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#DahlToDetroit: The Origin, Growth, and Meaning.

Wow. What a week and a half it’s been. Nine days ago David Dahl was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies. Today? Tigers General Manager Al Avila was asked what he thought about David Dahl being an option to sign this off-season. Life comes at you fast.

The last four years of the Detroit Tigers have been very dark. Not only have they been some of the worst teams in the history of baseball, but they’ve chosen to be. This team will likely spend next to no money again this off-season, making it four winters in a row of “waiting for the right time” as owner Chris Illitch has said. Every year our fanbase is told that the team will spend “when the time is right”. Seriously? Half a decade? Fans patience has run out, and they have every right to be upset. It’s one thing to lose a lot of games, it’s another to lose a lot of games on purpose. The Illitch family is one of the richest in sports, and we have a bottom five payroll in baseball. Enough is enough. We deserve better.

So why David Dahl? Well, let me take you back to earlier this week. Monday afternoon one of the Tigers top team beat writers was quoted as saying “for those bitching about the Tigers’ patient, opportunistic approach to Free Agency…” and proceeded to defend ownership for not spending money this off-season. Needless to say, this did not go over with the fans very well. The Tigers’ Twitter community exploded (not me of course! I’m a great citizen and would never yell at anyone! ((*This claim is disputed*) Oh you think double parentheses only exist in math? I make my own rules. Watch this.)), and rightfully so. A team and an owner that would once spend any amount of money to win, and the fans never had to worry about a lack of a plan. Now? No direction, no plan, no want to win, no effort. Can you imagine? A beat writer with direct contact to ownership just straight up calling out a fan base for asking ownership to bring in good players? And not even TRYING to be nice about it? He said “BITCHING”! How ridiculous is that? The day that this happened was also the fifth day in a row I made one of my “Make a Video Everyday Until David Dahl signs with the Tigers” videos. Needless to say, I said very nice things about the beat writer and the front office ((*This claim is still disputed*) also double parentheses again cuz I’m built different). So… we were just told by our own front office to stop “bitching”, and that they weren’t going to spend money for the fourth off-season in a row. Dahl was an all-star in 2019, has had massive injury problems, and was one of the worst players in baseball in 2020. In Tigers terms: he’s talented, and cheap. This made him the perfect candidate to target in free agency in my eyes, and I started being very vocal about wanting the Tigers to sign him. You’re telling me my cheapskate front office could actually afford a guy who was an all-star a calendar year ago? Bingo. I came up with the hashtag that night, and I’ve been all in ever since.

Why did this blow up? This hashtag has been trending in the state of Michigan for three days now and was trending in the United States on Wednesday. It was tweeted by Fuzzy, GiraffeNeckMark, Foolish Baseball, and Cespedes Family BBQ. Today, Al Avila was asked about it, and yesterday Dahl himself replied by saying “Appreciate the love from the fans! They haven’t offered tho!”. I think its truly the perfect storm. For starters, people think its amazing how a fanbase can be this dedicated and passionate about a -1 bWAR player in 2020. We aren’t screaming for Bauer, Realmuto, or Springer. We know our front office refuses to spend. Tigers fans are so desperate. We just want something. It blew up in the Tigers community because it was realistic get for a former all-star, which is rare. I think it blew up for the rest of the country because no fanbase was going to fight us on who got David Dahl, and I think some teams sympathized with us. We just want something to be excited about for the first time in half a decade.

This movement is obviously about bringing David Dahl to Detroit, and I’d love nothing more than Tigers’ Twitter’s hard work to get this trending to pay off. This has a bigger meaning though. It’s desperation. This fanbase is so deprived of any even remotely talented major league players, that we started a hashtag that trended nationwide for a player who has never played a full season, and had a negative one bWAR in a shortened sixty game season last year. It shows our desperation for talent. I hope this is taken seriously in our front office for that reason. Whether we sign Dahl or not, I pray they see our desperation. Our want to be good again. Today, General Manager Al Avila was quoted as saying “we want to be disciplined” and explained how he didn’t want to spend money they would have to “get rid of” in the coming years. What? I’d love to see a Championship team filled with one year contracts. That sounds like an owners dream! Success and no long term commitment? Sign up all thirty owners! The problem? This has never happened in the history of ever. It’s quite literally impossible to do. What kind of a comment is this? Just flat out admitting that they refuse to sign anyone to a long term deal? That’s reassuring. Not to mention his incredible ability to make this somehow sound like a smart move? He said “DISCIPLINED”! Ha! He basically just said he is TRYING to lose! It’s really hard to not spend money and get good players, but we’re super mentally strong and will stay disciplined towards sucking? As you can tell I’m taking this extremely well. It’s been so long since any team in this city has been remotely relevant. I’m tired. We’re tired. Please give us something, even if it’s just David Dahl.

This hashtag is absolutely about bringing Dahl to the Tigers. That being said, it’s even more about wanting a front office who actually cares about winning.

We just want a front office that cares.

#DahlToDetroit

Scott Bentley

Detroit Tigers writer and contributor at Diamond Digest

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