Reactions to Tigers’ fourth straight division title

Down the hallway from the celebration in the Tigers clubhouse, Alex Avila was talking with a scrum of reporters about the Tigers’ journey to their latest AL Central crown when Ian Kinsler crashed the interview with a bottle of champagne, telling Avila to open his eyes as he poured it over his head.

“Feel the burn,” Kinsler said.

The Tigers have celebrated a lot over the past few years, but they haven’t celebrated much at home. They hadn’t celebrated a division title at home since 1987. They made up for it with a playoff series clincher two years ago, and in 2006, but it’s been a while.

So as the Tigers celebrated, they were making up for lost time. They were also recognizing the struggle to make sure this wasn’t a lost season. It wasn’t a crazy celebration, but it was still a notable one.

“There’s not too many storybook seasons in this game,” Ian Kinsler said. “Baseball’s a game of adversity, and we faced a ton of it this year. There were lots of ups and downs. I remember early in May, our bullpen was shot. I mean, Brad didn’t really have a guy to go to. We were running guys in and out from Triple-A, just trying to fight through that long stretch that we had at the beginning of the season. You just remember a bunch of little things that happened that you try to overcome. It always tastes better when it’s hard-fought, for sure.”

Said Victor Martinez: “These four years, it’s been incredible to win. I understand that the fans were frustrated, but there was nobody more frustrated than ourselves, because we don’t want to go out there and strike out with a man on base. The pitcher doesn’t want to give up a run. We know what kind of talent we have here. We really were frustrated, and you know what, I’m really proud of this group today. We stayed together and here we are.”

More reactions …

Alex Avila: “I think everybody expects us every year to just run the table. We expect a lot out of ourselves as well. We had to make up for some bad play early on. We played really well for a long stretch, and then we played pretty poorly for a long stretch. You’re not going to make that up in a week. A lot of times in this game, patience is a virtue.”

Torii Hunter: “Look at Kansas City this year. Everybody said they were going to win the division, and they actually lived up to that. They played well, one game away from winning the division. This division is getting better every year. To win four in a row is tough.”

Dave Dombrowski: “There’s been some struggles at times, but people forget that other years have had struggles too. I was telling guys, ‘Don’t forget, in 2006, we thought we were going to win the division.’ Now, the wild card was different then, but we lost and ended up with the wild card. In 2009, when we went to Game 163, we were in a position where if we would’ve a couple more games won at the end, we would’ve been in. There are three clubs in the American League that won 90 games this year, and yesterday there were six scenarios where somebody could clinch something, and five of them lost. It’s hard. I don’t think people realize how hard it is. There’s a lot of good clubs out there.”

Brad Ausmus: “We were kind of envisioning this type of celebration for a few days now. Kansas City has played extremely well this last week, and really pushed us to the limit. We’re at the last game of the season. I think ultimately, the guys we have — they’ve been through this — didn’t panic, weren’t stressing. If you were in here earlier, there was music playing. Happy-go-lucky, but really with an underlying confidence, because of the experience that’s here, in terms of personnel.”

23 Comments

Way to go boys! What a stressful weekend. Listened to the game and taped the celebration to watch tonight. Have my tickets for Sunday Anything can happen. Pitching was outstanding all around yesterday

“@EliasSports: Before the Tigers this season and last season, no team had ever won their division by exactly 1 game in consecutive years”

This was a stressful season. I wonder if Victor can hold up.

CB, you mean through the playoffs or over the life of a contract extension?
.
Talking about holding up, how is Rajai holding up? Will he be starting game 1?

“And now, for something completely different”:
http://wapc.mlb.com/cutfour/2014/09/28/96917666/gif-hunter-pence-inspiring-yes-movement-speech
This guy a real treat. Gives you everything he’s got on the field and has ability to inspire mates and fans.

well at least he wasn’t screaming cursewords in this speech, eh?

One of the reasons (perhaps THE reason) I chose KC to overtake Detroit this year is simply because a team doesn’t go to the postseason every year. In baseball, stuff happens to knock you out.
I used to watch the Yankees go to the postseason every single year and wonder “what must that be like?” We are beginning to find out. This is a really remarkable run and should never be taken for granted.

It’s really amazing!

GOD BLESS YOU BOYS and GOOD LUCK on the rest of the NEW SEASON.

wow gardenhire and co. fired

Surprised/not surprised about Gardenhire. Guess they want to go in a different direction but there’s no better manager if given talent to work with.

where do you think Gardy goes, then?

Texas or Arizona, maybe. Unless, he wants to take a year off.
.
— Bob

he could win in texas

Gm of Twins should take a good look and examine what kind of team he’s given Gardy to work with.

Mark Simon:
Take II– Worst Defensive Runs Saved total in 2014 (previous version was a couple days old!)
Castellanos -30. Hunter -18. Worst a fifth worst- Injured Miguel -18. Healthy Miguel -4

In the end, defense is over rated. They made it with the worst defense in MLB, again

Gotta find a place to hide Casty. He does not have natural ability to play at the MLB level. He could get better and maybe winter ball might help.
If you watch him closely he kinda double clutches when anything comes his way. He is not on his toes and moving forward but almost back on his heels.
At this point the play now relies on his arm to save the play and it just is not strong enough. Seemed like it was at the beginning of the year but does not have the gun that many 3rd sackers possess.
Can’t hide him in the OF and with guys like Moya and Collins coming up you can’t block them either.
I’m thinking you could make him a 1st baseman when Miggy starts to DH. The problem with that is Miggy will not be amenable to that for a few years yet. Nor would I want to see him do that.
Casty has to learn the craft, simple as that.

When I say “double clutch” I don’t mean on the throw, I mean on his preparing to make the catch–he jumps around in place rather than attack the ball.

Damaso Blanco commented the game last Friday. He said Castellanos did the right thing throwing over arm but then dig the ball in the IF. Like you, he also said, he should have attacked the ball not wait and got the ball on the bad bounce.

frankly he has another full year at 3B left before the org needs to do something. What do those numbers look like 1st half to 2nd half of season? Improvement?

I agree.
I would the think the numbers, certainly the efficiency, tailed off.
I think there may be something up with his arm.

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