The Tiger Den

Your home for the CP Tigers baseball team

The Fat Lady Sang (on more than just the season)

Posted by Titus on September 20, 2012

Well folks, as most of you already heard, the Tigers lost on Saturday to the Brewers to end their season.  Now the Tigers will head back home.  That’s funny because that is the same place the Tigers left their offense on Saturday.  They managed to only score 1 run against a tough Brewers team.  The Tigers went further in the playoffs than any other Tigers/Rangers team in their history.  And speaking of history…………

Jeff Nelson, the former leader of the pack is calling it quits after this season (coaching only).  Jeff will still be back next year playing the field but he is handing over the reigns of the team to Dan Titus and Scott Harris.

Let me tell you about the first time I met Jeff.  I finished my season in the Roy Hobbs league because I was told that I was too old to compete with the kids.  I didn’t know any of the coaches or guys in the Over The Hill League so I spoke with the league director and asked him to put me on the team.  He kind of hesitated and said that he had a team in mind that needed a catcher.  I said (in question form) “Okaaaaaaaay?” because I sensed his hesitation.  The league director said “Well, I have a team in mind but they are not very good.  Actually, they’re terrible.  They haven’t won a game in a couple of years.”

I have to be honest with you, that didn’t sound too appealing.  I thought about it and decided that since this team needed so much help, I could at least try.  I joined the Tigers.  It turned out to be the best decision I could have made.   Jeff contacted me for the first team meeting before the season started at Buddy & Pal’s.  I walked in and saw the guys.  They looked older than the guys I was used to playing with.  No matter.  I met Jeff and he was a nice guy.  He liked to joke.  He liked to drink.  How can you NOT like a guy like that?  One of the first questions I asked Jeff was “What do you expect out of me this year?”  Without hesitation he replied “Don’t show up to the games drunk and get more than 2 hits this year and you are already better than the catcher we had.”  I laughed but then I knew that I could relax and enjoy the season.

The next 2 seasons showed slight improvements from season to season.  At the end of season #2 with The Tigers, Jeff made a decision that changes needed to be made if he ever wanted a team that can compete.  Losing is one thing, but knowing you are going to get your brains beat in takes all of the fun out of the game.  He did an extremely difficult thing and made a bunch of cuts at the end of the 2010 season.  It sounds easy to make changes to a team, but to tell a friend that you can’t play the game that they love anymore with you is truly a difficult thing to do.  But Jeff did it and it took guts.  For those of you that have followed The Tiger Den for the last 2 years know that the decisions that Jeff made turned out to be the right ones.  The team is better.  The chemistry is better.  The baseball is better.

Everybody who has played with Jeff or played against Jeff knows that he has a passion for the game.  Everybody who has played with Jeff or played against Jeff knows that he cares about the team.  Everybody who has played with Jeff or played against Jeff knows that he is genuinely a good guy.  I’m glad that I made the decision to play with The Tigers.  I gained a good team, but also made a great friend.

THANKS FOR EVERYTHING JEFF!  The fat lady has sung on your coaching career.

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3 Responses to “The Fat Lady Sang (on more than just the season)”

  1. Chitwood said

    Great article Titus. Very true about the character of Nelson. He’s a class act, however, I don’t remember our catcher (when we were the Rangers) being drunk! A little side note on his dedication to the Tigers. We offered him a spot with us (Outlaws) when we decided to come to Crown Point and he told me “I have to guide the Tigers. I can’t leave those guys.” Very honorable considering the previous frustrating years. I understand his leaving the head coach position. It takes a lot of your time and gives you a different “perspective” of your friends when money and commitment are involved! Good luck to you and Harris. You guys are both nice guys, don’t let that change!

  2. dtitus1304 said

    Thanks Chitwood. I promise to remain a nice guy because thats all I know how to do. I can’t promise anything for Harris. The guy is a loose cannon.

  3. Ryan said

    Thanks for allowing me to join your team Jeff. I’m glad I’ve got to know you over the past two years and look forward to continuing to be teammates.

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