Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Do You Like Stale Bread?

I don't, but I'm about to force feed you some. Actually, you can stop reading this and google Lindsey Lohan's latest substance abuse saga at any time, so I guess I'm not really shoving anything down your gullet. You're here by choice. Shocking!

Last night, little Flea hit his first major league home run. It didn't have the immediate impact it should have, because it wasn't ruled a home run at first. Rhymes had to languish at third while the umpiring crew reviewed the play. When the crew chief came out and gave the signal, Rhymes flashed a grin expressive of pure delight. He got a nice high five from Damon who was on deck, but as he walked into the dugout, he was given the traditional silent treatment. He trudged sheepishly for a few steps before his teammates fairly erupted into an exuberant dogpile. I mean, their eyes lit up like they had just smacked THEIR first home runs, and they jumped and slapped Rhymes until he probably felt a little beat up (but in a good way, you know). I laughed so hard at the adorable-ness of all this, that tears spilled out of my eyes.

Not to be outdone, Alex Avila went after a pop foul that threatened to go into the Royals dugout. He reached out over the dugout fence, and was upended, going head first straight down. None other than Ned Yost himself caught Avila to prevent him from splatting his gray matter all over the concrete. I mean, who does this? Avila very well could have dropped the ball if he had fallen, so Yost may have contributed to the out. The whole thing just smeared chivalry and fatherly concern all over the place. It was priceless.

I can't tell you how much it means to get enjoyment like that out of a (meaningless) baseball game. It can be hard to finish out a season where you were in it for quite a while, and now you're just done. That stupid "E" stares you in the face whenever you look at the standings. It's sickening. But the little things from last night's game remind you why you watch. Something amazing can happen at any moment. I, for one, don't want to miss a single thing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Open Letter to Magglio Ordóñez

Dear Magglio,

Things have been a little rough around here since your ankle was broken trying to slide into home plate. I know you haven't been around to see it, but it's been painful. As painful as your broken ankle? Hmm. I've never broken a bone, but let's put it this way. I have considered ingesting strychnine on multiple occasions.

We've been pining for you in many ways. I've missed sitting behind you in right field and seeing you turn around and interact with the fans. Not too many players do that. Most of them try to pretend no one is sitting behind them. Your bat...the lineup hasn't been the same without it. You were on pace for a stellar season. I promise, I'm not trying to torture you here, but poor Miggy has been walked intentionally 30 times this season. That's more than twice as many as the next highest AL player--Joe Mauer with 14. You provided some protection for Miguel, and now that you've been gone, we've seen managers walk him to load the bases more than a few times. Sadly, this strategy has often been effective. Like I said...excruciating.

I know it has probably been just as agonizing for you to sit at home knowing our season may have gone very differently if you hadn't gone down. I will not try to ignore the fact that you were on pace for your option to vest. I would have been thrilled to have you as a Tiger for one season more. In fact, I would like for you to retire as a Tiger, so that you could be one of ours for all time. Sappy, I know. I'm not overly prone to such outbursts, but if you decided to kick Scott Boras in the chiclets and stay here, I would write your name all over my notebook and draw a myriad of little hearts around it. Wait, I'm not in middle school anymore. Oh well. I'd find a suitable gesture, I assure you.

Remember, we embraced you here in Detroit. We weren't stingy and stupid like the White Sox, who declined to offer you a contract after you had knee surgery. I know that broke your heart, and it shows what kind of person you are. You are a throwback to the era when a player would play his entire career with one team, doing commercials for local car dealerships and earning a key to the city. I thank the Sox for making such a colossal blunder, because I got to watch you swat us into the World Series, win a batting title, make a great sliding catch to save a no-hitter, and hit two home runs in one inning (which hadn't been done in a Tigers uni since Al Kaline did it). Add to that countless other everyday baseball moments.

What I'm trying to say is won't you please consider Detroit for the twilight of your career? It would make one spectacular sunset.

Monday, September 13, 2010

If You Didn't Love Phil Coke Already, You Will Now

Phil Coke has already endeared himself to most Detroit fans. If, however, you are someone who has not yet fallen for the adorable, gregarious hurler, I have evidence that will have you head over heels.

Coke was not supposed to pitch in yesterday's finale against the O's. He had been drilled by a ball on Friday. Leyland's plan was to rest him. However, Coke told the skip he was ready to go if needed for Sunday. That should get you started down a path of Coke adoration right there. He's a gamer. Listen to this quote. "I always want the ball," Coke said. "I don't care if I'm missing a limb, I want the ball. If I'm able to go out there and throw the ball over the plate and get the job done, then that's what I'm here for. That's my job. I want to be effective and able to do my job. Luckily, I was given the opportunity." He always wants the ball. Even if a limb has inexplicably gone missing, he wants the ball. Enough said. It reminds me of my son. He ALWAYS wants the ball, too. In his league, pitchers were limited to six innings per week to protect young arms. One game, my son had already pitched three innings. Coach was going to put another pitcher in to start the next inning. My son stubbornly walked to the mound anyway, hoping he'd persuade his coach to let him pitch at least one inning more. I laughed, but I guess that's a good quality for a pitcher.

When Coke got the final out in the 9th inning on Sunday, the emotion was palpable. Check out the description by MLB.com's Alex DeFillipo. "And as soon as home-plate umpire Derryl Cousins rang up Pie, Coke howled out a scream that seemed so loud it could be heard in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

"I was really fired up," Coke said. "I was really, really fired up, especially after stinking the other night. I got hit, it hurt and I was upset." Coke takes every mistake to heart. I mean, really, really to heart. He shoulders blame like a regular pack mule. Personal responsibility is like Phil Coke's credo or something. He doesn't look outside himself. It HURTS when he gets hit around. He's not just out there to collect that paycheck. It's impossible not to love that.

On top of it all, Coke is just a fun, entertaining individual. I sat a few rows behind the bullpen one night, and Coke was out there interacting and laughing it up with fans, talking to the bullpen police officer, just acting like a regular guy. A friend of mine worked a baseball camp at which Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke appeared. She said that Boesch was friendly, but very reserved, but that Coke was funny, engaging and talkative. No surprise there. Coke exudes approachability.

If none of this has caught your heart, just watch Coke sprint, I mean shoot like a cannon, out of the bullpen his next outing. It's absolutely impossible not to smile at the sight of it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The CoPa Still Beckons

The Tigers are not mathematically eliminated from the 2010 playoffs. Ha. We all know it's over.

You know what, though? I still love going to ballgames. I can't help it. Is there a better sensory experience than walking in to the park, seeing the green expanse of grass and players warming up, smelling roasted peanuts and spun cotton candy, and hearing the public address announcer telling you that Comerica Park is a family environment and profanity is strictly forbidden? I don't think so.

So, I had to heed the call yesterday. Luckily, a friend of mine is very like-minded. When I texted her about going to the game, her simple reply was "of course." Like, there is no question of being tired or having obligations. Of course she wanted to spend 2 hours and four minutes with our boys of summer. Of course she wanted to take a sharpened pencil to her scorecard.

My friend wore her Jeremy Bonderman jersey last night. Thank her for that outstanding performance. Eight strong, three hits, one run, one walk? Just wow.

John Danks was the unhappy victim of a pair of errors by Mark Teahen. He was left out there to dry by Ozzie Guillen for six full innings, who apparently had no desire to burn through his pen. Only two of the five runs Danks was charged with were earned. Smart move by Guillen. Pena went the final two, and operation bullpen preservation succeeded.

Our murderer's row lineup really impressed. Wells had an RBI, and Inge and Avila each collected a pair. Everyone but Rhymes and Boesch had a hit.

Phil Coke. I haven't heard any updates lately on his dead arm/tired arm, but Leyland keeps running him out there, quite literally. It always makes me smile when Coke sprints to the mound. I don't like to see Coke struggle, because the guy is a smidge hard on himself, you know? Like when he blamed Joel Zumaya's broken elbow on his own ineffectiveness that game. So, it made me happy to see him allow no runs on one hit last night.

Anyway, do not ignore the call from your ballpark. She wants to entertain you. She does not disappoint. She will soon be shuttered. Go. While you still can.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Things That Cannot Be Explained

I mentioned in a previous post that I have hardened my heart against the Tigers for the remainder of this season. It was a purely preservationist measure, as I could not endure any further breakage of that organ.

When we were down 6-3 last night, I decided to bail on the game and just pack it in for the night. It marked the first game this year that I just stopped watching. However, circumstances conspired to pull me back in. First, my husband called up the stairs to me that the game had been tied up. I groggily answered, "yeah, yeah." I did NOT plan to get out of bed to resume watching this thing. Then, a spider bit me. I am not joking! I had a red welt on my back that was smarting like nobody's business. Once I was out of bed to tend to this wound (the audacity of that spider!), I had to start watching again. Have I mentioned that I am very stupid?

Well, you know the crazed adventure I was in for. Countless botched double play balls on both sides, two starting pitchers burned by the Twinks in extras (hoooooooray!), and a home run by GERALD LAIRD capped a Tigers victory. Papa Grande went three innings, blew the save (not really his fault), but got the win. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Very, very odd. I could not celebrate this "too little, too late" win, but I managed a half-smile over the fact that the Twins rotation had suffered quite a blow. That's the impact we can look to have on the playoffs at this point--spoilers. Ah well.

See how I am all resigned now? I have finally given up, given in, given out for the 2010 season. It was freeing. If, by some amazing chance, you have not yet done so, I advise that you undertake letting go immediately. You'll thank me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is This What Gall Tastes Like?

TBS has released its MLB playoffs commercial. It features our own Kid Rock singing "Born Free."

If seeing that doesn't shatter your little Tigers-loving heart into a million pieces, I'm not sure what will. Is it wrong that Kid Rock is singing a song about the MLB playoffs and the Tigers won't be in it? Yes. It is. So very wrong.

I don't know about you, but watching that promo made me feel as if a giant, muscled fist was squeezing the crap out of my heart and wringing it dry. We won't be partaking in the joy of the playoff chase. No.

We won't taste the fruits of the post-season. No.

We won't have any heady, spine-tingling performances from the likes of Kenny Rogers this year. No.

We won't watch Magglio Ordóñez swat any game-winning, series-winning, World Series-sending, majestic home runs this year. No.

Not us. We'll be the ones Tommy Lasorda is trying to coax from our pouty hiding spots in the cupboards to come and watch the playoffs. Good luck dragging me out.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Harden My Heart

..."In my wildest dreams
I never thought I'd go
But its time to let you know
I'm gonna harden my heart
I'm gonna swallow my tears
I'm gonna turn and leave you here."

I've been in the abusive relationship long enough. I'm going to a shelter. Someplace you can't come and find me and try to get me to come back. Leaving tonight.

Diea afejiow fawh aiowe eizico

Fioeag ahoghe ife aeoi fhawf ao oowei h foa aoei fhoiaeh foaie oa hzxieyf neiaoz ue zhodoiuha.

That's all I got. I don't know if I can watch tonight's game. In too much pain. I want to let go. Can't do it. Need help.