Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grab Bag of Oddities

Gerald Laird has changed his uniform number from 8 to 12, snatching Lloyd McClendon's uniform number! I find this most unusual. How often do players just change their uni number solely as a slump-buster? Also, John Keating reports that Laird has made no compensation as of yet to McClendon, and plans to do so only if he benefits from the change (improved offensive numbers)! Hilarious. Did McClendon just go for a straight swap and take Laird's number 8? I don't know, nobody mentioned it. Why was this not part of the story???

Carlos Guillen struck out in the bottom of the second inning, and I exclaimed with mildly stern disapproval, "Carlos," and my son chimes in from the other room "Guillen, suckage." He didn't even know what had happened! What did I do in my current or former life to deserve my son hating the Tigers? It hurts, so deeply inside, it hurts. Then, to add insult to injury, my husband quips, "he'll be injured in the next two weeks. Do you think other teams' general managers think "durability" when they think of Carlos Guillen?" Really, the gears in my brain are circling feverishly trying to identify terrible things I must have done to be the subject of such cruel barbs from my family. I'm heading to a local sports bar to watch the games in a non-hostile environment from now on.

Rick Porcello came into the game with a 2.29 groundball to flyball ratio, which Rod said is the best in the majors (over some time period, but I didn't catch exactly what, I think it was the time period since Rick came into the majors until now). This game was characterized by fly ball after fly ball for Pretty Little Ricky. What gives? Magglio Ordóñez made a funny catch against the right/center field wall. He went back for it, tripped against the wall at the last second, fell down as the ball came into his glove, but mercifully held on to it. If he had dropped it, derisive laughter would have followed from the previously mentioned Tiger haters in my household. As it was, we chuckled at the play, but it was all good-natured from my end, I assure you. Never any bad vibes for Mi Magglio.

The following is not an oddity at all. I'm not the least bit surprised that Roy Halladay threw a perfect game. He has always shown that he's more than capable of accomplishing the feat, and tonight he pulled it off. Congratulations, Roy, it's an achievement worthy of your stellar career. I followed the last couple outs on's Gameday, and FSN showed the final out, a nice play at that, to preserve the perfection.

Tonight's Tiger game does not compare favorably to Roy's perfect game, so I won't mention any further details (like Laird being robbed of a home run, and later failing to pick a ball out of the dirt from cutoff man Adam Everett). Sigh.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Available to the Highest (and most cosmopolitan) Bidder

In order to raise money for a very worthy cause--sending yours truly to Tigers ballgames, I am hereby offering at auction, the following treasure:

1 1992 Donruss Kirk Gibson baseball card, pictured below, in all its powder blue glory, graded pristine 23 by JLC Memorabilia.

Yes, I realize it will be a virtual impossibility for me to part with such a gem. However, I am willing to make the sacrifice for the good of the club. I'm very unselfish like that. Remember, the Tigers are unbeaten this year in games I have attended, and went 18-22 in 2009 when I graced them with my presence. So, cash in that certificate of deposit, raid (ahem, I mean temporarily borrow from) your child's college fund, sell your hair, gather returnables from trash cans in local parks, whatever it takes. Really. I mean it. Just think about the return you'll get on this investment.

In addition, consider the public service you will be doing by keeping something as wrong as Kirk Gibson in Royals blue out of the hands of those who might wish to abuse it.

I apologize that I am unable to accept personal checks. Money order, Paypal, cashier's checks, gold bullion, rare gemstones (no blood diamonds, please) and information that could be used to humiliate, torture or blackmail Rogo of Designate Robertson are all welcome currency.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You Can't Stand There Like a House By the Side of the Road!

Brandon Inge.

He probably won player of the game last night, even though he ended the game by striking out LOOKING with runners on second and third. I'm sorry, but that is unacceptable. It deserves a serious penalty, like being forced to dress skin ulcers on a hospital ward full of diabetics. I cannot stomach striking out looking to end the game. I don't care if you weren't ready for the pitch selection, put an awkward swing on it. That would be infinitely better than getting rung up by the home place umpire, and walking away looking and feeling like the idiot you are.

Last year, Brandon was 2nd in the AL with 170 strikeouts. I wish I knew how many of those were game-ending. Actually, you know what? I have to find out. I'm going to look at all the game logs from Baseball Reference for 2009 and 2010.

Drumroll, please.

In losses during 2009, Brandon Inge:

Struck out looking in the 9th three times.

Struck out swinging in the 9th eight times.

Struck out swinging to end the game three times.

In losses during 2010, Brandon Inge:

Struck out looking to end the game once. (Yes, the agony is fresh in our minds.)

Struck out swinging to end the game twice.

Struck out swinging in the 9th twice.

Yes, folks, that's your player of the game. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!

Brennan Boesch went two for four with a stolen base today. The kid now stands at .387 AVG, .397 OBP, .680 SLG, 1.077 OPS. If that doesn't make you giddy, I'm not sure what will. First Austin Jackson and now Boesch. We are getting oh so spoiled by these young children bursting out of the gate, taking MLB by storm. It's fun though, isn't it?

Yes, they will come back down to earth. Jackson has perhaps already begun his descent. That's ok. We're prepared for it. We are ready to be patient with possible slumps. Boesch misplayed a ball today. I swallowed my frustration. I mean, come on. What are you going to say to the kid? He's still learning left field. He's six foot four, and he stole a base with ease today. You gotta love that. I do, anyway.

Many sighs today for Miguel Cabrera. He comes up with the bases loaded, and we're down two, and he fails, epic fail. Magglio Ordóñez walked three times ahead of him today, and he had zero hits, zero RBI...sigh. Actually, more like AAAARRRRRGGGGHHH. Not a cute pirate-y arghh, either. Well, I'd better temper that since Miggy was 4-5 with the bases loaded coming into today's game. Ok. Ok. But still, we needed that, and the failure only brought up questions about him partying with the White Sox last night (especially since the game was rained out).

Now, our second and final west coast trip of the season. Get ready for some dark circles under the eyes, and some reduced production at the job site.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Swashbuckling Salemanship

Is it just me, or was anyone else disturbed to see that Captain Morgan threw out the first pitch at Comerica Park on Friday? I didn’t see the beginning of the game, but video of the ridiculous event was posted on Excuse me, but since when are fictitious mascots that hawk liquor eligible to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a ballgame, and did The Captain Morgan Rum Company also pay to have the video posted online? I'm not giving them the satisfaction of linking to it, so you'll have to go to the Tigers web site if you want to see Alex Avila swapping caps with Captain Morgan and grinning like an idiot for a photo op.

I realize that clubs need to sell advertising space on outfield walls, and the naming of parks is now a commercial affair, but this seems like an utterly shameless infomercial foisted on ticketholders. Can I also buy the right to throw out the first pitch? Maybe they should just auction the privilege off for every game. I’m surprised we haven’t seen a parade of the deep-voiced Belle Tire character, Ronald McDonald, the Budweiser Clydesdales, and the stupid, jumpsuit-clad Labatt bimbos throwing out first pitches all year. Disgust.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tigers vs. Yankees: A Fairy Tale

In a miraculous turn of events, today's game was not rained out. You can thank me for that, because I was going to the game, and therefore the weather had to conform itself to my wishes. I am not even kidding, I checked the forecast at least twenty times and each time it predicted rain to occur every hour of the day. EVERY hour. You figure it out, I sure can't. Not a single drop fell on Comerica Park the entire game. All of this was very fortuitous, because my mom was in town joining me for today's game, and can you imagine the bitter dregs of disappointment that a rainout would brew?

Also, the Tigers have won all four games I've been to this year. Today was no exception. We not only beat the Yankees, we shut them out, we scored SIX runs off CC Sabathia (/giggles with glee), Verlander pitched 6.2 innings of shutout ball, so what more could I ask for?

Oh, I guess I could have ordered up back-to-back home runs by Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch. Even Gerald Laird had two RBIs today. I mean, come on, I couldn't script this stuff any better.

Derek Jeter, although leading off the game with an infield single, otherwise continued his hitting ineptitude that has characterized this series. I just got to use the words Derek Jeter and ineptitude in the same sentence! Alex Rodriguez had zero hits today! (/bursts into uproarious laughter)

It wouldn't be a fairy tale without a happy ending. Although Justin Verlander's pitch count reached 119 before the seventh inning was complete, Joel Zumaya and Eddie Bonine came in and combined to allow zero hits and zero runs. We took three of four from the most loathsome team in the league. Hurrah!

...and the Tigers continue to win games, Brennen Boesch and Austin Jackson play like veteran superstars all season long, the Tigers win the pennant, go on to the World Series, and all the little Tiger fans live happily ever after...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ernie's Night at the CoPa

Well, I missed the last game at Tiger Stadium, I missed the game last year at which Ernie gave his farewell speech, I missed Ernie's viewing at Comerica last week, so I decided I just couldn't miss the game last night. I wanted to be there when Paul Carey threw out the ceremonial first pitch. I wanted to hear Jose Feliciano's beautiful rendition of the anthem. I wanted to see the flag hoisted up in memory of Ernie Harwell.

After some last minute wrangling, I got a ticket, and I made it there. I'm glad. I took a few pictures. If you click them, they will enlarge.

Rogo of DesigNate Robertson was at the park too. He concocted some story about me hugging him. If you're that desperate for affection, guy, just ask, I'd be happy to give you a hug.

Happy things occurred for the Tigers. Alex Rodriguez made an error, which led to runs! Magglio Ordóñez made an amazing catch with runners on first and third to basically save the game for us in the eighth, and the look on Derek Jeter's face as he saw at least a double taken away was so....what shall I say...glorious! Papa Grande struck out the side in the ninth in dramatic fashion, leading to people questioning his antics on the mound. I am all for these antics if they keep leading to victories. It's who he is. It's not a put-on. Let the guy be himself. He walked out to the pen before the game, and I wish I had my camera on, because he has kind of a wild look in his eyes, even just casually strolling by. Brennan Boesch continues to mash, with a triple and three RBIs. I keep wondering when he's going to cool off a bit, but I hope he keeps me wondering for quite some time.

Brennan Boesch in left.

Zoel Zumaya and Phil Coke walking out to the pen.

A moment of silence for Ernie Harwell.

Ernie's memorial flag is raised.

Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Brandon Inge, and two of Ernie's daughters help to ready the flag for raising.

Yes, thanks Ernie, the memories will never fade.

Magglio Ordóñez and Brennan Boesch warming up.

Gerald Laird, he of the .147 average, warming up.

Brandon Inge and Tom Brookens walk out to help with the flag ceremony.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Rain Delays and Mondays Always Get Me Down

Does anyone else sniff conspiracy? Cleveland was down one in this game. I know that's close, but do you think they wanted to resume play tonight? No. They want a coveted do-over. Fine. They got it. I hope we stomp them 20-0 in the make up game. OK. Maybe that's just the disappointment talking. But isn't it irksome to start a game, get half way through with a lead (slim as it may have been) and then just have it all unceremoniously erased like an end of the day chalkboard?

Both starters got chased out of this game in the third, ouch. Bonderman gave up an early solo shot to Sizemore and then looked ok, until Cleveland ripped off, what was it, four, five, six straight hits, including a three run dinger to a struggling Travis Hafner? Does it matter now that this partial game has been wiped off the books as if it had never been played? Sigh.

I give. I should just stop typing right now and go to sleep. Why swim in a sea of self-pity over a single regular season game getting postponed? I don't know! I'm a masochist, what can I say? Perhaps more accurately, I am a spoiled brat who can't stand to go two days without a game of baseball being completed. Well now. At least I'm honest.

In case you're concerned, I just checked Cleveland's forecast for tomorrow and mercifully it looks as if there's a pretty good chance of the game being played to a full nine innings. Also, I did verify availability of a bed at a local mental health facility, since my sanity seems to be rather absurdly dependent on baseball being played.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

No Fitting Tribute

Sigh. I am more than a little upset that the Tigers got swept by the Minnesota Twins. Not because we now sit 3.5 games back, not because the memory of Game 163 still stings (well, it does, but that's not why I'm peeved), not because getting swept is, none of these things.

I actually buy into that whole corny "win one for the Gipper" thing. I thought the best way for the Tigers to honor the great Ernie Harwell's memory would be to do it on the field by beating the Twins. I am happy they are already wearing a memorial patch on their sleeves--a black circle with white letters "EH." That's a wonderful way to keep Ernie at the forefront of our minds throughout this season. However, I just felt like winning yesterday's game and today's would have been the most appropriate way to eulogize a baseball man of Ernie Harwell's stature.

There's nothing I can say here to add any new depth to what's been said and shown already. I'll just bow my head with the rest of you, swallow the lump in my throat, and swipe at a couple salty tears as they escape my lids. Ernie himself says it most eloquently in his "That's Baseball" speech:

Baseball is the President tossing out the first ball of the season and a scrubby schoolboy playing catch with his dad on a Mississippi farm. A tall, thin old man waving a scorecard from the corner of his dugout. That's baseball. And so is the big, fat guy with a bulbous nose running home one of his (Babe Ruth's) 714 home runs.

There's a man in Mobile who remembers that Honus Wagner hit a triple in Pittsburgh forty-six years ago. That's baseball. So is the scout reporting that a sixteen year old pitcher in Cheyenne is a coming Walter Johnson. Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex. A game of inches. Every skill is measured. Every heroic, every failing is seen and cheered, or booed. And then becomes a statistic.

In baseball democracy shines its clearest. The only race that matters is the race to the bag. The creed is the rulebook. Color merely something to distinguish one team's uniform from another.

Baseball is a rookie. His experience no bigger than the lump in his throat as he begins fulfillment of his dream. It's a veteran too, a tired old man of thirty-five hoping that those aching muscles can pull him through another sweltering August and September. Nicknames are baseball, names like Zeke and Pie and Kiki and Home Run and Cracker and Dizzy and Dazzy.

Baseball is the cool, clear eyes of Rogers Hornsby. The flashing spikes of Ty Cobb, an over aged pixie named Rabbit Maranville.

Baseball just a came as simple as a ball and bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. A sport, a business and sometimes almost even a religion.

Why the fairy tale of Willie Mays making a brilliant World's Series catch. And then dashing off to play stick ball in the street with his teenage pals. That's baseball. So is the husky voice of a doomed Lou Gehrig saying., "I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.”

Baseball is cigar smoke, hot roasted peanuts, The Sporting News, ladies day, "Down in Front", Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and the Star Spangled Banner.

Baseball is a tongue tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown. This is a game for America. Still a game for America, this baseball!

Ernie, you are baseball. Thank you so much for being the thread through all of our baseball lives.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Damon Hits Walkoff Winner, Walks Off with Shaving Cream

Dramatics have been the modus operandi for the Tigers of late. Yesterday, Scott Sizemore and Brennan Boesch hit their first major league home runs in the same inning, Boesch's a Grand Salami to cap off an 8-run fourth. Today, Damon hit his first home run in a Tigers uniform, and came at a time calculated to endear himself to his teammates and the Detroit fan base.

Personally, I am maintaining a strict professional distance with Damon. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his production, his loosey goosey clubhouse vibe, veteran/mentor status, blah, blah, blah...however, I do not forget that he comes here strictly as a merchant marine, hired gun mercenary. It's a one year deal. He'll be doing all this somewhere else next year, you dig?

Anyway, none of that tempers my adoration of the conclusion of today's festivities. I was there in spirit as the bench emptied and surrounded Damon in a riotous scrum.

I watched the Tigers post-game show for the first time all year, and saw the on-field interview with Damon, who was talking about the wind affecting his home-run's distance when he was blind-sided by Gerald Laird and a towel full of shaving cream. Laird scored a direct hit, and Johnny scooted away to the dugout to towel off. He actually returned to complete the interview, with shaving cream still clinging to his face, hair and ears. Very endearing indeed.

My heart remains detached as ever...