Craig Calcaterra

Al Avila

Al Avila denies a decision has been made about Brad Ausmus

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In response to the Detroit Free Press report this morning that Brad Ausmus will be fired at season end, Tigers GM Al Avila issued the following statement:

“I have stated several times since becoming Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager that we are evaluating all personnel, and know that includes the players, the manager and his staff, and minor league operations. In fact, I reconfirmed with Mr. Ilitch and Manager Brad Ausmus this morning that these evaluations are on-going and decisions in any of these areas will be made by the end of the season.”

Awkward, as it strikes me as highly unlikely that the Free Press would run with something as big as the story they had today without someone in a position of authority giving them that info.

So forgive me if, despite this statement, my view is that Ausmus continues to twist.

The Tigers should fire Brad Ausmus now

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- JULY 09: Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers looks on against the Minnesota Twins on July 9, 2015 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Tigers defeated the Twins 4-2. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
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The news this morning that the Tigers plan to fire Brad Ausmus after the season is over really sucks for Brad Ausmus. But it sucks almost as bad that he still, technically, has the job.

Ausmus is twisting in the wind, somewhat humiliated by that leak and totally undermined by whoever leaked it. How can he manage the Tigers for another game with everyone knowing that he’s a lame duck?

If this was the business or political world Ausmus could just resign. But there’s this stigma in baseball about managers resigning. Jim Riggleman and Ron Washington can tell you about that. Being fired stinks for most of us — our pride would make us prefer to quit unless there were severe consequences for it — but Ausmus can’t do that. Because of baseball’s conventions in that regard and for the fact that he’d be walking away from more than a year’s salary the Tigers promised to pay him if he did. They’re the ones who want him gone, they should be on the hook for it all.

Maybe Ausmus wasn’t the best choice, in hindsight, to manage the Tigers. Maybe this season has been a disaster. But even if Ausmus needs to be one of the ones to pay the price for it, he doesn’t deserve to dangle in the wind like this. The Tigers, now that their plans have been made public, should do the decent thing and terminate his employment. If that keeps the final few weeks of the season from going according to Mike Illitch’s original plan, well, tough. Maybe figure out how to keep your employees from leaking those plans to the press next time.

Wanna buy Cubs playoff tickets? Fill out a fan loyalty survey first.

cubs logo
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This is fun. The Cubs are having a postseason ticket lottery. Which, of course they are, as WAY more people are going to want to buy tickets than are available. The pent-up demand for postseason Cubs baseball is big. So: good for the lottery.

Bad for the lottery: the page in which you enter requires you to fill out a survey which asks you just how loyal a Cubs fan you are. How often you go to games and how passionate a fan you are:

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Mere market research? Possibly. Or maybe just a bit of fun. But it’s worth noting that nowhere on the form does it say that your answers WON’T be considered for purposes of the lottery. Which, I suppose, makes it possible that the Cubs are weighing lottery chances based on how serious a fan the entrant is. On the other hand, it’s not like you’re under oath here or anyone is checking, so why would you not just say that you’re a CRAZY UNHINGED MEGAFAN WHO WOULD SOONER DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS THAN SEE THE CUBS LOSE?

Whether it is research or something else, it does seem somewhat pointless to put this sort of thing on your web page. But then again, the decisions people make about what to do with their web pages are utterly baffling to me, so I’m probably the wrong guy to judge.