Monday, November 26, 2012

Why Octavio Dotel was Wrong...and RIght

When the Tigers were making a mockery of themselves in the World Series, Octavio Dotel thought one of the players should address the team.  He thought it should be Miguel Cabrera, presumably because Miggy is one of our best players.  This logic is all wrong.  Being really good at a sport does not make you a leader.  It could make you an on-field example/mentor, but it doesn't make you a team leader.

Was Michael Jordan arguably the best ever on the hard court?  Yes.  Was he a leader?   Not so much.  It's ok for the team's leader to be someone other than the best player.

If Dotel saw a need for a team speech, he should have addressed the team himself.  He obviously felt something needed to be said.  Well, speak up!  You're a veteran player who is also a veteran of the playoffs.  Share your wisdom, in the name of balls and strikes.  Don't wait for someone else to do it.  I don't blame Miggy one bit for declining to have the leadership mantle thrust upon him.  If he doesn't feel it, there is no reason to force it.

A lot of people scoff at team chemistry.  Others felt there was a leadership vacuum this year, largely due to the absence of Victor Martinez.  

I've got double good news for you.  One, Victor Martinez will be back with the Tigers next year.  Granted, we don't know what production we'll get from a guy who has spent as much time off the field as he has, but in the clubhouse, we know his presence will be felt.

Two, Torii Hunter has signed with the Tigers.  Now, Torii himself said he isn't a big rah-rah speech type of guy.  But I have evidence that he is a leader.  In an interview around the time of the MVP award announcement, Mike Trout was asked what Angels player helped him most.  His answer?  Torii Hunter.  He said his guidance was invaluable, especially early on when he was overwhelmed and scuffling.  What do you know about that?  The new guy IS a leader.

So, take heart, those of you who pined for leadership this past season, I think you'll be happy with what you see in 2013.  Now, if only it would hurry up and get here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Didn't Kill a Turkey Today

I'm a vegetarian.  Turkeys give me their thanks via Hallmark every year.

Since I can't give thanks for a championship, I'd like to share a few things that made me smile this season.  Sometimes you just have to isolate things and enjoy them for what they are.  Playoff implications have a way of coloring everything about your team and its performance.  Let's speak no more of expectations.  Moving on to "happy times for Tigers fans."

1.  April 8.  I was in attendance for Alex Avila's walk off dinger in the 11th inning.  Tigers 13, Red Sox 12.  If you don't remember this game, peep the play-by-play at Baseball Reference.  The weather was gorgeous for early April.  I had to take off my long sleeves and bask in the sun in my t-shirt.  Please get your minds out of the gutter.  I removed the long sleeve shirt in the ladies' room.  Geez.  Besides, how's this for a visual?  Rolls of fat spilling over the waistband of my jeans.  Anyway, that was a fabulous ending to what would have been a demoralizing loss.

2.  May 18.  Justin Verlander takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning.  Josh Harrison hit a one-out single up the middle to squash the no-hitter, but it was another stunning performance (we're really spoiled), not to be soon forgotten.  Hmmm, that game could be a keep-the-off-season-depression-from-getting-debilitating must-see.  If you were there, I'd love to hear about your experience.  I wasn't at this one, but just to be annoying, I'll remind you that I WAS at JV's first, and by first, I mean most important, no-hitter.

3.  June 5.  My brother-in-law bought my sister tickets to the game for Mother's Day, and we enjoyed a great dinner at Small Plates before heading to the park.  Our seats were three rows behind the Tigers' pen.  Little sister likes Phil Coke and his general silliness, and I don't need to tell you that he was in full goofball mode before the game.  He body slammed every single person in the bullpen when he walked in, including the cop.  The Tigers lost to Cleveland lost 4-2, but any game I go to with my sister is a good time.  However, poor little sis now believes she is curse on the club, as a seemingly innumerable number of games she's been to have landed in the L column.

4.  Miguel Cabrera wins the triple crown.  I have to admit it was a little strange, because I kept saying that the playoffs were more important, and the triple crown was a really cool thing, but not something on which to fixate.  But, as the season's end drew closer, I couldn't hold back even if I wanted to.  The crown was clinched when the Tigers were in Kansas City, and all I could think was that the Royals should tear the giant crown off Kaufmann's jumbotron and coronate Miggy right then and there.  Tears of joy for everyone!

5.  ALDS Game 1.  My generous employer sprung for tickets, and my friend Nicole and I got to be a part of the holiday known as Post-season Verlander Day.  Even though Coco Crisp led the game off with a home run, the Tigers ruled the day 3-1, so everyone went home rather frozen, but happy.  The MVP chants for Miggy were so thunderous that they echoed back and noone knew where the chant began or ended.  It was glorious.

6.  Sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS.  No further commentary required.

7.  Miguel Cabrera wins the MVP of the American League.  In a debate filled with acrimony and stubbornness, Cabrera came out the victor over Mike Trout.  I was surprised at the result.  I still can't understand why a legion of fans refused to accept that both players were deserving.  So many morons on both sides stuck to faulty arguments and resorted to putting down the player they weren't supporting.  To see the things accomplished by Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera in one season of baseball is just astonishing.  We're fortunate to have seen it first hand.  It should have made you love the game even more, if that were possible.  Justin Verlander's "Keep the MVP in the D" shirt made me smile every one of the 50,418 times FSD showed it.

I didn't mention anything from the World Series, because the 2012 World Series is dead to me.  The pain has not begun to leave the chambers of my heart, nor will it any time soon.  My allergies have been insufferable ever since the end of Game 4.  Weird.

Anyway, my last item of thanks is not from the season, but it involves a certain free agent by the name of Torii Hunter.  Mike Ilitch opened his wallet once again, and Mr. Hunter earned a giant fake key to the city of Detroit by declaring he wanted to come here, wanted to get the deal done, is hungry to win, and...well I can't quote the entire love-fest of a presser.  Go watch it again, here.  Gratitude flows your way, Mr. Ilitch, and I hope that the championship you have desired for so long follows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Word About the Fall Classic

Well, it’s been a while since the unmentionable happened.  I’m just now able to begin talking about it without blowing out blood vessels and such.

I know a lot fans would love to be upset about losing the World Series, because that would mean their team was IN the World Series.  But I just can’t get to that place.  I can’t be happy just to have been there.  I’m sorry.  I realize it probably comes off as pouty and spoiled. 

I’m not saying the season was a failure.  I’m just saying it hurts, I mean really bludgeons the soul to lose the World Series.  Getting swept out of the World Series?  Feels like The World’s Strongest Man’s fist grabbed my heart muscle and squeezed it until there was just dry flesh.

I just talked to someone who was at Game 4.  He stayed for at least 20 minutes after the game to witness the trophy presentation.  It never happened on the field.  The weather had worsened, so apparently the presentation was made in the visitor’s clubhouse.  He said he was disappointed.  Disappointed???  I’d have bloody well been relieved!  Not sure I could handle seeing the symbol of the championship paraded about by the Giants, with Romo photobombing every five seconds.  Not sure I could handle it at all.  I guess pouty and spoiled is fairly accurate after all.

I was pretty sullen that next day, as once again I had World Series tickets to a game that wasn’t played.  I feel accursed in a very special way.  Someone brought me my favorite Thai food, so I could comfort myself by binging, but the rest of the day was a giant sinkhole of suck.  As people at work “consoled” me, I spouted phrases like “there are real tragedies in the world” to make it sound like I wasn’t being such a first class crybaby over the whole thing.  I had to talk to clients on the phone with feigned patience and goodwill, when I just wanted to crawl into bed and lie wretched and sleepless with the covers pulled over my head.

I would like to admit that I am an absolute rube.  Not for a single moment did I believe the Tigers would get swept.  Not even when they went down 3-0.  Nope.  DID. NOT. BELIEVE. IT.  Neither my heart nor mind allowed even a speck of doubt.  So, when the 27th out was recorded in game 4, I stood there rather numbly, not quite knowing what to do.  I didn’t cry this time (yes, I sat there with tears streaming down my face in 2006, sigh), but I had to choke back “feelings” a couple times.

I watched the Sergio Romo interview and then clicked off the television.  I couldn’t go to sleep, of course, but there was no more watching of the Giants revelry.  People on twitter were saying goodbye to the season, and sometimes each other, and talking about next year.  Those farewells made me want to sob my guts out.  This game.  When you love it, it consumes you.  Now all we can do is sit by the window and wait for Spring.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Fool's Paradise

I wish I could explain to you what happened to me today (Sunday, September 16, 2012) while taking in the Tigers/Tribe finale.  I'm going to try, but I fear that my attempts to convey the events, the emotions, the resulting pile of rubble, will fall far short of what actually transpired.  Let us start at the beginning.

The Tigers had taken the first two games of the series, and stood one game back of Chicago in the divisional standings, with 17 games to go (including today).  Chicago had handled the Twins in both of the first two games of their series.  I resisted the urge to say the Twins rolled over for Chicago.  Five gold stars for taking the high road there.

The weather was a gorgeous fall day: sunny, mild--perfection.  The date, September 16, is my wedding anniversary, so I had some juggling to do, what with honoring that occasion and paying proper due to the gravity of this and every other game that remains.  Fortune smiled on me for a short while, as the kid got invited to a friend's, and the spouse wanted to take an afternoon nap.  I set up my radio, got out the necessary score-keeping accoutrements and prepared to enjoy the game al fresco.  I even determined not to let Jim Price annoy me too much.

I missed the very beginning of the game, and was mildly concerned (wholly unhinged) to hear that Austin Jackson was a late scratch, his ankle having lost a battle with the outfield wall yesterday.  IknewitIknewitIknewhewouldn'tbeokayafterthatIknewitwouldcomebacktohauntwhatarewegoingtodowithoutmyAjaxheisindispensiblewewillnevermakeitdoomdestructionandforfeitthegamerightnow.  Yes I said we.  Yes I am a loser that deserves all the snarky disdain you can dish.

I started scoring after the Tigers had put two runs on the board.  I have to say, things were very nearly idyllic.  The light breeze, the moderate rays, the sounds of baseball.  Couldn't ask for a better time, really.  I may or may not have been intoxicated by these powerful euphorics.

Then, the bottom of the 5th happened.   Four straight double play balls and NOT A SINGLE DOUBLE PLAY TURNED.  Error(s), infield hits, questionable calls, ejections, near ejections--PURE MAYHEM, PLAIN AND SIMPLE.  When the dust cleared, the Tribe had the lead and my lovely afternoon was in serious jeopardy.  I tried to slow my gulping, enraged breaths, looked around for something to kick, and ultimately sat bewildered, but still roiling.

At this time, I took intermission from the game to felicitate the years of marriage, reminisce about being young and in love, etcetera, etcetera.  I'll not bore you with any further particulars. You're very welcome.

Needless to say, I took a brief moment to capture the rest of the game on my DVR prior to embarking on anniversary celebrations.  When I returned to the contest, I was watching rather than listening, but still keeping score.  OF COURSE, OF COURSE before I even began playback of the recording, SOMEONE referenced some detail about the game, to which I shrewishly replied that I had taped it and could you please refrain from any more spoilers, you moron, I mean my beloved husband.  Let this be a cautionary tale to you, that no matter how careful one is to remain "in the bubble" and away from sources that could destroy the sanctity of an unwatched game, it almost never works.

I rather wish I hadn't seen Alex Avila take a Prince Fielder forearm to the face.  I would have preferred not to view replay after replay of Avila getting knocked down and nearly out.  I MEAN, WHY WAS PRINCE NOT CALLING AVILA OFF???? I KNOW, I KNOW, HE PROBABLY NEVER SAW HIM COMING AND IT'S NOT HIS FAULT, BECAUSE YOU NEVER TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE BALL, BUT HE IS NOT A FORCE YOU WANT TO SEE COLLIDING WITH YOUR ALREADY BATTERED BACKSTOP UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE WHATSOEVER.  In the end, Avila walked off the field with a little help from his trainer friends, but you know, concussion scare, freak out, more hand-wringing.

I rather wish I hand't seen Don Kelly tumble off the wall after attempting to make a play on Santana's deep fly to right.

I rather wish I hadn't seen Jose Valverde blow the save, even though it was his fourth outing in five days.  It was a rather hard thing.

I rather wish I hadn't witnessed Lloyd McClendon walk two batters intentionally to load the bases for Chisenhall.  Not that I fear Chisenhall, and yes, I know the runner was already at third, but I HATE STUFF LIKE THAT, INTENTIONAL WALKS ARE EVIL INCARNATE, ESPECIALLY IN LATE INNINGS.

I rather wish Chisenhall hadn't jumped all over the first pitch and walked it off in our faces.

I rather wish Chris Perez hadn't started jawing all over again, drawing the attention of Miguel Cabrera.  I see he is intent on waging all out war between the clubs, so that is fine, just fine, Perez.   Noone will forget any of your junk, and I can't wait to hand you another "low point of your professional career."  I realize that as of right now, Perez is luxuriating in the fact that his team took the season series from the Tigers, and is negatively impacting our playoff chances.  Whatever, I've got more serious concerns for the time being.

I will only say one more thing before I pass out in a fit of exasperation.

I loathe more than anything depending on the outcomes of other teams' games to determine my team's fate.  SO TAKE FATE BY THE THROAT AND DRAG HER TO THE 2012 PLAYOFFS, TIGERS.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Incoherent Streams of Baseball Consciousness

Of late, baseball of the Tiger variety has been making me feel like the Mad Hatter, so I'm going to slosh some tea into a few broken cups and expose you all to blasts of rabid lunacy.

Peavy's blue eyes are rather piercing as he looks out of the dugout in the 7th with a Sox runner on third and only one out in a game that's knotted up at 4.  As Beckham stands in, I fantasize that his hand is broken in five places from that earlier hit-by-pitch.  He's handling the bat fine, so, guess not.

Dotel wears his cap like a trucker--lightly perched atop his head.  I hate that.  Give me Max Scherzer's old school look, por favor.

Tenth pitch of Beckham's at bat.  He loops one out to center, and it is deposited safety into Austin Jackson's glove.  Insert a bunch of strained, but relieved hysterical laughter here.  Aside number two, I was instructed by my 13 year old, who looked over my shoulder and exhaled dragon breath in my face, to change what I had typed as Ajax to Austin Jackson.  I TOLD YOU THERE WOULD BE RAMBLING VAGARIES!

I know people have just had their stuff and lives threatened by a natural disaster and such, but I selfishly can only think of the fact that I still look for Magglio Ordóñez when the camera pans the dugout.

Miguel Cabrera steps to the dish to chants of MVP.  This after being vilified mercilessly last night when he failed to run out a ground ball to end the game last night.   HE IS EXPERIENCING THE SAME WILD SWINGS FROM DESPAIR TO EUPHORIA THAT I AM.

As the Sox make the call to the 'pen, Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" plays over the PA.  I curled up into a ball and rocked it out as I thought of all the runners stranded in scoring position in Victor's absence.

Prince comes up and gets beaned by Thornton in the shoulder.  BASES ARE JUICED FOR DELMON YOUNG AND ZEEEEEERO OUTS.  All I can do is laugh maniacally because I think of the many ways we're going to squander again and strand every duck on the proverbial pond.  DELMON, DELMON YOUNG, I SAY, clears the bases with a gapper to left, but tries to get to third and is out by a mile.  Rod tells us it was "just outstanding coaching there by Gene Lamont sending Fielder home."  Oh Rod, I just...even crazed babble fails me at the moment.

Peavy's brow now contracts rather peevedly (see what I did there) in the dugout and his mouth twists in displeasure.   HA, JAKE PEAVY, HA!  Actually, I kind of like Peavy.  But never, ever tell anyone that.

You see my state of mind, here?  You see the diseased thinking patterns, the freaking out at every turn?   It's all your fault, Tigers.

Avisail Garcia is in this game, y'all.  And so is Joaquin Benoit.   Rod says his numbers this year are outstanding.  Yes, Rod, the number of home runs he has surrendered is nothing short of horrifically OUTSTANDING.  IMAGINARY BLOGGER CAPS COP, COME AT ME, I MAY NEVER TYPE IN LOWER CASE AGAIN.

Benoit gets a nice strikeout of Wise, and sends Youk back to the dugout hacking at the air as well.  I guess he just needed me to yell about those home runs a little.  All that's left in the 8th is DUNN DUNN DUNN, who reminds me of one of my most loathed players of all time:   Rob Deer.  Home run or strikeout.  That is all you get.  Man I hated Rob Deer.  And Dunn better not get comeback player of the year.  Dunn went around, but 3rd base ump Gary Cedarstrom rules he didn't, so Benoit has to throw one more pitch to STRIKE OUT THE SIDE, WOO!  I also dislike when people say that someone struck out the side if runners reached base during that inning.  Even if all the outs are strikeouts, I feel that the term striking out the side should be reserved for retiring all batters on Ks in order.

After a routine defensive play by Ramirez (you expect me give him credit?) to retire Peralta, Omah hits a bloop single, and swipes second.  I will only call Omar Infante "Omah," like the Red Sox fan that always called Nomar Garciaparra "Nomah."  Sorry.  I can't help it.  That's how I always say in in my mind.  Couple Ks for My Ajax tonight, but a triple, too, so just be quiet with your "austinjacksonstrikesout" hashtags.  Dirks could pad our lead here, and we might need every run we can plate.  He pops out harmlessly to Youk.  Sigh.

Top nine.  Papa Grande.  Two quick outs, but I'm scared to even think we might finish this thing off here.  Of course, A.J. Pierzynski is up.  Of course, we would love nothing more than to strike this turkey out and see his walk of shame back to the dugout as we point in the faces of the putrid Sox.  But Valverde can't find the plate and its a four pitch walk.  I look around for things to break, but there's not much left, honestly.  I'd like to avoid grabbing the fireplace poker and smashing out the glass fireplace doors, because we've had some critters come in through the chimney before, and I don't particularly care to have another bat land ON MY FREAKING FOOT IN THE HOUSE AND I'LL BET MY NEIGHBORS COULD DO WITHOUT THE BLOOD CURDLING SHRIEKS.  Yes, that was an actual thing, and I won't describe to you how I was awakened in the night to this wild creature.  But, if you want to send me consolatory gifts, feel free.

Hahahaha, Valverde gets Viciedo on a pitch that was actually quite a bit inside, IMO.  YUP.  THAT's ABOUT RIGHT.  Rip that jersey out of your uniform pants, and dance.  DANCE PARTY, USA!  Yes, I am decrepitly old, and I'm sure you've never heard of Dance Party, USA, which was an actual show when I was a teenager.

I think I've traumatized everyone enough for one evening, and the Tigers won, so, you know, high fives all around.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Walking It Off

A good friend of mine hung up his blogging cleats.  This makes me rather sad.  I'm not so secretly hoping that it's a temporary hiatus, and not goodbye forever.  But who knows?  I haven't been posting much myself lately, but can't quite bring myself to put the shutters up.  It's hard to give such a thing up.  I might even have to choke back a tear or something.

Scott told me a little while back that he was going to be punking out quitting the blogging game.  I kind of didn't believe him.  He was churning out a lot of great content, so it really didn't seem possible.  Also, he lies a lot.  I thought he wouldn't be able to pull the trigger when it came down to it.  Even I can be wrong once in a while.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to Scott Rogowski for entertaining us for the past four years.  Many times when I was bored, I'd beg him to write something.  He's also been my shoulder to cry on whenever the Tigers make me crazy.  Designate Robertson will stay on my blog roll indefinitely.  Feel free to browse the archives, and check periodically to see whether Rogo has come out of retirement.

Take care, my friend, and accept my gratitude for a spectacular blogging career.  Way to go out on top.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When the Yanks Come to Town

I would like to begin by thanking the old man and kid for taking me to the park on Tuesday for my birthday.  I didn’t even have to beg!  I fear I will never again receive this best of all gifts, because the guy sitting behind my husband spilled beer on him, not once, but twice.  The first time was relatively benign, because it spilled at his feet, and he was able to avoid much more than sticky soles.  The second time, a fly ball was hit to left, deep, and the guy jumped up in a rush of excitement to witness the ball land safely in Ichiro’s glove, depositing his beer down my husband’s back in the process.  Now, a person who does not drink is possibly the worst one to douse with suds, and although he accepted the abashed apologies of the overzealous fan with as much equanimity as he could muster, he was rather put out--on the inside--you know?  The worst part was that the guy was awkwardly dabbing the spouse’s back with wadded up stadium napkins.  I tried to intervene and do it myself, but the whole thing was a shambles at that point.  Thankfully, the whole evening was not ruined, and I have to say that the old man shook it off quicker than I might have.

There were a couple of Yankee fans in front of us, quiet, on the down low Yankee fans, who sported no Yankee gear, and did no visible cheering.  In fact, I didn’t realize they WERE Yankee fans, until Andy Dirks tried to stretch a double into a triple.  I lamented that the scoreboard will not show replays of negative/controversial plays.  The guys turned around and said “negative?”  To which I responded in the decided affirmative, YES, NEGATIVE.  They laughed and one guy asked in a rather surprised tone “you’re keeping books?”  It’s a sad commentary that folks are still taken aback by a girl keeping score.

Miguel Cabrera, ladies and gentlemen.  If you live in the area and don’t get off your keester to see the guy in person, you must not like baseball that much.  All Miguel does is go out there and put up MVP caliber numbers year after year.  Ho hum.  He doesn’t make a lot of himself.  Doesn’t appear to relish talking himself up, as evidenced by him bodily dragging Austin Jackson into the post-game interview the other night.  I don’t think I exaggerated by once saying that there would be “mobs of teary-eyed fans barreling toward him, jumping into his arms, and suffocating him in the clutches of gratitude.”  He’s that good.  Enjoy the show.  Players of his caliber don’t come along every draft, you know.

Ok.  Let us chat about the 9th, shall we?  I want to try to describe the feeling I had while watching runners at second and third, with Curtis Granderson at the dish.  I was standing up, but probably should have sat down.  I had a queasy, slightly unsteady sensation flowing lurchingly through my body.  I kept blinking my eyes looking at those baserunners standing forebodingly in scoring position, and my mind couldn’t get away from the fact that Grandy could easily launch one out on the very next pitch.  I was sitting behind the Yankee pen, and David Robertson had begun warming.  He paused to bend down and watch the next pitch when Curtis let Papa Grande off the hook by popping out to Fielder.  Geez.  Witnessing Valverde flush a win down the toilet isn’t on my bucket list.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bring Me a Higher Club

Sadly, my baseball writing drive has not been very, um, virile lately.  I think of something to write about, but never quite get to the climactic posting moment, you know?  However, our latest string of suck shocks me out of my torpor.

I hereby demand that we bring this latest bout of inefficacy to an immediate halt, okay?  I mean, there is no rational reason that this team should lose 6 out of 8 games.  We have not been gutted by injuries.  Our roster is not full of glorified AAA guys.  Ahem, well we have some ball players that are not glorified AAA guys. You are acutely aware of the grossly underperforming nature of some of our roster.  Yes, this is well-travelled territory.  I will make another wagon rut in the trail of tears that is Delmon Young’s career.  This is an overall number one draft pick.   I defy you to find a bigger bust.   Slight hyperbole perhaps, but every baseball great from Ty Cobb to Ted Williams has rolled over in his grave 1000 times over this bloke’s underachievements.  Dmitri himself probably holds his head in his hands every evening over drinks as a dirge plays hauntingly in the background when he reflects on what might have been with his brother.

Last night.  I can hardly put words to my blind rage.  The game should never have started, in all seriousness.  The rain was AUDIBLE on the broadcast, it was coming down so hard.  Noone could function properly, and it’s a blessed miracle tendons weren’t torn all over the diamond.  In a show of class and sportsmanship beyond all reason, the Tigers have not protested the game.  I’ll speak no more of it, then.  Grumble, whine, gnash.

To change the subject, I’ll whine some more about how I am suffering from severe Tiger baseball withdrawals.  And due to the inopportune indisposition of a friend, I won’t be at this weekend’s series, either.  /Sobs.

To top everything off, so-called Tiger fans have been belly-flopping off the band wagon by the hundreds.  It seems every caller in to sports talk radio now believes the Tigers will not make the playoffs.  Let us wish a good-riddance to these block-heads and fortify the band-wagon with electric wire to prevent them from attempting to climb back on at a later juncture.

I swear, if tonight’s contest is rained out, and I am forced to watch Olympic water polo instead, things may get rather desperate around here.  I’ll put the fireplace implements out of reach as a preemptive measure.

Oh yes, a word about the trade deadline.  I know many of us were hoping for another acquisition, due to the afore-mentioned lack of production from certain players.  But what could we possibly hope to gain with such players as trade chips?  A bag of rosin and some pine tar?  I mean, sadly, the value of a Don Kelly or a Brennan Boesch is rather bottom of the pickle barrel right now.  Our only real hope is that someone, ANYONE begins to perform at a rate more befitting a major league ball player.  /grabs megaphone.  I’M TALKING TO YOU, DONNIE, DELMON, BRENNAN, JHONNY, RYNO.  HELLO?   YOU DON’T VIEW ME AS A VOICE WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION? oh.  Ok then.  See you next year when you’re toiling away in the obscurity of the minor leagues.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beware Girl Scouts

After I glanced at the upcoming schedule and realized the Tigers would soon be out of town for quite a stretch, and then when they get back I'll be out of town, I knew I had no choice but to head to the park Tuesday night.  I knew it was searingly hot, but I told you, it wasn't a matter of choosing.  I had to go.  It happens.  There are nights when you just know that you must be at the ballpark.  At least I do.

Besides, it was Verlander Day!  A holiday every five days!  Who can resist its magic?  Not me.  The matchup with Lance Lynn promised to be a battle of the arms, a low scoring affair going down to the la.....wait a minute.  That pitcher's duel, hmmmm, what happened to Mr. Lynn?  Well, he didn't have pinpoint control and our boys pounced.  YAY RUNZ!  WE NOT SCORE JUST ONE!  I MIGHT PUNCTUATE THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST SOLELY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS!  Sorry.

As is the way with such things, the festival that is Verlander Day was not unmarred by various irritants.  The heat withered at first, and the sun threatened to give all of us in left field epic migraines.  Once the orb dropped below the outfield stands, relief came quickly.

Justin got a little wild in the seventh and Quintin Berry followed with a 2 run error on a playable fly ball.  Ahem.  JV had to pitch all angrified, scorching pitches in there at 100 mph to extract the boys from the inning without further damage.

Then, in the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers are batting, and the bases are loaded.  I see a group of Girl Scouts descend the aisle staircase with their leader.  I figured she was arranging them for a photo.  To my absolute horror, the troop proceeds to implore the section to begin the wave.  IN THE SEVENTH INNING. BASES JUICED WITH TIGERS.  I JUST....I RESTRAINED THE DESIRE TO RIP THEIR SASHES OFF AND POINT TO THE EXIT.  Now, I totally get the idea that it would be fun for a group of young girls to lead the crowd in starting the wave.  I have no issue with this.  Eight year olds can enjoy the wave with impunity.  But, could the leader have used a milligram of brainpower to orchestrate this activity at a non-critical juncture?

I don't want to be that surly, glowering fan that is annoyed by every person around me.  Just stay at home if all of humankind is a bane to your existence.  However, there seems to be no escaping the ignorant, sloshy fans who could care less about what's happening on the diamond.  Many sighs.  I will use these trials to increase my fortitude, to endure in the face of unrelenting stupidity, to overcome boorish behavior by "fans" who leave their seats in the middle of every half inning, oblivious to everything but beer and ball park snacks.  These people make it possible for us to sign Prince Fielder.  I repeat that to myself over and over.  Maybe someday I'll believe it.

In the end, it was still a great night for baseball.  We won the game, vanquished the stupid Cards (who should be our chief inter-league rival, since we face off against them in the World Series all the time) yay team, rah rah, etc. The question to be answered is how will we all survive this next road trip?  /Pouts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Off Day Nonsense

I’m not going to write about Quintin Berry.  There are already a trove of articles out there on the speedster.  The horse has been beaten to death, and several blood feuds sprouted on twitter over the guy.  I like watching him play.  Our team is entirely lacking in the speed department, so having someone like him on the base paths from time to time is refreshing.  I’ll be happy to see him get time as long as he’s hitting moderately well.  But I don’t think he’s a huge piece of our team’s puzzle.  If he somehow pulls a Jose Bautista and sustains the tear he’s on, I’ll be thrilled to be wrong, because that can only mean good things for the club.  Wait, I said I wasn’t going to write about him.  Enough.

In a moment of unbridled irony during Sunday’s rain delay, FSN was broadcasting an episode of Tigers Weekly in which preventive conditioning was discussed, specifically core work.  OOPS!  Both Doug Fister and Austin Jackson were sidelined with core-related injuries recently, and countless others were dropping like flies and being added to the DL rolls.  Sigh.  I know it’s just bad luck, and I believe conditioning coach Javier Gillett is widely respected, but still.  Perhaps a little editorial prudence, guys….

With defensive woes hounding us, does anyone else find themselves bracing, cringing and tensing every time a potential double play ball is hit?  It’s ridiculous for me personally.  I have had to deliberately relax my muscles and tell myself to stop being such an idiot over ground balls.  Let’s not sacrifice muscular health for baseball, folks.  Or perhaps, in game, twitter-led yoga sessions are in order.

The whole “turning the corner” nonsense is also out of hand.  Buster Olney himself tweeted about the Tigers turning the proverbial corner at least a week ago.  Maybe we get above .500 before the conversation begins?  Ugh.  I’m not sure what people need to understand the nature of the baseball season.  All of this giving up the season and proclaiming the salvation of the season every game or two is just beyond.  It seems so emotionally exhausting, too.  I can’t imagine vacillating in this manner all season long.  By all means, people, use twitter as a place to vent, to release the angst of excruciating losses.  Just don’t declare the season’s death or revival with every L or W.

Finally, if you haven’t noticed, it’s the year of the no hitter.  There have been FIVE already this young-ish season.  I’ll be referring to it as TYOTNH from here forward.  Not an awkward acronym at all.  Rolls right off the tongue.  Anyway, my point here is that if this is indeed TYOTNH, we sure as shoot’n better get one from Justin Verlander (sorry, I just watched the mini-series The Hatfields and McCoys on the History Channel).  I feel it would be an epic miscarriage of justice if we didn’t.  I mean, this is a guy from whom you feel a no no is possible almost any given start.  So, be ready for it.  It’s coming.  Justin’s third no hit game.  I feel it.  I will it.  I proclaim it.  I anoint him for it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blue Eye, Max, It's the Blue Eye

So, Max Scherzer.  I anointed him My Tiger after a protracted search following #30’s retirement.  /prolonged sob.  It’s kind of hard to fill Magglio Ordóñez’ shoes.  (By the way, Magglio is ALWAYS MY TIGER, along with Kirk Gibson.  I assert my right to have two “My Tiger” emeritus.)  Anyway, Max has been inconsistent this year, to put it mildly.  The bad news is that his mechanics are apparently more delicate than a hothouse flower.  The moment they get a hair out of whack, BOOM, Max gets lit up.  The good thing is that Max seems pretty adept at recognizing problems and making adjustments.  Maybe Jeff Jones needs to monitor those touchy mechanics on a day-to-day basis to keep them from going haywire.

Another thing I count as a positive is Scherzer’s general attitude.  In a recent interview, he was asked about whether he felt it was a particularly important outing.  He replied, no, he has to go out there every start and give the team a chance to win.  He doesn’t put special emphasis on any one outing.  He also talked about having confidence every start.  Of course, some of this talk is just your standard baseball clichés, but a pitcher has to be able to clear his head of a previous start and work with confidence on any given day.  We’ve seen what can happen when a pitcher lets things bleed into the next pitch (looking at you, Jeremy Bonderman, you head-case, you).

The inconsistencies from Scherzer are beginning to get worrisome, no doubt.  He’s got to be able to string strong starts together, not waffle back and forth like a kid still trying to put it all together in the bigs.  If he doesn’t have a rock solid second half, his value will take a big hit.

I’m rooting hard for Scherzer, not just because we need him for the team’s success, but because he is a good teammate.  He gets so excited when someone does something good.  He’s fanboy number one.  I love it.  Watch him in the dugout sometime, if you haven’t noticed this.  He looks completely silly sometimes.  It’s awesome.  It’s one of the reasons he’s My Tiger.  Go get ‘em tonight, Max.  I’ll go crazy fangirl for you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

In a Vacuum

Testing, 1,2,3.

/scans empty room

/clears throat

Ahem.  Despite the fact that I have lost my readership, I am proceeding with a post here.  If anyone comes across this by chance, um, hello!

I've been dealing with a pretty severe case of writer's block.  I have made several abortive attempts at writing pieces. I've stayed active on twitter, venting frustrations over this debacle of a season thus far by talking about what fragile item I will break next.

Anyway, enough about me.  Let's talk about the Tigers.  Let's talk about Drew Smyly's zip code sized blister, a picture of which he was "kind" enough to post on twitter.  Let's talk about Austin Jackson coming off the DL and returning to form.  Let's talk about Quintin Berry and the polarizing effect he's had on folks.  Seems Tiger fans like being polarized or something.  Seems like twitter is the perfect place for people to get their panties in a twist and yell at each other.

My sister came up last Tuesday for a rare chance to attend a Tigers game.  We left early for downtown to catch a pre-game meal at a bonfide restaurant since neither of us like boiled hot dogs (sorry, CoPa, get better food).  On recommendation, we tried Small Plates on Broadway, and it did not disappoint.  Great menu, delicious fare.  Highly recommended.  Reasonable, too.

My sister got a big kick out of Phil Coke's antics last time she was here, so I got seats in left field again.  I found some reasonable tickets on Stubhub in the second row behind the Tiger's pen.  She was thrilled.  We got to see the young whippersnapper Smyly warm up before the game.  Sis:  how old is he, anyway?  Me:  put it this way, I'm basically old enough to be the kid's mom.  Sigh.

Here are some shots of Drew during warmups (click to enlarge):

The game.   Many sighs.  We scored one run right off the bat in the first and then NOTHING.  Nothing until a false hope rally in the ninth.  Really now, boys, is that hospitality?

Luckily, Phil Coke entertained as per usual.  First, upon entering the 'pen, he body slammed/chest bumped EVERYONE.  Then, he grabbed someone, not Rojas, but not sure who, by the neck and gave him noogies.   I mean, the guy is still twelve.  Really.   TWELVE.  He waved back to my sister, talked at length to some beer vendor, and hopefully helped to make up for the hapless play of the fellas on the field.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Walk Off and White Out

It's almost like there's no describing what happened on Sunday. I am going to annoy you and try anyway. For starters, I lied to myself and everyone else by swearing up and down that I was not going to go to any games over the weekend. This, despite the fact that my family had made a last minute decision to go out of town, leaving me behind alone and unsupervised. Apparently, I am sadly predictable and in need of Miguel Cabrera's accountability partner. By Saturday night, I surveyed the mountain of work I had to do, and decided that the best course of action would be to blow it all off and go to the game on Sunday. When I texted my husband to inform him, he replied simply, "I know." He later said that everyone he was with yukked it up at my expense over the whole situation. My resolve to get some much needed painting done had crumbled in a matter of mere hours.

In hindsight, my dead-beat slacking turned out to be the wisdom of sages, because YOU SAW THAT GAME, DIDN'T YOU? DIDN'T YOU?? Even if you didn't see it, you watched the highlights. You heard replays of Dan Dickerson's calls. You learned of the historic double comeback. You saw Miguel Cabrera erase a three-run, bottom of the 9th inning deficit with one mighty swat. You witnessed Alex Avila, a man who had caught 200 pitches over the course of 4.5 hours, club the ball to right field, and put the game in the W column.

Of course, all of this glory did not occur without a few minor irritations along the way. Nick Punto threatened to impact the game, which of course sent Tiger fans into a torrid, frothing rage. Max Scherzer pitched out of his brown eye and got shelled. Some loser blogger guy pretended that he and I attended the game together, when in reality, we passed each other on the concourse, I couldn't avoid his grotesque, oversized person bearing down on me, so I said hello out of pity, then hurriedly got lost in the crowd so he couldn't follow me back to my seat.

Small inconveniences, considering the ultimate outcome, which comes close to being the greatest game I've ever witnessed in person, playoffs and no-hitters notwithstanding. I walked out of the stadium the same way I entered it: with a goofy grin plastered across my face.

Today's pilgrimage to the CoPa was a planned event, with a good friend of mine and her boyfriend, whom I had not yet met. A glance at the radar showed a giant blotch of snow straddling Southeast Michigan. Wheeee! April baseball, bring it on! I began assembling layer after layer of clothing, winter boots, hand warmers, hats, scarves, and long underwear. It took a while, but I managed to don it all or stow it in my bag. I was unfazed by the doomsday forecast, because Desmond Howard himself had replied to a tweet of mine this morning, and it rendered my disposition unflinchingly sunny. Anyway, the lovebirds were all gallantry and sweetness, not saccharine, but just fun to be around.

I got the chance to meet up with a bunch of cool people I follow on twitter before the game, and it was really nice to put faces to avatars and hear voices instead of just reading words on my screen. Give a follow to @ashleigh_briana, @mike_is_bored and @mcintyrepatrick.

As for the game, you don't need a rundown of it. Although the wind did its best to flay the skin from our faces, and the snow assaulted us no less than five times, sometimes rather sleety, stinging as it pelted us, the crowd, paid attendance at 22,000, actual quite a bit less, but still impressive considering the wintry blast, stayed. A section near home plate began chanting "Danny" when Worth came to the plate, and it was just so stinking adorable, I had to smile.

Austin Jackson continued his tear, notching a home run, and spurring a movement to change the favorite twitter hash tag from #austinjacksonstrikesout to #austinjacksonstrikesagain. Groan. Sorry. Anyway, Papa Grande was sufficiently recovered from his illness to record an uneventful save, and the sun came out just as the game wrapped up.

4-0. Soon we'll begin talking about a challenge to 35-5. Soon. Not just yet, but I look forward to it.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Importance of Being Earnest in Wardrobe Selection

This morning, I was watching a Spring Training contest between the Dodgers and the Brewers. In case you were wondering, Jerry Hairston made several sparkling defensive plays, and Chris Capuano looked pretty good on the hill. Enough about that. I'm not here to provide commentary on teams from LA or Milwaukee, for sobbing out loud. You know as well as I do that I train my myopic eyes on the Detroit Tigers 90% of the time.

Anyhoo, my point is that while watching said game, I noticed a couple fans in the stands. There were two guys sitting next to each other, one with a Detroit Tigers shirt on, and the other wearing a New York Yankees tee. This made me smile, because when I attend a contest that does not feature the Detroit Tigers, I too feel the need to wear Tigers gear to proclaim my allegiance. These blokes felt the same way, and I got quite a kick out of it. At least, I projected my feelings onto them, and assumed they also sport team gear in an effort to shout team loyalty and pride.

Last season, I went to a Brewers game in Milwaukee. They happened to be playing the Dodgers then, too. What a quirkly little coincidence. Not really. Back to my intended anecdote. In the bottom of the fourth, Ryan Braun hit a home run to left-center to break up Ted Lilly's no hitter. My husband and his family were cheering and generally going bonkers (although none of them can be called baseball fans), and a guy in the row in front of us turned around and went down the line giving raucous high fives, until he came to me and my Tigers shirt. He stopped cold and turned around. That's right, buster, I'm not here rooting for the stinking Milwaukee Brewers, the most loathsome team in all of MLB. Matt Kemp, baby! Ha.

An extremely fortuitous event occurred before that game. The Brewers stadium is not right downtown. It lies to the south. Due to this relative abundance of space, the Brewers have always boasted their very own parking lot for games. When they tore down old County Stadium, the site became the parking lot for Miller Park. There is even a metal plate memorializing the former home plate. Quaint. Benefitting from bounteous parking, Brewers fans are known for tailgating with their Polish sausages, Bratwurst, and other greasy, cased meat products. Gross. I am a vegetarian, and avoid such gastronomic pollution like the plague.

We were walking past some of the barbecuing revelers, when a guy stopped me. He had noticed my Tiger shirt, and asked me if whether was a Tigers fan. I answered in the decided affirmative. Apparently doubting my knowledge and devotion, he immediately asked me who won the 1945 World Series. I answered correctly, and he queried me as to who the Tigers faced. I knew that too, so I guess I passed his litmus test. We then fell into easy conversation. He happened to be listening to the Tigers game on his radio at that very moment. I listened and chatted for a few more moments, enjoying the Tiger solidarity before the Brewers/Dodgers tilt.

So you see, as a direct result of my wisdom in apparel choice, I got to chat it up with a fellow fan, hear the score of the REAL game, and remind a Brewers fan that I don't roll with his club. A very successful night in all, even if the Brewers did win. In the interest of full disclosure, the Brewers also turned a triple play that night, which I truly relished as a fan of the game, but lamented because the wrong team turned it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brandon Inge, Usurper of Spring Training Headlines

Why is Brandon Inge dominating Spring Training headlines? I may have to retire to Bedlam. First, media are all atwitter (see what I did there?) over Inge showing up "on time" to camp instead of early. Spare me. Aren't there enough real story lines in Lakeland?

Now, when Inge finally speaks to media after today's first full squad workout, he says a few things that perturb me just a wee bit. I didn't hear the remarks in person, so I may be applying connotations improperly, but...

Jason Beck posted the following quotes on his blog:

On the Tigers’ decision: “It’s pretty simple for me, actually, if you think about it. Put yourself in a general manager’s position and not think as a player. I put myself in Mr. Dombrowski’s position and tried to figure out what I would do if I was in his shoes, and I respect that he’s going to go with Miggy. Miggy thinks he can do it at third. He’s going to go with him, and I respect that, because he’s sticking with his guys. Miggy’s done a lot to help the team. He’s a big part of the team, so he’s sticking behind him, showing faith in him that he can play third. And I appreciate that.”

Um, Miggy thinks he can do it at third? And Dombrowski is showing faith in him that he can play? sticking behind him?

These statements make it sound to me like Inge doesn't have much faith himself that Miggy can play third. It sounds to me like he thinks HE IS A VALID FREAKING ALTERNATIVE TO MIGGY AT THIRD.

You know what the problem is? Inge is quite simply full of delusions. He really believes he belongs in the lineup on a full-time basis. He thinks he's more than just a utility guy, which is what his career really should have been. These are the things that make me certifiable.

So here we are, reading article after article about Brandon Inge of all players, instead of things like how Brennan Boesch is doing, how Austin Jackson is eliminating his leg kick, how many grounders Cabrera booted at third today, and how many pounds over 350 Prince Fielder is. THE IMPORTANT THINGS!

So, please, do everyone a favor, and let ALL OF US stop talking about Brandon Inge. Let's just agree to leave him alone. Let him go about his merry way taking reps at second base. I don't want a daily update on his athleticism and grit. I don't want to know about Brandon's latest hideous tattoo. I'm don't want to hear about some feel good story of him beating the odds to earn playing time at second. You do realize he'd be taking playing time from a more competent Ramon Santiago, right?

Ok then. Stop the madness. Save my sanity. Preserve rationality for us all.