The Tiger Way? Detroit to implement new approach in spring training

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There's a right way and a wrong way to do things as a Detroit Tiger, and the organization wants to make sure to spell that out explicitly. Yes, that means there will be binders.

The club is planning to implement a new program, beginning at spring training, that outlines the organization's fundamental tenets and standards, with the aim of creating a sense of continuity from the big club throughout the farm system. The all-encompassing program, a manifesto of sorts, will detail minutiae as well as big-picture items, both on-the-field and off-the-field expectations.

"Even more broad-based than just baserunning, defense. Even more broad-based, like there's a right way to do things and there's a wrong way to do things," manager Brad Ausmus explained. "There's a right way to act on the field. There's a right way to respect opponents. There's a wrong way to disrespect your opponents. Even more broad-based than baseball-specific stuff."

Not a conduct policy, but a blueprint for how to be a good teammate and professional.

"How you act on the field and how you approach your work and the game is an important part of playing," Ausmus said, though he insists that doesn't mean the Tigers will impose a strict rule prohibiting, say, bat flips.

Think of it as The Tiger Way, though Tigers general manager Al Avila insists the club hasn't coined the name quite yet.

"We just want to let some guys know what we want," Avila said.

The program isn't designed to be draconian. Rather, Avila explained that it will be "low key."

"This is very basic, sound baseball stuff that we feel is necessary to have some continuity and consistency within the system," Avila said.

The idea was conceived by Ausmus and the rest of the coaching staff. Ausmus said there was no specific incident that prompted the need for such a program, though he had been introduced to similar efforts during his playing days with previous organizations.

Despite a disappointing season rife with frustration, the Tigers did not have many fissures within the clubhouse or attitude issues. When a problem did arise, such as when reliever Bruce Rondon was sent home packing in the final weeks of the season for pout-pitching in an appearance, it was dealt with swiftly.

Asked about Rondon, whose actions seemed to rankle his teammates, Ausmus said he does not believe that the damage done is irreparable. He believes the talented prospect could earn back the trust with hard work and the right mindset in spring training.

"It's doable. It's definitely doable," Ausmus said. "If he comes back and he works hard and he shows his teammates he wants to be part of a winning team and he goes out there and you can tell that he's focused and wants to succeed -- it's definitely doable, but we'll just have to take a wait-and-see attitude with that."