The Tigers are hanging around in the weak AL Central, just 2.5 games out of first place entering Tuesday night's game against the Royals. If they take care of business this week in Kansas City and return to Detroit for a seven-game homestand within striking distance of the Twins, they could be greeted by some of the best crowds of this young season at Comerica Park.
From the looks of it, the Tigers have the schedule on their side. While they're 2-14 this year against the loaded AL East -- MLB's only division where every team is over .500 -- they're 19-10 against everyone else. And they play just three more AL East games before the All-Star break, by far the fewest in the AL Central -- MLB's only division where only one team is above .500. The Twins, meanwhile, play 19 games against the AL East between now and the All-Star break.
Karsch says it "sets up nicely for the Twins to come back toward the Tigers, more than the Tigers to move up, although they could." He's just not sure how to "characterize the feelings I think this town has toward its baseball team:"
"Is is tepid interest? Is there developing interest? Is there growing interest?"
Gator says that might depend on how things play out the next few days:
"If the Tigers win this series in Kansas City, then they’ve got this four-game series against the White Sox at Comerica Park starting on Thursday night. Fantastic weather, it’s a holiday weekend, I have pretty high hopes that the Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are going to be well-attended. I’m hoping for at least 25,000 a game. And then if they do well over the weekend and you got the holiday on Monday, a day game against Texas, is a good baseball team right now, and then a couple more against Texas, is it possible that this is when people start to go?"
Furthermore, Gator says that if the Tigers are still "hovering around .500 in the middle of June, I would expect the attendance numbers to go way up."
We'll see. The Tigers haven't ranked in the top half of MLB in attendance since 2016. Of course, that was also the last time they finished above .500. Such is the power of a winning team.
"The truth is, none of us really know who the best team in the Central is," says Gator. "I think we think it’s Minnesota, but we don’t know. Chicago has all this talent, but they’re never able to do anything with it. Cleveland’s fundamentally sound and they have a superstar in Jose Ramirez, but they’re kind of hanging around like the Tigers are, and I think the Tigers are overachieving. Kansas City is a bottom feeder, so the Tigers have to take advantage of this series.
"Hut how good are the Tigers? Are they better than Chicago? Are they better than Cleveland? Right now they are, and right now they’re not as good as Minnesota. But it is a four-horse race, I think, for this division."
We'll see if the fans to show up to watch.
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