Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Way of the Ostrich

After yesterday's devastating 4-3 loss to the Braves, in which the game-tying run was denied due to yet another blown call by an umpire, I had no choice but to shove the whole thing squarely out of mind. If I hadn't, things would have gotten ugly. I'm not sure exactly how the horror show would have taken shape, but it might have involved me digging up worms from the back yard to play sous-chef with a hefty kitchen knife. Of course, if I had been thinking, I could have channelled that anger into some much needed eyebrow plucking, but I'm not sure inflicting more pain would have been the wisest move anyway.

As it was, I clicked off the TV, strode out the door, and calmly drove away to run an errand (not slamming the door on my way out, and not listening to the post-game show with Dan and Jim on the radio). Not quite sure how I did that, but I am proud of myself for not turning green, growing steroid-y Hulk muscles and shredding everything in my path.

To be fair, some of the frustration with yesterday's loss has to do with not playing well on the road, and not playing well against top-tier teams. It doesn't sit well, you know? It breeds unease. The mind fast-forwards to the end of the season, and has waking nightmares of not making the playoffs AGAIN.

Rumors of the Twins pushing hard for Cliff Lee only serve to set the mind whirling on a crazed carousel filled with Twinkies and White Sox, which always manage to stay one step ahead of the Tigers. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik helped me stay out of Bellevue Hospital a while longer and traded for Russell Branyon, stating to MLB Fanhouse:

"The message we are trying to send is that we are trying to win as many games as possible. Right now [Lee] is part of this club. What happens down the road, we'll have to see.''

I realize that the Mariners are in last place, 14.5 games out of first. Lee may well be traded for the third time in as many years. It may be a probability. Still, I cling to the shred of hope that they are playing better and trying to win games, not scheduling an immediate fire sale. Believe me, I know it's stupid, but I'm committed to way of the ostrich.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Off Day, Schmoff Day

Sullenness presides on days when there is no Tiger baseball. What, these athletes need a break from the rigors of travel and game-playing? Bah, humbug. Most players will tell you that when they’re hot, the last thing they want is an off-day to disrupt a streak. To make matters worse, my house was under a brown-out all weekend after a storm blew through on Friday night, so I didn’t get to see any Tiger baseball this weekend. I heard bits here and there on the radio, but by and large, missed out on the action. I tried to go watch Saturday’s game at Rogo’s bar, but he told me if I showed up he’d sic his 300-pound neanderthal bouncer on me. Can’t figure out why he’s so mean to me all the time.

So Miguel Montero doesn’t appreciate Jose Valverde’s rather demonstrative ways on the mound, huh? I missed all this due to the aforementioned brownout, and now I’m more sullen than ever.

I just got an email from, informing me of the terrifying fact that Brandon Inge is now in fifth place in the All-Star voting for third basemen. Eardrum rending screams issued from my mouth. What psychopath formed an army of idiots to stuff the ballot box for Inge? Don't get me wrong, I like Inge's defense and his qualities as a person who comes to the aid of suffering children, but he does not belong on the All Star team. At all. No. He doesn't. No. Nor does he deserve to win Player of the Game when he strikes out three times and makes an error, but somehow he wins it time after time. Add it to the list of unsolved mysteries. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Blue on Blue

UPDATE: Mixed results for Mr. Laird. One for four, but two RBI. Methinks he needs something a little stronger than just blue nail polish. He needs me to be AT the ballpark, in the flesh. I'm on it G Money, I'm on it.

Ryan Raburn was the apparent beneficiary of a superstitious move on part. Yesterday, in an attempt to affect the outcome of the game vs. the Nats, I painted my toenails blue. Well, what do you know? A scuffling Ryan Raburn smacked a three-run shot. Now I am in trouble, because I’m stuck with navy blue toenail polish. I don’t dare remove it. I was taught to always respect a streak, and if I think we’re winning because I am wearing blue toenail polish, we ARE winning because I’m wearing blue toenail polish. Ryan Raburn, you’re welcome. Feel free to thank me by leaving tickets at the player’s Will Call box.

Wardrobe choices now severely limited. Guess I’ll have to go out and buy more Tigers shirts. I wanted one that referenced Armando Galarraga’s perfect game anyway. Note that I did not say “nearly” perfect game. No. I will always refer to it as the perfect game, because he did in fact throw a perfect game. It is simply not reflected properly in the annals of Major League Baseball. So what. It was still perfect. Thank you very much. I’m not bitter.

Ok. I am all about using my powers for good. My next target? Gerald Laird. This poor man has been robbed of home runs, had extra base hits snared right out of the sky, and had all manner of ignominies perpetuated against him. It is just plain pathetic, for sobbing out loud. I will save you Gerald. Blue polish (gulp) applied to fingernails. No thanks necessary. It’s a public service I am glad to perform.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Messing with the Lineup

Much has been made of manager Jim Leyland’s inept lineup making when a player such as three-hole Magglio Ordóñez is out. Rogo of Designate Robertson and I have wrung our hands, spit tacks, and battled lunacy over players like Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn batting third when they clearly have no business doing so. Then, to add to the absolute hilarity (that’s a euphemism for bull dung) of it all, Rod and Mario were discussing the matter during yesterday’s game. Can you guess what they had to say about it? They said that Leyland likes to slot a replacement player into the missing player’s place in the lineup, so as not to “mess with” the rest of the order.


So, you’re telling me a player who normally bats fifth or sixth (Boesch, Guillen), will get all “messed up” if suddenly called upon to bat third? I…what the…does not compute. I am so sorry, but if a major league ballplayer can’t deal with an occasional shift in the lineup card, what earthly good is he? Please file this under the “just shoot me now and put me out of my agony” category, because I believe I am about to go certifiable.

In rather interesting timing, Ian Casselberry, in his new work at SB Nation Detroit, points us to a Boston Globe piece by Nick Cafardo, in which he opines whether Jim Leyland is doing his best work yet as manager. Ahem, excuse me while I become the latest victim of spontaneous combustion. I'm going to have to go ahead and say (expletive) NO, Nick.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Little Stevie Wonder?

Soooooo, a certain young phenom debuted last night and commandeered the national (bad pun, sorry) baseball stage. Notwithstanding my Tiger loyalties, I wanted to witness the kid's maiden MLB outing. So I met a friend at a sports bar that was going to show both the Nats and Tigers games. Stephen Strasburg, my friends, did not disappoint. All he did was strike out FOURTEEN batters (one shy of the record for a debut), pitch SEVEN innings, and give up only TWO runs. Sorry for all the yelling via caps, but it's kind of exciting, no? I mean, yes, he's been hyped beyond all reasonable limits, and yes, he lived up to the hype, for one night at least. And there's really no reason to think he won't continue to knock everyone's baseball socks right off their feet. To top it all off, in his first at bat, the kid could have had an infield single, if he'd run down the line faster. He must've thought it was more of a routine play, but it looked like he could have made it to me. Bet he won't make that mistake again.

Today, some sports radio show hosts were asking who the last person was that you saw and you knew right then they were going to be a special player. For me, it was Vince Carter. I saw him participate in the 1995 McDonald's All American dunk contest for high school players. I didn't know him from Adam, but I saw him throwing down all these ridiculous dunks. I immediately turned on the old VCR so I could show my hoops-crazy husband when he got home later. Vince goes down as one of the game's best dunk men. He was a pretty good player, too, but the dunks were just in another league. Bottom line, I was no expert, but I could see with the naked eye that this kid was operating on another plane. Same with Strasburg. He went out there and dealt. Period. I mean, seriously, fourteen Ks for a debut? Let's just say it made the old-lady-out-on -the-town-on-a-week-night well worth it.

You may have been aware that there was also a Tiger game last night. Don't worry, I didn't sell out my team. The Tigers game was on the big screen at the bar, and I paid it proper attention. The Nats and Little Stevie Wonder were playing on several smaller screens. Happily, the Nats game was a 7:05 start, and the Tigers were an 8:10, so there was a good hour to watch Strasburg, before I had to start training one eye on the Tigers game and the other on the Nats vs. the perennial "also-ran" Pirates.

Gavin Floyd. How does this guy scream mediocrity and then pitch us lights out all the time? Veeery maddening. Stern looks all around to Tigers batters. I was beginning to get a mite frustrated, when our boys came to the rescue and broke out with six runs in the seventh inning (after Floyd exited the game, mind you). Brennan Bash and Carlos Guillen went yard back-to-back. Tee hee, that was fun. The only downer of the night was that the Twinks were pounding the Royals, so we didn't have the opportunity to gain any ground.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

And Our Hero Drives Off into the Sunset in His New Convertible

But there's no happily ever after to this story. It's not a fairy tale. It's real life. Real life with grown men crying.

Jim Joyce was in tears as Armando Galarraga delivered the today's lineup card. Jim Leyland was in tears (and sunglasses) as he spoke pridefully about the Detroit fans and how they handled this whole debacle.

Armando Galarraga was all smiles as he was presented with a red Corvette convertible from Chevrolet, in lieu of being presented with a perfect game by Major League Baseball. He defied all logic, and was genuinely sanguine.

I'm trying to move on, really I am. I'm trying to be gracious, and follow the example set by Galarraga. But it's a little hard letting go. It's a little hard to see a thing of beautiful perfection snatched away so cruelly. It makes it more difficult to "relax, relate, release." By the way, if you can correctly identify the source of that little quote, you win the Old English D grand be revealed to the a time to be determined.

Anyhoo, I guess this post just serves to let the world know that it still stings, it still has me reeling, despite all the feel-good vibes of sportsmanship, dignity, class, honor and whatever other mumbo jumbo people are using to try to gloss over the pain. Deep down, it doesn't make it better. Deep down, I still want to hurl.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Paradise Lost

Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game on June 2, 2010. Only he didn't.

With two outs in the ninth inning, first base umpire Jim Joyce put his hands out, signaling that Jason Donald was safe. The 27th batter was out by at least a step, but he was ruled safe. An absolute highjacking just occurred. A perfect game just became a one-hit shutout. How does this happen? Even Jason Donald put his hands to his head with the rest of us in sheer disbelief.

We should still be dancing in the streets, toasting Armando, giddy with pride. Instead we're left pondering a perfect thing lost.

I know. Jim Joyce is a very good umpire. Jim Leyland said it. Tim Kurkjian said it. My mind understands that. I just don't see how he makes that call.

Everybody rallied around Galarraga, who spoke like a man who didn't need consoling. Inexplicably. I wanted to sob for the guy, and he's standing there saying nobody's perfect, practically giving Joyce a pass on a blown call that will overshadow his entire career. So calm. So lacking rancor.

I am glad that he knows. Galarraga knows in his heart that he pitched a perfect game. He said he'll show his kids someday. It won't be the record book he shows them, but a video of the game. Ok. Let the game tell the story. Let their eyes get wide. Let their hearts swell with pride as they see 88 pitches complete a game. Let their voices get hoarse with emotion as they tell how 67 of those pitches were strikes.

Yes. A perfect game. Yes. Perfect.