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April 3, 2005

">Alan Trammell Fired as Tigers Manager

by @ 12:08 pm. Filed under Alan Trammell

The writing was on the wall, and it became official today. Alan Trammell was offered a job with the organization as Special Assistant to the GM, but he’ll no longer be the skipper of the Tigers.

I know I’ve taken some heat for defending Trammell. While I know at times his decision making has been questionable, I never thought he was given the support and tools to win. Which is why I was calling for management to give him one more year at the helm.

Now the search for a new manager begins, with Jim Leyland being the odds on favorite. Although he’ll be courted by Pittsburgh as well, so we’ll see what happens. I wouldn’t mind Bruce Fields getting another shot as well.

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37 Responses to “Alan Trammell Fired as Tigers Manager

  1. Michael Says:

    Brian,

    Why on earth would you want Trammell replaced with Fields??? SO we can continue with the rend of managers with no Major League managorial experience, hence no system to put in place???? That is absurd! You are welcome to your opinion but come on man! I’m tired from the 12 years of losing! you should be too! what do you see in Fields that shows what it takes to manage a ballclub? the fact that he failed to teach patience as a batting coach? this team made a mockery of the importance of drawing a walk! Fields, as hitting coach, was the figurehead of that. Leyland will be named manager as early as today. He will bring with him a plan. He has a world series ring. Goodbye to trammell, cluck, gibson, and fields. Its over!!!

  2. Cameron Says:

    The Tragic Tale of the Detroit Tigers

    Also titled:
    “Alan Trammell: The Robbing of a Legend”
    or
    “Legendcide: Pudge, Dombrowski, Illitch, and a cast of 25 other miscreants”

    The firing was a terrible sham. How so? Let me count the ways.

    1) Trammell was not the reason the team stunk this year.
    Did Trammell cause Pudge Rodriguez to shut himself off from the team and dog it the entire year? Was it his fault Pudge walked 11 times (11 times!!!) the entire season?
    Did Trammell cause Magglio Ordonez to miss half the season due to injury, and then in the half when he was around to perform more like Kevin Millar than a superstar?
    Moreover, was Trammell the one who signed Magglio to a huge contract? Was he the one who signed Troy Percival to big money, when every other team in the majorís stayed away, knowing about his arm trouble?
    So did Trammell cause Percivalís injury? Did he trade away his last valuable closer (Kyle Farnsworth) in August cause he didnít think he was going to make the playoffs?
    Did Trammell make Carlosí Guillenís production go down? Is he the reason Carlos Pena stinks every April and May? Did Trammell cause Brandon Inge to go back to being, well, Brandon Inge in the second half?
    Or is it Trammellís fault that the Tigerís inexperienced, mostly untalented pitching staff fell apart in the second half of the season? Was he supposed to keep fighting winning battles with unloaded weapons?
    No. None of these problems originated with Trammell. He was not the main culprit behind the lost season-it was the playerís. The secondary problem was Dombrowski and his crazy signings. And of course, the overriding problem is Mike Illitch and almost 15 years of organizational incompetence.

    2) Trammell had not proven he was a bad (or a good) manager.
    My point is not that Trammell was a great manager, or on the same par managing that he was as a player. Rather simply, it had not been proven yet. He may have been a great manager, and one day hopefully will be somewhere else, but we will never know in Detroit because of the hook.
    You could have put Joe Torre in as manager of these Tigerís teams, and what would he have done? 44 wins in 2003? 72 last year? Maybe 75 last year? I doubt it-but anyway the point is the Tigers lost because of lack of talent and player incompetence, not bad managing.

    3) The organization owed him more.
    This point is simply true, whether it is acknowledged or not. When they brought Trammell in before the 2003 season, it was with the understanding that they had assembled quite possibly the worst roster in the history of major league baseball, and one of the worst rosters in any professional sport ever. There was simply no chance to compete that year, but being the Tiger that he was, Trammell (along with Kirk Gibson, Lance Parrish and the others) came in to lead the team as best they could. It would have been easy (and in retrospect, smart) to say no thank you to Dombrowski and Illitchís offer, wait until the team had a chance to compete, but Tram took on the challenge. And simply for that, they owed him the opportunity to finish out his contract.
    He kept the fans from turning completely on that team, gave that historically horrible team a glimmer of recognition with the old Tiger fans, took the lumps, the stress, the horror of 119 losses simply for the Detroit Tigers? And this is how heís repayed?
    Wait though, it gets better. How else did the organization owe him more?
    How about 20 years of stellar play wearing the Olde English D!!!
    And you know what the amazing thing is? During his whole career as a player, Alan Trammell never once hired an agent. He negotiated all of his contracts directly with Tiger management! He never held out for what he was worth, never tried out the free agent market, but signed below market value year after year to help the team! He is the very embodiment of true Tigerdom! How can he be fired?
    Think about it. In the late 80ís, early 90ís, when Trammell was at his absolute peak after having been the shortstop of the 80ís (look it up-Ozzie Smith was a better defensive player but couldnít come close to Trammell at the plate, while Trammell was a great defensive shortstop himself. Cal Ripken was more durable to Trammell and was much better in the 90ís, but Trammell had a better first decade) and baseball was beginning to give contracts in the tens of millions of dollars, Trammell signed with the Tigers without even testing the market. Without even an agent!
    HE DESERVED BETTER!!!

    I could keep listing reasons, but itís just going to make me more upset. Letís just close this diatribe with this; where do you go now? What is your reaction as a Tigerís fan to the Trammell firing?

    Here it is. Let me make some things clear first. I have always had the Tigers as my favorite professional sports team. I always said if there was only one team I wanted to see win a championship, Iíd pick the Tigers over the Lions, Pistons, U-M, anyone. And I kept actively following the Tigers through every 100 loss season, through every disintegration, through every terrible trade, through every bad managerÖand through each fluctuation, through each disappointment, I never even considered ceasing to root for them. I was an extreme loyalist. Nothing could change that.

    Nothing that is, except for this. Theyíve finally done it. Dombrowski, Illitch, Pudge, theyíll all conspired to do what 15 years of horrible baseball could not do. Theyíve done what 119 losses could not do. Theyíve done what the Randy Smith (Randy Smith!!!) era could not do. And that is, theyíve taken away my passion for the Tigers.

    From this point on, I am officially apathetic when it comes to the Detroit Tigers. Next year, when they lose another 90 games, I wonít care. About a year and a half from now, when Leyland is quitting due to exhaustion from losses, I wonít care. Iím no longer going to die with the losses, no longer going to mind. And if the day does somehow come when they win again, it wonít be the same. I might root them on as it gets close, but never the same as it would have been before. The Detroit Tigers died on October 3, 2005.

    I shouldnít overstate things-I have too much Tiger fan in me to totally, completely turn away from them. If one day they were to become a good team, I imagine Iíll smile, be a little happy, watch a game or two. I still wonít root against themÖbut it will just always be different. Iím not going to really mind either way anymore.

    There are some things Iíll root against though. I will root against the Tigerís making the playoffs next year (hey, one of my Tiger wishes will finally come true!). I will wish for Pudge to retire soon (if heís up in the bottom of the 9th with the Tigers down, Iím rooting for the strikeout. If Penaís up, I wonít mind him putting it over the wall.). And there are new things Iíll root for-namely, whatever team Trammell ends up with next year, in whatever capacity.

    He was ripped off. Itís sad. Iíll just wait until Hall of Fame induction day, 2019, for vindication!

  3. Dan Says:

    Ridiculous, Cameron.

    Obviously, the Tigers didn’t tank because of Trammell. That doesn’t change the fact that Trammell is a bad manager. He is terrible, Cameron. Unproven? What are you talking about? It’s as though he hasn’t learned one thing in 3 years. He mismanages the bullpen very badly, he is a poor in-game tactician, and he doesn’t understand how runs are scored. He simply doesn’t understand it, Cameron. Were you watching the same games that I was watching, or were you watching tape recorded games from 1987? I’m sick and tired of the “Tigers owe Trammell because he was so great for us” shit. The Tigers owe it to us to attempt to field as good a team as they can and to get the best people to do the job. Trammell is far, far from that ideal. His teams have underperformed all three years, and they’ve underperformed pretty significantly. No, I don’t mean they were bad because of Trammell, I mean that they were bad RELATIVE TO WHAT THE PERFORMANCES OF THE PLAYERS ESTIMATED THEY WOULD BE. In 2003 they lost 6 games more than their Pythagorean estimate. In 2004 they lost 7 games more than the estimate. In 2005 they lost 4 games more than the estimate. That’s an aggregate 17 games in three seasons, and if you don’t think that has anything to do with Trammell’s misunderstanding of how his own game works then you are a nut and there’s no point in trying to reason with you.

    Alan Trammell was my all time favorite Tiger as a kid, and I guess you could say he still is. He’s lost a lot of his luster as I’ve watched him wet the bed over and over this season. Should they have made the playoffs? No, of course not. N manager is that good, but they shoud have won a few more games, and they should have been given a better chance to win more than that. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m sick of this Trammell fanboy garbage clogging everyone’s brain functions.

  4. Dan Says:

    I want an answer from everyone who has been defending Trammell:

    What difference does it make how good of a player he was? What difference does it make that we like him as a person and as an ex Tiger hero? Why are there any considerations aside from his ability to do the job at hand?
    I know he wasn’t given to tools with which to win. So what? Does that make him a good manager? If you do your best to judge him on his own merits, objectively, what can you say that justifiably criticizes his firing?

    Go ahead, answer these questions. I’d love to see you try.

  5. Brian Says:

    On the Bruce Fields thing, I just thought they’d give him more of a shot because of his ties to the team and many felt he should have gotten the job in 2003, not Tram.

    But yeah, you’re right. Things should get interesting with Leyland basically getting the job handed to him. Some players were grumbling about him (eyland) before Tram was even fired so he’s got his work cut out for him.

    He also seems like he learned a lot from his last season in Colorado. He even admitted that he sucked as a manager that year, so he knows his own faults.

  6. Michael Says:

    Cameron,
    You wrote;

    How about 20 years of stellar play wearing the Olde English D!!!
    And you know what the amazing thing is? During his whole career as a player, Alan Trammell never once hired an agent. He negotiated all of his contracts directly with Tiger management! He never held out for what he was worth, never tried out the free agent market, but signed below market value year after year to help the team! He is the very embodiment of true Tigerdom! How can he be fired?

    all of that has nothing to do with being a manager of a major league baseball club. Nice try though.

  7. ace Says:

    Dan asked: ” What difference does it make that we like him as a person and as an ex Tiger hero?”

    If Tram’s rep in Motown had anything to do with him getting hired (and it’s ridiculous to deny that), it ought to at least be a factor in whether he gets fired before his contract was up.

    It’s a business, right? The Tigers are a brand, right? Tram helped define that brand in a very positive way for lots and lots of fans (i.e. customers).

    There are valid arguments about his job performance as manager, and I’m just answering your question, not defending Tram to the death.

    The reality is, by essentially scapegoating a Tiger legend, the front office has risked weakening a valuable intangible no money can buy: the emotional connection customers feel toward a brand. This is a vital component of what business terms “goodwill.” If it didn’t matter at all, the term simply wouldn’t exist in that context.

    You sound like a bottom-line guy. Well that’s the bottom line. If fans feel further alienated from the reasons they love the Tigers — e.g. if they feel like the hiring of Tram and friends was just a cynical business ploy to begin with — then they’re less likely to buy tickets and merchandise and spread Tiger fandom to their families and friends. Less revenue, in a general sense, means less to invest in making the business stronger. Jim Leyland might be a better tactician, but he ain’t gonna turn that ship around.

    And winning wouldn’t necessarily solve all ills either. Sure, there might be a short-term bonanza from the bandwagon, but if you want to foster strong fan bonds, you must tend carefully to the basic emotional reasons that people would even care whether a team succeeds.

  8. Dan Says:

    There are some good points there, ace, but the fact is that Trammell was hired to promote the brand, and he did that part. The cache of Alan Trammell is no longer bringing people into the park after thede dismal seasons. At this point, making the statement that you’re committed to winning to the extent that you would fire a hometown favorite in order to pick “the right guy for the job” is just another way of keeping the fans behind the team. Trammell was no longer putting fannies in the seats.

    I applauded the hiring of Trammell because I knew that it was a good marketing move. Turns out he is a bad manager, which is just fine and pretty much expected, though I didn’t think he’d be quite as bad as he was. He had proven himself to be not very sharp, and he was jettisoned. Bravo.

    I never said Leyland would turn the team around. It doesn’t really matter that much who your manager is. It matters a little, probably, so I’m glad Trammell is gone. He was never my scapegoat either. It’s the front office’s job to build the farm system and put a decent product on the field, understand the success cycle, all of that stuff. It has little to do with the manager. That being said, I’m sure Trammell cost us at least a few games this year. Some really dumb stuff went down, in case you hadn’t noticed. Most of the people who argue with me about this don’t, and they forget what we’re arguing about. They tell me that the Tigers’ losing isn’t Trammell’s fault, that he wan’t given the tools with which to win. I agree, he wasn’t. This does not make hima good manager. It doesn’t make him a decent manager. He is simply a bad manager.

    You show me a winning team, and I’ll show you an emotional connection to the brand. Trammell provided this connection when winning wasn’t possible. Now his work is done. And by the way, this emotional connection to the brand is not intangible. It might be abstract, but it isn’t intangible.

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