Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight

Santa baby, slip a player under the tree, for me
I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a batting practice jersey too, dark blue
I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the Tigers that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be oh so good
If you'd check off my Christmas list
Boo doo bee doo

Santa honey, I wanna roster spot and really that's
Not a lot
I've been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, there's one thing I really do need, the deed
To the CoPa
Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, fill my stocking with season tickets,
Sign your 'X' on the line
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and bring me Magglio
live and in the flesh, oh
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a (World Series) ring
I don't mean on the phone
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Forget Jerry Maguire, It's My "Free Fallin'" Moment Now

Cue the seraphim and cherubim, angelic choirs singing rapturously, and an old, awkward white lady trying to do the dougie. You know why I'm giddy. Magglio Ordóñez has reportedly signed a one year, $10-million dollar deal to remain in the Old English D.



Ok. Everyone may not feel as, hem, joyous as I do about this, but most will agree that Magglio was one of the best free-agent options left on the market.

We no longer have to ponder right field options such as Don Kelly and Willie Bloomquist. No more weeping and gnashing of teeth. Sorry. Was I the only one doing that?

Seriously though, we really needed our hero's bat. Desperately. We don't want to see Miguel Cabrera batting with as much protection as me stepping to the plate with a plastic fungo bat ever again.

I leave you to imagine my ecstatic warblings.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What If the Unthinkable Happens?

Well, by now you've heard that many teams, among them Boston, Texas and Philadelphia, are interested in the services of our free-agent rightfielder Magglio Ordóñez. Our hero worked out for teams today, and the Tigers were in attendance. No word on how that workout was received by onlookers. No tweets from Jason Beck on this, other than to say that he wasn't invited to view the workout.

So, if some other team (gasp) snags Ordóñez, and it turns out that we're priced out of the Carl Crawford sweepstakes, who else should the Tigers pursue?

Here are a few names and stat lines for your perusal. Stats via Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.

Bill Hall

2010 batting
18HR, 46 RBI, 9 SB

Fielding, 2006-2010, outfield
UZR -.5

Jose Guillen

2010 batting
19HR, 77 RBI, 1 SB

Fielding, 2010, outfield
UZR 1.9

Willie Bloomquist

2009 Batting (played in 83 games in 2010)
4 HR, 29 RBI, 25 SB

Fielding, 2009, outfield
UZR -1.4

Find anything to your liking, or do you have a favorite candidate?? Please share.

As for me, I'm still foolishly hoping we snatch Magglio from the claws of these other teams. But really, in looking at other options, I'm gonna have to ahead and say that we had darn well better sign Ordóñez or Crawford. Otherwise, why did we go out there and get Benoit and Martinez? We need to add a quality bat. Period.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Haikus To Warm a Winter's Night

winter solstice looms
dormant ballfields quiet sit
as I look for spring

jackson rookie jilt
miggy held in low esteem
'mando imperfect

always a tiger
magglio should here remain
scott notwithstanding

shirts for david d
plentiful stripes and sailboats
lead to many laughs

I'm sorry. This is what you get when there's no baseball.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There's No Whining in Baseball?

I realize this post will classify me as a first class cry-baby, but I'm sorry, it can't be helped. I know that most people are all gaga over the Hot Stove, free agent frenzy, blah, blah, blah. Of course, the whole process is captivating, but does it hold a candle to actual baseball being played? I'm gonna have to shout a resounding 'No' from the top of a ten story building. It's only November. Pitchers and catchers don't report until February 13. May I kindly ask what I am supposed to do until then? I may have to break down and attend Tiger Fest in January. I'll be desperate by then.

I recognize that I'm annoying you beyond all reason, and come off as a pathetic, sniveling loser. I know that this is a horrible way to keep readers. I must apologize, and I do. Sincerely. I offer to you a genuine "I'm sorry." But don't you find yourself just pining, yearning, longing for some baseball? Doesn't seeing the CoPa shuttered, the diamond tarped over, the grass going dormant, just make you feel like Ndamukong Suh's muscled fist grabbed your heart and squeezed as hard as it could?

I even missed the AFL championship, because I had a stinking eye exam. Is there any justice in the world? That was probably my last shot at live baseball for the next twelve weeks. Again with the whining. I know.

If I had MLB network, there would be some pretty cool archival baseball watching in store, but do I have MLB Network? Nooooooooooooooooooooo, indeed not. Excuse me while I go write a nasty-gram to my cable provider.

Do you think that lame movies, or even good movies, or even great baseball movies make a nominal substitute for our nation's past time? No. They don't.

I've already endured the devastation of Austin Jackson losing out on Rookie of the Year. I'm still a mite bitter about the empty spot on Jackson's mantle. Now I find myself guarding my heart against Cabrera getting the snub for MVP. Today, the Freep gave us the cheery news that a Tigers hitter hasn't won the MVP since 1940, when Hank Greenburg brought home his second MVP. Sigh.

You can depend on me for countless uplifting posts like this one throughout the off-season.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who Stuffed the Ballot Box?

I am sorry, but is there anyone else out there that feels our poor boy got the shaft in this whole Rookie of the Year voting process? I know I may be biased, but really now, REALLY NOW, I believe that Austin Jackson should be bringing home some hardware today. Neftali Feliz was brilliant. No question. I give him all proper credit for a spectacular season.

However, Austin Jackson was in some rarified air. He joins only three other rookies EVER to accomplish the following:

180 hits, 100 runs, 30 doubles, 10 triples, and 25 stolen bases

The other three blokes?

Hanley Ramirez, Juan Samuel, and Shoeless Joe Jackson

That's not enough for Rookie of the Year for sobbing out loud?

Apparently that effort was good for only eight first place votes. Puh-leeze tell me this is a crazed nightmare and I will soon awake in a cold sweat. Eight out of 28 first place votes? Did the esteemed BBWAA writers watch Young Jackson in action at all this season? Did they not see at least twelve catches in which it at first appeared that there was no chance at all that Jackson would catch up to the ball? He hauled it in each and every time. He saved a Perfect Game. He made countless over the shoulder catches. He hit the ball. Well.

Ok. I'm done whining. I apologize, but my feelings were just a mite wounded this afternoon around two o'clock.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Idle Hands...

What in the name of balls and strikes does a baseball freak do with the mind-numbing down time during the off-season? You take three-plus hours out of every day, and there's a mighty big chasm to fill. Well, I don't know about other people, but I am stuck doing things like knitting scarves, watching the World Series of Poker, and baking a thousand batches of chocolate chip cookies. Does that sound like a life to you?

My mantra is simple. Life without baseball is hard.

Now, we've got to sit by as the Yankee brass goes down to Arkansas to meet with Cliff Lee. Wooing him. Wowing him with wheelbarrows awash with cash. Whacking him over the head with propaganda about what it means to "Be a Yankee." To wear the pinstripes. To be clean-shaven. Excuse me a moment while I go clean up the vomit I just induced.

OK. I am back. There are a few remaining chunks on my shirt, but luckily for you I'm not downloading photos of it to this post.

Hopefully things will pick up soon. We'll get news that Dave Dombrowski and his suitcase full of sailboat sweaters have spirited off to who knows where to negotiate with some top tier free agent. Yes. It will happen. Then the dark days won't seem so long.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Your Mouth is Big, Size Extra Large"

Scott Boras has been out there doing what he does best--talking up his 2010 free agent crop. And when I say talking up, I am referring to bombastic braggadocio about how many teams are battering his door down to sign his clients.

I know he's doing his job. I know this is what he's paid the obscene dollar to do. I know he's good at it.

That doesn't mean I like it, even one little bit.

Kurt over at Bless You Boys has a nice analysis of Boras' jabber about Magglio. I totally agree that there WILL be significant interest in Ordóñez, and of course Boras wants to capitalize on that interest and engage everyone in an escalating bidding war. Here's what bothers a me just a smidge. Magglio told Venezuelan reporter Augusto Cardenas that he would like to return to the Tigers. Here are his exact words:

"I want to stay in Detroit, obviously. I have my friends, my teammates. I know the organization has been very good to me and the fans have treated me great. ... I think there is a great chance to stay in Detroit, but let's see what happens."

If that is really what you want, why let Scott Boras spew steaming, inflammatory rhetoric from here to his swanky offices in Newport Beach, CA? Don't you remember how Kenny Rogers let Boras go after he slung one sneer too many about exploring Rogers' options? Rogers said look, if I wanted to go out there and find the biggest contract, Boras would be my man, but since I know in my heart I only want to play for Detroit, his services are not needed in this instance.

Obviously, Ordóñez DOES want to test the market. He's done nothing to stop word one coming out of Boras' unmuzzled pie hole. It's fine if that's what he wants to do. It's his right. No problem. Just be forthright. I'm not too fond of a player going out there and telling people what he thinks they want to hear, but then going out and doing something else. Ordóñez' conversation with Cardenas took place in mid-October, well after the Tigers' season was over. There was no need for politicking.

I will say this. Boras' clap-trap about Ordóñez is NOTHING compared to what he's been saying about Jayson Werth. He outright taunted the Phillies, saying they did not need to let Werth go, that they had made good decisions in the past, and could do so again. By all means, Phils, allow yourselves to be bullied by Boras' dizzying verbosity. Boras appears to think his intellect is superior to...oh, just about everyone, and he can whamboozle even the shrewdest of GMs with a little word-wizardry.

In a serio-comic twist, the Phillies reportedly may have an interest in Ordóñez, too. Imagine for yourself Scott Boras finessing the Phils on behalf of BOTH his clients. At least for his soulless innards, there will be no concerns about conflicts of interest or other such moral trifles.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Losses Begin to Pile Up

It's been a year full of sorrow for Tigers fans. I'm not talking about missing the playoffs. I'm referring to the losses first of Ernie Harwell and now Sparky Anderson. It's a little much to be honest. I'm not too fond of the feelings I've been having today.

We just learned that Sparky had entered hospice care yesterday, and he's already gone today. I mean, I'm glad he didn't suffer for a lengthy period. Dementia is bad enough without that. It's just that we didn't have time to prepare ourselves for losing him.

I admit that I loved Sparky because I didn't know any other manager. However, everyone else I've read loved him too, so I guess I wasn't that far off base. Sparky has been universally acknowledged as a great manager, and a wonderful person.

I'm so glad Sparky made the trip here last year for the 25th anniversary of the 1984 World Series. I went to that game, but had some mishaps. There were some pregame festivities, in which members of the '84 team visited with fans and the media. I missed all of that. Sigh. Then the rain blew in. My mother and I watched from the right-field bleachers as they introduced the 1984 Tigers one by one. We were kind of far away. It was still pretty great. Then the game was called for rain. It was deflating. A night of revelry cut short.

However, Sparky got to spend time with his players, and they got a chance to see him. I'm glad they all had the opportunity to go over old times. In addition to Lou Whitaker and Aurelio Lopez, you know what was missing? Tiger Stadium. You know what though? Sparky wasn't overly melodramatic about losing her. I couldn't find the interview, but I seem to remember him saying something to the effect to keep the memories of her and move on.

It's all well and good to say "move on" when it's an inanimate object you're dealing with. We won't be "moving on" without Sparky. We'll work to keep his memory alive. That won't be hard. I'd be thrilled to regale you with a few stories any time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Fading Spark

I'm not gonna lie. My feelings were hurt when George Sparky Anderson went into the Hall of Fame as a Cincinnati Red. It made me feel like the lesser-loved stepchild. What did the Reds have on the Tigers? Didn't he love our guys as much as those fellows from Cincy?

Now those petty concerns pale as Sparky is now in hospice care at age 76. It feels like he should have so much more time left. Time to watch and enjoy baseball. Time to continue his work with CATCH, one of the longest running charities for sick children in our area. Time to play in more golf tournaments. Time to enjoy seeing Kirk Gibson manage the Diamondbacks (and maybe offering some advice here and there).

I became a Tigers fan in 1983, so Sparky was all I knew. I was young and completely uninformed about baseball. My aunt and uncle just decided one summer day to take me and my cousins down to the park. I didn't know I would fall in love at first sight that day. But I did. And I loved Sparky with that blind, all-trusting new love. He didn't disappoint. All he did was take our boys to the Series the very next year. All I did was go along for the wondrous ride of my life.

It's going to be hard on Tigers fans if we lose two icons in one year. Our grief will be protracted. But we'll be brave. And we'll never forget.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Breezes and Big Knocks

Pat Burrell struck out eleven times in five games in the 2010 Fall Classic. That total is two whiffs shy of Ryan Howard's record 13 Ks in six games, set just last year. Willie Wilson had maintained his grasp on the World Series Strikeout King title belt since 1980, when he fanned 12 times over six games.

Watching Burrell's futility at the plate was, um, rather brutal. I'm sure that noone felt this more keenly than he did. When he struck out yet again, with runners on second and third, it seemed like the hole in his bat might cost the Giants game 5.

Edgar Renteria swatted Burrell's troubles away with one stroke. I never saw a ballplayer lock another man in a death grip's embrace. I wasn't sure Renteria would be able to extract himself from Burrell's clutches. Edgar certainly did rescue Pat from lasting humiliation and self-condemnation. Renteria went on to win the MVP for the Series. Many sighs. Once again, I must ask, Whyyyyyy could you not perform well in the American League, Edgar? I don't understand it. You were hitting AL pitching in the Series, Edgar. See? It's not that hard.

Ah well, soon we'll see how the Tigers manage a pretty nice bundle of cash. We'll see how well they compete with the New Yorks and Bostons of the league for free agent talent. We'll see if Dave Dombrowski goes from the Hot Stove to the Hot Seat. We'll see if the Puma and little Ajax can come home with some hardware. Can't wait.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Joe Girardi Emotes Like a Roomba

In watching last night's ALCS finale, in which my friend and I exulted over the Yankees' playoff elimination, we couldn't help but notice Joe Girardi's utter lack of emotional expression over the game's many meltdown moments.

Phil Hughes implodes? Calmly walk to mound and slowly tap forearm to signal for reliever.

David Robertson lasts a third of an inning and his ERA is 16.20? Turn in x-mo to the dugout phone and request that someone please begin throwing. Gingerly replace phone receiver on its cradle.

Robinson Cano grounds into a double play? Que sera, sera.

Curtis Granderson gets nipped trying to steal second? La di da, these things will happen.

Team is 0-3 with RISP? Come come now, kiddies, no cause for consternation.

Seriously, I never saw his breathing accelerate one iota, never saw his facial muscles constrict, never saw a blood vessel pop out, never saw his jaw set, never saw a flush of red rise up his neck and spread over his cheeks.

Now, here is my question to you. Was Girardi actually devoid of frustration, rage or angst, or was he maintaining a rock-solid poker face, but roiling on the inside all the while?

Get a load of the ultimate irony. In a post-game interview, the FIRST question posed to Girardi is:

"Can you just start, first of all, by expressing your feelings about the game, and your season?"

Did you not see automaton in action the whole game? Feelings?? What feelings? If he did have any, he sure as shootin' aint sharin' 'em with you, partner.

Hey Joe, maybe it would help your players once in a while to see a little fire or ice, you know? You could try it year. If the Yankees retain your services. Ha.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Will Kirk GIbson Be the Next Manager of the Tigers?

I'm not trying to push Jim Leyland out of town here, but I just wonder if Gibby might be his successor. Today, Gibson announced that he's donated a bunch of memorabilia from the 1988 World Series to his foundation. The items will be auctioned off, and Gibson's foundation benefits two Michigan high schools and Michigan State University. Included in the memorabilia are the bat, helmet and uniform used to in Gibson's historic 1988 World Series game 1 homer. According to an article by Jason Beck, Gibby plans to hold onto his Tigers memorabilia, for now. In referring to the Tigers items, Gibson said, "I just have my reasons. We'll just leave it at that."

You know what? I think those reasons are that the 1984 Tigers, and the Tigers in general are very dear to Gibson's heart. He's from Michigan, he came up in the Tigers system, he's lived here forever. I know for a fact that his feelings were very hurt when he and the rest of Trammell's staff were rather unceremoniously dumped in 2005. I heard him in an interview on sports talk radio last year. At one point, GIbson admitted something like he hadn't been following the Red Wings, and the host joked that maybe Gibson would lose his Michigan card over that one. Gibson retorted that he thought he'd already lost it. He was no doubt referencing the 2005 ouster. It was a raw deal for Tram, Gibby and the rest of the crew. They were brought into a losing proposition, and management knew it. The team was garbage. They needed something to improve the gate, to garner some good pub. Well, the Bless You Boys from 1984 fit the bill. Tram was underexperienced and proved himself unable to handle a big league clubhouse. Gibson had no coaching experience, while Lance Parrish had spent some time coaching in the minor leagues and with the Tigers previously.

Things are different now. Gibson has spent the past years as bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. This year, after the mid-season firing of A.J. Hinch, Gibson was named interim manager. I hoped the team would give him a fair shot at retaining the job. Indeed they did, removing the interim from his job title for the 2011 season. I was very happy for Gibson to get the opportunity to manage. I will follow him with interest, and with an eye toward the future.

Like I said, I think Gibson is hanging onto to the Tigers stuff because it's still close to his heart. I think he would jump at the chance to manage the Tigers. Nostalgia notwithstanding, I hope he gets to make that leap. I think he'll make a fine manager. He's fiery, a good motivator, and is very committed to anything he sets out to do. Kirk Gibson, Detroit Tigers Manager. That has a very satisfying ring to it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inquiring Minds

Piercing questions for the 2010 playoffs: Jayson Werth is channeling George Armstrong Custer. Is he anticipating a last stand against some giants? Planning to call in the cavalry? Just wondering.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Airtight Case

I recently admitted to fellow blogger Rogo of DesigNate Robertson that I would rather the Tigers retain Magglio Ordóñez than sign free agent Adam Dunn. His kind response was "you're nuts." My rejoinder was that I knew it and didn't care.

Let us delve a little further into the demented mind that would choose an aging Ordóñez over the ball-crushing Dunn. To begin, I freely admit my own blind prejudice. Magglio is my favorite player. I want him to retire a Tiger. Of course my reasoning will be colored (note I did not say polluted) by these facts. Therefore, I am not setting out to prove that Magglio is a better player than Dunn. However, I do want to look a little closer at the two to see just how outlandish my preference might be, or whether I can rationalize it with some (nifty massaging) of stats. These stats come to you via Baseball-Reference, a site at which I encourage you to sponsor your favorite Tiger. It helps support the outstanding work at Baseball Reference, and you get the opportunity to place a message on your player's page. Old English D is the proud sponsor of Larry Herndon's player page on Baseball Reference. But I digress. Let's get back to the rigged Ordóñez/Dunn showdown, shall we?


Because Ordóñez' season was cut (tragically) short, and because I don't want to project his numbers (because then folks will cry foul--I mean, I may be biased, but I'm trying to maintain a mere semblance of credibility), I am using stats from Magglio's 2007 - 2009 seasons, while Dunn's offensive numbers are from 2008-2010.



2008 .236/.386/.898/100/40/164/7

2009 .267/.398/.928/105/38/177/8

2010 .260/.356/.892/103/38/199/10



2007 .363/.434/1.029/139/28/79/20

2008 .317/.376/.869/103/21/76/27

2009 .310/.376/.804/50/9/65/19

In looking at these lines, I really don't see that I am totally certifiable in my preference. Yes, Dunn has more home run power, but his OPS isn't blowing Magglio out of the water. He strikes out WAY more, but doesn't GDP nearly as often. Yes, I realize Magglio's power numbers are probably only going to decline as we get into the autumn of his career. However, to bring up the forbidden projections, he was on pace to hit over 20 home runs in 2010, and his slugging percentage was .474, with an OPS of .872. I'm using statistics that favor my position. At least give me credit for admitting my slant, and not feigning impartiality. Thank you.


I'm not going to look at Dunn's work at first base for the Nats in 2010, because we all know he won't see much time at first if he's wearing the Old English D. In 2008 and 2009, playing left or right field, here are Dunn's Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above (below) Average (RTot) numbers

2008 CIN LF -9 (110 games)
2008 ARI RF -6 (23 games)
2008 ARI LF 4 (9 games)
2009 WASH LF -14 (62 games)
2009 WASH RF -13 (22 games)

Now for Magglio's RTot numbers for the same time period:

2008 DET RF -8 (135 games)
2009 DET RF -9 (104 games)

In a July 2009 piece for Sports Illustrated, Cliff Corcoran stated that you could do no worse in left field than Adam Dunn. Ha. I know he'd likely be a full-time DH here in the D, but so what? I'm making my point here. You may recall my earlier caveat. I do not abide by strict rules of rationality and fairness.

So here you have it--a clearly partisan look at Adam Dunn and Magglio Ordóñez. Mi Magglio comes out on top. The best part of my system is that it cannot be refuted! How do you combat faulty logic and homerism? YOU CAN'T! Take that, Rogo. My point has been proven.

Enjoy the Lincecum/Halladay duel this evening, kids.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Please Recommend a Barbaric Form of Torture for this Hack

I'm in a bad mood. You know what I feel like doing? Tearing apart some idiot's pathetic writing. You know who that idiot is? Yours truly.

Sometimes it's painful to look back at a poorly written piece. Sure I could just delete it off the site, but let's have a little fun with it instead.

I penned a little ode to Phil Coke a while back. Listen to this swill, if you've got a strong stomach:

"He's a gamer. *snip* He always wants the ball."

Are you serious? Could you be more hackneyed? Let's try to run up a few more stereotypes, shall we? Of course he wants the ball, he's a pitcher, you half wit. A "gamer?" Come on. That term should long have been banished from the book of baseball jargon.

Here's some more unfiltered sewage to flood your basement and pollute your home with fumes so raw a maggot-riddled corpse would rise up and run away screaming:

"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."

Pack mule? Not out there to collect that paycheck? I just made myself gag. Is that possible?

I would like to issue a personal mea culpa to the reader, and it won't be some half-baked line of "non-apology" apology drivel either. I would like to shoulder the responsibility like a pack mule. This stuff is just pure garbage. I will be vigilant against it in the future.

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'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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Stupidity

Early in the game, Mario informed us that Toronto starting pitcher Marc Rzepczynski's nickname is Scrabble because of the high score his last name would earn in that game. Rod responds that he "likes the game. It's a good family game." I would be willing to bet my devalued house that Rod has never played a game of Scrabble in his life. I found it funny, though, because Scrabble is my most favorite of all games.

In the fourth, Inge had to make an off-balance throw to first to get John McDonald. Mario says that Brandon Inge "does not play around." Oh, because most third basemen do? They kind of just lazily go after balls hit their way and lob the ball over to first? Sigh.

None other than Jose Bautista broke up Porcello's no-hitter in the fourth. I'm pretty sure he's on steroids or HGH. Sorry. Just kidding. I'm not bitter. Actually, I blame Rogo of DesigNate Robertson. He always jinxes no-hitters. Ask him about how he messed up Jujstin Verlander earlier this year, Max Scherzer's no-hitter against Tampa Bay, and Armando Galarraga's August 20th effort.

It's been fun watching the shirt of home place umpire Brian O'Nora become increasingly drenched with sweat. It started out as a small circle on his abdomen, and is now just about soaked. Gross. Go change in between innings, could ya? It's kind of distracting me. Ugh, now the entire front of O'Nora's pants are wet too. HD is not always our friend.

John McDonald hit a home run down the left field line in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rod and Mario immediately express their incredulity. Rod especially, was like "not Johnny Mac!" Mario added, "You don't expect HIM to take you deep," Poor John, his power was dissed repeatedly by our broadcasting duo.

In the top of the seventh, Miguel Cabrera stole second base. I was laughing out loud with joy. So endearing. As if everything he does isn't already. We heart you. Inge followed with a two run homer, so you know what that means. Player of the game. Poor Raburn, he has no shot, even though he has gone deep TWICE in this game.

The boo birds (bad pun intended) came out for Jesse Carlson as he surrendered four hits and three runs in the seventh. I always hate when the camera zooms in on a guy's face as he's getting booed. You can almost always see a certain look in the poor guy's eyes. It makes me feel bad.

Porcello goes seven strong, and looked just outstanding. So happy. So happy. Phil Coke comes on for the eighth. I am mystified. Coke is battling tired arm or dead arm. And WHYYYY do we keep running him out there mercilessly, as if there is just noone else? Especially in a blowout like this, there is no good reason for Coke to be pitching. I don't care if Leyland wants to get the bad taste of Friday night's walkoff loss in extras out of his mouth. He should be resting.

Rod and Mario begin talking about some upcoming off day that will occur in Chicago. Rod keeps talking about "bellying up" somewhere to people watch, or watch the MSU game. Not sure what he thinks he means by that, but it sounds completely ridiculous.

Apparently Valverde is still struggling a bit, but at least we had enough of a cushion on this one. Sigh.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

No Hero

I wasn’t a big fan of the Johnny Damon signing. The best thing I could say about it at the time was that it was a one-year deal, not two. Damon has turned out pretty well for us, I guess. I’m not overly gaga, but satisfied. Now, he has been virtually deified by choosing to remain in Detroit over going back to Boston to relive his “Idiot” days.

Excuse me if I don’t hand the guy a medal. He didn’t want to be the constant subject of ire among Boston fans who still remember his turncoat ways. Sure, he probably likes playing in Detroit, with our softie fans and media. It’s a pretty nice gig. The CoPa is usually a full house, and you’re not going to get skinned alive by the beat writers every day. Suddenly, Johnny has realized that Detroit is a lot more cosmopolitan than he thought. Somerset Mall is so enchanting. In reality, Boston doesn’t have much more of a shot than we do at the playoffs, so what’s the point of switching teams with a month left in the season? It’s too much upheaval.

Also, Damon probably knows that Mr. I has pretty deep pockets, and isn’t afraid to reach into the coffers for a valued player. He knows he has a decent shot at getting a nice payday for next season from Detroit. It’s a win-win-win-win for him. He gets paid, likes his teammates and coaching staff, enjoys easy treatment from fans and media, and has the added bonus of becoming a candidate for sainthood for “sticking up for downtrodden Detroit.” Please.

Adding fuel to my fire, FSN showed the following stat during last night's game, in which the team went 1-16 with RISP. This season, Johnny Damon was hitting .200 with RISP. Then he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the tenth inning. He flied out to the right fielder.

The guy is milking this whole thing for all its worth. Don’t expect to find any two-percent here, Johnny.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This is What You Get

Well, I got shafted by a friend with whom I was going to watch tonight's game, so guess what? You will now be subjected to my lame commentary about game 128 versus the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. If you're really bored, feel free to read on. You may want to reconsider and enjoy some of this beautiful weather we're having, however.

In the middle of the second inning, Rod says something to the effect that Max Scherzer is filthy tonight, and clearly has his best stuff. Um, how many times have we seen a guy look good through three or four only to get tagged shortly thereafter. Let us attempt to withhold judgment of a pitcher's performance until the sixth inning, shall we?

Ryan Raburn throws out Edwin Encarnacion at second as he tries to stretch a single to a double. I must offer a personal apology to Ryan, because earlier this year, I was grousing about his defense, recommending that he take extra fielding practice. He must have done so, because he is much, much improved. Several nice plays of late spring to mind. Mr Raburn is simply scorching right now, between the ramped up defense and his fiery bat. I see you, Ryan!

Jhonny Peralta hits a three run shot to left in the fourth of Romero. Wow, I guess apologies must be passed out all 'round tonight. My comments upon the Tigers acquiring Peralta: "You know a players stinks when a team will deal him within the division." Again, so sorry.

Casper Wells had 21 home runs in Toledo this year. Now he gets a chance to prove he can do it in the Show. Who's left in Toledo at this point?? Leyland said as much when referring to September callups. There won't be many. Between injuries and callups at this level, and some injuries to players already in AAA, we're more than depleted, we're gutted.

Oh for the love of pine tar--Gerald Laird racks up two RBI in one swing to make it 6-0 in the fourth! I am agape and amused. So is he, as he exhibits a rueful smile upon approaching the dugout. Kind of a mixture of "I know, I can't believe it either" and "finally, I've made an offensive contribution."

I know this is not from tonight's telecast, but poor Rod has made some, um, interesting comments lately. The other night vs. KC, Willie Bloomquist got handcuffed by a screamer hit by Johnny Damon. Rod says that third basemen are not accustomed to the ball coming at them so hard. Huh? Isn't that why it's called the Hot Corner????

Miguel Cabera enters the batter's box with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 7th. I think I was holding my breath. Escobar snares a sharp, low line drive to rob Miggy of a hit and an RBI. Pure larceny.

Oh dear, Raburn whiffs. Two out, bases still juiced. If we strand all three right here, I cannot be responsible for what happens to my home. I could claim that it was burglarized. It will look that way when I'm through with it. Doesn't much matter anyway, I found out yesterday that the place is worth about as much as a bucket of batting practice baseballs.

Peralta saves the interior of my crib by working a bases loaded walk. Two apologies to the same player in one day? Unprecedented.

Scherzer makes little hearts appear in my pupils right now by coming out for the 7th. Our pen was just about spent after yesterday's extra innings affair with KC. Hey, so he gives up a solo shot to Bautista. Who doesn't give up a home run to Bautista? You tell me that. He gets a free pass with me. See how the rest of the inning is uneventful? More hearts.

Scherzer, having thrown 102 pitches, comes to the mound for the 8th. Oh my. Now, I give Rod the green light to gush on at will. THIS is the time to do it. Scherzer ends the inning by making Fred Lewis hack helplessly for strike three. Eight innings! One run! I feel a little giddy.

Cabrera shoots the gap for a double to lead off the 9th. I'm pretty drunk with baseball happiness at this point.

Eddie Bonine gets two quicks outs and then goes 2-0 to Vernon Wells. He pauses, looks around like he's a lost six year old in a department store and then gives up a double. Sigh. It's ok. Wells is promptly stranded at second to put this one in the W column. Enjoy the afterglow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, Second Movement

Top story tonight--Rick Porcello's strong outing? No. Brandon Inge's 1000th major league hit? Hardly. Johnny Damon's benevolent choosing of Detroit over Boston? NEGATIVE. The hit parade put on by our Bengals? Nope. Mi Magglio will undergo season ending surgery tomorrow. Warm up the pipe organ for the of darkest of dirges. Break out the mourning clothes. Forge an anti-depressant prescription for me, would you?

People have been opining that the loyal Mike Ilitch may pick up Magglio's $15 million option for next year. I believe this to be highly unlikely. I do think the Tigers may try to negotiate a more reasonable salary with Magglio, but his agent is Scott Boras, savvy? Rest assured, the market will be tested. I know for a fact that Magglio likes it here in Detroit. He's made plenty of coin, so he may be inclined in his heart to give Detroit the hometown discount to stay around and retire in a blaze of glory someday, enshrined in all proper majesty at the CoPa (and in our hearts). However, Scott Boras will do his best to ruin all that and send Magglio off to the club with the deepest pockets. Have I mentioned that my loathing of Boras knows no limits, but extends off into infinity, beyond the reaches of human comprehension?

I hope that Magglio comes to the park for fan appreciation weekend, so that fans can shower him with love and gratitude. He was a big part of bringing baseball back to Detroit. I have so many happy baseball memories involving him. When he was dueling Ichiro for the batting title in 2007, and it was coming down to the final weekend in Chicago, I hatched half a dozen schemes of driving to the Cell to see it happen in person. Things didn't work out, but I reveled in hearing the Venezuelan announcers call each of his at bats (FSN cut over to them each time Magglio came to the plate).

I have a terrible confession to make. I had my chance to thank Magglio in person last year at no other place than US Cellular Field. I was there in late September for the Sox/Tigers tilt (remember those days, when we thought we would make the playoffs?? Sorry.) Anyway, we arrived at the park before the gates even opened, and I walked down to the wall during warmups. Magglio was walking straight toward me. I arrived at the wall, and a guy was getting an autograph. He finished, and here was my shot to gush about how much I've enjoyed watching him play, how he was MY Tiger, blah, blah, blah. Well, I stood mute staring like an idiot. Then, in slow motion, I began to reach for my camera to ask for a photo. Meanwhile, he moved down the wall toward other Tigers fans, leaving me behind in a sea of regret. Huge footprints were visible on my posterior (where I had kicked myself repeatedly for being such a first class moron). Don't let something like this happen to you. I'm content to be a cautionary tale, if I can prevent this disaster from affecting others.

Anyway, I would like to thank Magglio myself here and now, even though I know he will never read it. I would like to tell him that his baseball skills have brought smiles and joyful laughter to my face innumerable times. I must express that being at the park when he hit two home runs in one inning is a memory that I swell with pride to recount (even though I missed the second home run because my son wanted to ride the ferris wheel). I have to say that seeing Magglio Ordóñez play in the Old English D has been one of the greatest of pleasures of my baseball-watching life.

I'm sorry if I've overdosed you with high fructose corn syrup, but it just can't be helped where Magglio's concerned.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dog Days

Well, we completed a sweep of the Cleveland Indians today. Excuse me if I don't do any cartwheels. You see, the Twinks continue to win at a seemingly unsustainable pace, which they somehow manage to sustain. Go take a flying flip off the top of the Metrodome, would you, Ron Gardenhire? Sorry. I really respect Gardy. I just want him to stop sticking it to us, you know?

Justin Verlander rebounded nicely from a crap-tastic outing against the Yankees (which I mercifully missed). Once again, however, we must temper any good feelings with the reminder that this was the Cleveland Indians. Actually, I didn't really have any good feelings to temper after today's win. I feel so underwhelmed.

Maybe part of my malaise is related to the doom and gloom news that Magglio may not return at all this season, and may have played his last game as a Tiger. NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I cannot handle that. I want Mi Magglio to stay here. Retire here. Be enshrined here for eternity. Sigh.

Kansas City tomorrow. I will be attending the festivities. Whoop-de-do. Bondo, do me a favor and hold the head case antics for one game, okay? Bruce Chen, do me a favor and give up a boatload of runs, okay? Umpires, do me a favor and don't screw us over tomorrow, okay? Jim Leyland, do me a favor and run out a lineup that doesn't feature Gerald Laird hitting second, okay?

Maybe I'll try to muster up some rah rah for tomorrow's game. Meanwhile...meh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicks Dig the Long Ball

Seeing Curtis Granderson play against the Tigers in pinstripes--not a pretty sight, but a sight made more tolerable by young Austin Jackson's performance this year in the Old English D. It has been reported that Curtis has not yet been the target of Yankee fans' ire, despite a rather disappointing season. I'm glad, because little CJ does not deserve boos. He just doesn't. Unless he beats us, then Tiger fans will be showing him with boos.

Ryan Perry is our reliever with the best strand rated for inherited runners. He does this job again beautifully tonight in the 8th. So lovely. He needed a little help from Papa Grande to finish the eighth, but I'm happy.

During Valverde's phantasmagorical loss of control during the ninth, I found myself sitting in front of the TV blinking--like if I blinked enough, I might miss the horrors playing out in front of my eyes. Sadly, the blinking did very little. Let's see, he's walked a run in, buzzed Jeter, BUT GETS HIM TO HIT INTO THE DOUBLE PLAY TO END THIS THING!

Here's the bad news. Coke will not be available tomorrow, Perry will not be available tomorrow. Valverde? He's coming off an abdominal strain, and threw like a wild man tonight--38 pitches, only 16 of them strikes. Oh, how jocular. Verlander better be thinking complete game vs. CC Sabathia.

All of our runs tonight came via the home run. Ryan Raburn continues to prove us wrong, and raked a two run shot in the second. Miguel Cabrera flicked one off his shoetops (and off the end of his bat) to give us three. Miguel, you are the MVP.

I will be sojourning in the wilderness for the next five days, so have fun kids! I may tune in to parts of games via a hand crank radio. Seriously.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wrapped Up in a Bow

I've got to revel in the little things here. As a special little birthday gift to me, the Tigers managed to put one in the W column today. I realize it's one win. I realize we may not get another one for a week or more. But, it's better than a loss on day of my birth, you know? I accept this little offering. It's a nice gesture. Ryan Raburn parked one in the bullpen just for me today. What? You don't think so? Really? Huh. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Justin Verlander once again piled up the pitches to the tune of 119 pitches over six innings. Sigh. But he kept runs off the board. He knew he couldn't give away a whole truckload of runs, because our offense is, um, impotent. Then I had to sternly warn Ryan Perry to do his job when he walked two. He listened to me. Again you doubt? Get over it.

Jose Valverde continues to be inconsistent when he has to pitch more than one inning. I wish we had some other trustworthy arm, but Leyland is severely limited in his choices. He doesn't trust, and I don't blame him. A lot of guys have proven themselves to be gas cans, incapable of stranding inherited runners. I'm going to stop now so I don't ruin the good vibes from our little victor's party.

I strongly advise you to relish this moment as long as possible. Another opportunity may not be right around the corner.

Monday, August 9, 2010

No Girls Allowed

I sort of took a mental health break from the Tigers yesterday. I did watch part of the game, which I had recorded, and then someone inadvertently gave away the outcome, so I just let it go. Is THAT what it takes to get a win? I had a lot of fun just tossing around the baseball and playing badminton. It was good medicine. I've mentioned before that my relationship with the Tigers might just be considered toxic.

Allow me to elaborate. When I was fourteen, I wrote a letter to the Tigers inquiring about becoming a bat girl. They, in turn, sent me a letter stating that GIRLS WERE NOT CURRENTLY CONSIDERED FOR BATBOY POSITIONS. What? Sexism running rampant in the mid-80s at Tiger Stadium? I should have sued the pants off the franchise, and been installed as the first female bat person in Tigers history. As it was, all I did was send a nasty-gram, saying how I could do the job just as well as any stupid boy. "Hell hath no fury," you know. Then I craftily changed my name from Jennifer to Jeff and reapplied. I got a standard form letter back saying that there were no current batboy openings, along with a couple decals. This did not placate me. No. I ranted and raved much like I do here for many weeks on end.

I told that story to give you all a little chuckle, a much needed respite from the wretchedness that has become our season, the rotting carcass that is our second half of every season under Leyland, the maggot-eaten flesh festering in a scorching sun....well, you get the idea.

My mother asked me about the Tigers and I told her I just go into every game assuming we are going to lose, and if we do come away with a win, it's just bonus. That's what it has come to.

Mike Ilitch tells us he'll spend money on the Tigers this off season, with some $60 million large coming off the books. Let us just hope it is spent wisely. We could do some things with $60 mill. It could really help the ball club. Our eyes shift ahead to what might be in 2011. It's just self-preservation. I don't want to start screaming at the poor minor league kids that are just doing the best they can after being thrust into positions for which they weren't ready. I want to relax and let them make a wild throw or strike out with impunity. Rod Allen has already forgotten all of Will Rhymes mistakes anyway. Tonight he said that Rhymes was essentially flawless at second while he was up. What? I specifically remember a couple REALLY bad throws. Whatever, I'm letting it go. Just like Rod has.

So, go ahead Tigers, score one run five nights running, implode the bullpen a few times, get no quality starts...go ahead, pile it on! I can handle it. Maybe.

Speaking of imploding the bullpen, what in the name of balls and strikes is going on there? Phil Coke, who was just stellar the first half, has been getting tagged along with the rest of the arms out there. Eddie Bonine has been outed as someone who lets all of his inherited runners score (ok, not all, but waaaaaayyyy too many). Shrek Gonzalez has watched long balls jump out of the park. Sigh. Jeff Jones, you are on my list. And it's a long one.

EDIT: I had to show you my rejection letter, signed by Dan Ewald himself. If you click, it will enlarge.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Unbearable Sadness of Being...

... a Tigers fan. I really hate to be such a baby, but I am unable to cope with yet another loss. Mercifully, I missed most of the game for my son's baseball picnic. What a blessing. I didn't see Justin Verlander give up two runs in each of the first two innings. It's a good thing, too. You would think by this point, I would just be desensitized to all the losing, but no. It still stings. Every day. Day after day after day.

Ok. Big deep breath. This cannot go on. Even horrible, terrible teams don't lose this much. So, by sheer probability, we cannot continue to lose at this pace.

But seriously, who is going to be the stopper in this skid? Verlander couldn't do it. Scherzer pitched quite well yesterday, and where did that get us? I wore the lucky bracelet, attended the game, and...nothing.

It's going to take something extraordinary. Jeremy Bonderman, who sounds like baseball has become rather a chore, and has contemplated retirement after this season, faces off against Scott Kazmir tomorrow. Could Bondo's family come to the game and give him some moral support? Jeremy once said that one of the greatest thing about being a father is that his daughter loves him regardless of how he pitched that day. We need her at the game tomorrow. I am dead serious. Please, I'm begging here. My pride is non-existent at this point. Shame? Don't even know the definition.

Bats. That's another mountain to move. I say we sacrifice a live chicken before the game. All of us. Individually. I mean, if 20,000 fans sacrifice a live chicken, there's no way our bats can fail, right? If you can't stomach taking the life of an innocent winged creature, buy a bucket of KFC.

My last key for victory tomorrow involves sabotage. Part of the work may be done for us, as Torii Hunter quite possibly earned himself a suspension after tonight's histrionics, including throwing a bag of balls onto the field and maybe making contact with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa, or at the very least spitting in his eye (not purposely). Anyway, if you can break into the CoPa and steal equipment, that would be really great.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Beyond the Pale

Apparently, the Tigers are in a place so dark, they are beyond the usual help I am able to provide. Ordinarily, I can boost the team to victory whenever I attend. Today, my powers were ineffective. Sadly. Heart-breakingly.

Mark Kotsay. You are loathsome. I realize that Jim Leyland's wife thinks you are hot, but you remain an anathema to me. A home run and a triple? Four RBI? Are you serious? Sigh.

Ryan Raburn nearly brought us out of the depths by swatting a three-run homer with two outs in the 9th inning to tie things up. How I ask you, Tigers, how could you squander this thing of beauty?

Valverde only threw 10 pitches in the tenth. It was ok that he went out there for the eleventh. And then, things went horrifically awry. Valverde gave up two singles. The guy in front of me said they needed to pull Valverde. I said maybe he could get a double play ball. You know what happened next. Mark freaking Kotsay hit a two-run triple. All the joy of the ninth inning was quickly sapped away. We'd need two runs in the bottom of the eleventh just to tie it up again. We went out 1-2-3.

The Tigers now trail Chicago by nine games...beyond the pale.

I'll Wear This When Pigs Fly

I'm gonna have to go ahead and say no to this. It makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. Much like the Tigers' performance did last night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

I have to tell you something. The past couple days, after the Tigers suffered successive walkoff defeats at the hands of the Red Sox, I have been afraid to let myself read any articles, or listen to radio, or...anything. I've been petrified, quite literally, into total inaction. I can't figure out what to do with all this. The Tigers are seven games back. We are about to play the White Sox four times in three days. We could either climb back into this thing (however temporarily, setting us up for more heartbreak), or we could get buried.

Best I figure it, Monty Hall has set up:

Door Number One: I can give up the season for lost, sit back and watch the kids, try to figure out whether any of them are future Major Leaguers, start dreaming up a free-agent wish list, watch Miguel Cabrera get walked twenty zillion times, and find some way to go to an Arizona Fall League game. If I do this, and the Tigers end up making the playoffs, I will be Benedict Arnold in my own heart.

Door Number Two: I can keep the faith. I can get my heart stomped every night. I can find some way to deal with the pain (some way that doesn't involve substance abuse or binge eating). I can keep telling myself that we can win this division. Shut up. Stop laughing. Seriously.

Actually, my problem is that I cannot commit to either of these oh-so-attractive scenarios.

I'm looking for door number three.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No Joy in Mudville

In the first inning of this series finale, Ramon Santiago hit a one-out double down the right field line. With two outs and first base open, Miguel Cabrera strode to the plate, and Maddon pitched to him. Once again, strategy works, and Miggy strikes out swinging, stranding Santiago in scoring position. The frequency of this occurrence begins to wear me out. I don’t blame Miguel Cabrera. He can’t be 100% of our offense. It’s just that it appears that no break will ever come our way, whether it be incredible defensive plays, biased umpiring or voodoo.

It’s possible that I am a mite cranky due to our recent fall off a cliff, but if I have to see another Sam Bernstein commercial, or watch the Labatt Light Refreshment Duo even once more, I may take a fork to my own eyeballs. Not sure if that’s an overreaction, but like I said, I may be slightly irrational at the moment.

In the bottom of the second, former Tiger Carlos Peña hit a bomb to right field. Rod and Mario tell us it hit a catwalk BEYOND the right field wall. I just nod mechanically, yes that’s how things are going for us at the moment. At least I didn’t burst into tears.

Next, a pop foul drops harmlessly between Danny Worth and Ramon Santiago. Tears threaten but do not fall.

Will Rhymes leads off the third with a standup triple. It coaxes a small, no teeth showing smile. Rod says that Will looks like a track star the way he runs with his hands pumping up and down. Rod. You do go on. Hey, maybe Rhymes will hit for the cycle today. (Sarcastic laughter.) Sorry. I know that hardened cynicism is ugly. I’ll try to be sunnier.

Jhonny Peralta arrives in the Tiger dugout during the third inning. Sporting an awkward smile, he is greeted by handshakes and hugs. Must feel a bit odd to arrive mid-game. He is wearing number 27.

Ever informative, Rod lets the viewer know that the Tigers are 3 for 23 with RISP this series. Rod, need I remind you that tears are barely being held at bay here? Geez. Santiago beats out a double play to score Rhymes, and we’re tied at 1.

I absolutely adore the Rays striped socks. They really are all that. The dark blue socks are punctuated by rings of white and powder blue. Very nice. Every one of them should wear high socks at all times.

Cabrera makes a great diving stop on a grounder, but Crawford is too fast, and Porcello can’t beat him to the bag. Bases loaded. Eyes momentarily fill up. Choked back in time to see Porcello strike Longoria out for the second time. Two outs, bases still juiced. Two runs score on a liner that ricochets off Cabrera’s glove. Tough break number 5,427 for the Tigers. Sob. Hey, I held back as long as I could. You’re lucky I wasn’t boo hoo-ing two innings ago. Bases re-loaded on a walk to Matt Joyce. Forget that he saved a helpless kitten when he was here in Detroit. He hit a grand slam to squash Scherzer’s no-hitter on Monday. He’s on my list.

Boesch’s first hit of the series comes on a broken-bat infield single to short. We will take that, along with any other help we can get. Could the thunder rumbling outside the Trop strike any of the Rays occupants inside? Just asking. Raburn swings under an elevated fastball to run the count full. I can never say this enough about the high hard ones, “can’t him ‘em, can’t lay off ‘em.” It holds true most of the time.

The stupid carpet at the Trop is said to be wearing on free-agent-to-be Carl Crawford. He has a sore back every night from standing on the artificial surface. Can anyone steal him from the Yankees? I would appreciate that.

Ha. Laird comes up with runners on first and second with one out. Would you take the over or the under if I said the odds on him hitting into a double play were set at 85%? I’m not going to apologize for being jaded any more. It’s just what this season has done to me. Deal with it. I have to. Well he flies out to right, so at least it wasn’t the GIDP. It’s up to little Rhymes now, who sort of resembles a flea. Joyce runs down a fly ball, which had threatened to shoot the gap in right. Side retired. Bernstein commercial follows. I change the channel.

Miggy strikes out looking to start the sixth. Price has struck him out three times today for sobbing out loud! I almost just said “what more could happen to us?” but that would have brought on a hailstorm of destruction, so I refrained. Boesch strikes out. Quickly. I mean, he was hardly at the plate for three seconds. Two outs. None on. Raburn at the plate. He singles to bring Laird to the dish. Laird ground out weakly to second. Ahem. Another Bernstein commercial.

Porcello has now retired 9 straight batters and there are two outs in the bottom of the sixth for Willy Aybar. Porcello strikes him out for another 1-2-3 inning. There’s a little bright spot.

Price balks Worth over to second in the seventh with one out for Austin Jackson. A RISP? Oh, sadly, we can predict what will happen next. Well, we did score one run, but then Maddon walks Cabrera AGAIN to load up the bases when runners were on first and second, and Boesch grounds out weakly. I…just…

Porcello then dispatches the Rays in order to help me retain the vestiges of sanity. Thanks. Rod and Mario marvel about that new-fangled gadget the iPod touch. Guys. Please.

In the top of the eighth, we are carved up like so much roast beef. Porcello comes back out and gives up a single, then balks the runner to second. Are you serious? The balk looked suspect to me. Umpires are in a conspiracy against the Tigers. I am now convinced. Groundball advances runner to third. Leyland walks Longoria intentionally. Brings in Coke to pitch to Peña. AGAIN a groundball glances off Cabrera’s glove to score a run. Some evil puppeteer is orchestrating this game with the deliberate intention of driving Tigers fans to Bedlam. There IS NO OTHER explanation for the repetition of such horrors.

Down 4-2 and here come our last at bats. Danny Worth flies out to right to lead us off. Woo hoo! Austin Jackson does have an RBI single today, soooo let’s see what he can do with nobody on and one out. He chases two high hard ones to strike out. Here we go kids! Ramon Santiago remains our last hope of avoiding a four game sweep at the Trop. He grounds weakly right back to the mound to end this thing. Excuse me while I go lose my lunch and my mind.