‘Remove some of these nerds’: Joel Zumaya shreds Al Avila, Detroit Tigers offense in rant

Former Tigers’ pitcher frustrated by team’s dismal start to season

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya throws out the first pitch prior to the start of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 7, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Leon Halip, 2016 Getty Images)

DETROIT – Former Detroit Tigers star Joel Zumaya slammed general manager Al Avila and the current team’s offense in an epic rant about how disappointing the season has been.

Zumaya posted the rant at 10:29 a.m. Wednesday (May 25) on his Facebook page. At the time, the Tigers were 14-28 -- tied for the worst record in the American League.

“Is there any other true Detroit Tiger fan as disappointed as I am on how this season is going for the team?” Zumaya started. “Well I, Joel Zumaya, former Detroit Tiger, truly am disgusted, disappointed, just flat-out upset on how this organization has let itself fall into a category which I thought this organization would never see again!”

Zumaya said he can’t believe Avila received an extension to continue running the Tigers, saying it “blows my mind.”

Pitcher Joel Zumaya #54 of the Detroit Tigers winds back to pitch during the game against the Seattle Mariners on September 6, 2006 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (2006 Getty Images)

“They need to clean house,” Zumaya wrote. “They need to go through the main office and start removing some of these nerds that have no clue about the good ole game of baseball.”

By “nerds,” Zumaya is likely referring to the Tigers’ turn to a more analytically driven mindset. It’s a strategy that worked wonders for the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, and several other teams that rose from the ashes to win World Series titles.

Analytics aren’t the Tigers’ problem. But Zumaya’s frustration is relatable for most, if not all, of the fan base.

Since finishing just outside the final wild card spot in 2016, the Tigers have been one of the most consistently awful teams in MLB. They’ve finished last in the AL Central three times, posted the worst record in all of baseball twice, and never finished anywhere close to a winning record.

This year was supposed to be the start of the team’s ascension. Following a 68-61 finish to last season, Avila made several meaningful offseason additions to try to give the Tigers a competitive roster.

The season is already a bust, though. Detroit has no hope of making the postseason after an even worse start than last year -- something that felt impossible just a short month ago.

“The good Ole English D is too iconic, too great to even let (it) fall to these standards,” Zumaya continued. “My apologies I come so bold, but as they say, once a Tiger, always a Tiger! So I’m entitled to my own opinion, and I’m entitled to say whatever I want, whether people like it or not!”

Zumaya also included a graphic showing run totals from two of the worst teams in MLB history -- the 1962 New York Mets (40-120-1) and the 2003 Detroit Tigers (43-119).

In 1962, the Mets scored 617 runs. In 2003, the Tigers scored 591 runs.

As of Wednesday morning, the 2022 Tigers were on pace to 439 runs this season, which would be an historically awful performance.

Zumaya’s vision for the Tigers might not be practical, but it’s easy to understand his frustration. He’s obviously still a fan of the team, and after six years of irrelevance, this was supposed to be an entertaining season of baseball in Detroit.

Instead, the meaningful games are already over before Memorial Day. The “nerds” might not be the problem, but it’s clear something needs to change.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.