Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Being a Tiger Is No Joke to Ex-BK Star

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Being a Tiger Is No Joke to Ex-BK Star

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

You won't hear Kevin Witt gripe about possibly being a part of the losingest team in the modern era of Major League Baseball. Not that he likes seeing the Detroit Tigers being an occasional punch line in Jay Leno's monologue, but the former Bishop Kenny High standout would rather deal with cheap jokes at his team's expense than the alternative.

"The worst day in the big leagues is still better than the best day in Triple-A," Witt said in a phone interview.

Witt knew what he was getting into last winter when he signed with the Tigers, who started him at Triple-A Toledo before calling him up to Detroit on May 15. This was a young team with inferior talent that was committed to rebuilding, no matter how much pain it involved.

It's not like Witt didn't have options to sign elsewhere, but he'd had enough of the minor-league lifestyle. With a wife and two sons, the only thing that mattered was the opportunity to get back to the big leagues and stay there.

Detroit afforded him the best chance. He just had no idea that the losses would mount to the point where the Tigers might surpass the 1962 New York Mets, who lost 120 games, for futility.

After last night's 10-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals, the Tigers (38-111) needed five wins in their last 13 games to avoid that dubious distinction. Since only teams with winning records are left on Detroit's schedule, the odds of a club with a .255 winning percentage beating opponents that have postseason aspirations aren't good.

Witt, who has started about half of Detroit's games as either a first baseman, outfielder or designated hitter, is dumbfounded by the team's record.

"We cherish every win we have because it hasn't been enough," said Witt. "You say to yourself, 'How have we won only 38 games? …

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