Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Glass is Half Empty

Ok, so it's New Year's Eve, and I'm sitting at home because my kitten became suddenly and violently ill and needs constant nursing care. So I doffed the evening wear, pulled out the bobby pins, tried to comb the hair spray out of my ratty hair, and got comfy in my sweats. Uh, yeah. Right. I'm writing this post because I wanted to issue a resounding, guttural sigh of discontentment. After that, I'll think about possibly stifling myself to spare you from any more whining. But don't hold your breath.

Gerald Laird gets arrested for assaulting security guards. Come on. COME ON!

I mean, the Tigers off-season has become a brutal grind designed to pulverize our collective spirt. I feel like yelling Adam Sandler style.

I was running down the Tigers' projected starting lineup with a friend, and burst out laughing at our impotence half way through.

Dave Dombrowski's "This is not a fire sale" line cruelly taunts me as I watch our payroll plumb new depths.

I'm pretty sure that when the ball drops over Times Square tonight, it's gonna fall of its glittery axis, bound through the streets of Manhattan, hit the Interstate and squash my house. I'm prepped for it, anyway.

Happy New Year to you too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Remember....Always a Tiger

Good news. Timo Perez is tearing up the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano as a member of the Tigres del Licey. He's batting a cool .356 in 132 AB, with 26 RBI and 9 stolen bases (he's been caught three times). Fun fact for you, Timo's full first name is Timoniel. Betcha didn't know that, did you? I didn't anyway.

I always had a soft spot for Timo, and hoped he'd break into the bigs for good. Not to be. After being released by the Tigers in April 2009, Timo spent last season in the Mexican League playing for the Rojos del Aguila, where he lead the team with a .323 batting average.

Maybe Timo's hot performance in the Dominican Winter League will earn him an invite to Spring Training with a big league club. I'll be rooting for him.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

For Pete Rose's Sake...

Please, please please give me some baseball. I'm not making it here. The offseason's a whiteout blizzard, and I'm disoriented, hungry, and desperate. I'm contemplating leaving my stranded vehicle to face the elements, only to wind up frozen solid, dug out by a St. Bernard with a barrel around his neck. I've tried distracting myself with some good literature, only to find myself at the bookstore with some bargain book about the World Series, poring over the Tigers' entries with a fervor akin to Mrs. Robinson sizing up young Benjamin Braddock.

I'm seriously out of control. Now, I'm without MLB Network, where one Peter Gammons now holds forth in sagely wisdom. The Tigers web site sees fit to tell us about the holiday traditions of one Zach Miner. I get the idea, but it fails to satisfy the need for BASEBALL, you savvy?

Ugh, it's not even January yet. I suggest you send in some comments to salvage what's left of my ever-dwindling faculties. Give me some off-season activities, like sorting through a gallon jar of buttons, alphabetizing my husband's basketball card collection, or knitting a thousand dish cloths. Maybe a unique and challenging charity project to help some suffering little children. Perhaps Grandy would accept a mildly addled fan's assistance in putting the finishing touches to his coda in Detroit, the charity hoops event.

I'm reduced to learning trivia like no starting pitcher for the Padres in the 1984 World Series made it past the fifth inning. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Santa

I have been a very good Tiger fan this year. I, along with countless other Tiger faithful, endured heart-rending disappointment when my team missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins (after leading the division since early May). My life has been in ruins ever since. So, what I would like for Christmas is a 2010 Tigers team that overachieves, rookies that exceed expectations, a healthy Joel Zumaya, a revitalized and effective Dontrelle Willis, a Magglio Ordóñez who use his bat to silence those who criticize his rather large option that kicked in, and a playoff run. That isn't asking too much is it? On the contrary, I think it's a very modest list, considering the horrible pain of the 2009 season. Thank you Santa!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Relics

Another buried treasure found within that plastic storage bin was a couple of Topps baseball cards from 1987. To be exact, a Kirk Gibson and a Lou Whitaker card, pictured below.





I never really was a collector of cards. My fourth grade teacher was a true baseball fanatic. He used to give out baseball cards now and again to pupils as a prized reward. For some reason, he didn't deem me worthy. (Tokens of sympathy are welcome.) I think he was right at the time. I didn't value them enough, and wouldn't have taken proper care of them. Anyway, somehow I obtained and hung onto these two cards. Kirk Gibson was my original Tiger. When I fell hard for the Tigers in 1983, Gibby's fiery attitude and penchant for clutch performances captured my attention right away. The only two things Lou Whitaker has ever done to disappoint me are tearing cartilage in his knee while dancing at a party in 1988, and deciding not to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1984 World Series at Comerica last year. Why Lou, why didn't you want to come to Detroit and revel in the memories of that victory? We wanted to laud you, and you let us down.

Now if you're looking for a real site about baseball cards, and one that also includes thoughtful posts about baseball, click over to Grand Cards. It's a terrific site, which may inspire you to run out to your nearest store, fight the last minute Christmas shopping maniacs and buy a pack or twenty of baseball cards.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Evidence























Just in case you thought perhaps a blogger got really desperate for material and made up the whole story about that game in July 1985, here is a photo of my ticket stubs. Notice they were issued by Ticket World, and not the nefarious Ticketmaster. What idyllic days they must have been. There was a 75 cent service charge. Steep. My seats were lower reserved, and cost $7.50. I found an old Tiger Stadium seating chart. Gotta love the Internet. These seats were down the first base line in foul territory. Maybe I was in obstructed view! That's it! I finally hit upon the real reason for my total lack of memory. Whew. I was getting worried for a minute there.


Monday, December 14, 2009

The Lost Wednesday

So, I was looking for something today in one of those plastic storage bins, and I came across a genuine piece of my history with Tiger baseball. It was my ticket stubs from a game I attended at Tiger Stadium on July 10, 1985. I would love to tell you that this was a memorable game, and I have a bounty of riveting highlights to share. On the contrary, I've recall zilch from this game. I had to look up the game log on Baseball Reference to find out that I was at quite a little gem of a game.

Tom Seaver faced off against Jack Morris that fair Wednesday. I say fair because the game wasn't rained out. In reality, my recollection of the weather is no better than the game itself. I'm sorry. I suck. I would like to blame my blackout on some traumatic event, in which a period of my life was tragically overshadowed, and therefore blocked from memory. Nope. I have unforgivably forgotten a game I attended, one with a Hall of Fame pitcher dueling a potential Hall of Fame pitcher.

Jack Morris came out one top that day, pitching a complete game, 5-hit shutout, with four walks and 9 Ks against the Chicago White Sox (managed by Tony LaRussa). Tom Seaver wasn't bested by much. He went eight strong, allowing four hits and one earned run, no walks, and five strikeouts. That's right, the final score was 1-0 Tigers. I know, how is it possible not to remember it?

Lou Whitaker got the lone RBI, a two-out single scoring Tommy Brookens in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brookens had hit a double with two outs in the previous at bat. I would love to say that reading these details sparked my memory of Whitaker's single up the middle, a ball that just got by the second baseman, allowing Brookens to score easily from second base without a slide. Again, I let you down. I got nothin. In fact, I just made all that up about the single going up the middle. The game log didn't indicate the field to which the ball was hit. The no-slide score by Brookens? Also fabricated. Who knows whether he slid or not? NOT ME! Feel free to post abusive comments. I deserve them.

The win put the Tigers at 47-34, good for 3.5 games back of Toronto in the AL East. The game was well attended, with 33,748 other fans joining me at the ballpark. I wonder how many of them remember this game? In my defense, I was a little young to remember this game, and I had only gone to my very first baseball game in 1983. I'm sure I had no idea who Tom Seaver was at the time, and would have had no appreciation for what a great matchup it was. Well, I wasn't really all that young, but I'm trying to come up with a credible excuse here--please play along.

Hey, thanks for coming along for a ride on the amnesia express. It was fun, wasn't it? Wasn't it? More fun than reading ESPN's Rumor Central? More fun than pondering the Tigers' 2010 season, with true rookies playing center field and second base? (Actually, it will be fun to watch the young fellas develop, as long as your expectations are well, let's say tempered).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rewind: 1968 World Series Game 1

I don't know about you, but I need a little breather from rumor central, aka the Winter Meetings. So, MLB Network aired Game 1 of the 1968 World Series a few weeks back, and I recorded it. I had seen a sort of summary of the 1968 Series, with game clips, etc., but not any full games. Here was my chance. I just now got around to viewing the game. Well, most of it anyway. I got into the top of the 8th inning before the technician arrived to switch my cable provider, so I had to wave Sayonara to my recording--and bonus, my new provider does NOT have MLB Network. Let's get to the game so I don't snap and do something I'd regret to my "better half," who ordered the new service.

Curt Gowdy (long the voice of the Boston Red Sox) was the play-by-play man for Game 1, while icon Harry Carey provided the color commentary (George Kell was the color man for games 3, 4, and 5).

How amazing to see Roger Maris, Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Lou Brock, Tim McCarver, and of course all of our Tigers, just playing the game. Not interviewing, reminiscing, analyzing...just out there on the field.

Gibson had 9 strikeouts after only five innings, and racked up his 13th K after seven, en route to 17 large, setting the record for most strikeouts in a World Series game (which stands today according to Baseball Almanac). Denny McLain meanwhile, was struggling with his control, walking both Maris and McCarver on four straight pitches in the fourth (although not consecutively).

Julian Javier was thrown out trying to steal second to end the bottom of the 6th. The replay clearly showed he was safe, the swiping tag coming down way too late. Harry Carey simply said that Javier couldn't believe the call, the St. Louis manager Red Schoendienst did not come out to argue, and they went to commercial. When the telecast came back, the replay was aired one more time, and Carey did say that it looked as if the ump may have missed the call, but it was all so sedate compared to what would have gone down today. Now I know there were some fiery managers going back, but the whole scene just played out differently, from the broadcaster commentary, to the player and the manager. Quite fascinating.

Well, since my game was so unceremoniously flushed, that's a wrap, (you probably already know that the game ended 4-0 in favor of the Cards), but it sure was fun to watch. Next I search for full game video of at least one of Mark Fydrich's games.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Yankees Taketh Away

Today's trade has countless Tiger fans reflecting on Curtis Granderson's career in the Old English D. Many feelings of pride, joy (think all of the highlight reel catches), fondness, loss, denial, sadness, and anger are affecting us. Losing Curtis to the New York Yankees exacerbates these feelings to the highest degree for me personally. I could even handle him playing for an AL Central team. But pinstripes? No. No. No. Why is it the Yankees have their way with the rest of the league? Truly, I had to console myself with a big dinner from my favorite Thai restaurant.

On paper all the analysis says we win in this trade, although a lot will have to play out first to confirm that. Poor young Austin Jackson will have to cover the expanses of centerfield at Comerica Park flanked by Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordóñez. Now, Carlos and Magglio are among my favorites, but it's near lunacy to think the boy will be able to cope. Curtis Granderson himself has said that the CoPa centerfield is very difficult. Wow, nothing like being thrown into the fire (barring another acquisition).

Edwin Jackson was only with us for one season, but he'll be missed for his ripped physique, bared for charity, sporting a huge cross tattoo over his entire back. No, seriously, he pitched out of his mind for the first half of last season, routinely taking his outings into the 8th and 9th innings. While he faded a little the second half, he earned my affection, so I'll be checking his game logs for the D-backs next season.

Many sighs. Stupid winter meetings. I know the holidays are for giving, but I didn't know we'd be giving up our Grandy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Voice of Baseball

Ernie Harwell recently made an appearance on MLB Network's Studio 42 with Bob Costas. I caught the first airing on Tuesday night. The program was taped during the World Series, and Harwell acknowledged it would probably be his last, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer of the bile duct in September of this year.

I was rapt throughout the interview, even though most of the content was already familiar. Mostly I wanted to just hear his voice, and listen to clips of him calling games. To see him speak with genuine humility about his career was something indeed. He essentially glossed over the fact that he is an beloved icon, not just here in Detroit, but throughout baseball. Ernie actually said he hoped that listeners of his broadcasts felt like he was their friend, because that's how he himself felt.

I hope he knows that he fostered the love of baseball for countless young fans, me chief among them. I knew he was something special even as a 14-year old newbie to baseball. His storytelling, historical knowledge, and letting the game speak for itself were all hallmarks that stood out even to my untrained mind.

One thing I did not realize, was that Ernie did not begin using his signature home run call "It's Looooooooooooooong Gone!" until the late 80s. He was not using it at the time of the 1984 World Series.

The interview should have been two hours, seriously. They could only touch briefly on subjects, many of which deserved lengthier treatment. Many others, such as Ernie's recommendation of Jose Feliciano to play the national anthem (which stirred up a firestorm of controversy at the time, after the unorthodox, but incredibly beautiful rendition), were not discussed at all. If, by chance you've never heard it, please give it a listen here.

The late Bo Schembechler has made himself some enemies beyond the grave after Harwell revealed that Bo walked past Ernie's outstretched hand at event they both attended (quite some time after his infamous firing of Harwell in 1990). Bewildering is it not, that Bo was the one to hold a grudge in that situation?

It's been a syrupy post, but I'm not apologetic. When Ernie quoted his "That's Baseball" speech from memory at the end of the interview, I won't lie, my eyes were not dry. My original tribute to Ernie can be found here.



Clean Up on Aisle Four

Some genius who works on this site managed to leave off one of the bloggers who is indeed a member of the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes (DIBS). If you're looking for great analysis with a heavy dose of humor from a twisted mind, check out Rogo's site here:


While you're there, don't forget to give him some grief for making bad jokes at my expense.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You Heard it Here Last

By now, you've probably read about the prestigious DIBS awards voted on by Tigers bloggers from around the Internet. In the off chance your head has been buried in the sand, here's the skinny from the DIBS press release:

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and starting pitcher Justin Verlanderwere voted the Tigers' top positional player and top pitcher of 2009, in a vote conducted by the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes.

Cabrera and Verlander each received 20 first-place votes.

Cabrera had a .942 on-base percentage plus slugging average (OPS), which was good for fifth in the American League. He had a .324 batting average, 34 home runs and 103 RBIs. All four categories led the Tigers. His Ultimate Zone Rating of 2.8 ranked second of all AL first basemen.


Verlander led baseball in strikeouts with 269 and was tied for first in the AL with 19 wins. He had an ERA of 3.45. He led the Tigers in all three categories.

Voting was also conducted in two other categories: breakout player of the year, for the player experiencing his first taste of success in the major leagues; and most improved, for the player who made the biggest step forward from the previous season.


Rookie right-handed starting pitcher Rick Porcello earned 18 of 20 votes for the breakout honors. The 20-year-old completed the season with a 14-9 record, 3.96 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 170 2/3 innings. Also receiving votes were right-handed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson (1) and utility player Ryan Raburn (1).

Verlander was also named comeback player of the year, rebounding from a 2008 season which saw him go 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA and 163 strikeouts. He received 11 of 20 votes in the category. Also receiving votes were right-handed closer
Fernando Rodney (3), Raburn (2), Brandon Inge (1), Brandon Lyon (1), Jackson (1) and utility infielder Ramon Santiago (1).

Voting was conducted during the week of Nov. 9-15.


Established in 2005, the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes now has 21 members who write primarily on the Internet. Its member writers are affiliated with such online organizations as MLive.com (Booth Newspapers), SB Nation, ESPN.com, Freep.com, Bleacher Report, Yardbarker, MVN, Fan Blog and Fan Huddle.

The Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes include:

Bless You Boys -- Ian Casselberry
Daily Fungo -- Mike McClary
Detroit4lyfe -- Bob Biscigliano
Detroit Tigers Den -- Austin Drake
Detroit Tigers Weblog -- Bill Ferris
Eye of the Tigers -- J. Ellet Lambie
Fire Jim Leyland -- Mike Rogers
It's Just Sports -- Patrick Hayes
Jamie Samuelsen's Blog -- Jamie Samuelsen
Mack Avenue Tigers -- Kurt Mensching
MLive's The Cutoff Man -- James Schmehl and Scott Warheit
Old English D -- Jennifer Cosey
Roar of the Tigers -- Samara Pearstein
Spot Starters -- Blake Vande Bunte
Take 75 North -- Matt Wallace
Tigers Amateur Analysis -- Erin Saelzler
Tigerblog -- Brian Borawski
Tiger Geist -- John Brunn
Tiger Tales -- Lee Panas
Tiger Tracks -- John Parent
Where have you gone, Johnny Grubb? --Greg Eno

So there you have it. Look for more from DIBS soon, and thank you Kurt from Mack Avenue Tigers for heading this up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The "Untouchables"

Ha! There are no untouchables, naive little Tiger fans. That much should be clear to you now. Do Dave Dombrowski's words "This is not a fire sale" sound too much like "No new taxes" and "I did not have sex with that woman"? Words that are famously proven wrong at a later date, and never did ring true? Words spoken to pacify for a fleeting moment before the ugly reality is plastered all over, and the angry mob comes with fiery torches reflected in their eyes to....Ooops, sorry about that, I may have gotten a wee bit carried away there.

Actually, I'm trying to trust that DD means what he says here. My brain understands why the Tigers are doing what they're doing. We have a lot of bad contracts. I get it. The Michigan economy hasn't hit bottom yet. I GET IT. We didn't make the playoffs. IIIIIII GEEEEEEET IT!

A little lower down, my heart doesn't want to get it. I admit that I get attached to my Tigers. I want to keep them and hoard them. I don't want to see them playing for other clubs. I'd die a little inside every time I saw Curtis Granderson wearing pinstripes. Seriously.

Even further south, my gut has been sucker-punched, and is still reeling in a queasy, unsettled way. This is not how the Hot Stove was supposed to heat up. Couldn't we just ease into things by resigning one of our free agents or something? Sigh.

I heard some talk radio guys self-righteously saying that this should have been expected. It's the "Magglio tax," they say. We let his contract vest, and now we pay the price. Their bleak view conjures up images of decrepit, has-been veterans paired with unproven, wide-eyed prospects, in a most ineffectual mix. Fans were then asked whether they'd go to Tiger games next year if there is a "fire sale." For me, I'll be there in fair weather or foul. Bring your rain jacket. We could be in for the perfect storm.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The First Anniversary is Paper, Right?

The first anniversary of this blog came and went on September 29. At the time, the Tigers were still in the hunt for the post-season, so there were more important things going on.

I have had so much fun writing over the past year. It's been a great outlet for all my Tiger angst. Also, I've gotten to know a great community of Tiger bloggers, who were very kind to me as I was starting out. It's been great to have some like-minded folks to talk Tigers with, because not too many of my friends are as Tiger-crazed as I am.

I want to take just a moment to thank those of you who've taken the time to stop by the site and read. I know it's a lot of fluff most of the time. Really, thank you for coming back.

A special gold star goes to those of you who took the trouble of commenting. It's a lot easier to lurk, so I appreciate the extra effort.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary Old English D, and many, many thanks to those of you who made it a worthwhile endeavor.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Your "Always a Tiger" Update

Cameron Maybin needs surgery for a partially torn labrum, according to Juan Rodriguez of the SunSentinel.com. He's expected to be ready for Spring Training, and is the projected every day center fielder for the Marlins next season.

There is some apparent question of the club manipulating his service time so that he's not arbitration eligible until after the 2012 season. He was sent down to AAA last year in May, but was called up at the beginning of September after an injury to Jeremy Hermida (who was just traded to Boston for a couple minor league pitchers).

In 54 games, he stole only 1 base, and was caught three times. His average had sunk to .202 when he was sent down in May. He finished the season at .250, however, and started picking it up at the plate in late September.

Maybe we'll finally get a long look at Maybin in the majors next year. I'll watch for the chicken wing flapping as he runs the base-paths.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Have a Confession To Make

I'm not sure why, but a lightbulb suddenly went off in my head yesterday. It was with horror that I realized that I may have caused Dontrelle Willis' shocking meltdown. Before you commence to hurling all manner of epithets at me, allow me to explain.

In January 2008, I attended the Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan stop at Eastern Michigan University. I also purchased a special VIP ticket, which offered a meet and greet with Tiger players and personnel. Magglio Ordóñez and Carlos Guillen were heavily advertised as being a part of this event, which was to take place immediately before the public portion of the Caravan event.

Allow me to say that I felt very awkward with the whole meet and greet thing. It was like, yes I paid $50 for the privilege of meeting you, and here are fifty other people who did the same. When you walk into the room, we will all mob you. I will not ever do that again.

Anyway, Dave Dombrowski, Rick Perry, Mario Impemba, Dontrelle Willis, Rafael Belliard, and Vance Wilson took part in the meet and greet. Conspicuously absent were the big guns, Magglio and Carlos. I heard Mario tell someone that some of our guys "had to bail." Well all right then.

Anyway, I waited about four deep for a chance to "greet" Dontrelle. I welcomed him to Detroit, shook his hand, and let him know that I was excited to have him on the team. (Shut up.) I also mentioned that we were pretty serious about our baseball in Detroit. He smiled and replied "that's not always a good thing." I thought nothing of this at the time.

However, in hind sight, I did it. I put the screws to Dontrelle, started the pressure cooker that led to his inability to pitch. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do it. I wasn't trying to make him feel the weight of the world. I.....I.....I don't know what to say to make it right. I feel such guilt. How was I to know my brief encounter was the iceberg to Dontrelle's Titanic?

I'm sorry, truly. Forgive me if you can. And Dontrelle, you can save me from the wrath of Tiger fans the world over. We want nothing more than for you to be happy, to be on the mound again, doing what you do.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Are They Watching?

Do you think our Tigers are watching the World Series? In past years, I've heard mixed results from players who didn't make the playoffs. I remember Magglio Ordóñez saying he couldn't watch the 2005 World Series, because he had just left the Chicago White Sox, and they won it all the next season. He said something like it was the worst year of his life. Not to mention that the Tigers were awful (71-91, good for 4th place in the AL Central), and he had a hernia that year to boot.

It would be interesting to poll the wearers of the Old English D and find out whether they've been viewing playoff baseball. If not, what activities are taking up their evening leisure hours--Texas Hold 'Em and Guitar Hero? If yes, is it tough viewing, or are they rooting for friends, having parties, eating Doritos and talking about A-Rod?

Did they let go quickly and move on, because it's their job and whatnot, or was it a lingering pain that festered like mine did? Inquiring minds want to know.

I'm available for a World Series party, Tigers. Just in case you wanted to know.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Looking in from the Outside

Today I had to drive in to Detroit to purchase some Lions and Red Wings tickets. Why didn't I just buy them on-line you say? Well, I saved myself over $50 in fees by driving into the city and going to the box office.

Since Ford Field is right next to Comerica Park, I got a chance to see the old girl. In fact, I lingered, and looked longingly in at the field with blue tarps over the mound and home plate, the turnstiles covered in plastic, the bronzes of Gehringer, Cobb, Kaline, Horton, and Newhauser, the lonely Big Boy statue. A somber scene to be sure. I felt it all the more since the off-season has really only just begun, and it will be a long time before I enter the gates of the park again.

Just wanted to let you know the old girl is all right, latently waiting for the boys of summer to return to Detroit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Girl Gets Desperate

I'm not all aflutter about the Yankees or the Phillies being in the World Series. There will be no rooting for either of these teams. In fact, my intense abhorrence of the Yankees always waxes, never wanes. However, I am feening for some baseball, and for that reason the World Series will have my full attention.

I'll be watching as an observer. One who loves baseball. One who will soon be without baseball for an extended time. This time will be dark. It may involve coping measures such as watching games from seasons past. I do solemnly swear not to break down and watch the 2006 ALCS Game 4, however. It wouldn't help to watch it now anyway. We didn't make the playoffs this year, and trying to revive some past glory would feel trite and hollow.

I do have in mind to track down a game or two of Mark Fidrych's and watch those. I was a little young when he pitched to really remember. I've mostly seen wacky clips of him smoothing the mound and talking to the ball, and I want to watch a some full-length games.

I'm surprised and disappointed that MLB Network isn't airing some Arizona Fall League games. I'd be all over that. Maybe it will (hope springs eternal) after the World Series is over.

Anyway, just pining away over here 'til Spring. Don't worry about me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just What You Wanted to Hear

More on the Carlos Guillen soap opera.  Well, I'm not going to rehash what's already been said well elsewhere.  You can check out the Detroit Tigers Weblog, Bless You Boys and Mack Avenue Tigers for that.

My theory is that aging players have difficulty coming to terms with an erosion of their defensive skill set.  They cannot see it clearly or objectively at all.  It's not surprising.  These are premier athletes who have "yes" men stationed around them at convenient intervals.  Remember Sheff claiming he was more than capable of playing the field, and we're all like, yeah, right, one false move and your 40-year old tendons will rupture like flimsy rubber bands.

I saw Patrick Ewing play a game at the Palace during his last year in the NBA.  He looked like a dinosaur, and his knees were so heavily braced had no lateral movement at all.  Please don't get me started on a certain player who now wears purple in the NFL.  We understand that it's hard to let go.

I like Carlos.  A lot.  He's been a great leader on and off the field (I especially liked his insight into the feeling many Latin players have that MLB could just ship them back home if they make waves, his work to get the Venezuelan WBC team shaped up, and the way he used to have a few calming words for rattled pitchers when he played short).  I'm not sure why he didn't settle this internally before coming to the media.  Maybe he tried and got the brush off, who knows.  He obviously had frustration building for some time, and that can lead to eruptions that are later regretted.  I'm not going to brand him a malcontent just yet, because he's earned my respect over the years as a gutty team player.

Hopefully, he can stay healthy and earn the role he wants on the team.  By the same token, he should be able to accept a gradual shift in that role and playing time as health and skills dictate.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Former Tigers Interview With Tribe

The Freep referenced an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that detailed the interview process for a new Indians manager. Included in the interviews were two former Tigers, Travis Fryman and Torey Lovullo. Fryman did not make it as a finalist in consideration for the job, but has been managing the Indians A club at Mahoning Valley. I did not know that Fryman was managing already!

Indians General Manager Mark Shapiro was impressed with Fryman, and thinks he will get his shot at some point.

Torey Lovullo has been managing the AAA Columbus Clippers. He played for the Tigers from 1988 to 1989. Lovullo is a finalist for the job at this point. Also possibly in the running are Don Mattingly, Manny Acta and Bobby Valentine.

I kind of thought that Eric Wedge was scapegoated by the Indians. I mean, Mark Shapiro traded away Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez. I understand Lee, but why trade Martinez, who wanted to stay with your club, and who shed tears during his presser? Really, you get rid of a guy like that? OK. Whatever. There were some pretty significant injuries and under-performers as well. But, someone had to be the fall guy I guess.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see who takes the helm for the Tribe.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Have to What? To Whom?

Well, the time has come for me to evaluate Brandon Inge's season and determine whether an apology is indeed owed him by yours truly. I had scoffed this pre-season when the media and the Tigers were going all gaga over Inge's supposedly overhauled swing. I also said I would withhold judgment until after the season had ended and apologize to Inge if the stats so dictated.

And, the numbers do not lie........

AVG .230
OBP .314
SLG .406
OPS .720
HR 27
RBI 84
SO 170

Ahem. If Brandon had finished the season with a batting average of .250 or higher, I would have conceded that I owe him said apology, no question about it. That would have been a huge season for him. But .230? It is better than last year's abysmal .205, but we're not comparing Brandon Inge to himself here.

To be fair, I think that in light of Brandon's increased home run and RBI production (coupled with his stellar defense) I may owe him half an apology. Also, I saw something that showed him as being one of the top five in the AL in home runs in the 9th inning, or some such obscure stat that baseball is great at showcasing. Don't you love that about baseball? In the third inning when the sun is shining and a runner is on first base, Brandon Inge bats .342. We saw a lot of that spin on the scoreboard during the dark years of the late 90s and early 2000s. It was a kindness really. If all they had shown us was the hard stats, many fans would have impaled themselves on the nearest sharp object.

Also, Brandon showed us once again that his heart is tender toward little suffering children, visiting them in hospitals, hitting home runs for them and having them autograph his forearm. Many humanitarian, warm fuzzy points earned by Mr. Inge.

So, here you go Brandon...

I'm sor.......

Remember, half an apology, that's all you'll get from me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Putting the Screws to Zach Miner

I have been questioning a perception I hold about Zach Miner. My thinking was that he doesn’t perform that well under pressure. I decided to be fair to him and take a look at the numbers. Baseball Reference has this cool stat known as aLI, Average Leverage Index. It measures the pressure a pitcher is under in a given outing. The stat uses 1.0 as average pressure. Anything below that is low pressure, anything above it is high pressure. I’m also going to look at inherited runners that came around to score when Miner entered a game (because inherited runners that score make me want to break things).

It's been well-publicized that Zach pitched 12 scoreless innings before the fateful October 6 outing in which he allowed 2 earned runs and also earned the ire of many fans. I'm not hanging the loss on him by any means. It just got me thinking when many questioned Leyland's choosing him to relieve Porcello. The twelve innings in which he put up zeros came over eight outings. Of those eight, four had an aLI of over 1.0. In that same span, he only had two inherited runners. They both came from the outing on September 29 vs. Minnesota, and neither of those runners scored.

Let's look at his season in total. Zack pitched 17 outings in which he inherited runners. Of 28 runners inherited, 10 eventually scored for a total of 36%. As far as knowing whether that's good or not, the only data I could find was this older chart from Baseball Reference in 2007. It showed the top 25 in inherited runners scoring percentage. The minimum was 80% relief appearances and 20 inherited runners (with a funny reference to Kyle Farnsworth, so click over). Tops was .05 , and the 25th ranking guy in the league was at .21.

With regard to pitching under pressure, Miner had 21 appearances in which the aLI was over 1.0. In the five most pressure packed outings, he fared pretty well. Here's a brief summary of those:

Game H R BB aLI

6/24 1 1 1 2.68

8/1 2 1 0 3.38

8/22 2 1 0 2.87

9/3 0 0 1 2.30

9/5 2 0 0 3.31

Overall, Miner performed better under the gun than I had anticipated. His strand rate is not the best, so lets just bring him in at the beginning of an inning from now on, shall we?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Skipper Gibby?

Kirk Gibson recently got a two year extension to remain the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I heard someone (cannot for the life of me remember the source) say he might soon get a shot at managing. I had wondered about that.

I heard a radio interview with Gibson during last year's season. It was with some of the local sports talk guys (again, can't remember who--geez, should I be worried?), and he was very bitter about how things ended for him with the Tigers. So much so, that I was surprised he came back for the '84 anniversary celebration. I don't blame him for being upset. He Tramm and Parrish were set up for failure. They had so little talent on the team, and were brought in for their draw at the gate. I'm very glad he did come back for the fiesta, because he was my Tiger from that era. His intensity on the field always got me hyped. He thrived on clutch at bats, creating some of the most memorable moments in Tiger and Dodger history.

I would relish the opportunity to see Gibson manage. I hope he does get his shot. I'll be rooting for him. It's funny though, good players do not always the best managers make. Remember Magic Johnson's miserable attempt at coaching the Lakers? For one thing, a coach/manager can't be pining to be on the court/field himself. That can not work. He's got to be at peace with being out of the game as a player. Johnson clearly was not there yet. And I sympathize, since his retirement did not come on his own terms. However, he also had the unfortunate mentality that "these kids just aren't the same as when I was a player." A coach has to adapt the players/talent he has. Johnson couldn't or wouldn't do that. Hope Gibby fares better on that front if he ever takes the helm. Can't wait to see him at it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pulse Check

Soooooooooooooooo, mournful Tiger fans, how are you feeling three days removed from crushing disappointment? To be honest, I’m a little slow to shake this one off. Rogo of DesigNate Robertson was laughing at my pain yesterday. One good turn deserves another, so here are some funnies about his beloved Fighting Irish.

Sunday is the day I should have been attending a playoff game at Comerica Park. Hmmm. THAT’s gonna be a good day--more depression, another round of anger management classes, numerous tears to be shed. Sigh.

Arizona Fall League, I hope you’re full of interesting story lines this year. We’re going to need a distraction.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Walking Away Empty-Handed

When the game-winning run crossed the plate for the Twins on Tuesday, here's how I felt in the following moments. "He felt something cold and soulless enter him like another being and he imagined that it smiled malignly and he had no reason to believe it would ever leave." (Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses) A little hyperbolic perhaps, but a true enough representation.

Now, I’m finally in a frame of mind to put a coda to this season. Well, maybe not all the way there, but coping well enough to write without spewing incomprehensible garbage all over the place. Yes, I believe I do have what psychologists might term an “unhealthy emotional relationship” with Tiger baseball. Admitting you have a problem IS the first step you know. I may yet determine that abstinence is the only treatment for addiction, and begin following rhythmic gymnastics or race-walking. Twirling ribbons and gait-policing is where it’s at.

Yesterday was black, and I had to stay away from all media. All I saw after the end of Game 163 was the interview with Orlando Cabrera. Then I had to go underground for a little bit. I didn’t see any post-game pressers, didn’t watch one minute of ESPN, banned reading of newspapers and blogs, and most definitely stayed far away from sports radio. A friend let me vent a little via text. Thanks for saving innocent people from blasts of misdirected rage. Last evening, I gingerly tested the waters by clicking on the Tigers web site, and reading a couple blogs—in small doses, mind you.

I’ve always maintained that I’m not superstitious. That goes out the window as of right now. I’ve now twice had post-season tickets go unused. In 2006, I had tickets to World Series Game 6. I still break out into a pathetic blend of maniacal laughter and sobs when I think about that. This year, I foolishly purchased ALDS Game 3 tickets off the Tiger web site the day they went on sale. Never again. I vow to scalp tickets at outlandish prices from now on and stop jinxing my team. You have my word on that.

On Tuesday, some irrevocable commitments kept me from watching the game right at 5:00, so I DVRed the game and started watching it around 6:00. At that point, I had to put myself in a bubble and stay away from the computer and not read the texts that kept arriving at my cell phone. I had no idea the journey I was in for. I kept thinking I’d catch up to real time at some point. Then panic set in as I actually had to contemplate that I might run out of “tape” since I had set the recording for a total of six hours.

As to the game itself, it was incredible. I don’t take any issue with my team or its effort. Both teams battled like Titans. MLB must’ve been giddy over this contest.

Whining about the officiating is strictly verboten here. I saw plenty the Twins could have argued over in Marsh’s strike zone, and they did get a little chippy here and there. I will say that I believe he should have appealed on the Inge HBP, because his sight line was not good on the play. But to point to any one play and hang the game on it? No way. We had our chances and could not come through, creating a fitting microcosm of our whole season neatly wrapped up in the final game. I hate excuses.

I will call out Jim Leyland for leaving Rodney out there in the 12th. I don’t care if he asked for the ball. He had performed his job, and very well, but had already pitched 2 2/3 innings. No way he goes back out there. Sure, he’s the best person to close out a game, but he stops being that best person after he’s thrown 48! pitches. It’s not like we were completely out of options in the bullpen and were ready to start warming up a position player. I realize some of those options were not what you’d want for the situation at hand. Still.

The main source fueling my anger is our stretch-run play. Non-play is more like it. It was so horrific the only descriptor I have is schrecklich. Sorry to go other language on you, but that’s the best expression of my angst. We lost 4 of 6 to the Sox in the last week of the season. When the Sox acquired Jake Peavy in the final moments before the July 31 trade deadline, I knew it was going to haunt us. Everyone shot me down, saying “Peavy’s injured,” “Who knows when he’ll pitch again.” Well, he didn’t come back in time to help Chicago’s playoff cause, but he sure put a crunk in ours. Two shutouts. Blanked us twice in week’s time. GAHHHHH!

Maybe my anger is just a blustery front to cover up the brokenness inside. Maybe I need to face up to it and go have a little cry in a dark room somewhere, so I can come out and let go. Life’s hard without baseball.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reprieve

Our boys of summer live to see another day. Mind you, it's a day in the Metrodome, but another day nonetheless. I was having a hard time shaking off the feeling that I was heading to a funeral today. The skies were gray and overcast, and clouds dark with portent threatened to open up at any moment. I rode the Nemo's bus down to the CoPa, and a lady helped me get into a more appropriate game-day mindset. She high fived me, talked up our Tigers, patted me on the back, and gave me some fist bumps. Thank you Jamie for the pep talk!

Ryan Raburn showed up with his big boy britches on today, and swatted two homers to left. Leyland's gonna be wishing he'd played him some more down the stretch here. He got a couple of really nice ovations from the left-field stands as he went back to the field. Kudos, young man.

Mi Magglio went 4 for 4, with a double and a home run, WOOOOOOOOOOOO! Batting Average now stands at .309. Take that y'all naysayers. Do you think we'd even be in a one-game playoff right now without him? No. We would not. Go apologize to him.

Curtis Granderson saved the game for us in the top of the 8th. Holy cow, that ball was coming down, and I didn't think there was any way Curtis was going to get to it. That circus-catch-diving-grab sent the crowd into hysterics. Glad I wore my discreet urinary protection garments. Whew.

Rodney gets a four-out save, giving us a nice non-ulcer inducing 9th. Thank you, 'nando. Not sure if we could handled any drama today.

OK. Now Pretty Little Ricky gets a chance to be a hero at the Metrodump on Tuesday. I'll be needing a full support group to watch this game. Help.






Cough, Choke, Gag (Sniff, Tear, Sob)

Well, all I can say is, I didn't sleep well last night. I was having a recurring nightmare that we didn't make the playoffs. Oh, wait, that was just reality staring me in the face.

We now know how the Mets fans felt during their historic collapse. It's a scary feeling, I can confirm that.

I know, you say we're not out of it yet. We have Verlander going today. The Twins may pull a choke job of their own and lose to Hochevar today. Yeah, right.

My feeling is just that if we can't handle our own business, we can't rely on someone else to help us out. We failed miserably in the handle our own business department over the past three games.

I feel like the pressure is so great now, many horrible things could go wrong today. It's not that I don't have faith in my team, but I'm scared--really scared for today's game.

I'm going to today's game, so my fears will be played out in technicolor before my eyes on the field.

I know Leyland said yesterday that there is no need for motivational speeches in the pros. If these guys don't know what's at stake and how to get ready for it, there's a big, fat unsolvable problem. However, I now believe Leyland should go for the "win one for the Gipper" type speech today. Tell the guys he didn't want them to know, but he has lung cancer from all the Marlboro Reds. He's only got three months to live. He won't make it to next season, so let's win one now fellas. It could work, right?

Well, I've got to go prepare myself for battle. I must arm myself properly with my Ordóñez jersey. I must assume a hopeful, happy expression. That won't be easy.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Cringe-tastic!

I had such good feelings at the beginning of yesterday's finale with the Twinks. We had some great defensive plays (even one by Magglio!) that told me our guys were zoned in on clinching. So much for that.

During the rather strange unraveling of yesterday's game, rife with hit batters, retaliations and ejections, my constant thought was, "Don't do anything to get yourself suspended!" My hands frequently went up to my head as if to protect myself from possible brain explosion lest somebody do something rash that would have disastrous consequences. I'm sure it was in everyone's mind, as the dugouts and bullpens emptied harmlessly, with people in seeming slow motion toward each other. No one was rushing to throw a punch or anything, but it still made me nervous, because people who are angered can make some very unwise decisions in the heat of the moment, you know? When Marcus Thames bored holes through Scott Baker with his eyes, I was very, very concerned. Also, did you notice Miguel Cabrera getting REALLY chippy with the first base umpire? I had to plead with him to keep his head and not get tossed. He heard me, surely. That's because we met in Chicago and now have telepathic powers.

I knew when I was at the game Wednesday that Angel Hernandez would be Thursday's home plate umpire. I smelled trouble right away. Players tend to take issue with his strike zone, and that leads to frustration building up, tempers flaring, all kinds of bad, bad things. So, when Santiago was called out for leaving to early on a tag-up, I could see it all coming. Again, I'm imploring Leyland not to bump Hernandez. Sheesh, it's all a little too much stress for a fan to handle.

OK, Edwin, show us what you got tonight. We're all behind you.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ghosts of Weekend Past

Once again, I bring you day old bread. I won't bore you to tears with weak apologies about being out of town, having houseguests, helping with homework, blah, blah, blah.

I sojourned in the City of Wind over the weekend to celebrate my anniversary and take in some Tiger baseball. There were moments of solidarity on the L, as many Tiger faithful made the trek to the Cell. As we awaited our transfer to the Red Line, a man fully decked out in Sox gear was standing next to me. He espied my Tiger jersey, and gave me what I can only term the "stink eye." It was SO great. His disgust and ire were expressed in one small look. No words were exchanged. It was pure gall to him, standing next to me. He had no idea that his gesture made my day.

Everyone else was surprisingly good natured. I was prepared to have beer poured on me. No such tales can I provide here. Quite the contrary. Get a load of this "moment" between opposing fans. A rabid Sox fan behind us had her ring fall off and go bouncing down several steps to who knows where. Everyone pitched in to look for it, and I finally came up with it after a protracted search. As I handed it to her, I was stunned to receive a hug of gratitude. I hope SportsCenter got that--Sox and Tiger fan embrace!

Now to the game. Friday night, Eddie Bonine took a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. A Brandon Inge error planted Alex Rios at first, and the next thing you know, young Golden Boy Gordon Beckham goes yard (with two outs) to bust up the no-no most emphatically. I ask you this: when you get a quality outing from a spot starter, is it not criminal to then provide ZERO run support and lose the game, a game with pennant chase implications, no less? I'm sorry, it cannot be countenanced.

I was pleasantly surprised with U.S. Cellular Field. I wasn't expecting much, and our seats were fantastic, so perhaps I was unduly influenced. The Sox fans there were hype, despite the fact that their team was eliminated from playoff contention the previous night. I was impressed by the fervor. In fact, they put Tiger fans at last night's game to shame. I was there, and I was frankly embarrassed at the mausoleum Comerica Park seemed for such an important game. It was the ninth inning, and the place should have been on its feet screaming from Fernando's first pitch, and everyone was sitting in their seats like they were at the Opera (until there were two outs). WHAT...IS...WRONG...WITH...YOU...PEOPLE?

I love road games, because you get such great chances for player interaction. Our seats were four rows from the field about two section over from the Tigers' dugout, so I was standing down on the rail during warmups. Curtis Granderson, as you know, is from Chicago, and many people kept calling him over there to ask where to meet up with him after the game. He did a good job of not giving a specific location, rather speaking in code to them. Shucks. Anyway, he came over and was standing literally right in front of me about a foot and a half away, so I got to tell him how much I enjoy watching him play, and got a close-up photo of him. One guy who called him over (and obviously knew him) actually took Curtis' face between his huge hands and patted it. I could not believe my eyes.

Ok, so that was the supposed end of Tiger baseball for me for the weekend. I mean, I was in town celebrating a wedding anniversary, you know. Well, on the way back to the L, a Sox fan noticed my jersey and said it was a nice weekend for us and not so much for them, and asked whether I was going to all three games. I replied no, we had some other festivities planned for Saturday. He said he had lowers for Saturday's game 2 for $25. I tried to nobly shake him off, no, no we're going to a comedy club, we've got dinner reservations. My husband (insert picture of knight in glittering armor) says we have to take the tickets, it's too good a deal. What else could I do? I mean, when the stars align in your favor, you graciously accept, right? We checked the tickets for authenticity, and saw they were indeed for Saturday, and were only a couple sections over from where we were Friday night. The guy even gave us a tip on riding the L, so he earns five gold stars.

The weekend decided to bend itself over backward to please me. On Saturday afternoon, we went to some shops on the Magnificent Mile, splitting up for a short moment. Not sure why my husband didn't want to come into Crate and Barrel with me, but whatever. I was going to meet him outside of Niketown. So, I ambled over there, and he hadn't even gone in yet, because he was watching a street performer, who was spray painted silver from head to toe and was acting like a robot dancer. Quite a crowd he had, too. Weird. Anyway, I said I wanted to go into Niketown, too. We were looking at the kids section upstairs for a souvenir, when I gasped and blurted "TheresMiguelCabreraandRamonSantiagoIhavetogotalktothemrightnow." They were chatting with a friend, and I rudely walked right up and butted in. Miguel and Ramon were very friendly and gracious, as I gushed about how I was in town for the games, and so excited for the playoff run, and on and on like a babbling idiot. Then, I WALK AWAY WITHOUT ASKING FOR A PHOTO! Imagine my joy turning to self-loathing as I realize my mistake. Well, I directed another lucky Tiger fan to our heroes (sorry, guys) and he asked them for a photo right away. I decided to disgrace myself in a complete lack of pride and ask for one right after him. They obliged without any audible snickers, but I can only imagine the eye-rolling and worse as I walked away. I can only hope that I wasn't the subject of coarse clubhouse jokes Saturday night. Actually, even that's ok, because we won the game, and that's all that matters! Sign me up for buffoon duty anytime if it keeps the boys loose and helps us win ballgames.

Well, that's a wrap on yesterday's news, folks.

Magic Number: 2.

Stress level : 2000.

Game time: 1:00 pm Eastern.

Scott Baker's ERA vs. Tigers this year: 9.00


Monday, September 21, 2009

Collective Exhale

I hope we're all using this last off-day of the season to catch up on some non-Tiger-related areas of our lives. However, I admit that most of my life is consumed by the Tigers and Tiger-related themes. See, I'm writing this post right now. I've read Tiger blogs today, along with the Tigers web site, and local newspapers' Tiger coverage. The phrase "get a life" does come to mind, but I shove it aside dismissively.

This weekend's series nearly became my undoing. After Saturday's wretched loss, I found myself near tears contemplating our season ending without the playoffs. Get a hold of yourself, woman!

Well, we got the win yesterday, behind unlikely starter Nate Robertson. I'd imagine he feels pretty satisfied right now, contributing in large part to a significant victory. It's a far cry from losing a spot in the rotation out of Spring Training, grousing about it openly to the media, and hearing cries for his outright release.

Will any of you be attending the 1984 anniversary celebration on September 28th?

Could you take a moment to share memories of that fabled season? If you're too young to remember it first-hand, tell us some stories that were told to you. You may have also watched some of the games as "classics." Tell us what you thought of the '84 squad.

I'll tell you this, I'll never forget Kirk Gibson and Sparky Anderson talking about how Goose Gossage didn't want to walk Gibby, and the glorious shot Gibby punished him with that day in Game 5. How Sparky's hand went to his mouth as he watched the ball get launched into the stands. How Dick Williams must have kicked his own tail quite literally for letting Gossage talk him out of that walk. Glory days.

Here's to having some glory days to savor from 2009.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Apology Is In Order

In my post yesterday I said that only Justin Verlander and Placido Polanco showed up for yesterday's game.

That was oh so wrong.

Gerald Laird continued his brilliant dominance of would-be base stealers, cutting down Carlos Gomez! and Denard Span. I can't believe some people persist in grousing about his lack of offense. Are you serious?

I'll take this guy any day of the week. Our problem isn't that our catcher isn't hitting, it's that our entire team isn't hitting. I'm far more inclined to forgive a light-hitting catcher than say a light hitting third baseman. Just sayin'.

Anyway, I'm very sorry Gerald Laird. You showed up in a big way yesterday.

Pounding the Pavement

I can thank the Tigers for being the source of a unique experience for me tonight. It marked the first time I was so angry after a game that I had to run it off.

I'm no fitness freak. Far, far from it, as those who know me will attest. I likes to eat. However, there were a truckload of toxins coursing through my system after the Metrodome meltdown, and I was just enough in my right mind to know that I didn't want to start abusing my family members or punting my 11-week old kitten across the living room like a football.

So, I pulled on the sports bra and some shorts and took off. I only wish I had left right after Lyon surrendered the three run shot to Cuddyer, because at that moment my adrenaline would have propelled me for at least 10 miles. I am a "loyal" fan however (translation "stubborn and stupid"), so I stuck around for the rest of the debacle. Glad Verlander and Polanco showed up for the game, since noone else seemed to feel the need.

I'm really not one to make excuses, so I'm not going to mention that the Metrodome is evil incarnate and must be destroyed. I'm not one to lay blame in a team sport, so I'm not going to fault Jim Leyland for putting Don Kelly in left field at the aforementioned Dome. I'm also not a liar, so I'll tell you that I was ranting like a madwoman when Kelly lost that fly ball against the accursed Metrodome ceiling.

I've already been a wreck for these past two games, and now Nate Robertson is starting tomorrow. Not quite sure I'll be making it through the game without a ventilator or intravenous tranquilizers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Out Walking the Ledge

Sooooooooo, how do you feel this morning? (That is, if you're able to drag your tail out of bed and stagger to the computer.) Like someone worked you over like Ali's punching bag? Like you're hung over but you didn't even drink? Like your best girl (or guy) dumped you unceremoniously and without warning? All of the above?

Myself, I'm still reeling. Better recover soon, there's a day game today, folks.

I'm trying to get some perspective and quell the panic, I really am. But the way we've been playing is not helping matters at all.

Porcello did his job, I mean he didn't give up any three-run homers (cough, Jackson, Galarraga, Washburn, Fien, Bonderman, cough).

Now today we have to face Carl I-Can't-Shut-Down-Anyone-But-the-Tigers Pavano. I've already set a plan in motion to sabotage him so he can't start today. It involves luring him under the I35W Bridge, where another collapse appears imminent. Wish me luck.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Shaking in My Boots

Um, I'm what you might mildly term a nervous wreck for tonight's opener against the Twins at the Metrodump. We play like garbage there most nights, and it's no wonder, what with the giant garbage bag of an outfield wall they have. That place is a nightmare. Our record against the Twins this year at the dome is a terrifying 1-5. Let's all give thanks the place is being shuttered after this season.

Another reason for my trepidation is Minnesota's manager Ron Gardenhire. I respect him highly as a manger, and he squeezes more victories out of a smaller payroll than anyone I know. He also seems to be a genius in the motivational department, as the Twins are always making a late run at the playoffs.

Why is the fact that Justin Morneau and Joe Crede (wretched Tiger killer) are both out for the season not making me feel any better? Sigh.

I feel a great need for moral support for tonight's game. Shall we designate a sports bar to meet up, hold each other's hands and make it through this game together? Just name the place, I will be there.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

About that Bat Flip...

I guess I'd better clarify what I said in my previous post about enjoying watching Aubrey Huff flip his bat after hitting a game-tying three-run shot off Toronto's Jason Frasor in the 8th inning of Monday's game.

I enjoyed watching the replay, because it appeared that Huff was overcome by the moment, the importance of the hit, and how much it meant in a pennant race. The flip came really quickly, and the look on his face was like "yes--I just hit a big home run for my new team that is trying to win the division."

I don't believe the flip was intended to show up Frasor. There is quite a little furor going over the whole incident in some discussions I've seen.

I don't condone showboating, but it doesn't really bother me that much when a player pauses for a moment after hitting a big home run. Sorry, it just doesn't. Does it bother you when a pitcher shows emotion over getting a big strikeout to get out of a jam, or preserve a slim lead? Not me.

Anyway, congrats to Huff, looks like we'll be needing some more of his heroics, what with the Twins deciding to win every game despite being without Justin Morneau and noted Tiger-killer Joe Crede.

By the way, if the Tigers don't win one for Ernie Harwell tonight, I won't be getting over it any time soon.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Needs Offense? We'll Win on Errors

Aubrey Huff feels like a real Tiger now. No more cheesy fake-fur costume for him, those stripes are genuine. His three run shot in the 9th to tie up a game that felt lost injected the remaining soggy fans at the CoPa with fresh fervor. Watching the replay, and seeing him flip his bat after the no-doubter was especially touching.

When will people learn that you NEVER, EVER pencil it in? How did it feel to hear the walk-off win from your car, genius?

Marco Scutaro needed a few pats on the back last night as he walked to the clubhouse. Two errors (his 9th & 10th of the season) made the difference late in the game for our Bengals. Amidst the happy smiles and high fives after the game, I felt a small twinge. It feels odd to have the game handed to you like that. I wonder how Avila felt after hitting into a seemingly sure double-play, then getting mobbed on the field as the hitter of the walk-off...error? The feeling didn't linger for me, however. A win is a win no matter how cheap.

According to MLB Network's "Quick Pitch," the Tigers have now won 22 games in their last at bat, second only to the Yankees' 25 such wins, and tied with the Dodgers. Not bad company, and it makes for some high drama.

Oh Justin, will you ever exit adolescence? I know it seems totally unfair to pick on a 16-game winner, who has shown us at times this year that he is ready to put on some big boy britches. After getting out of a first-and-third-no-out jam to preserve his fifth scoreless frame, and just when I thought he had shown remarkable maturity, he melted down in the 6th. Sigh. It was mildly ironic to see some bleacher fans in right tracking Justin's strikeouts with large poster-board Ks. Justin Verlander--7 innings, 10 hits, 5 earned runs and 9 strikeouts! Woo!?

I remind myself that a win is a win.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

R-O-L-A-I-D-S

Well, actually, I spell relief W-I-N. We got one of those today. It's a good thing, too, or the vestiges of my sanity would have waved bye-bye, and I would have stood by watching helplessly like a three-year old who accidentally let go of his helium balloon.

Nice time to slump, Tigers. It's a little disconcerting to drop five straight in September, people! Ok, ok, it's not time to panic, but I had to get that out.

I was actually a little nervous for Porcello today. I know he's pitched great, but it's always in the back of my mind that he could crack under pressure, or finally hit the wall. No need for such piddly worries today. Thank you, Pretty Little Ricky! He also reduced some stress by going six deep, eliminating the need for long relief.

The bad news is, yes, we have to play the Jays one more time. I'm going to be at the park tomorrow for the wrap-around finale, so I hope I can influence the outcome in our favor. Justin Verlander will take the hill and try for win number 17.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Game 141 Notes

I'm still riding high from Michigan's last minute (literally) comeback win over the Irish. Hail to the Victors! RichRod silences his critics with a win over Notre Dame. Woo hoo! Rogo seems to think some poor officiating affected the outcome. Does is surprise you that a Notre Dame fan is a whining sore loser? Also, Michigan State lost to Central, so I got to heckle my brother. Good day so far.

Now, for the Tigers to stop the skid. I thought about going up to the ballpark and taking one for the team by offering myself up as a slump-buster, but....

Oh, Miguel Cabrera swatted a mighty drive to break a 3-3 tie in the 5th. What a thing of beauty. Both the sound and sight of it were so majestic and thrilling. Thank you Miggy for that little piece of perfection. Chicks really do dig the long ball. Later in the game, FSN showed a replay of the homer and celebration. Miggy almost knocked Clete Thomas over with a massive chest bump. It was so adorable, I giggled with delight.

On to the horror show. Edwin Jackson must get nervous pitching in front of family. Mama and a whole row of relations were there to cheer EJ on, but we had to witness his mother shaking her head after Edwin served up home run shots to Vernon Wells and Marco Scutaro. Let's not have the family come to Comerica again this season, OK? I know I've said I'm not superstitious, but there's no point in being reckless with the post-season on the line.

Fernando Rodney made me cry tonight. Why, 'nando? There were two outs. TWO! We realize it wasn't a save situation, but you've gone too far. You could have just talked to Jim privately after the game, in his office, and let him know you can't handle the non-save. You could have pulled up your pant legs and worn high socks in protest. But a two-run homer? That was over the top.

That's all I've got. Any more and I'll be sobbing afresh.