeping all that in a desk drawer all this time? It’s 2017 and the Tigers are FINALLY building an analytics department?? Praise be to Jupiter!!
It’s hard to believe the organization has been as competitive as it has been over the last decade until now, but it also may speak to how the franchise has always found a way to fall flat on its face just short of the finish line.
While it’s good to know the Tigers are now going to attempt to use every tool available to them, it’s terrifying to think about how far they are behind the competition. Plus, as if the idea of branding your analytics database wasn’t corny enough—following in the footsteps of Theo Epstein’s infamous “Carmine” in Boston and now “Ivy” in Chicago—tying it to your corporate owner’s shitty pizza chain takes the cheesiness to a whole new level. It begs the question: Does it come with Crazy Bread?