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: "http://twitter.com/beckjason". 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.