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You are the 1%

January 25, 2012

Today I listened to the BlessYouBoys podcast and in the hour they talked I did hear one good point. Kurt talked about how he would define success for the Tigers. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist of the remark was, “I want a team that will compete for the division every year. I want a team that is consistently in the hunt.” As a very invested party to the success of the Tigers, this is where I fall as well. But I’m a nerd. I’m interested in the draft, in offseason moves, in potential bullpen call ups, and the quality of a beat writer’s profile photo. Most Tiger fans are not like this. Us internet types do not fill stadiums. You know who does? MLive commenters and their extended families.

The average fan does not care about division titles. They want World Series appearances and World Championships. Why? Because that’s what breaks into their sphere of consciousness. That’s what people talk about in their real lives outside of Tigers blogs. When I make jokes about Andy Dirks having a thick neck the average ticket buyer has no idea what I’m talking about. Have you ever gone to Comerica Park and gotten the feeling that you care WAY more about the game than anyone else around you? That’s because you do. If you didn’t you probably wouldn’t be reading this silly blog. Did you know that (according to data I am currently fabricating)1% of Tigers fans consume 40% of all Tigers media? You are the 1%. The average fan asks if the Tigers are good this year on their way to the game. You all know that family that shows up in the 3rd inning, gets a butt load of concession food during the 4th inning, and leaves in the 6th inning because their kids are whining. But guess what? These people will all know who Prince Fielder is and love will love him.

Signing Prince Fielder makes a lot less sense to the hardcore Tigers fan because it jeopardizes their consistent meaningfulness in Major League Baseball. It increases the chance that in 6-7 years we are laden with an albatross of a contract and will be relegated to nothingness. It also ignores more rational, cost conscious ways to build a team for prolonged success. Prince Fielder’s contract is not “efficient”, it is not “elegant”. But Average Fan is willing to put up with the feast and famine. In famine years they unplug, in feast year they gorge. Fans like Kurt and myself want sustained quality with a dice roll at a World Series Championship so we have things to follow that MEAN something. Most fans want the big punch, the big name, the big high.

This is where Ilitch and average fan’s philosophies align. You heard him in the off-season. He wanted a big name, a big punch. Elegant solutions are for poor, whiny teams. Believe it or not the Tigers are one of the big boys who spend. Teams that spend more money get good players. The more good players you have the more you win. If anyone illustrates this blunt force power, it’s Prince Fielder. Sure, it makes me nervous. But I’m not nervous that this is bad contract, I’m just nervous we won’t do it again and again and regress into the lower spending echelons. I like the idea of being in the class of the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Mets, Giants, and Phillies because those teams win more. Moneyball was a fun movie, but it was fun because it was the exception to the rule.

Is Prince Fielder a good signing? Tigers fans are 99% sure it is.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 1:37 pm

    I completely get you on this. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who really likes baseball- much less the Red Sox. I work with a guy who claims dieharded-Detroitness… but didn’t know about the Prince Fielder deal until I told him…
    Alone in the universe…

  2. January 25, 2012 3:09 pm

    I came to make fun your attempt at “serious” writing. Honestly, well done.

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