Thursday, August 27, 2009

Look at the Bright Side?

I read Jason Beck's blog yesterday and found out that Nate Robertson would be starting Saturday's contest against the Rays. My brows instantly furrowed in consternation, since I'm attending that game. I also realized it's my penance for jinxing the shutout Monday night.

Now Nate has pitched, in a word, horrifyingly, this season and back into 2008. His big contract prevented his outright release, so the albatross was secure around the Tigers' necks.

I'm going to attempt to put some spin on this, so I don't need to bring a barf bag with me to the game. I don't even drink, so I can't just start pounding $10 beers, or down several of those giant daiquiri things.

Nate has indeed pitched pretty well for the Mud Hens of late. His last outing particularly, was promising. He went 6.2 innings, and allowed zero runs on three hits and two walks, backed by 9 strikeouts. I assume that means his slider is working much better, and I suppose now is as good a time as any to see if he can do it at the big league level.

Looking on the bright side, I could witness Nate's resurgence, a heart-warming comeback story, the rebirth of the bulldog, and a new spark for sales of Big League Chew. Being a realist, I could see his swan song.

Either way, I'll be there, so see ya at the ballpark!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Cannot Tell a Lie

It was me who jinxed the Tigers 10-0 shutout last night. I commented on Facebook about the game, and kerplooey it went in my face. My chagrin knows no limits. I am not superstitious, other than not mentioning a no-hitter when in progress. However, from now on I vow to hold fast to baseball players' mythical beliefs and cling to irrational, but structured routines, like not changing my underwear during a win streak. Think my family will mind? I'm the only female, so probably not (sadly). Could we have a little chat about hygiene? I'll save that for another post, since it's bound to involve a lengthy diatribe on my part.

Uh, Brandon Inge's tats are incredibly ugly, and because they're so prominent, he has no hope of them not being seen. Glad he likes 'em. If he has a third child, will that name go across his forehead in that huge, wicked font? Read Detroit4lyfe's post on them--it's very funny, with multiple rumors and updates on the story behind the ink.

I totally missed the dustup between Verlander and Laird, although I watched it on today. I must've been playing Scrabble on Facebook while that went down. I'll retire to my nerdery now. I should know better than to try and multi-task during a game. I don't fit that female stereotype at all. One task at a time until completion, please.

I like Magglio in the three slot because he's getting on base more. He's brought his OBP up 20 points since the beginning of August (Baseball Reference). Maybe the Puma can continue to drive him in like last night. I think he can, I think he can, I think he can...

Please take the time to read Eye of the Tigers post on Cabrera's MVP candidacy. It's a well laid out, nicely documented argument, with good stats, and a nod to the current favorite, Joe Mauer. It's reassuring to know that my early season outburst of love for the big fella was not just a bunch of sychophantic blathering.

I doubt I'll be able to burn the midnight oil two nights in a row after being up past two last night. It's pathetic, but in my defense, I'm old. I'd better DVR the game just in case anything exciting happens. Also, the game will be safe from the hex I put on last night.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Snatched From the Claws of Loss

A comeback win is a pretty powerful intoxicant. I was feeling the effects all the way home from the game. Not so much that I couldn't drive, Mr. Officer.

Someone has mentioned before that Ichiro spends the entire game stretching, I can affirm that. I was sitting in right field, and that's his constant MO, lunges, squats---the WHOLE game. I even spied him stretching on second base in the 9th inning after he hit that double! For the record, Polanco does quite a bit of stretching himself.

Pretty Little Ricky is showing us he's not hitting the wall (at least not yet). Well, maybe he did hit a bit of a wall in the sixth there, but...Ryan Perry showed up to save the day! Striking out the side in the 7th was his way of emphasizing that he paid attention in school down in Toledo. Control problems corrected.

I was going to gloss over Seay's rough inning, but I'll say a couple words. First, he could not find the strike zone, and then Leyland had him issue two intentional passes on top of it. He threw 19 balls and 8 strikes. Rogo pointed out to me that Suzuki's double came off a pitch that was WAY inside, too, so make that 20 balls and 7 strikes.

King Felix had us pretty well stymied, but I had hope, because his pitch count looked like he wouldn't go out there for the 8th. Sure enough, Mark Lowe trotted in from the bullpen, and the Tigers' comeback began with a bang from the young Alex Avila. His head will soon eclipse Polanco's, and they'll be special ordering more extra-large caps.

The botched pickle/steal of home play was a microcosm of our season--roller-coaster thrills. The depths of despair were followed by a crest of elation.

A final note about this game. I was shocked to hear the crowd chanting ROD-ney, ROD-ney! in the ninth. Someone on sports talk radio said that they had "ROD-ney" posted on the scoreboard to induce the chant, but I honestly didn't see it. That would make sense, though, since I have not heard too many people embrace Rodney in the closer role. I'm a little surprised that he's had such a rough go with fans, since his predecessor Todd Jones gave fans a similar carnival ride feel in his outings. Ah well, hope Fernando enjoyed the cheers without the knowledge they were manufactured.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Little Off-Day Fun

Rogo of DesigNate Robertson called me out in a post not long ago for saying he looked like this guy. Rogo had once told me that a friend of his says he looks like this guy. For which of these two blokes would you prefer to be a look-a-like?

Here's a real photo of Rogo so you can judge for yourself. Paybacks...they hurt.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hey, I Had the Broom Out for Nothing!

For some odd reason, I was sure we were going to pull out the win today. Not that I was getting greedy, I just had a feeling. Guess I'd better be glad I'm not the gambling type.

A consoling thought occurs to me (Sox & Twins also lost), but doesn't really take hold.

Guess I'll try to bask in the waning afterglow of Friday's fireworks (literal and figurative).

I'm a little steamed at Ryan Raburn's two errors in one inning at the hot corner, but he isn't responsible for all of the runners stranded, squandered, left on base to scorch in the August sun.

However, considering that Galarraga's been puking his guts out the past week with a horrible illness, losing 10 pounds, and becoming as weak as a newborn kitten, his outing was a bright spot in this loss.

Also, Granderson appears to be OK after making a terrific catch and body-slamming the wall. I was cringing and fretting for a bit there. His bell got rung pretty good.

Actually, when I think back on the absolute jewels twirled by Verlander and Washburn this week, I cannot help but smile and be happy. Baseball is so much fun when you're winning. Here's hoping we're still watching winning baseball in October.

Grand Finale

Some dear friends of mine surprised me with tickets to Friday night's game for my birthday--Thank you Patty and Joe! A group of nine of us went down to the CoPa to take in the game, and several of our party had never been to the new ballpark. We had a few kids along, too, and while the game wasn't necessarily suited to kids' or the casual fan's taste, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a Washburn and Greinke duel. I even started to get nervous as Washburn took a no-no into the fifth, but that was broken up before my stomach turned into a knotted mess.

I became very spoiled as the night wore on. My friends insisted on paying for everyone's snacks all evening. Then they made sure I watched as a birthday message from them flashed on the jumbotron. Mercifully, they left off my age, which, let's just say is no longer a spring chicken's.

We enjoyed warm summer weather, good conversation, bad-for-you ballpark food, and a terrific pitching matchup. As the ninth inning came around, my little 6 year old friend started getting antsy for the fireworks. I told her not to worry, we'd score here and end the game so the fireworks could begin.

Voila! My wish is Brandon Inge's command, as he parks one over the left-field fence into the bullpen. A walk-off home run winner! Could I have scripted it any better? Surely this too was another of my friends' efforts to make the world revolve around me for one night.

We stayed for the fireworks, but as I watched them, I couldn't get my mind off Brandon's grand finale to the game.

Friends, Tigers, Jerrod, Brandon, I thank you!

(And I guess I'm going to have to issue that apology to Brandon Inge after all.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Penance, Purgatory

If going to the ballpark is the best way to spend three-odd hours, what is the worst?

Let me tell you right now, it's a place called Chuck E. Cheese. The day after I took my nephew to his first game, it rained all day, and with three wild hooligans in the household, we had to find some kind of energy buster. The kids agreed on the House of Horrors, and I didn't have the heart to quibble.

There is no faster way to a monstrous headache than CEC, I assure you. The 500 video games meld into a cacophony of electronic noise more grating than a bad 80s hair band. The myriad video screens blare disturbing mutant puppets that would send any two year old screaming into his parents arms. And believe me, plenty of little tots were screaming and crying their lungs out, adding to the charm of it all. The tunnels overhead are surely never disinfected, teeming with bacterial life--hence a friend's nickname, Chuck E. Diseases. The food is pricey and putrid. Thank goodness we had the sense to eat before stepping foot on CEC property. I don't think I have the gastric fortitude for the place. Anyway, as I did my time in the joint, I had to chuck-le (sorry) at the dichotomy between the place I had spent the previous evening, and the sensory overload factory I was sitting in.

Finally, after eight hours of soaking rain, the skies cleared, and I was released from Hades. I didn't mind that it was 95% humidity and my hair frizzled like a mad woman's the moment I walked out the doors, I tasted sweet freedom and wasn't turning back. Or so I thought. In a show of solidarity for the way my day had gone, the Tigers proceeded to take a beat down to the tune of 11-0 that night. Finish me off, guys, go ahead. Thank goodness I was too occupied with the three little rascals to pay more than passing attention to part two of the day's house of horrors.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Time's a Charm

A wild one with a happy (not storybook, but happy) ending. Not too shabby for a kid's first MLB game, I'd say. Lots of action, lots of runs, extra base hits. Not exactly sharp from a defensive perspective, but hey, you can't have everything.

The nephew had a lot of fun at the game. His only disappointment was not getting a ball. He had a couple very near misses. During Twins batting practice, he was on the rail in right field. A ball came right to where he was standing, but the kid next to him snagged it. Then he went down to the rail in front of our section (104) while the Tigers were playing catch each inning. Magglio and Clete both threw balls up there several times. Again, one time he was close, with the kid right next to him coming away with the souvenir. He actually said he wished the game would go into extras so he could keep trying for a ball. Aw.

Alex Avila has 5 RBIs in his first 8 at bats. Holy cow is he squashing all that "it's way too soon" talk. No, it's only been two games, but it sure is fun to see him come in with a bang, and we got to see his first major league home run last night. It came into right field, but I didn't see anyone come over and try and retrieve the ball from the fan for Alex. Huh.

I guess my favorite part of the game was seeing Granderson get out of a pickle. Ok, technically he didn't get out of it, but the umpire blew the call, so it counts. That was incredible. And then the throw to second was also off, so everyone was safe on the play and a run scored. That was something to witness.

Fernando Rodney. Well, I can't even say I was surprised at that performance. Stressed, squirming, sweating it out? Yes. Surprised? No. It was all too routine. I don't complain, though, since all's well that ends well.

The White Sox loss served to complete a beautiful evening. Aunt takes nephew to first game ever, Tigers put on an offensive display, Tigers hold on to win, divisional rivals lose, Tigers pad lead in AL Central. What more could I possibly ask for on such a night?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Feels Like the First Time

Tonight I have the great pleasure of taking my nephew to his very first Major League Baseball game. He's nine years old, plays baseball, and likes baseball. This should be fun.

We face our divisional nemesis the Minnesota Twins. Taking the hill is Armando Galarraga. This could be a pivotal series for us.

To say I'm excited for tonight's game is a bit of an understatement. My aunt and uncle took me to my first game, and I now have the privilege of taking my nephew to his first. It's surely poetic justice.

That's about all for now, as I must get ready to depart for the game, but I just wanted to give a shout out to young Bailey before his first game.

Full report to follow afterward.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Game 106 Pictorial Review

This happy girl was at the game tonight. This girl took some snaps of the game action. Aforementioned photos appear below. Girl clicked shutter as Magglio Ordóñez hit home run. Edwin Jackson tosses gem, makes girl smile. Girls sleeps well tonight, but begins to feel like she has bipolar disorder.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Wild Thing, You Make My Butt Sting

Well, suffice it to say I am thrilled that I went to the Midwest Sliders game today instead of watching our Tigers get pounded 11-1 by the depleted Indians. The Sliders are members of the independent Frontier League. Today, the Sliders took on the Washington, PA Wild Things.

I arrived a little late to the party today, during the bottom of the first inning. Actually, I was just in time to see the Sliders score six runs and knock the opposing pitcher out after only 1/3 of an inning!

I had a voucher that reduced the regular $8 ticket price to $7. Parking is free, of course, and the Sliders play at Eastern Michigan University's Oestrike Stadium. The seating is covered and intimate at Oestrike, wrapping from first to third base. There is no outfield seating, but there is a grassy knoll behind the center field wall, from which you could catch the game for free, and I saw a few folks doing just that today.

The weather was gorgeous, sunny, breezy, temperate. I almost wished there was some uncovered seating to soak up some rays.

Seating is all general admission bleacher style at Oestrike, so I sauntered behind home plate to get a good view of the pitches. This put me in hearing distance of a radio broadcaster for the Wild Things, so I gleaned a lot of good information about the teams from him. I was also sitting right behind someone with a radar gun, so I got an idea of how hard each pitcher was throwing.

The level of play is, well, probably below A ball, but lots of good fun nonetheless. The pitchers' fastballs were around 85-87 MPH, and the final score was 16-11, so there was a lot of hitting (and walks). The Wild Things made four errors, while the Sliders had none. I got to see several home runs, one of which went out to dead center, which measures 390 feet, so...impressive!

The Sliders' pitcher stayed out there for 7.1 innings, but appeared to tire quite a bit at the end, giving up four runs in the 8th before coming out. The radio announcer opined that he wouldn't have still been out there had not the Sliders had a large lead at the time.

By the seventh inning, I counted about 100 fans left in the stands, although there were certainly more than that at the beginning of the game. A bachelor party comprised one of the groups, and the groom-to-be sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch.

The radio announce also mentioned that one of the former Wild Thing players was now playing AA ball for the Tigers. I didn't catch the name, though, so I couldn't look him up.

There were two umpires for the game, one behind home plate, with the second platooning between first base (no runners on) and behind the mound between first and second (runners on). Very interesting.

The ticket window representative informed me that the Sliders are 10 games out of first right now, making their chances at a playoff berth rather remote. I highly recommend that if you are in the Ypsi area, you take in a game. I had a great time, and if you like live baseball, you will enjoy it. You can view the Sliders' schedule here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Well, yesterday began with anticipation. At lunchtime, I was aflutter with excitement, by 4:00 I was awash with anger and envy, and at around midnight, deep disgust set in.

Quite a day for the emotions all in all. I was very anxious to see whether we'd make any moves all day at work. At lunch, I had to run out, so I got the news on sports talk radio that we'd acquired Jerrod Washburn. Instant excitement! If you read my previous post, I had requested Jerrod Washburn, so my wish came magically true. Then, I was REALLY figuring we'd get that bat, since we didn't have to part with all our chips to get Washburn.

As the deadline approached, I got home from work , and tuned in to MLB.TV and frantically scanned the Internet for news. When four o'clock came and went with no word of a deal, I held out hope that one was made just at the deadline and would shortly be announced. A deal was announced shortly thereafter, but it was one that stunned and sunk my emotions simultaneously.

The Sox get Peavy? No! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I know they gave up a lot to get him. I know he's on the DL, with an uncertain return date. It still squashed all my newfound swagger. Now our failure to add a bat feels that much more crucial. Ugh.

To add insult to injury, we lost to what my Indians fan neighbor now calls a minor league team. I stayed 'til the bitter end, and a bitter pill it was indeed. What the stink was Mark Shapiro thinking giving up VIctor Martinez, who wanted to stay, who cried in his press conference. Don't you want to keep a player like that? A quality talent who wants to be with your club? Boggling my mind all day long.

Anyway, Indians are inducting Sandy Alomar Jr. into the team's Hall of Fame tonight, so expect a big crowd.