Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Merry Christmas to All....

May visions of playoff berths dance in your heads. May Justin Verlander's MVP trophy reign on your mantle vicariously. May Miguel Cabrera's batting title bring back giddy recollection of doubles, triples and moon shots. May Alex Avila's Silver Slugger never tarnish. May no-hitter number two not be JV's last. May the memory of beating the Yankees on the "hallowed" turf of Yankee Stadium never fade. May Rod Allen's "Oh, Jackson" ring gloriously eternal in your ears. And may Dave Dombrowski make all of our Christmases by getting that fifth starter we need....and a third baseman.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Proof That Awards Voting is Rigged

There's an exclusive little club for Detroit Tigers baseball bloggers. It's called the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes (DIBS). You may say, "I've never heard of DIBS." That's right. You haven't heard of it, because IT'S EXCLUSIVE, comprende? We don't want every idiot on twitter clamoring to get into the club.

The prestigious DIBS held its own post-season awards voting recently. I received a ballot, placed my votes, submitted them, naively believing that my vote would be included in the tabulation. Alas, Kurt Mensching, the malevolent dictator of DIBS, deliberately flushed my vote down the Internet toilet. I'll show HIM! I'm going to publish my votes here and sign Kurt up to receive fifty yarn catalogs a day until Christmas, along with a tsunami of spam ads for male enhancement supplements that will cause his email inbox to spontaneously combust. (Just kidding, something went haywire on the internetz, and my vote never made it to Kurt.)

Here's the official press release, along with my votes:

Most Valuable Tiger -- Justin Verlander

With AL Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player victories, Verlander has a cupboard full of hardware already for his 2011 season. Unsurprisingly, he added another laurel after receiving 15 of 22 votes. Miguel Cabrera, Justgruel Cabrander, Alex Avila and Victor Martinez also received votes, but Verlander put in a season that won’t soon be forgotten.

I voted for Justin. He IS THE MAN. Miggy was deserving. Totally. And if he doesn't win an MVP soon, I pledge to riot.

Best Rookie -- Al Alburquerque

When Alburquerque was signed during the last offseason and immediately put on the 40-man roster, a lot of people thought, “I know he’s got a cool name, but aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves?” When he started using his slider-fastball combination to rack up strikeout after strikeout, he quickly became a fan favorite. In fact, he played so well it was hard to remember there were other rookies. (Andy Dirks, Duane Below and Adam Wilk may have been the chief contenders for the award.)

Again, I was with the crowd on this one. Alburquerque's slider had jaws dropping all over the place.

Best Role Player -- Ramon Santiago

Recently, another group of voters named Don Kelly as the Tigers “10th man.” DIBS tackled the same question, but came up with a better answer: Ramon Santiago. It feels like he’s been a Tiger forever, but he has really come into his own during the past three years as a valuable member of the middle infield. Don Kelly, Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Alex Avila also received votes.

Don't tell Rogo of Designate Robertson, but I voted for Don Kelly. He filled a lot of roles.

Best Moment -- Austin Jackson’s double-play throw to defeat the Indians on Aug. 21

This was a season with many great memories, including the team’s first division title since 1987 and another AL Division Series victory over the Yankees. But the wise voters of DIBS remembered that before all that could occur, the Tigers had to dismiss Cleveland from the equation. On Aug. 21, the Tigers did just that when Austin Jackson caught a fly ball and threw out Kosuke Fukudome at home plate to end the game, 8-7, and secure a sweep of the Tribe. Other favorite moments include Victor Jose Martinez’s “Vote for my Dad” All-Star press conference and the ALDS victory over New York.

I voted for the September 3rd game in which Raburn and Miguel Cabrera hit back to back home runs to cap off a comeback from down 8-0 against the Sox. It was a cementing moment for our post season run, in my mind.

Team Clown -- Phil Coke

It didn’t take Phil Coke’s Brain to figure out who would win this award. Although Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera also received votes for their off-field shenanigans, Coke’s genuine goofiness won over almost half of DIBS’ voters. However, Verlander’s ode to Bert Blyleven, giving Don Kelly the hot foot, helped him cruise to a second-place finish.

I voted for Phil Coke, here, despite Verlander's best attempts to display two distinct personalities: stone faced game face, and goofy non-game day prankster.

Best Hair -- Alex Avila

Avila could shave before the first inning and sport a full beard by the third. His 5 o’clock shadow begins at midnight. He was the clear winner in a category that featured a plethora of responses. Runners-up included Justin Verlander’s arms, Jim Leyland’s mustache, Daniel Schlereth’s mullet-beard combo and Miguel Cabrera’s mohawk. Will Rhymes, Brennan Boesch and Brayan Villarreal also received votes.

I voted for Justin Verlander's arm hair. I mean, have you SEEN it? Needy children could be clothed with that stuff.

Tiger Organization Name of the Year -- Doug Fister

DIBS voters liked the double-entendre that was Doug Fister. In a close vote, he snuck past Deik Scram and Al Alburquerque. Other well-named Tigers included Montreal Robertson of the Connecticut Tigers, former Tigers Casper Wells and Charlie Furbush, Wilson Betemit and Justin Verlander.

I misunderstood this category and voted Miguel Cabrera. I thought it was sort of an alternative category to MVP, not about the "name." Sorry. I am a moron.

Goofiest Moment -- 3 way tie

Any 162-game season is going to be filled with plenty of heartbreak and plenty of fun. This one was no different. In fact, voters came up with so many suggestions for this award that we had a three-way tie at four votes and a couple more with two votes. The tie featured Alex Avila’s catchers mask throwing off sparks after being hit; Andy Dirks sprinting around the bases for an in-the-park home run despite the ball being caught, and Jim Leyland’s pantomime argument with the ump; and Verlander’s lighting Don Kelly’s shoe on fire. Other receiving multiple votes included Justin Verlander’s awkward balk against Oakland, Don Kelly pitching, Ryan Raburn’s attempt to catch a fly ball resulting in a home run, and Victor Martinez dancing around home plate.

I voted for Justin Verlander's crazy balk/illegal pitch. It was so strange. I had never seen anything like it. I've also never seen sparks fly off a catcher's mask, but...

Best Victor Martinez -- Sr.

When the Tigers signed “Victor Martinez,” they actually got two Victor Martinezes for their money. Although young Victor Jose Martinez may win the award for cutest Tiger, he father edged him in voting for the best Victor Martinez, 12-9, with one vote for both. Senior’s major league contributions give him the edge for now, but the smart money is on Victor Jose in the long run.

Little Victor is beyond cute. But given the season that Victor had, and given the fact that said season was overshadowed by Verlander and Cabrera, I had to give Sr. his due in this vote. I stand amazed in the glory of Victor's magnificence.

List of voting 2011 DIBS voting members in no particular order:

Roar of the Tigers -- Samara Pearlstein

Motor City Bengals -- John Parent

Tiger Tales -- Lee Panas

Phil Coke's Brain Matters -- Anonymous

April in The D -- Laura, Megan and Rosie

Fire Gerald Laird -- Greg Papke

Tigers Amateur Analysis -- Erin Saelzler

Where have you gone, Johnny Grubb? -- Greg Eno

Detroit Tigers Scorecard -- Austin Drake

Detroit Tigers Weblog -- Kevin Vela

DesigNate Robertson -- Scott Rogowski

Deetown Tigers -- Skip

Detroit Jock City -- Zac Snyder

Bless You Boys -- David Tokarz, Matt Wallace, Al Beaton, Kurt Mensching and Alli Hagen

Mlive’s Tigers coverage -- Matt Sussman, James Schmehl, Ian Casselberry

Old English D -- Jen Cosey

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holding On By My Toes

Ok. I'm finally ready. I never put this season to bed. I tried a couple of times. I attempted to muster up enough mental fortitude, but wound up a coward every time. In fact, last night, because it was the last day of November, and in light of the fact that it would be absolutely BEYOND to hang on any longer, I removed the miniscule remnants of my navy blue playoff toenail polish and put on a "normal" hue. It was a painful experience. I had to own up to all that had happened. I had to let this season be pried from my death grip, and then let it go.

I had to remember Nelson Cruz blasting 20,000 playoff home runs against us, notably off a 100 MPH Justin Verlander fastball, and one off Jose Valverde's "best pitch." I had to relive getting eliminated in a rout so ugly, Jim Leyland said what everyone was thinking--that it's a crying shame this team will be remembered by this game. /gnash-sob-hurl things against wall

I know. I know. We had a good run. That's all you can ask for. It's really difficult just to make the playoffs in baseball. We ousted the Gotham Yanks. We saw Austin Jackson start an outfield assist double play at the plate that elicited a throaty "OH JACKSON" from Rod Allen the likes of which we'll never forget, and which aptly captured the emotion of the play. We saw Ryan Raburn and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back jacks to drive a stake through the hearts of the White Sox. I KNOW these things. Really I do. I'm not generally an ingrate, either. But when it came right down to it, I was still devastated. I apologize for being a horrible, terrible, no-good person.

A friend and I mulled over off-season acquisitions and reminisced about Tiger Fest 2011 today, so that helped. We laughed over arctic temperatures and red noses, the salvation of hand and foot warmers, hugs from Casper Wells and gasps at an unexpected brush by from Max Scherzer. The countdown to Tiger Fest 2012 has begun.

Ok. I promise to leave 2011 in the past where it belongs. I'm not going to harp on the things that went wrong. I won't keep rehashing the seamy side of yesterday's news. Eyes front. Hot stove. Winter meetings. Yes sir.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Not Saying Goodbye

So Dave Dombrowski, short of throwing Magglio Ordóñez a farewell soiré, has inscribed the handwriting on the wall himself. What is my reaction to this? Surprise? No. Anger? No. (I may have had an urge to punch the brick fireplace just to see my shredded flesh and crushed knuckles, but I refrained). Anguish? Sorrow as deep as the chasms that make Lake Superior a numbing force of liquid cold? No.

Emptiness. Magglio Ordóñez has been my Tiger since the middle of the 2006 season, when I asked myself the profound question "Who IS my Tiger?" and found him to be the answer. It took a while that season, as I pondered, plumbed the depths of my consciousness and analyzed my feelings for each man on the roster. Magglio Ordóñez was the name that echoed back to me.

Since making that irrevocable decision, I've enjoyed so many moments of glory involving Magglio, somehow even being in attendance for more than a few of them. I apologize, but I have to list them for you, even if it is an exercise in redundance. Don't worry, I won't exasperate you with tired recreations of each moment.

October 14, 2006, ALCS Game 4, walkoff home run, (one of the best moments in my Tiger fan history.)

2007, batting title .363, (I loved hearing the Venezuelan announcers call each of his at bats on the final day of the season in Chicago, as he edged Ichiro Suzuki.) Magglio was also a strong MVP candidate in 2007, getting beat out by Alex Rodriguez. Yeah, I puked too when the award was announced.

June 12, 2007, sliding catch to preserve Justin Verlander's no hitter (I was at the game, and may have peed my pants a little.)

August 12, 2007, two home runs hit in the same inning (the first time a Tigers player had accomplished the feat since Al Kaline did it in 1955, I was at this game, but missed the second home run while taking my son to the ferris wheel. That's what I get for trying to be an easy going mom instead of staying true to my never-miss-a-moment-of-the-action self.)

2009, Magglio comes storming back to form after a dismal first half at the plate. He hit .375 in the second half of the season to bring his season average up to .301, swinging a scorching stick to silence the critics who had written him off as washed up. I took great joy in seeing him vindicated.

April 29, 2010 Magglio records hit number 2000. (I was there for this game also, and was sitting in right field. We gave him a thundering standing O as he came back to the field.)

Really, I just want to thank him for helping to bring baseball back to Detroit. There were those dark days when baseball was a joke in this town, when the Bless You Boys days of '84 seemed like a century ago instead of the less than 20 years it had been. Magglio helped to bring legitimacy back to the club. No doubt, we overpaid to get him in 2005, when he was coming off experimental knee surgery. For sure, the big payday was a draw. I'm not that naive to think he came here riding a crest of benevolence. All I'm saying is that he was one of the cornerstones of the resurgence.

So no, I'm not going to say goodbye to Magglio Ordóñez. He is Always a Tiger. He should have retired here. But, that won't happen. The team has decided to "go in another direction." I realize we have our DH in Victor Martinez. I just take it as a big personal affront that Magglio can't walk off into the sunset wearing the Old English D. Sorry for being all stupidly sentimental. Heroes aren't that easy to come by. Playoff memories aren't made every day. I value these things.

Now I am a Tigerless soul, bleakly haunting blogs, twitter and baseball news sources. It will be a while before I adopt a new Tiger. You can't replace the irreplaceable. I am fond of Max Scherzer and his fanboy enthusiasm. We'll see. Down the road a ways. We'll see.

For now, thank you Magglio, for etching the number 30 into Tiger history, for logging a few entries into Tiger lore, for bringing the fans roaring to their feet, and for being my Tiger.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's No Mystery

As a member of the Baseball Blogger's Alliance, I am privileged to cast my vote for the American League's top pitcher. The BAA award for the top pitcher is known as the Walter Johnson award. If you don't know who Walter Johnson is, click here. Although I would love to provide a lot of insightful analysis, I am serving jury duty this week, and have to use the evenings to do some work for my day job. I know, cry me a river.

My top five American League pitchers appear below.

Justin Verlander, Detroit

Jered Weaver, Los Angeles

James Shields, Tampa Bay

Josh Beckett, Boston

Dan Haren, Los Angeles

All I have time to say is, what a year by Verlander. It was so much fun watching him take the hill this season. Kudos to him for taking his game to a whole new level. Almost every outing, it felt like there was a chance he could throw another no hitter.

I wanted to include Doug Fister, but didn't want to seem like a homer. His numbers were very comparable to Haren's.

Enjoy the World Series (if that's possible). I know I'll be watching, but will be thinking with every pitch "that should be my Tigers out there." To add insult to injury, a radio station played "Written in the Stars" on my way home from the Detroit court house today. I ask you, is that humane?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Willie Mays Award Voting

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I am privileged to cast my vote for the American League's top rookie. You might remember that last year, in the conventional Rookie of the Year voting, Austin Jackson finished second to Neftali Feliz. Feliz had a brilliant year, no doubt, but I felt Jackson was the rightful winner of the award. Anyway, on to the current year. Here are my selections for the season's top rookie:

Jeremy Hellickson

Although Hellickson started four games for the Rays in 2010, he was technically a rookie this year. He was an integral part of their run to the playoffs. He finished with an ERA of 2.95 and a WHIP of 1.153.

Mark Trumbo

Trumbo put on a show in his rookie season, hitting 29 home runs and knocking in 87. His better defense led me to place him ahead of Eric Hosmer on this ballot.

Ivan Nova

Another rookie pitcher that was an important part of the starting rotation for a team that made the playoffs, Nova finished the season with an ERA of 3.70 and a WHIP of 1.331.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And My Vote for AL Manager of the Year Goes To

As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, it is my pleasure to cast a vote for the Connie Mack Award (Manager of the Year) for the American League. My top three choices appear below.

Ron Washington

Ron Washington has Texas contending again this year. The Rangers have already advanced to the ALCS. Washington is respected by his players and peers alike. Jim Leyland selected him as a coach for the 2007 All Star Game. Texas' record in September was 19-6. Yes, you've got to credit the players for this run, but I believe the manager deserves some credit as well.

Joe Maddon

The Rays lopped over $35 million off their payroll after last season. By the way, the Rays' payroll was 29th in all of baseball this season at $41,900,000. The team also lost its entire bullpen after last season, but still made the playoffs. Joe Maddon seems to know how to make the game fun. He also knows how to win games with a small payroll. He contends in the AL East. Enough said.

Jim Leyland

Although Jim Leyland entered this season as a lame duck, I do not believe that status affected his ability to lead or manage in the least. I don't think the players find it to be a distraction. The ballclub extended Leyland's and Dombrowski's contracts in July anyway, so the whole lame duck thing went away. Jim Leyland makes a lot of decisions that madden me. Lineups, reliever selection, you name it. However, he has been successful. His players love him. He is known for keeping the clubhouse loose, and for dealing with all kinds of personalities. He is loyal to his players, often to a fault, especially veterans. Before Jim Leyland was hired, the Tigers were caught in a seemingly endless cycle of losing seasons. Since then, we've contended for the playoffs almost annually. Not too bad.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Game Three is Good to Me

I was at Game 3 of the 2006 ALDS. I was at Game 3 of the 2011 ALDS. These were good games. The Tigers won them both. I screamed myself hoarse. I got to see two Yankee fans practically RUN to the exits after DEREK MR. OCTOBER JETER struck out to end the game and the Yankee comeback threat.

This game was the cause of many near-hospitalizations. My stomach hurt almost all game long. At the end of the game, I was literally gulping for air, and my legs were a strange jelly-like consistency underneath me. It was all almost too much to bear. I had so much adrenaline rushing through my body, it lingered for hours afterward. I woke up yesterday at 5:00 am, and couldn't go back to sleep in anticipation of the evening's festivities. I didn't get home until after 1 am, and as you know, I'm old, so staying up for 20 hours straight takes its toll. I felt massively hungover today, even though I didn't have a drop of alcohol yesterday. I've been worthless all day. My body is moving in a very slug-like manner, and my throat is scratchy from all the raucous yelling I did last night. It's fabulous.

Justin Verlander struck out the side in the fifth, and it was nothing short of breath-taking. HE STRUCK OUT THE YANKEE SIDE. IN THE PLAYOFFS. COME ON PEOPLE! Crazy-tingly-high-fiving-strangers-wicked-stuff.

Delmon Young's seventh inning, game-winning home run came very near where I was sitting with Rogo of Designate Robertson. He is a total dork, and has posted a photo on his site in which he has circled himself in the crowd. Needless to say, we all went gonzo when it happened. I mean, how deflating that Gardner, newly annointed Tiger Killer, tied the game in the top of the inning. I am beginning to dislike this fellow very much. Anyway, Delmon revived us all with one first-pitch swing of the bat. Thank you Delmon, for picking Justin Verlander up so quickly.

When Don Kelly laid down a bunt single, I had to laugh and give Rogo a hard time. It was fun. Also, I declare that Rogo not-so-secretly likes and roots for Brandon Inge. Yes, the very same Inge he has mocked and derided on his site for years. You may not be aware of this, but the Rogo of Designate Robertson isn't much like Scott Rogowski. It's an alter-ego like Tony Plush or Larry Bernandez.

Jose Valverde had a ninth inning that gave the nickname Cardiac Cats new meaning. I am serious. At times, I could barely watch, and my breath was alternately held and gasping. I tried taking deep calm breaths, but with little success. Two walks, two outs, he buzzes Jeter and we all gasp some more. Finally, FINALLY he gets Jeter swinging, and the place roars.

Post season memories last a lifetime.

Friday, September 30, 2011


My hands are a bit shaky as I type this. I am awash with nervous anticipation. I'm not nervous because I'm worried about our boys playing the Yankees. I'm just overamped, something I hope Justin Verlander is NOT.

Bring on the stupid Yankees of New York City. Bring on Nick Swisher and his extra large mouth that said that the Yankees would beat the Tigers "hands down." I hope we can stuff those words down his throat along with some sod and dirt and stuff. Bring on Lord Jeter and his overhyped, overrated, overworshipped self. Bring on Alex Rodriguez and his mirror kissing, centaur painting, image obsessed, fake personality. Bring on the whole stinking Yankee roster, and match them up with Justin Verlander. I want to see it.

I don't know how much longer I can wait for this game to start. The past two days have crawled by at a pace so glacial, it appeared that 8:37 might never arrive.

I really hope tonight's game isn't a nail biter, because I'm not sure my constitution can stand it. I mean, I guess a nail biter would be better than a Yankee blowout, but....please....have pity on me......

OK. I am ready. I want this thing underway already. I want to stop hearing about the Yankee mystique and the Yankee dominance, and the Yankee tradition, and the Yankee post-season magic, and....sigh. All that's left to say is:

We're all behind our baseball team, go get 'em Tigers!



Monday, September 19, 2011

We Are the Champions My Friend

So, the division, it belongs to us. We own it. The Tigers are the Champions of the American League Central Division for 2011. It sounds so lovely. It seems like forever since we've said that because it is forever. We've never won the Central. We won the East in 1987. Sorry for reminding you about the black hole of suck we were for a while. Let's not dwell on that.

I hope you stayed up to watch the clincher. I mean, I know you could watch almost all of the highlights the next day, but it's not the same, you know. It's not the same as being bleary eyed at 1:30 in the morning, watching our boys pour champagne over each other's heads, smoking cigars about an inch and half in diameter (expensive ones provided by Papa Grande--who else?), and reveling in sealing their own playoff destiny. Of course Brandon Inge had a snorkel and mask on and looked like a total dork. Of course he did. I understand that champagne burns the eyes and whatnot, but come on. The boys also reportedly turned the plastic on the clubhouse floor into a slip and slide. Jim Leyland didn't want to hear about that or watch it. It scared him. But he didn't do anything to stop it. Imagine the nightmare injury scenarios running through poor Skip's mind.

Speaking of Skip, his interview was a blubbering mess, but endeared him to struggling Detroiters everywhere. He flat out sobbed about how he hoped this meant something to the fans, and he grew up with a factory worker dad who worried about the threat of layoffs. Jim Leyland cares about Joe Schmo, and he's not afraid to cry in front of the whole baseball watching world.

Saturday's game was one giant hangover. I appreciate that Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez wanted to play the day after a clinching celebration went well into the morning hours. Apparently, the team went to a bar together after all the clubhouse festivities for some private celebration time. Then Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont went to Carl's Junior to get some food and ran into Magglio Ordóñez. Imagine what time it was at that point. The game felt so meaningless. I even felt hung over and I hadn't drunk any alcohol. It was just too soon to process a game. I know we needed to reset and focus on home field advantage, but I doubt that anyone on Saturday could have broken out of a momentary listless fog.

On Sunday, Justin Verlander gave us all a swift smack and brought us back to the race against the Texas Rangers for first round HFA. Eight innings, NO RUNS, y'all. Justin Verlander, ladies and gentlemen. Just another day at the office. Just another case in point for MVP. Jose Valverde just, ho-hum, got his 46th save out of 46 opportunities this season. Are you not impressed?

So, now we are tunnel vision on winning out these last nine games, right? No, I'm not that unrealistic. I just want to finish strong. I just want the home field advantage. I just....I am greedy. Sorry.

One last thing. Could the next two weeks hurry by so I can GO TO A PLAYOFF GAME????????

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Moment of Silence That WIll be Filled by One Man's Call

Amid all the come-back wins, the bouncing throng of players engulfing the latest walkoff hero, and the imminence of the Tigers clinching the AL Central, my mind keeps circling 'round to one thing. I miss Ernie Harwell.

I know he wouldn't be making the call even if he were still alive--his last official words in the booth came on September 29, 2002. I know that we're fortunate to have Dan Dickerson as our play-by-play guy, and he has put away some vividly memorable calls himself. I know that Ernie had a full life, a rewarding career, and was at peace even as he faced the end of his time here on earth.

Despite all that, I cannot help it. He's left a huge cavern and nothing can fill it. I'm one of those people that cringes at sappy ballads and snarks at made-for-tv dramas. I'm sorry to do it to you, but I have to own up to my sentimentality when it comes to Ernie. Thankfully, I know I'm not alone. When we revel in our first division crown in 24 years, the raucous din will momentarily fade and our eyes won't quite be dry as we pause to salute the man who was the sound of summer for so many years.

Thanks again, Ernie. You'll be in the middle of it all.

Your voice echoes in my mind: "The Tigers are the 2011 Champions of the American League Central!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Run, an Omen and a Piece of Filth

I'm exhausted. I've been expending gargantuan amounts of energy lately on not getting too excited about the Tigers and our playoff chances. Every comeback win has me floating around like an untethered helium balloon, and then I don a lead mantle of caution and superstition to force myself back down to earth. This nine game win streak, involving three straight sweeps of divisional foes Chicago, Cleveland and Minnesota makes me want to break out into a really bad rendition of "Another One Bites the Dust," but I restrain myself admirably. I do admit, I have sung "We're all behind our baseball team, go get 'em Tigers" a couple times, but not the forbidden line. Hey, I'm trying, give me a little credit. But just let me tell you THIS:

The last time the Tigers had a nine game winning streak, the year was 1984.

Cue the shivers and some eerily prescient music. I mean, if that's not a sign from the ghost of baseball's past, I don't know what is.

Also, I am feeling an odd form of torture as well, because I have been saving all my ducats for the possible chance to attend a game that is played after all the regular season games have been played. Therefore, I haven't been to a game since August 2, and I have the shakes pretty badly. It's taken me about an hour and a half just to type up this drivel.

I cannot believe I am about to admit this to you, but I when I heard that the Red Cross was having a promotion on Labor Day weekend in which they gave away a pair of tickets to the last regular season series to anyone who donated blood, I jumped all over it in a moment of unmitigated selfishness. Very sheepishly, I went through the questionnaire, and sat in the vinyl chair gently squeezing the bolster as a pint of my blood slowly left my body. Dirty tickets. I scored 'em though. They're stowed in my game day bag right now. Contaminating it. I don't feel guilty enough not to use them. I am thoroughly corrupt.

Enjoy the afterglow of Fister's latest performance on the mound, ladies and gentleman, and please, for the love of cleats and stitched leather spheres, don't defile yourself like I did.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It's Settled: Max Scherzer is a Fan Boy

Did you see Max Scherzer's reaction to Miguel Cabrera's walk off four-sacker last night? If you didn't, please click here and watch the clip. His reaction is priceless. He is running out of the dugout with a look of absolute joy, his arms whirling wildly at this sides. STINKING ADORABLE. This is not the first time this year that I've seen Max react this way.

When Austin Jackson robbed Alex Gordon of a home run on August 6, Scherzer went wild on the dugout rail. Check it out here. Scherzer's reaction made my night. I laughed so hard, tears sprang to my eyes.

I love Max Scherzer for showing his unbridled emotions. He gets excited. He doesn't hide it. He doesn't try to feign disinterestedness. He doesn't pretend that something isn't a big deal. Coming back from a seven run deficit IS a big deal. Increasing our lead to 7.5 games over the dreaded Sox is a big deal. Making Ozzie Guillen lose his marbles is a big deal. (I would give anything to have been in the Chicago club house after yesterday's game.)

Max Scherzer tells us all that it's ok for a player to react to something a teammate does. A stone-faced, stoic calm is not required in MLB. Thanks Max.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Without a Net

After spelling Alex Avila for one game, the Tigers have sent Omir Santos back across the State line to Toledo. Is anyone else worried about this? If Santos isn't recalled by August 31, we won't have a playoff-eligible backup catcher in the event that Victor's knee doesn't mend. I don't find this to be wise. I don't believe that Brandon Inge's knees can stand up to the rigors of catching, so I don't include him in the catcher discussion. Is Don Kelly your idea of a suitable backup? Bwahahahahahaha. Don't let the fact that he's played all nine positions fool you.

Maybe the Tigers have consulted a psychic (asked Kevin Rand) and they are fully confident that everything will be fine with Victor. I hope so. I hope with all my heart so.

Because, you know what? I'm sprung. I've allowed myself to be infected with playoff fever. I was trying to be all sensible...cautious...guarded. But after we beat the Rays on Tuesday, in a game in which we had Brad Penny (no offense) go up against David Price, in a game in which both Benoit and Valverde were unavailable, in a game in which Phil Coke was not supposed to appear, and in a game in which he was then asked to go two innings and close out the thing, I just lost it.

My heart is now fully invested in making the playoffs. I know. I am a fool. I set myself up for yet another heartache. If the unthinkable happens, no one will be able to deal with one. Sick leave will be taken from work, and you'll find me sitting alone in a dark room, unshowered, wearing the same stanky Tigers t-shirt, muttering incoherently. Not a pretty picture. But true.

So Tigers, you darn well better know what you're doing walking the tightrope without a net. Everything's riding on it. EVERYTHING.

Monday, August 22, 2011

While I Was Out

Um, so I go on vacation for a week, and come back to THIS:

Mi Magglio has been demoted to bench player as we have acquired horrible defender and perennial underachiever Delmon Young from the Twinks. I guess that bench player is better than released player, which was my immediate thought/fear/nightmare when I heard of the Young trade. But still, the ignominy of it just makes me want to jerk the wheel into a bridge embankment.

Brandon Inge is recalled from Toledo when Alex Avila has been playing 43,798 games in a row, and is ready to spontaneously combust this very minute, not to mention the fact that we have twenty players on the roster currently who can play third base, ONE OF WHOM WE JUST TRADED FOR!! PLEASE DAVE DOMBROWSKI AND JIM LEYLAND TELL ME WHY IN THE NAME OF BALLS AND STRIKES DID WE NOT BRING UP A CATCHER????? I know we're thin at catcher in the farm system, but until Martinez can go out there and don the gear again, we need someone. I don't care if Avila is 14 years old and made of rubber, HE CANNOT BE RUN OUT THERE EVERY DAY LIKE A DROID.

I apologize for all these caps, but how else can I show you that I am the top of my 1:45 am...and waking all my neighbors...and scaring the cats...and....(sorry)

Anyway, I didn't see any games for a week, well unless you count going to a Milwaukee Brewers game and seeing them turn a triple play against the Dodgers, but I don't count that. So, to come home and see the Tigers finish off a sweep of the Tribe, and to see Austin Jackson and Alex Avila cut down Fukudome to end the game and seal it, and to hear Rod Allen's throaty "OH, JACKSON," was well, let's just say it's good to be home.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Listen to the Voice of Reason

I'm just going to come out and say it. Magglio Ordóñez is scuffling. He's 6 for his last 34 at bats. This pains me like a rusted piece of barbed wire wrapped tightly around my flabby mid-section. This is not a time to panic. This is not a time to bail on the guy. We need him for....dare I whisper it??? (the playoffs).

Ok. Ok. Ok. I'm telling myself to take a slow breath in and then a cleansing breath out. You should do the same. Sloooooowly. No hyper-ventilating.

Our hero has been written off countless times by would-be fortune tellers. The half-wit sooth sayers have always been wrong. Mi Magglio does not appear to be flustered and flailing. He's going to be all right. He's going to pull out of this funk. He's going to have an impact. Please mark these words so you can remember to GIVE ME CREDIT WHEN I AM RIGHT.

Besides, look, it's not like we need Magglio to carry the team. We've got Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to do the heavy lifting. The pressure is off. Magglio can just relax and see the ball. Remember in 2007 when Magglio won the batting title, and he said that the ball looked big and slow? I'm not saying we're going back to batting title Magglio. He just needs to start seeing that big, slow ball again. Then everything will be just fine.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Two for Flinching

While Daniel Schlereth was pitching during the eighth and ninth innings last night, I would imagine that most of the Tiger faithful were a mite on edge. Me? As the ball left Schlereth's hand, I actually flinched in anticipation of the carnage to follow. Once again, I find myself in a humbling position. Sigh.

Mr. Schlereth, I apologize for doubting your ability to get the ball over the plate. I am sorry that I did not believe that you could get major league hitters to make outs. I will stop flinching when your fingertips release the ball.

Of course, we never would have been forced to white-knuckle it through Schlereth's outing if Jim hadn't rushed the hook out when Porcello had given up a couple singles and had thrown all of 82 pitches. However, in the light of a Tigers win in extras, and a Tribe loss (snicker, whoop, fist-pump) in extras, I won't quibble.

Give our skip credit for scrubbing Brad Penny's start so that Justin Verlander can face Cleveland twice in the next two weeks. Yeah, we want our ace toeing the rubber against our closest divisional competition. But don't misunderstand me. I mean no disrespect to Penny. As Rogo pointed out, he's done a fine job as fifth starter. It's just.....Justin Verlander, you know! Anyway, the decision got me just a little bit juiced for the playoff chase.

Don't worry though, I haven't forgotten my vow not to jinx this team again by purchasing playoff tickets before we've made it in. I'm turning tricks on the street...I mean I'm clipping coupons and eating expired foods to afford the brazen prices of heartless scalpers. I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I'm making to help the club. Geez.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Water is Wet

Allow me to recount for you just a couple of the many hardships that had to be endured to make it through last night’s game.

1. The monsoon. I’m no wimp. I come prepared with rain jacket every game. However, the heavy rains at the end of the game left everyone waterlogged and dripping. Even my mints, which were in a closed aluminum tin, were soggy. Also, it was genuinely interfering with Valverde’s ability to pitch. The game should have been called, but I understand why they were trying to finish it. If the outcome had been disastrous, however, there would have been a lot of (justified) complaints from the Tiger fan base.

2. Annoying fans. There were four young kids (just out of high school?) sitting behind us. Here are a few of the comments from their non-stop, loud, inane conversations. “tee hee, I throw like a girl.” (High,tittery voice with a lot of giggling) “I like when someone makes decisions for me.” Please. Please don’t be a quivering mass of man-pleasing flesh. The guys were no better. “No girl I know will drive in a thunderstorm.” WHAT? You must not know many girls. “My ex-girlfriend cheated on me with my best friend, and I had lost my virginity to her to boot.” Girl sympathetically replies, “What a bitch.” Many sighs.

3. The spouse. My husband is no Tigers fan. He likes Josh Hamilton. Funny how he calls Miguel Cabrera a drunk, but likes Hamilton so much. Anyway, he was noisily cheering for Texas, while mocking my Tigers all night long. Needless to say, his antics intensified when Benoit laid two eggs in the eighth. We may have had to arrange for a cab for one of us if the Tigers hadn't won on Boesch's dinger. Ha. It was all in good fun, but still. So nauseating. He can stay at home from now on. He did walk all the way around the stadium in search of cotton candy for me, though. Thanks, hon.

In all, I never complain when the night results in a W. So, these minor inconveniences faded away in the light of Boesch's towering drive (that landed about eight rows directly behind me). Thanks Brennan. I owe you one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Baseball is Not Unlike a War"

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Public Service Announcement

You like baseball.

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

You want to attend the World Series.

You want to attend the World Series for free.

You support worthy causes.

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

See what I did there?

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


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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Regrets, I've Had a Few



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rockin' Robin (tweet, tweet, twiddly deet)

Sigh. In a move that shames me, I have joined Twitter. I am tweeting and following other tweeters like the lemming that I am. The reason I finally caved in to the burgeoning peer pressure is simple. I found myself wanting more Tigers news, and these days, the latest breaking stuff is on Twitter. As I dug my feet in and refused to become a part of the Twitter revolution, I secretly cheated. I would manually type the following URL into my browser: "". Then I would have to do this repeatedly, because I didn't have a Twitter account. Actually, I did have a Twitter account, I just wasn't using it. I wasn't following anyone, I wasn't tweeting, I wasn't doing anything.

So, although I am now filled with self-loathing, I have tweeted a few tweets, and followed some folks. Some cool things have come out of it, I admit that.

Anyone who joins Twitter must set prodigious goals and then brazenly publicize them.

By the end of 2011, I would like to have 20 followers.

It's ambitious to be sure, but I've never been known to shy away from a challenge. If you want to read Old English D's pedestrian rants, I mean scintillating commentary, there is a link to the right. Thank you. (?)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who's Your All Star?

It’s no secret that All Star voting is an outrageous sham. Uninformed masses stuff the ballot box with votes cast for washed up stars and players who’ve spent the majority of the season on the DL. I freely admit I don’t know everything about every player. But MLB puts all the stats right in your face on the ballot, morons. Perhaps this is a naïve idea, but I vote for the player with the best numbers. The only time I go homer is when the Tiger player has numbers that are legitimately competitive. In a close race, I vote Tigers.

Here are my selections for the 2011 All Star team. I would love to hear some of your picks.

American League

First Base

Miguel Cabrera

Yes, I realize that Paul Konerko and Adrian Gonzalez have monster numbers. Miggy’s OPS is 1.004. Gonzalez’ is .977 and Konerko’s is .953. Cabrera and Konerko have identical SLG at .563. My vote goes to the Puma. He’s one of the best players in both leagues, and deserves an All Star start.

Second Base

Robinson Cano

A little thin at second base this year. Ben Zobrist was Cano’s main competition. Hate to put a vote in for the evil empire, but I don’t controvert the numbers.


Asdrubal Cabrera

Sigh. I wanted to vote for Jhonny Peralta. It was pretty close, but Cabrera has 9 stolen bases to Peralta’s 0. Peralta has out-played my expectations for him. By far. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t pull the trigger for Jhonny, although I’m happy he’s doing so well in the voting.

Third Base

Adrian Beltre

Because I can’t vote for Alex Rodriguez. Period. I have my limits. A-Rod is one of them.


Alex Avila

The Beard is a surprise selection, but is totally deserving. Hope the kid wins a starting spot.

Designated Hitter

David Ortiz

I’m not gonna lie. I somehow did not realize that Papi has been putting together such a monster season. My ignorance shames me. But he gets my vote, so maybe that makes up for it?


Jose Bautista

Matt Joyce

Curtis Granderson

Two former Tigers here, and it’s not because I’m harboring love. These two have got the goods.

National League

First Base

Prince Fielder

It was tough to choose between Fielder and Votto. The big fella gets the nod.

Second Base

Rickie Weeks

Dang it. I hate the Brewers. This should impress the purity of my vote upon you.


Jose Reyes

He’s fun to watch. I want him on the Tigers.

Third Base

Placido Polanco

Again, not just an “Always a Tiger” vote. He’s tearing it up. Happy for him. Sad for us.


Brian McCann

Haven’t really seen him play. His numbers stand out.


Matt Kemp

Lance Berkman

Hunter Pence

Because I like Hunter Pence. Not sure why though.

Now, may the Tigers not tank after the All Star Game this year. And here's to a two-hit complete game for Justin Verlander, and standing alone in first place!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Trained Eye

I have to share with you what may be the greatest triumph of my life. My son is eleven years old. Last year in his youth league, he hit over .700, and would've hit higher, but was called out in at least four at bats for "throwing the bat." Anyway, in two games this year, he has no hits, a bunch of strikeouts and a couple walks.

This slump was a little disconcerting, because he had been tearing the cover off the ball in early practices. He had gotten a new bat after realizing he'd outgrown last year's, so at first the bat was the subject of scrutiny. He claimed to be very comfortable with the new bat. His coach asked whether he'd had his eyes checked lately. I didn't think that was the problem either, so I started examining his at bats closely.

Drumroll, please. I would like to shout from the rooftops that I diagnosed my son's problem, and helped him fix it. I noticed he wasn't keeping his head down on the ball. We talked about it, and he nodded like he knew what I meant, but, well you know how kids are. So I walked him through a slow motion exercise in which I pretended to pitch the ball, then walked the ball toward him and showed him how he should watch his bat hit the ball. We then tossed him a few really slow pitches so that he could practice it, then took him to the cages. Ta-da!

He's not a 100% back yet. I see lapses where he is looking straight ahead the whole at bat, but with a little retraining, he'll be fine, I think. First game since my Batting Coach miracle is tomorrow, so we'll see.

I feel like I should be standing around chatting it up with big league hitting coaches at some batting conference. I am totally inebriated by my own baseball prowess. Ha. I kid. Kind of.

Let's Talk Rivalry: Detroit/Cleveland

Short notice, but Old English D will be appearing on Battle of Ohio Baseball podcast tonight at 9:30 eastern time. Hosts Dave Mitchell and Mark Donahue will be talking Indians/Tigers. Tune in to hear me speak objectively about the state of Tiger baseball and the upcoming Tigers/Tribe tilt. Ha. Click the link above, and here's another just for good measure.

You can even call in to heckle me, so hope to hear you soon!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Don't Stop Believin'???

I am feeling very conflicted about a new tradition at Comerica Park. This season, in the eighth inning, the Tigers have taken to playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Now, I have always liked Steve Perry's voice. I like the song. It transports me back to my teenage years in the 80s. Yes, I'm old. Shut up. The reason I hesitate to embrace this new-found ritual is that in 2005, "Don't Stop Believin'" was the theme song of none other than the World Series champion Chicago White Sox. Steve Perry himself even sang the song at their victory parade. After watching that, I ask you, should we be adopting a song that has been already been used by our arch enemy? Can't we be more original than that? I realize the song mentions being "born and raised in South Detroit," but noone refers to South Detroit here anyway. I like the idea of our own song for the 8th, but let's all come up with some less stale ideas.

So, Jamie Samuelson has put it out there that he feels Magglio is not deserving of a spot in the lineup. I cannot let this pass without comment. Although Magglio may not yet be 100%, and he may not be ready to pursue a batting title, I have to say that he will be an upgrade in this lineup to several current placeholders. I just don't get how people, and even mainstream media members are so quickly ready to discard a career .310 hitter. So many have stopped believin'. I will love nothing more than when Mi Magglio begins scorching the ball and muzzles these buffoons. I will demand apologies on his behalf. As a matter of fact, start lining up now. He will not disappoint.

Rod and Mario continued to be stymied by Max Scherzer's heterochromia. Mario finally read it on the air last night, but only once, and would not repeat it when Rod asked him to. Rod continues to refer to it as a "condition." It's not a medical problem with a host of symptoms and side effects. It's a trait, not a disease. Just about everyone else thinks it makes Scherzer look bad. Only you two make him out to be a freak. Sigh.

I would like to end this evening in a first place tie with Cleveland. Make it happen fellas. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Oh, Rod and Mario. You are the poster boys for ignorance. Our broadcasters were discussing the upcoming Max Scherzer bobble-head giveaway, and Mario wondered whether the bobble Max would have two different colored eyes like human Max has. He then went on to say that there is a fancy name for the condition, but he didn't know what it was, and Rod "aw-shucked" his way through it saying, "you know I have no shot" at what it is. Fellas, it's heterochromia, and please stop making it out to be an impenetrable mystery. The most pathetic thing was the way Rod and Mario played to the bumbling fool schtick. They are proud of their own stupidity. Nice. Do they think we intend to laud idiocy? Sigh.

Speaking of Max. Worries. Not only does he crap out at around 100 pitches and start getting tagged, he also now has issues with his slider. I'm not as worried as I would be with other pitchers, because Max seems to have the ability to identify and correct problems in his mechanics, but, you know, it's mildly concerning. Let's hope Rick Knapp and Scherzer have a quick huddle up and bullpen session that turns it all around.

Word has come down that Magglio will be staying in Toledo through the weekend to get more at bats. Generally this is a good thing, and makes perfect baseball sense and so on, but a part of me is like, NOOOOOOO, I need Mi Magglio back where he belongs. I'll be patient for the good of the team, but inside I'll be tapping my foot. Enjoy Magglio in the Marvin the Martian helmet while you can. Maybe Saturday I will have to sneak down to Fifth Third so my withdrawals can come to an end.

Finally, I must say that rooting for the Twins is a very strange thing. No, I don't mean the Minnesota Twins. My son's youth league team is the Twins. Still. Screaming, "Come on Twins!" at the top of my lungs doesn't exactly come naturally. As long as we don't have any players named Joe, Justin, Jason or Jim, I'll be ok...I think.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Puma Pummelling

I realize this is so last week, literally, but I didn't have a chance to write after the game. On Wednesday night (of last week), June 1st to be exact, my friend Nicole and I went down to the CoPa to see our boys take on the downtrodden Twins. Apparently, this year's Twins are a not a huge draw, because we were able to score two front row seats for the thrifty price of $5 per ticket. To sweeten the deal, the tickets were on eBay, and there were no service fees, processing fees, shipping fees, etc. To say I was excited may be the understatement of...last week. I love nothing more than to stop Ticketmaster and Stubhub in their grifting tracks.

Anyway, Nicole and I apparently have amazing powers to inflict injury. Wednesday was our third game of the season together, and in each game, a member of the opposition has been injured. In the first game, Josh Hamilton broke his shoulder in an awkward slide into home plate. The second game, the Yankees' Eric Chavez was our victim. He broke his foot. Yes, donations are being accepted if you have a most hated player and would like us to attend a game in which he is playing.

I can't explain it, but it's starting to feel a bit eerie. I mean, it was kind of like a joke the first two times, but I felt really badly when Thome left the game with a strained hammy. Thome is a guy that nobody hates. Noone wants to see him hurt. The guy's about to get to 600 home runs for sobbing out loud. Who wants to stop that train? He'll probably get laudatory gifts from everyone in the league when he gets his 600th jack. Geez. I would like to issue a personal apology to Jim. I meant you no harm, big fella.

Now I am conflicted, because I really want to go to the game on June 26th when the Tigers play Gibby's Diamondbacks and retire Sparky Anderson's number. I'm afraid, though. I don't really want to injure one of the Dbacks. I want Gibson to flourish as a manager. Please advise.

Enough about our hex. On to the game. Mainly, Miguel Cabrera launched a three run shot that was the game winner. This guy is just too much for the average pitcher. He cannot be stopped. I love it. I wish we could see the opposing pitcher's stream of consciousness running across the bottom of the screen when facing the Puma. It can't be pretty. Expletives laced with fear -- that would be my guess.

Brandon Inge struck out in all three of his at bats. Sigh. Although this comes as no surprise, it still disgusts. Now Binge is on the DL with mono, so everyone explains away his suck with viral malaise. I cry foul. I would be willing to bet my worthless house that he hits just above Mendoza when he gets back. Same as always. Same suck, different year.

Our seats were all the way down the third base line in the corner. Scott Pickens and some generic bullpen catcher guy came out to play catch with Don Kelly in left. A little boy came over the wall every time and asked for a ball. I told him to call out Scott Pickens' name and maybe that would help his cause. No. This poor kid tried all night to get a ball and came up empty handed. Pickens did eventually toss a ball up to a fan in a different area. Generic bullpen catcher guy was impervious to all requests. He was stonefaced and made no acknowledgement of the poor kid. Nicole and I tried to get his attention on behalf of the boy, but to no avail. Why? Why do you deny a young boy a ball? I see no valid line of reasoning here. Rude.

Delmon Young dropped a couple foul balls. It was fun. We jeered. He made this face back at us.

Papa Grande closed out the game for us in his usual fashion. Check him out as he makes his way out to the 'pen before the game. Priceless.

All photographs are the property of Nicole Maitland, and may not be used without expressed written permission.

We took two of three from the Black Sox, and are now 2.5 games back of a suddenly scuffling Cleveland. Smile.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bad Weather Leads to Outlandish Sentiments

Rainout. It's a dirty word in my book. Postponements are loathsome. You see, fans go out to the ballpark expecting baseball, and what they get is....wet. Soggy, flooding downpours that make it difficult to see ten feet in front of you. Cold, sodden jeans that refuse to dry out. It's a misery. In this Spring-that-never-was, we Tiger faithful have endured more than our fair share of rainouts. Very disturbing.

Another thing I find unsettling is this Brandon Inge/Don Kelly situation. I won't call it a platoon as yet, because it's only happened a couple times. Binge is scuffling at the plate (as per usual--will you idiots who claim he will do better this season year after forsaken year please stifle yourselves and accept him as Mendoza???) Our alternative to Binge??? Don Kelly. I call him Donkey. It's not a compliment. Who can accept either of these two stiffs in the lineup? There is no lesser evil here. It's fail on the one hand, and incompetence on the other.

I'm not gonna name names and subject anyone to jeers and catcalls here (though public humiliation should be the penance for expressing that affront to sane people everywhere), but someone told me he/she felt sorry for Inge today. What in the name of balls and strikes?? I just....No. There's no pitying someone who is batting .208 with one home run, 36 whiffs and 12 RBI. This guy deserves to stockpile gigantic splinters in his derierre.

I would love to speak about other Tigerly things, but my basement looks like Lake Havasu, and I've got to board a plane to Atlantic City to appear in a Jersey Shore episode. So enjoy your holiday weekend, and may the Tigers put some holes in the Sox.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Pretty Penny

Wow. I went to the park yesterday for my Mother's Day present. I thought we might be in for a bit of a disappointment after Justin Verlander followed up his no-hitter with eight innings of two-hit ball.

Not so fast, Miss Debbie Downer. Let us not denigrate Mr. Brad Penny. All he did was go eight strong, allowing five measly hits and ZERO runs. Penny did get multiple assists in the form of dazzling defensive plays. It was fun. Winning is fun. Shutouts are fun. Watching Papa Grande celebrate the final out was more than fun, it was grande. Everything he does is grande.

I had a lot of stars in my scorecard yesterday. Stars denote a particularly nice play. Brandon Inge went a few rows into the stands to snare a pop foul off the bat of Brayan Pena. In the fourth, Casper Wells saved a run after Billy Butler doubled. He made a nice sliding catch off a Francoer flare that threatened to shoot the gap. Then on the very next play, Austin Jackson ran down a deep Eric Hosmer shot to straightaway center. In the seventh, Scott Sizemore made a diving stop on a Billy Butler grounder that was "sure" to get through the infield. These flashes of leather made me smile. I'll bet Brad Penny smiled himself to sleep last night.

Jhonny Peralta got his 1000th hit in the sixth inning on a double over Alex Gordon's head in left-center. He got a nice ovation, but didn't seem to want any fanfare over the moment. He calmly called for time to remove his shin guard instead of tipping his cap to the crowd.

Today's game has been postponed due to the relentless rain. Boo. What is a person to do with her afternoon when it's raining outside and there's no baseball on? Guess I'll knit a throw blanket in the shape of the Old English D. Sigh.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pants on Fire

Rod and Mario, I have a bone to pick with you. Early on in Monday's game, the two of you were discussing how Toronto is being careful with young Brandon Morrow's arm, and you then went on to say that it's the same way the Tigers are careful with Justin Verlander's arm.

Luckily I didn't have a mouth full of, well, anything, because it all would have come spewing out after hearing a "star-spangled, triple decked, gold-plated lie" like that one. (And if you know where that quote is from without looking it up, I'd love to hear from you.)

I am sorry, but we all know that Verlander's arm is abused until it's about to fall off almost every game. He threw 127 pitches in six innings just last week for sobbing out loud. We should just be thanking Ty Cobb's lucky spikes that Verlander has durability as the main component in his body composition. He hasn't been on the DL in the bigs. He hasn't missed a start since his rookie season.

Let us be honest with ourselves ok? The Tigers were careful with Porcello's arm his rookie season. In his last outing (the one before yesterday's hail-delayed affair), he threw 120 pitches over seven innings. Not exactly kid gloves for Kid Rick. I don't mind a little homer in my announcers, but I want the truth, not this steaming pile of guano. I will say this, it didn't sound like they really even knew they were feeding us a line of nitrite-ridden meat by-product. Rod and Mario aren't calculating enough to cook up a lie like that and sell it like it's a tasty treat. I think they believed what they were saying! Who's been washing their brains?

I can't believe they didn't burst out into uproarious guffaws after hearing the words come out of their own mouths. "Just kidding folks, we know that our club famously abuses young arms. Just having a little fun with you there."

To be fair, Rod Allen did school me later in that game or in one of the games from the last couple days. During a Miguel Cabrera at-bat, the Puma fouled off a pitch. No big deal, routine stuff right? Not so fast, says Rod. He explained that he could tell that Miggy was looking for a specific pitch, got something totally different, and still put wood on it. He was quite impressed that his swing didn't look completely awkward and he broke the whole thing down in x-mo. Quite educational, and it's not something I would have picked up on.

Just don't let the organization put the Vulcan mind meld on you, 'k fellas? I mean, next time you might find yourselves telling us how Little Caesars pizza is the epitome of epicurean delight, coming to us straight from Tuscany.