Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Baseball is Not Unlike a War"

The title of this post is a quote from Tigers great Tyrus Raymond Cobb. Ty certainly did play the game like it was a war--spiking opponents ruthlessly, spewing racial epithets, and generally pissing off the baseball world at large. Watching a small portion of Ken Burns' baseball documentary, I got to thinking about Cobb. His otherworldly stats inspire pride, but everything else about him makes even hardened convicts blush. Thankfully, the Tigers have a host of solid, good-guy Hall of Famers too, to stand in stark counterpoint to Cobb's many iniquities. Al Kaline leads the pack, qualifying as a gentleman of the highest order.

Don't get me wrong, I don't require my ball players to be choir boys. In fact, Kirk Gibson was my original Tiger. No altar boy, he. I love Gibson's fire, his drive for winning. It fueled many a clutch knock. It propelled a player that didn't have the most talent to achieve gargantuan feats on the field. Cobb, however, redefined thug. He threatened to shred a man at second if he tried to block the base. He stabbed a black hotel worker who dared to ask him for identification.

Lou Gehrig may have best embodied Cobb's contemporary antithesis. Gehrig's idea of "raising cain" was having a beer with dinner, and Gehrig had his mother travel on the train with him early in his career. Adorable.

Whatever our likes and loathings of Cobb, his statement about baseball is true. We are currently waging war in our division. It's rather telling that the Tigers are playing the Twins this weekend, and the Sox are going against the Tribe. Although today's game marked the first Twins win against us in 12 games, it is so gratifying to have had 11 straight go into the W column against the Twinks. A great satisfaction settles down over my soul. Another tight race appears to be in the cards, but if we have to participate in another Game 163, I may not survive.

On a final, but unrelated note, how funny is it that Adam Dunn is laying a giant, rotten egg for the Sox? I would like to draw your attention to the fact that I stated my marked preference for not signing Dunn last off-season. Thank you. Thank you. /bows melodramatically

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Public Service Announcement

You like baseball.

In fact, you are reading my site, so you probably love baseball.

You want to attend the World Series.

You want to attend the World Series for free.

You support worthy causes.

If you support a worthy cause, you could win a trip to the Fall Classic.

See what I did there?

State Farm and MLB are partnering up to support charities with the Go To Bat program. Your support of this program could earn you tickets to this year's Series.


You'll be feeling like Derek Jeter hitting a home run and going five for five to get to 3000 hits (and beyond). Getting behind a cause you probably already support and scoring seats to the best championship in all of sports is a no brainer. Just do it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Regrets, I've Had a Few



On Sunday, my mother, my sister and I braved the withering sun to take in a game at the ballpark. Our seats were three rows behind the Tigers' pen. Apparently, Phil Coke made my mom's day before the game. I was elsewhere, and missed the following exchange, which my sister corroborated:

Mom: takes aim at Coke with her non-digital camera. No doubt, taking forever to center the shot, etc.

Coke: points right at my mom as she's taking the shot (I have no evidence as yet. This is a film camera, people.)

Mom: does a fist pump to Coke in a appreciation (!)

Coke: does a fist-pump/shaka combo back at her (Why do you have a film camera, mother, why, why, why? I could have posted the photo here in this post right now if you had joined the current century. [Love you mom.])

Before the game, my sister frets that this game will end in a loss, as all the games she's been to in the past several years have gone in the L column. I stoutly reassure her that we will win this game for her today (while also expressing mild concern at Porcello's recent struggles.)

In the bottom of the seventh, there we are, down 3-2, and the inning starts with a couple of easy pop-ups. More moaning from sis. Before Inge gets to the plate, I vow to stop calling him Binge if he comes through. He draws a walk, and my mom turns to me and asks "Does that count?" I waffle a little before grudgingly conceding that it does.

THEN, after another walk and an error, Mi Magglio rips a (two-outs, bases-loaded, down-a-run-late-in-the-game) two run single up the middle to give us a 4-2 lead, and we all go wild, but especially me, because after all, it is Magglio performing the heroics. Doubters, haters, "what have you done for me lately" morons, you are on notice.

Ryan Raburn moves from second to left in the eighth inning. I proceed to complain, out loud, about Raburn being a "butcher" in the field. Ryan hears me and does this. Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorry RYAN. I A-P-O-L-O-G-I-Z-E with sincere and abject groveling. You saved my dear sister from a shame spiral of self-accusation and candied almonds. She no longer believes herself to be a wretched curse upon our boys of summer. She is free to purchase tickets with impunity.

Just to shame me, Brandon Inge swats a two-run triple in the eighth. I am done. I have sanctioned myself from calling Brandon derisive names. For the second time in one sun-soaked afternoon, I found myself cooking up crow and choking it down whole. Well done, fellas, well done.

Check out the goods. We stagger out of the park, barely able to walk under all our loot--the W, a clutch knock from Magglio Ordóñez, a stretched out, wind-knocked-out-of-his lungs diving grab by Ryan Raburn, and an insurance-runs producing three-bagger from Brandon Inge. That, my friends, is why we love the game.