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


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.