Friday, December 29, 2006

The Mailing-It-In Year End List

It has been a nice holiday season for me. I'm an easy person to shop for, just give me something sports related and I'll be happy. Gifts included a new Tiger cap (a gray 1935 replica to replace my old, smelly, tattered home cap), a nice framed picture of the Olympia, and a XM Radio so I'll be able to listen to the Tigers wherever I travel.

Shifting to year end mode I wanted to look back at the amazing ride that was 2006 for the Tigers. But DTW beat me to it, and did a better job than I could ever do. So I'll make it a little more personal and list the 10 best games I was at this year.
#10 vs. St. Louis 6/25
The final game of a weekend sweep by the Tigers over their World Series' foes. Fueled by the third sellout in a row, an amazing Brandon Inge play at third, and a Curtis Granderson double that Mr. Diving Catch Jim Edmonds couldn't catch up to the Tigers beat the Cardinals 4-1.
#9 vs. Boston 6/3
With the Pistons being knocked out of the playoffs the night before, the Tigers became the only team in town. Jeremy Bonderman had another Jack Morris impersonation with a shaky 29 pitch first inning. But he settled down and the Tigers' bats heated up with home runs by Thames, Guillen and Ordonez leading the Tigers to a 6-2 victory. This also marked one of the last times a noticeably presence of the other team's fans were in Comerica. From here on out Detroit was TigerTown once again.
#8 and #7 vs. Minnesota 4/29, 5/17
The first game gave me hope that the Tigers would be good, the second game had me convinced. The first one was an 18 run, 23 hit outburst that showed the Tigers could score runs in bunches. The second game was a pitchers duel between Johan Santana and Justin Verlander that showed me the Tigers could also win a close one too.
#6 vs. Cincinnati 5/20
Ken Griffey Jr. took a Joel Zumaya fastball deep to rightfield for a grand slam in the 7th that put the Reds up 6-5. Curtis Granderson tied it with a 2 out solo shot in the 9th. Craig Monroe hit a ground ball to the Reds shortstop Felipe Lopez, which he bobbled and threw away allowing Carlos Guillen to score the winning run from third.
#5 vs. Cleveland 8/5
Kenny Rogers had a rough first inning, giving up two home runs to Travis Hafner and Casey Blake and the Tigers were down early 3-0. But Rogers and the rest of the Tigers staff bounced back and only allowed one hit the rest of the game. The offense chipped away with A Thames solo shot, and Brandon Inge scoring on a Polanco hit in the 7th. In the 9th Inge led off with a bunt single. Granderson couldn't bunt him over, and Polanco just beat out a double play ball to keep the inning alive for Pudge. A fastball over the plate, and a flyball over the fence. Pudge with the walk off homer and a 4-3 win.
#4 vs. New York 6/1
Having had last the first two games in the series to the Yankees pretty handily, the final game didn't start out any better. The Yankees got to Verlander, and were up 5-0 in the 3rd. The Tigers bounced back in the 4th with three straight singles to open up the inning and a walk from Magglio bringing in the first run. Carlos Guillen and Omar Infante followed with one run singles of their own and the led was down to 5-3. Juicambi made in 6-3 with a solo home run in the 5th, but the Tigers returned the favor with a Magglio 2 run single in the bottom of the 5th to make it 6-5. The bottom of the 9th rolls around, and the mood in the stadium is "oh no, here comes Rivera" and a save and a loss for the Tigers. Little did most in the stands know that he had hurt his back tying his shoes and in place the Yankees were sending Professor Farnsworth in to close it. A Marcus Thames walk, a Pudge single, a Magglio single (bringing in Thames, and a base hit from Guillen wins the game 7-6.
#3 World Series Game 2
It was freezing cold. I was in the top row behind home plate. But it was the fricking WORLD SERIES. And I was there to watch the Tigers get their only win.
#2 ALDS Game 3
Kenny Rogers gave up 5 hits the Tigers scored 6 runs and the Tigers took the lead in the ALDS.
#1 ALCS Game 4

I was there for this.

So there you have it, the top ten things I witnessed in the flesh this year at the CoPa.
Have a happy and safe New Year, and toast to the hopes of more great games in 2007.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Feeling Minnesota...yet again.

Tonight the Red Wings face Minnesota for the 3rd time in a row. Why?

Not that anyone out side of Canada cares, but the next thing the NHL should do is re-align the league. The schedule right now is a joke. In addition to the frequent west coast trips, there are random stretches like the one the Wings are in now (6 games in a row against Minnesota and Columbus). As is stands right now teams is each division play each other 8 times that's 32 games, or 40% of the total games played in a year. Not only does this benefit average teams in weak divisions (like the Red Wings who have 2 of the bottom 5 in the league in their division) but takes away established rivalries (the Wings have only played the Leafs once in three years) and tries to force new ones by beating the same teams over and over again. Just because Columbus and Michigan hate each other in college football, doesn't make it a rivalry in another sport. Plus you only play teams from the other conference 10 games a year. It could be years before Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin play Detroit again. Add to that Detroit and Columbus routinely have to play the aforementioned west coast trips, while some teams in the East will not have to leave the Eastern Time Zone again this season.

If Pittsburgh ends up moving, the rumored places include western locales such as Winnipeg, Las Vegas and Houston. If that happens the easy move is the Wings into the east, and well screw Columbus they've only been around 6 years. But I don't want to wish that on the people of Pittsburgh, so I suggest switching it from East/West to North/South. Not every team exactly fits geographically, so let's bring back the naming of divisions and conferences after Hall of Famers. Here's how I'd realign it:

Howe (or Northern) Conference

Richard (East) Division: NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Boston, Montreal, Buffalo

Hull (Central): Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, Philadelphia, Ottawa

Orr (West): Vancouver, Calgary, Colorado, Minnesota, Edmonton

Gretzky (Southern) Conference:

Lemieux (East): Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Florida, Washington

Bourque (Central): Nashville, St. Louis, Carolina, Atlanta, Columbus

Dionne (West): Dallas, Anaheim, LA, San Jose, Phoenix

With this alignment it preserves most of the rivalries currently in place, reunites a few old ones (The Hull…the new Norris), and gives a chance for new ones to develop. Also the breakdown of good vs. bad teams looks pretty even (at least this year)Plus Ovechkin vs. Crosby in the same division could be the NHL's version of Yankees vs. Red Sox. Now if they could just get someone with a clue to run the NHL so something like this could be implemented.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Wishes

Just about to head off for assorted family gatherings for the holidays, and thought I'd leave a little wish list for those throughout sports. Yes I know, not very original, but screw it I'm on vacation.

To: Jason Maxiell, dozens of babies to eat for continued strength.

To: Matt Millen, a painful bout of dysentery

To: Joel Zumaya, anything but a Wii

To: Tank Johnson, lifetime membership card to the NRA

To Dwyane Wade, a call or two from the refs. He is constantly getting screwed

To: Joey Porter, some Valium and a closet full of half shirts

To: Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, people outside of Canada to realize how awesome you are.

To: All Detroit Sports teams, successful seasons for three, competent management for the other one.

And on a serious note, I'd like to wish the friends and family of anyone in the military a safe return home for their loved ones.

Happy "Whatever you celebrate" everyone.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Four More Years!...Four More Years!

According to, another offseason mission has been accomplished by DD.
Jeremy Bonderman signed a 4 year $38 million contract extension, locking up a cornerstone of the rotation, who is just entering his prime. This is just another sign that the Tigers are back and not afraid to spend to keep players here. A few years ago the Tigers would have been the team throwing money at the Gil Meches of the world.
Next up on the agenda, sign Carlos Guillen.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In case you missed it...

  • It was recently revealed that Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya's late season tendinitis was not due to how hard he was throwing ball, but due to incessant playing of the video game Guitar Hero. I can think of much more embarrassing ways to hurt your wrist, right Eddie Griffin? Just keep Joel away from the octopus toss and everything will be alright.
  • NASCAR has come out with a cologne. Other items located in the Oxymoron department include NASCAR toothpaste, NASCAR tofu, and the full line of NASCAR Kwanzaa products.
  • Dwyane Wade will miss two games this week after having two wisdom teeth removed. The simple surgery took longer than expected when a fourth doctor had to be called in to finish the job after the previous three fouled out.
  • Der Kommissar Stern announced that the NBA will be switching back to all leather balls (tee hee hee) after complaints that the new synthetic balls were cutting players hands. Stern also announced other protective measures such as mandating Ron Artest wear mittens to keep courtside fans safe. For the safety of Knicks fans, Isiah Thomas will not be allowed to talk to other GM's in the league. All elderly fans in San Antonio will be given Old Glory Robot Insurance in case Tim Duncan has one of his "malfunctions"again. For the safety of all Steven Jackson will be put to sleep.
  • After defeating the Army, Navy, and Air Force football team this season, President Bush has decided that the Notre Dame football team will be sent to Iraq as reinforcements. No word on whether Harris Poll voters will be sent over to teach democracy to the Iraqis.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tigers sign Jose Mesa...¿Qué?

ESPN is reporting the Tigers have signed Jose Mesa to a $2.5 million one year deal.
- Didn't he play shortstop for Jim Leyland back in the day?
No that was Jose Lind.
- Oh. Wait, is this the crazy guy with the hot wife that pitched for the Tigers in the 2001 season?
No that was Jose Lima.
- Well who the hell did the Tigers get?
A 40 year right handed reliever, who best known as the guy that blew the 1997 World Series for the Indians, and having a purple glove in Colorado
Yeah I got nothing. Some in the Detroit Tiger Weblog comments see this as a preemptive stocking of the bullpen for a forthcoming trade. Mack Ave. and The Fungo have nothing but question marks.
My take, who the hell knows. Maybe this is DD's way of throwing people off the scent of what he really is trying to do, or maybe he signed another guy he and Jim have an inexplicable boner for (Neifi, anyone...seriously someone please take him). Hey if he can field a grounder he's alright in my book.

Only 66 Days until pitchers and catchers report.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter Meetings Wonderland

The MLB winter meetings concluded today with Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames still in Tiger uniforms. There were reported talks about Ron Villone and Scott Schoenweis for lefty help out of the pen, but the guy the Tigers got was a Rule 5 pick Edward Campusano. Whether he will join other Rule 5 picks Wil Ledezma and Chris Shelton on the 25 man roster remains to be seen. So barring a stud leadoff hitter or lefty arm suddenly becoming available, it looks like the spring training roster is set.

There were also some moves that affected other teams in the AL Central, most noticeably the Freddy Garcia trade. Garcia has owned the Tigers all the the way since his days as a Mariner. Here's his career numbers vs. the Tigers:

24 15-5 166.1 3.63 52 20 68 67 139

The only other team where he's in the double digits in wins against is the Angels with 14. While the guy replacing Garcia in the rotation, Brandon McCarthy, will be entering his first season as a starter. While he is expected to have a break out year for the Sox next year, he hasn't exactly been lights out vs. the Tigers. So hopefully this will be the first step in the Tigers breaking the hold the Sox have had over them the past few seasons.

Around the rest of the AL Central:
Cleveland replaced the huge hole (literally and figuratively) that trading Bob Wickman left at closer, by signing Joe Borowski. He may not be a big name, but as we all know closers one year removed from Florida are unstoppable.

Kansas City signed Gil Meche to a 5 year $55 million deal. $55 million for Gil Meche? With this signing this year's offseason spending has officially turned retarded. If a guy with a career record of 55-44 and era of 4.65 is worth that much, then Barry Zito must be worth eleventy billion dollars. GM Dayton Moore, was quoted as being thrilled to be signing a pitcher just entering his prime. Hey Dayton, just because he turned 28, doesn't mean you have the next Johan Santana on your hands. These are the deals the Tigers used to do. *cough*Jason Johnson*cough* That contract breaks down to about $550k per loss. Or if your an optimist, $1.1 million per win. Savvy investment Mr. Moore.

Minnesota has done jack shit. When you have the AL MVP and Cy Young winner, and a wealth of young talent, you really don't do much other than wait and see. But with two big holes in the rotation (Radke's retirement, and Liriano's injury) how long can they afford to wait?

Monday, December 04, 2006

You can't spell "botches" without BCS

The big deal going around here is how a local school got screwed out of a BCS Championship game berth...Eastern Michigan University.

The Home of the Big Brick Dick, got screwed.

Surely, you think I must be joking. Here are the facts: Florida lost to Auburn, who lost to Georgia, who lost to Vanderbilt, who lost to Mississippi, who lost to Missouri, who lost to Iowa St., who lost to Kansas, who lost to Toledo, who lost to...that's right , my alma mater, Eastern Michigan. Why aren't the Eagles in the national title picture? Some say it's the fact they only won one game, others point out that many high schools in the area would of put up a better fight against Ball State.But the fact of the matter is the Eagles beat the team, that beat the team, that beat the team, that beat the team, that beat the team, that beat the team, that beat the team, that beat the team, that beat Florida. Which clearly makes them the 2nd best team in the land.

Faulty logic you say? Well I think it makes as much sense as voting for Florida because you "don't want to see a rematch" right, Jim Walden? If you thought U of M was #2 vote them #2. If you think Florida is #2 then vote them #2, but don't vote because of what match-up you'd like to see. I'd like to see Army face Kent State in a rematch of their 1970 classic, but that ain't happening.

Also I would like to point out that Urban Meyer is a douche.

The next volume Urban read was titled "Whine like a little bitch"

In between moaning about Michigan already having their shot, he found enough time to make a game plan of not fucking up more than the other team on his way to an SEC championship. When coach of a Utah team that went undefeated and was the first mid major team to reach a BCS bowl. Back then he felt an undefeated record was good enough to show that Utah belonged. "It's not our fault we play, who we play." he was quoted as saying. Well it's not Boise State's fault Urban. If you were a real man, you'd give the country the clash of undefeated teams it so desperately wants, but he won't. Beware Urban, karma wears a sweater vest.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In case you missed it...

  • To help out it's star Dwyane Wade and his struggling Heat, NBA commissioner David Stern has announced "No Fly Zone" rules that apply to top stars. Now entering a five-foot zone around a star player will result in a foul being called. The NBA plans to debut the new rules tomorrow when the Pistons play the Heat. In fact, the NBA has already issued fouls they expect to happen during the duration of the game. Wade will shoot the free throws before the opening tip; all missed shots will not count provided Wade yells "DO OVER!" before the ball hits the rim. The Heat will also start the game in the bonus. Nazr Mohammed will not be making the trip, as he fouled out packing his suitcase.
  • Hoping to break the Curse of the Billy Goat, Alfonso Soriano was signed to a mind-blowing 8 year $136 Million contract by the Chicago Cubs. When asked why spend so much for one player on a team that has many needs, GM Jim Hendry said he had petitioned the National League to allow the use of ghost runners and that Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Derrick Lee will be the only three batters new coach Lou Pinella will be allowed to send to the plate. When this was denied, Hendry was seen asking for the phone numbers of Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg. Also to save the arms of the Cubs pitchers, opposing hitters will be swinging at a ball on a tee. Hendry argued that this would be no different then Cub pitching in the first place, NL officials agreed.
  • Newly anointed football golden boy Tony Romo has recently shot down rumors that he and Jessica Simpson were an item. In related news, Matt Millen has been quoted on the record as not being able to tell the difference between Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears, and was ready to announce that he was on the cusp of trading Mike Williams and a first round pick for Romo, until Lions executive VP Tom Lewand stepped in and informed Matt that he actually was negotiating a deal for Steve Bono.
  • Michigan State hired a new football coach earlier this week. There was an awkward period of a few minutes when the MSU Board of Regents realized they had offered the job to Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, before finally hiring Mark Dantonio from the University of Cincinnati. MSU, in hopes of a wining season next year has scheduled games solely against Rutgers and Eastern Kentucky.
  • Florida coach Urban Meyer has openly criticized the BCS system, for allowing Michigan to remain ranked #2 after a 3-point loss at #1 Ohio State. When reached for comment Michigan coach Lloyd Carr grumbled inaudibly for five minutes and left the room to go smoke. A representative from 12-0 #8 Boise State was quoted as saying "Urban Meyer can suck my blue turf covered ass".

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just in Time for Christmas

The Tigers just released the ticket prices for the 2007 season. I expected to see prices go up, and they did, but only in 5 sections. Better yet, with the exception of the $2 hike in the bleachers, prices only went up $5 for each section. The most expensive ticket in the park is $65, which is only $15 more than a cheap seat at Ford Field. More importantly, there were no price change in the seats I have. I sure there will be some people bitching about the bleacher seat going up, but come on for $10 you get to see (I never thought I'd be saying this) the defending AL Champions play. Tickets to see the Mud Hens will run you about that much as well, and as back to back IL champs, they are just as good of a value. So with all the outrage over the playoff ticket prices, it's good to see that the Tigers organization gave the fans a little reward by keeping ticket prices for over half of the seats in the park, the same.

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Thanksgiving Tradition...of sucking

The Lions got their asses kicked by this guy.

It started off good yesterday, 2 drives two scores. I was happy, then S.O.L. (Same old Lions) Syndrome kicked in. That's when I started drinking. Now that the turkey and scotch induced hangover has subsided, I speak with a clear (well as clear as I get) mind.
I give up. I tried I really did. I didn't expect much this year. I set my expectations real low. I did buy some of the preseason hype(in retrospect listening to Peter King has never been a good idea). But, I still made excuses, and defended your faults. The defense is still learning the system, when the offence clicks in they're bound to beat a few teams. How do you go out and repay my loyalty? Getting blown up by Joey Harrington.

Joey. Fucking. Harrington.

Fool me once shame of you, fool me for the better part of two decades, shame on me. The worst part is I can't even be happy with the high draft pick, because Millen will screw it up. So were done for this year. I'll still root for Roy Williams because he's on my fantsay football team, but I'm adopting a stance along the lines of Springfielders in the Halloween episode where the billboards come alive and start wreaking havoc on the city.
Cue Paul Anka: "Just don't look, just don't look."
Maybe that will get the monster that is Matt Millen to retreat to the hills of western Pennsylvania for good.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekend Compendium Vol. 3

First off, apologies to not mentioning Jim Leyland's AL Manager of the Year title last week. I guess since it pretty much was a lock, I'd figured they had already given out the award, so I missed it when he officially received it. Sorry Jim.

In other news, I was driving on E. Stadium to get lunch today at work and as I get up to Michigan Stadium, I come across a couple police motorcycles lights and sirens blaring going in the other direction. I pull over to the side like any good motorist would, then I see another police car, then a hearse and a funeral procession. Then it dawns on me...That's for Bo. Many outside of the state may not understand the reverence the he was held in here. He wasn't just the coach of Michigan football, he was Michigan football. I am not a U of M fan, or college football fan for that matter, but the Wolverines were always on in my house growing up. I remember a few players Tony Boles, Greg McMurtry, and Elvis Grbac, come to mind, but the lasting memory I have is Bo on the Sidelines, with those aviators on, snarling at somebody. That and the fact as Michigan's A.D. he fired the lame duck Bill Frieder before the 1989 NCAA tournament, which interim coach Steve Fisher led to the national title. I have conveniently forgot what he did from 1990 to 1992. So as I watch the coach pass by the Big House for the last time, as so many that have been around Ann Arbor long enough do, here's my Bo story.

Through my job, I was able to participate in his charity golf tournament earlier this year. I come in after my round and turn in my score card when someone at the table calls out" Hey coach, how'd you do today?" He mumbles a reply. Then the guy calls out "How's the team this year?" He volume and intensity in his voice skyrockets as he starts singing the praises of Mike Hart and LaMarr Woodley. Later during the banquet, people are eating and awards are being handed out, then Bo steps up to the mic, and every one in the room stops and focuses on Bo. The speech was basically a thank you for everyone coming out and a little football talk. Nothing spectacular, but to be in the room to hear a legendary coach talk, was still pretty cool.

That's how I remember him. R.I.P. Bo, well as much peace as you can get during football season.

On to the rest of the weekend activities:
One streak ends, and another one begins. The Pistons beat the Wizards and Rockets on Friday and Saturday, led by Rip Hamilton's 57 points in the two games. This looked a little more like last year's teams, with a 13-2 run to open the 3rd on Friday, and holding the Rockets to 14 in the 4th on Saturday. SO let's just back away from the ledge a little bit shall we? As long as they don't lose to Philly and Atlanta.

As for the Wings, well their franchise record tying 9 game winning streak ended in Calgary Friday night. They followed that up with a loss to Edmonton in a shoot out on Saturday. That with Joey MacDonald playing in his first NHL game. Along with Jimmy Howard, the Wings netminders of the future look pretty good. They look to break that new streak with tow games against the Canucks Tuesday and Wednesday. Jason Williams is back after taking a wicked, but clean hit last Wednesday against Edmonton. Tomas Holmstrom should be back in the mix after being out with a groin injury.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mayor gets elected to a new term & WTF Pistons?

Sean Casey signed a one year extension today. So it appears that the first base situation is the same as last year's. In the press conference today it was made apparent that Casey in the starter, and Chris Shelton's roster spot will have to be earned. So put to bed the ideas of Sheffield playing first, a trade for Adam LaRoche, or signing Aubrey Huff. It appears that his playoff hitting prowess, easy-going demeanor, relatively cheap cost (and the fact he actually wanted to come back), made Sean Casey a Tiger once again.

So the line-up more than likely looks like this:
CF Granderson
2B Polanco
SS Guillen
DH Sheffield
RF Ordonez
C Rodriguez
1B Casey
LF Monroe
3B Inge

So he isn't your typical power first baseman. Big deal, the Tigers already have enough guys that can hit the longball. He was probably signed for what he brings to the clubhouse just as much as what he brings to the field. Sort of a karmic balance for what Sheffield (supposedly) brings. Casey's going to go out, hit around .300 and play solid D. What more can you ask from a guy that more than likely will hit 7th? With Sheffield there will be more pitches for the guys around him to hit, and more guys on base for the bottom of the order to drive in (in theory). And if it doesn't work out, well it's not like the Tigers don't have a wealth of pitchers to trade for a first baseman next August.

Back in the Olde English "D"...for one more year

On to the hardwood. So Pistons, last night, anyone ever hear of BOXING OUT THE FREE THROW SHOOTER??? Alright, I got that bit of pent up frustration out of the way, What the fuck Pistons? It's not the record, it's early. Only five teams are above .500 in the East. It's not that Ben Wallace left, Chicago isn't doing any better than the Pistons. The most frustrating thing so far this season has been the story of the two teams this year. In the wins they have owned the boards, and scored most of their points within fifteen feet. In the losses, there have been turnovers, poor rebounding, and poor shot selection.

So why can't there be more of the first team and less of the second one?

Some say the coach is to blame. To those who say that, who would do better? Name one guy who's not coaching right now that would do better ? All kidding aside, it's not Flip Saunders coaching that is making them miss open jump shots and free throws. One of the biggest complaints is that he worked the starters too hard and they were tired for the playoff run. With apologies to Herm Edwards, you play to win championships, not one game. So this year he's using the bench. Nine players have averaged over 12 minutes, and only Rip Hamilton has played over 35 per game. It's not like a bad start will doom them to a lottery pick. So everyone settle down, have a Fresca, and we'll ride this one out. There's still 74 games to go. If they miss the playoffs, then we'll talk about a change in direction.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Weekend Compendium Vol. 2

Well this weekend started off great. The Tigers got their big bat, I was at the Joe for the Wings beating Nashville, and the Pistons looked good in a victory over the Lakers. Well it was all downhill from there. The Pistons looked like a lottery team against Golden State, and the Lions...well the Lions were the Lions. Those last two subjects are kind of depressing, and that's the last thing I want on a Monday. So let's focus on the new guy.

The Tigers fired the first shot across the bow of the other contenders this season. In Gary Sheffield they picked up the big bat they believe they needed to keep the team in the hunt for the World Series next year. But can Sheff cook up a World Series title for the Tigers?

The are a few unfavorable factors to this, for one, he's 38. He's can also be a pain in the ass when he doesn't get his way. The Tigers gave up two top 10 prospects in Sanchez and Whelan. And there is the question of will he be healthy enough to play the whole season?

Answering my own questions, yes he is 38 but so was Frank Thomas, and he had a great year playing essentially the part of a full time DH on the A's, which is the same thing Sheffield will be doing for the Tigers, according to Jim Leyland. Who's to say he won't be happy here? He sounded happy to be here (yes, the Tigers now have all-stars from other teams, and potential Hall of Famers happy to come here and play) in interviews. He received the contract extension he was looking for, and he is reunited with Leyland who was the manager of the Marlins with Sheffield when the won in 1997. As for the prospects, they're just that...prospects. They are not All-Stars like Sheffield, they aren't even on the 25 man roster, and they didn't have to go out and trade a guy like Jeremy Bonderman to get him. They could develop into all-stars, but the emphasis is on could. They could also develop arm problems and never make it out of the minor leagues. As for injuries, Sheffield missed most of last season after hurting his wrist in a collision at first base. The Tigers did the right thing by trading a guy that will help the team now, for guys that might help the team later. The only Sheff that the former GM's would have traded for would be the guy to your right. So now the only hole, is at first base. I'm sure with the Winter meeting coming up that spot will be filled rather quickly.

A special congratulations goes out the the AL Rookie of the Year, Justin Verlander. Injuries to Liriano and Papelbon late in the year made this race a bit wider than it should of, but Verlander was a stud most of the season, don't let a couple errors in the World Series cloud your memory.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sheffield a Tiger

Holy Crap. I leave work early to go to a Red Wing game, and en route find out that the Tigers have made a deal for Gary Sheffield. They give up minor leagues Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan, and Anthony Clagett. It's late and I'm tired, but I'll have more on this tomorrow. Oh, by the way the Wings defeated Nashville 3-0. This was Dominik Hasek's second shutout in a row, and the 8th consecutive win for the Wings.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Coaching swicheroo

Looks like there will be a new face in the bullpen next year. Lloyd McClendon has been given the hitting coach job vacated by Don Slaught a few weeks ago. Replacing McClendon as the bullpen coach will be Jeff Jones, pitching coach for the Toledo Mud Hens.

McClendon was the hitting coach for the Pirates from 1997-2000, before he was promoted to manager after Gene Lamont's departure. I don't know how much this will effect the free swinging ways of most of these Tigers. Hopefully he can have more of an influence when the younger hitters (Granderson in particular) get caught in a slump. As for Jones, seeing as he handled most of the young pitchers while they were in Toledo, it seems only natural that he could keep grooming them here in Detroit. Hopefully this switch brings around a scenario where McClendon gets mad and takes a base back to the dugout with him.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend Compendium

Welcome to my visitation to the weekend that was. You may ask why the big word? Why not just say summary? Well I didn't go to college for 4 years to use little words. I went to college and learned that people tend to listen to you when you use big words in their proper usage. That, and to get a job in a completely unrelated field.
On to how the home teams fared.

The Lions:

They won! That in itself is amazing news. This wasn't a bottom feeder team either. This was Atlanta. A team in the playoff race. The team that leads the NFL in rushing yards. The Lions beat them, with 3 starters missing from their defensive line. Obviously Ron Mexico forgot to drink his Powerade. Seriously though, this is the first Lions game I've sat down and watched all the way through in a long time. whether it was the Tigers playing, other games with fantasy football implication on, or the fact that they have been plain terrible, I can say that I've watched a full 60 minutes of Lion football this year. Well here are three things that I noticed that make me feel the Lions are actually improving:
1) They have a leader at QB, and they want to follow him.
Here's a little photographic evidence.


Everybody's favorite holy roller QB Jon Kitna is seen here on the offensive after a cheap shot was administered to the side of his head. DeAngelo Hall (5'10", 190 lbs.) was the one who delivered it. Kitna is attacking LB Michael Boley (6'3", 236 lbs.) The Lions have a QB willing to fight linebackers. Hopefully he's smart enough to punch with his left hand. If Joey Blue Skies took a hit like that, he'd still be on the turf. Even if he did have a little piss and vinegar (mostly vinegar if you ask me) in him, who would jump to his side in a fight? Center Dominic Raiola has promised he would deliver vindication for Kitna if he should meet Hall on a football field. Could you even say half the players on the team last year would help Harrington up after a sack last year?
2) The "Playmakers" are making plays. Kevin Jones had over 100 yards on the ground, with 2 TD's. Roy "All he does is catch First Downs" Williams had a career long 60 yard TD catch, and a one handed circus grab late in the game. Dre Bly and Kenoy Kennedy had big interceptions. Ernie Sims had a fumble recovery. Here's a prime example of what was different with a couple plays from a drive in the second quarter. It's 3rd and 7, two false start penalties push the Lions back to a 3rd and 17. In years past it would have been either a draw up the middle for 4 yards or a checkdown pass to the TE or RB for a minimal gain and the4th down. But this year's team completes a 18 yard pass to First Down Roy. The drive ends with after a failed 4th and goal from the 1, but 2 plays after the turnover on downs, interception Dre Bly. Next play touchdown Kevin Jones. Stuff like that never happened for the Lions in years past.
3) The defense is hitting people. 17 different people had tackles. Vick only ran for 80 yards and two first downs. One play in particular that stands out was Fernando Bryant hitting Ashlie Lelie the second he touched the ball Lelie was separated from it by Bryant. It was one of many hits that led to a case of alligator arms by the Falcon wide outs. There is no stat for dropped passes, but I counted at least six among the Atlanta receivers. In years past, you would only see Lions defenders in the highlights getting shaken off an offensive player on his way to a big gain.

Now the key is to do all these things this Sunday against a team they should beat in the San Fransisco 49ers.

The Pistons:

After last Wednesday's opening night debacle vs. Milwaukee, the Pistons bounced back nicely with wins over Boston and Memphis. Nazr Mohammed has shown himself to be a nice replacement for Ben Wallace. He has averaged 11 points, 9 rebounds, and a block a game so far. He also is shooting 83% from the line, something Ben Wallace has never done. Making up for the energy missed by Wallace has been Jason Maxiell. Mad Max has been chipping in with a couple blocks and rebounds off the bench. Maxiell could be important seeing as how they will need help in the paint, if/when 'Sheed's temper flares up and gets 2 techs in a game.
Speaking of 'Sheed, another thing that's looking good, is that the Pistons are driving to the net more. 'Sheed looks like he realizes that he can't hang around the three point line with Ben down below to do the dirty work, so he's been setting up shop around the paint. Rip and Chauncey especially have gotten in on the act as well.They still have the ball movement and take they're high percentage jump shot, but they have been taking it to the hoop with consistency. Let's see if they can keep this up on a tough 4 game west coast swing.

The Red Wings:

Can we still call it "Hockeytown" if nobody is paying attention? Lost in all the hoopla over the Tigers world series, Pistons season starting, U of M potential national title run, and the Lions winning, has been the team that used to own this town. The Wings have won six in a row, and they are still showing up near the bottom (or the back if you get the real life paper version) of the sports page. But then again when you lose the face of the franchise, and when your regular season is basically an 82 game prelude to real hockey in April, who can expect many people to notice. Maybe wins over Edmonton and Nashville can turn some attention their way.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The first signing of the offseason.

Architect of the franchise, Dave Dombrowski was signed to a four year extension today, keeping him contractually bound to the Tigers until 2011. Also this should dispel any rumors that he would leave Detroit to join pal Jim Hendry in his hometown of Chicago. Sorry Cubs fans. This ensures that the next signing will continue to be good news for the Tigers.

Also congratulations to the Gold Glove winning battery of Pudge and Kenny Rogers. It was Pudge's 12th, most by any catcher in Major League history. It is Rogers' third in a row, and his fifth overall. And no, there wasn't any pine tar on the glove.

Hopefully this is the start of many positive reports for this Tigers' off-season.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The 2006-07 Pistons: Now Entering FlipMode

Our favorite inflatable defender has left town for greener pastures, emphasis on green. Prevailing logic at the time was this was a huge blow to the Pistons. After LeBron's Cavs almost knocked off the Pistons, and Wade and the Heat used them as a stepping stool to a NBA championship, was Big Ben's departure to serve as a death knell for Deee-troit Baaaasketball?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of the Pistons demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Back in July when the defection to Chicago was made official, it was regarded as "the face of the franchise" leaving town. Ben Wallace was the identity of the Pistons since 2000, and he was gone no one knew what to think. This, just days after The Captain announced his retirement. Those were two big stories that pretty much took a hold of the city for weeks at a time. The words "traitor"and "greedy" were tossed around like rice on a wedding day. "Why?", was the question asked. Well, Chicago offered him a shit ton of money, and Joe D wasn't about to hand out that kind of scratch to a soon to be 33 year old center, who's skills were beginning to decline, and had become a bit of a malcontent. So he packed his bags and brings his energy and hustle (as long as he gets at least 10 offensive looks a game) to Chi-town. Leaving the Pistons with only 3 All-stars left on their team.

Sadly Inflatable Ben has a better Free Throw Percentage.

So out goes Ben, in come Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray. Flip Murray was one of the best signings of the off-season. He was awesome off the bench in Cleveland's series vs. the Wizards last year, and can be that scorer off the bench the Pistons desperately need. Nazr was not brought in to replace Ben (all previous digs aside, the dude wasn't a 4 time Defensive Player of the Year for nothing), because no one available this off-season could. He was brought in to do something that Ben couldn't do, drive to the hoop, score 10-16 points a game, and hit a damn free throw. With Ben's departure, and Nazr and Flip's arrivals the focus of this team seems to be shifting to one of a offensive minded one. Don't get me wrong, the team can still play D. In fact, last time I checked, Tayshaun, McDyess, and Rasheed weren't exactly slouches on defense. If they can pick it up a notch, the chicken vs. egg question of "Did Ben make everyone better, or was Ben so good because of everyone else?" could be answered.

Mr. Big Shot's a straight baller fo sho.

Oh yeah almost forgot, lost in all the hoopla over who was leaving and coming in, the players that are still here. Chauncey Billups was a contender for MVP most of last year. He's in a contract year, and with every three Mr. Big Shot nails, more dollar bills will get thrown at him this off-season. Tayshaun will take another step toward becoming a superstar. Rip Hamilton will be doing his usual Reggie Miller imitation, except with a better grill. 'Sheed's gonna be 'Sheed. tossing up threes and getting T's Antonio McDyess will get an expanded role, and will probably rotate with Mohammed for the fifth starter.

The most intriguing subplot of the season will be how, and if, Flip Saunders uses the bench. I've already covered what i think we'll get from Flip Murray and Nazr Mohammed. Lindsay Hunter will be the caged animal unleashed on whoever the opposing team's top guard is. Dale Davis will sit there looking like Bubba from Forrest Gump, and try not to get tasered this season.The key will be Carlos Delfino. If he gets playing time and is happy, that's one more guy that Flip Saunders can use at guard or forward and can bring offense off the bench. If not, there will be a Darko part two in the making this year. With the news of Jalen Rose possibly signing with the team, somebody will lose minutes. Odds are it will be Delfino. The simple fact is, like most teams in the NBA, the bench has to produce for this team to go far.

It will be interesting to see how many minutes the young guys get. Jason Maxiell was tearing it up in the pre-season. He played nearly 25 minutes a game and averaged 15.9 ppg, 6 rebs, and 1.1 blocks. If he can keep up the intensity, the "Mad Max" signs will be popping up in full force. Amir Johnson is one of the last players to be drafted straight out of high school. In fact he won't be 20 until May of next year. So any appearance he makes this year will be in "Darko time". He did make enough of an impression last year in assorted blowouts, that I still remember him and his high flying dunks. Rounding out the roster this year are Ronald Dupree and Will Blaylock. Dupree returns to the Pistons after playing in Minnesota last year, and will be used in a very limited role. And by limited I mean if this guy's playing the Pistons are either up/down by 25 points in the 4th quarter, or half the teams hurt and the season's gone down the crapper. Blaylock was the last pick of the draft this year, and was expected to go much higher. Still he just took Alex Acker's spot as the team's sixth guard.

So what to I expect from this year's edition of your Detroit Pistons? Well nobody plays the "underdog" card better than the Pistons. They got a little cocky towards the end last year and got lazy. This team is just as good as the one that won the title in 2004. The question is can Flip Saunders bring his plans of converting this Piston team into an offensive juggernaut. I think he does, and the Pistons win the Central and the 2nd seed in the East behind Miami.

So there you go, and now one more reason to watch the Pistons...AUTOMOTION!

Monday, October 30, 2006

So now what?

I could do a countdown of the days until spring training, but I can't count that high. I could do a season grading thing but the Free Press and others have done it better than I could have. I could wildly speculate on what the offseason could bring, and I more than likely will, but I'm going to wait until all the free agents have declared and some juicy rumors begin to float around.

So with that in mind as the leaves are being blown of the trees with the 30 mile an hour winds that are blowing through the area tonight, I shift focus to the other Illitch team, the team across the street and the team up I-75.

Well to update you on the team so far, the Pistons haven't started (a season preview is in the works), the Red Wings look old and busted, and the Lions are in the running to have Matt Millen select what will be regarded as the worst overall number one pick ever. So the seasons might change but the posts will keep coming.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Last Goodbye

Congratulations St Louis. You deserved it. You played hard, and made the Tigers pay for all the mistakes they made. The Tigers had one hell of a year.

But it still hurts.

This feeling in the pit of my stomach will linger for days, as I'm sure many of the Tigers themselves have that feeling too. But the fact that while I have this feeling, the fact that people actually care about baseball in Detroit again dulls it slightly. This still sucks big time, the way that they lost, but for the first time in a long time there is hope. But it still hurts.

This year probably gave me more memories then all previous years combined, just in the games I attended this year. In May there was the 18-1 game vs. the Twins. Then Verlander and Santana's pitchers duel with Vance Wilson's home run in the 8th to put the Tigers up for good. Followed with he game against Cincinnati, where Ken Griffey Jr. hit a grand slam, and the Tigers fought back with Granderson tying it with a solo shot in the bottom of the 9th and Guillen wining it with an infield hit in the 10th. The Tigers scoring two runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Yankees in June. Pudge's walk-off homer in August to beat the Indians. I was at game 3 of the ALDS and game 2 of the World Series where Kenny Rogers pitched two of the best games I'd ever seen pitched. But the memory to end all memories was being there for game 4 when Magglio ended it. Thinking back on all those games helped ease the pain, but it still hurts.

This team is a winner. My only fear is that everyone will remember the 3 losses to Kansas City at the end of the year and not the 94 wins. The 8 errors in the World Series, not the seven wins that got them there. This team will get back there. Maybe not next year, or even the year after that, but soon. Because like this year, a team with 90 wins could finish third in the division. Though this team will be around in September playing meaningful games. Why you ask? Only three pitchers are over the age of 30. Pudge is the oldest position player at 34. Plus the days of "prospects" like Matt Anderson, Nate Cornejo, and Matt Wheatland, and Kenny Baugh are over. There are guys like Humberto Sanchez, Cameron Maybin, Jair Jurrjens, Kevin Whelan, Brent Clevelen, Andrew Miller, Ryan Raburn, that will allow the Tigers to reload instead of rebuild. So the future looks bright, but right now, it still hurts.

I've been trying to think of an analogy to sum up the ride that this season has been. The best I could come up with is this: You go to a restaurant expecting a hamburger, you sit down and get ready to order, but it turns out you're the lucky one millionth customer and you get a nice Filet Mignon instead. You eat and entire steak, and it's one of the best you've eaten, but the last few bites are all fat and gristle.

So we're left with a bad taste in our mouths, but what the Tigers did this season was simply remarkable. I would like to thank them for that. I foresee good things and celebrations in the future, but for right now it still hurts.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Do or Die time (Part 1 of hopefully a 3 part series)

It all comes down to this. If there isn't any rain, then it will all come down to tomorrow. Same lineup for the Tigers, with Verlander taking the mound. The Cards have Weaver pitching with Belliard in at second batting 6th and So Taguchi in left batting 8th. It's real simple for the Tigers. Get some hits, don't make mistakes, and hope a few bounces go their way. Not really much more to say other than I hope the Tigers can pull one out and get it back to Detroit.

Win or lose, there will be something later.

Game 4 Aftermath

This pretty much sums up tonight's game for the Tigers. Just out of reach. They had the pitching from Bonderman, they had the hitting from Pudge and Casey, they just didn't have the luck. From Granderson's slip, Rodney's overthrow, to Monroe's near catch, it seems all that "team of destiny" mojo that was working for the Tigers in the 7 straight games they won, has shifted to the other side of the Mississippi.
So now it comes down to this: Win game 5 or the season is over. And if you manage that then you have to start all over again with Game 6. And then...well you get the idea. Will they do it? I don't know. It has been done to the Cardinals before, with The Tigers themselves in 1968, and the Royals in 1985. David Eckstein getting run over by a tarp would be a nice start. Can they do it? Sure, if the team that played Games 2-4 in the ALDS and 1-4 in the ALCS shows up. But right now a dire situation is all that appears.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Game 4, Take 2

So it appears that they might actually be able to get game 2 in tonight. No confirmation on the rumor that the rest of the series in St Louis will be played on an ark. Hopefully they can get the game in tonight , because reports are that the weather will be worse tomorrow. Any more delays and there's a chance that the Tigers might face Chris Carpenter again in game 5.

But enough of wild speculation and back to tonight's game. Nothing really has changed. Line-ups, pitchers, everything is still the same. I still think the big key in this game will be Jeremy Bonderman's slider. If it's nasty, Tigers win, if he has to throw fastball on 2-0 or 3-1 counts, the Cards win. Plus it would help if Bonderman doesn't do anything stupid like chucking the ball into the stands(I'm looking at you Verlander and Zumaya).

There has been speculation as to who this day off has benefited more. I don't think it really benefits anyone, since the exact two lineups are facing off against each other. Plus all it does is force a game tomorrow and eliminates a travel day. I could see if a player had an extra day of rest to recover from an injury, but that's not the case. It's just the same teams playing in the slightly less shittier weather than the night before. If there was anything to gain it would be Jim Leyland having one more day to pump the underdog mentality into the Tigers heads like he did before game 2 of the ALDS.

OK, off to my spot on the couch to watch every pitch hovering in between huddling in anxiety, and nervously pacing. I love this game.

For your potential rain delay reading check out these:

- A story in SI where Nate Robertson defends Kenny Rogers.

- Cheap and easy Halloween costume ideas (I have glasses and facial hair, no matter what I'd be Robertson).

- The most entertaining comments section you'll ever read.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

About Last Night...

It seems Joel Zumaya has a lot in common with the Comcast high speed internet he hawks...they both let me down last night. Comcastic my ass. Not that there would of been much from me after that wild pitch anyway. After that I was just sitting on the couch, watching the Tigers record out after consecutive out.
Honestly I wasn't expecting much from the Tigers, since they were facing probably the best pitcher in the National League, but I expected a little more than just rolling over and taking it.
But tonight is another game, that is if Deathstorm 2006 doesn't sweep St. Louis off the map, and there are some changes to the lineup. Guillen is up to 3rd, Polanco goes down to 7th, Casey is up to 5th. Makes sense, have your hitters that are doing damage grouped together. Hopefully there will be guys on base for Guillen and Casey to drive in. The pitching match-up Is Bonderman vs. Suppan. This would seem to favor the Tigers. Bonderman, for whatever reason, pitches better on the road than at home. The Cardinals, with the exception of Pujols and Eckstein, do not fare that well against the slider. Plus, some of the Tigers (Maggs and Inge) have fared well against Suppan in the past. The key is they need that patient bats that got them hear. Force Suppan to throw fastballs over the plate, and everything should be fine. Considering what we have seen in the previous three games that's a big if.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

World Series Game 3 Liveblog

OK everything is in order. I have my Belichickesque lucky hooded sweatshirt on, food and beverages with reach, properly padded chair, rid hands of all traces of pine tar....Let's Liveblog!
Some lineup changes. Encarnacion is out Taguchi is in. Ronnie Belliard is batting 5th. Casey is playing at first. We get to see pitchers bat...woohoo. NL baseball, baby. I just cant want to see all the bunting and double switches tonight.
First a song from Jet. What better was to start a game of America's pastime than with a song by an Aussie rock band. Well musically it's downhill from here. I hate you Jeanne Zelasko. Interrupting Ernie Harwell mid-story during last years All-Star Game should have gotten you demoted to kick ball games in Wyoming. Joe Girardi doesn't like that sticky feeling. GET AWAY FROM ME JOHN MELLENCAMP! Could they get a gayer song to bring the Tigers out to? Is that Chumbawumba? Well the Cards coming out to circus music isn't any better. I'm waiting for the entire team to pop out of a bullpen car. TRACE ADKINS HAS VOICE IMODULATION SYNDROME.
It's gametime!
Top of the 1st:
Those are the gayest "keys to the game" ever. Granderson strikes out, making it roughly 1,565 for the season. Broken bat blooper to Jim Edmonds from Monroe, and there is two away. The midget guns out Polanco to end the Tigers half of the inning.
Bottom of the 1st:
And we have our first bunt of the game. A lot of good that did. One down. Liner that is drawn into the gravitational pull around Polanco's head for out two. Yes, Joe Buck Santiago is out, but it puts their normal starting first baseman in, how is that a disadvantage? 1-2-3 off to the 2nd. 0-0. When did Jay-Z turn into Puffy?
Top of the 2nd:
Carpenter does not fear the Mullet, as he lines out to Mr Miaygi. OK you guys know you can take a pitch or two right? To the bottom.
Bottom of the 2nd:
That's not irony Joe, that's a coincidence. Rolen does his best Beltran impersonation, one down. Good to see Casey can run without his leg falling off. I'm sure if it did we would see it numerous times in slow motion. Did Chris Myers just call Nate Robertson a nerd? Wow St. Louis has some ugly ass people. I wonder if Randy Marsh has a child named Stan? Monroe, straight playa hating in left field...sorry I channeled Stu Scott there. After 2 it's scoreless.
Top of the 3rd:
At least Fox is doing a better job of getting back from commercials, before a pitch is thrown. There's a nice drive with a wood, base hit Inge. Woo Hoo time for a bunt. Boooring...Chris Carpenter does not like to share. He bounces one in and Inge is at third. Granderson grounds out to end the threat.
Bottom of the 3rd:
Arnold from Happy Days lines out to start the inning. So does Carpenter, enter the Midget. I wonder if he is dedicating the series to Nelson De La Rosa? Granderson getting some action in the outfield, he catches Eckstein's offering to end the inning. Scoreless after 3.
Top of the 4th:
C-Mo to start it off. And the whiff. Eckstein has range. Polanco grounds out. Sulu reels in Ordonez's line drive for the third out.
Bottom of the 4th:
Joe Buck mentions no hits...Bang, Wilson gets a hit. You jinxing homer bastard. Pujols reaches out and touches one. Ground rule double, saves a run for the Tigers. Crap, bases loaded, no one out. This does not bode well. Big out, Belliard grounds to 3rd, force at home. Good to see that Inge is able to hit Pudge at home when it counts. A ground ball would be nice. Not that kind of ground ball dammit. Edmonds down the line scores two. Intentional walk to Molina to load the bases for Margaret Cho. Infield fly, 2 down and up comes the pitcher. Gets him to pop out to Casey. End of the 4th Cardinals up 2-0.
Top of the 5th:
Hey it's a hit. Strikeout to end the inning. Here's the part of the liveblog when I get pissy and quiet.
Bottom of the 5th:
The Midget gets his first hit of the series, followed by a strikeout and pop out by Wilson and Pujols. Nate Robertson leaves the game with a Belliard strike out to end the inning. Still 2-0 Cards.
Top of the 6th:
Down 1-2-3, this is not looking good.
Bottom of the 6th:
I've cracked open the Ketel One, and may be drinking to forget shortly. Forgive my terrible joke, but shouldn't Cory Lidle have received the Roberto Clemente Award? It's Zumaya time. I want to see the dark spot on his pants when Lloyd has to step in against some 100+ mph heat.
Inning over still 2-0 Cards.

Computer problems, and Zumaya firing one into the third row might see the end of the liveblog.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What did I miss?

So apparently something happened with Kenny Rogers at the game last night. I've been scouring the interweb to find out what happened but haven't found anything.

So I may have been a little facetious there, but the "mud spot" has all that has been talked about today in assorted media outlets ad nauseam. It might have been pine tar, it might not have been. Bottom line:
  1. The umpire didn't eject him from the game
  2. Spot or no spot, the Cardinals were hitless from the 2nd inning to the 8th.
  3. Find me a pitching staff that doesn't have one guy that puts a little something extra on the ball, you were probably one of the people that thought nothing of guys like Brady Anderson suddenly jacking 50 home runs. (think I'm exaggerating read this)
So let us never speak of this again.

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize what what happened last night during the 9th inning. You see everything was going swimmingly for our favorite mustachioed closer, so myself, having roughly 40,000 people in front of me, decided to sneak toward to aisle to ease in my exit. When the bases became loaded, I realized my error. Whenever I leave my seat during a game bad things happen. After realizing this, I went back to my seat, Molina groundball, game over. So you see this was not Todd Jones' fault, it was mine. I accept full responsibility.

Anyways back to the promised pictures, well every time a took a picture it seems some on in front of me had a strategically placed Tiger Towel in the frame. Also it was fucking cold. I spent most of the game huddled in a ball trying to keep score with shivering hands. A big "fuck you" goes out to John Cougar Mellencamp, who not only subjected the crowd to a live action version of a Chevy commercial, he also came out to perform said song, then disappeared for a couple minutes delaying the game and causing the crowd to freeze our collective asses off a few minutes longer than necessary. I am calling for a bombing campaign of Indiana as retribution.

All right I think I've rid myself of enough vitriol for today, come back tomorrow for some Game 3 liveblogging goodness.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

About that overwhelming favorite thing...

Well the most positive thing I can say this morning is hopefully everyone combined the crappy game they were due to have into one, so that's all out of the way and back to dominance in game 2, right? Please? Other than Carlos Guillen and Craig Monroe, everyone left their big boy bats at home today. Other than Guillen and Monroe, everyone else went 0-fer. While Verlander had 8 K's he gave up 7 runs on 6 hits. Let's not even go into the 3 errors.

But things are not as dire as they seem, the Cards only had two more hits than the Tigers, and committed two errors themselves. Much like game 1 of the ALDS, while the score was lopsided, most of the damage was one big inning. Hopefully the Tigers fueled by (words I thought I'd never type) playoff hero Kenny Rogers, and a little resurgence from the bats can even it up tonight.

Again I'll be there, and try to get some good pictures up, well as good as a crappy digital camera from the upper deck can deliver.

Friday, October 20, 2006

World Series Preview

Get ready for it. The flashbacks to Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich. The play at the plate with Lou Brock and Bill Freehan. Denny McLain popping up out of the woodwork. Every possible aspect of the 1968 world Series revisited. If I was a Cardinal fan, I'd want more to be made about the 1934 series, they actually won that one. Let's break it down shall we?


Game one features a battle of rookies. Anthony Reyes has giving up an average of one home run in every one of his starts this year. He faces Justin Verlander, who only had three pitchers with more wins and was in the top 5 in ERA in the AL. Chris Carpenter is the only Cardinal starter to win more than 12 games. He was second in the NL in ERA but no other Cardinal starter had a ERA below 4.00. Adam Wainwright used his knee-buckling curve to propel the Cards to the World Series. The downside to that is every Tiger player saw that an will be waiting for it. In addition to Wainwright there are two other rookies in the bullpen, and the player with the most experience is Braden Looper. While the Tiger pen is relatively young as well, they have been pretty damn good throughout the playoffs. The have only giving up 12 hits in 20 2/3 inning. Just Looper himself has given up 8 in 6 1/3.
Advantage: TIGERS


Name a Tiger who hasn't had a big hit in the playoffs. OK, besides Neifi Perez. With the return of Casey, Neifi will be back on the bench and the lineup that so far has produced 82 hits, 19 doubles, and 13 home runs will be intact. Placido Polanco is hitting .471. that's practically two hits a game. The Cards as a team are only hitting .256, and yes I know the pitchers batting will drag down the average a little, but when Yadier Molina leads your team in average, RBI's and home runs, that's not a good sign.
Advantage: TIGERS


This aspect is pretty much a wash. Each team has it share of guys that can make outstanding plays, then boot the next ball hit toward them. So this one splits down the middle.
Advantage: EVEN


One's has a 5-12 World Series record and loves kitties. One is a Marlboro smoking bad ass who has turned a perennial loser into a winner. I am bit biased here, but how can I vote for a guy who wears sunglasses at night, over a dude that still wears spikes in the dugout.
Advantage: TIGERS


Everyone outside of St Louis has the Tigers winning this easily, and that makes me a little cautious. After all this is the same attitude the greeted the Yankees against this same Tigers team. Then again everyone thought in 1998 the Yankees did what everyone though they would do and swept the Padres. While the bats have been hot of late, what's been the Tigers bread and butter this year, is the same reason teams win in the playoff, their pitching. So that's why it will be...
Tigers in 5!

No liveblogs this weekend. I will be glued to a T.V screen at various parties on Saturday, and attending Game 2 on Sunday. I'll try to get game recaps and some pics, and will more than likely liveblog game 3 on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Bandwagon Fan Quiz

I've heard a great deal of talk over the season about the influx of so called "bandwagon" fans taking over the ballpark. These are also the same people who yell "swing to every batter, then bitch when they take a called strike. Personally I have no problem with them, the new fans not the crusty complainers. Most people use sport as an escape from their own crappy life, why latch on and identify yourself with a loser. Everyone loves a winner, except Cubs fans who use their team as an excuse to get drunk at 2 in the afternoon. The Tigers are winning so there was bound to be large amounts of Tiger gear being sported around town. The measure of a true fan is how loud you cheer, not when you bought your hat.
So, I give my unconditional welcome to the newbies on two terms:
  • Please stop trying to start the wave during key situations in the game. Here's a tip, if a lead is less that 3 runs and there are men on base, sit your ass down and and enjoy the game. If a close game can't keep your attention, stick to watching cars go round in circles.
  • Know something about the team. I've resigned myself to the fact that whenever Brandon Inge's name is announced the shrieks from all the ladies will begin, but at least they know one player. I've met people who thought "Pudge" and Ivan Rodriguez were different people.
To help I've created a handy little test that you can take or give to others to consider them worthy to be a Tiger fan
(answers are in the comments)
1) Name at least 12 Tigers that have played in a game this season as you can. (hint, there were 40, 19 position players and 21 pitchers) Get 30-35 you've been to the ballpark a lot. Get all 40 you're Jim Leyland.
2) Name the as many of the 10 players from the 119 loss 2003 team as you can. (Hint: 6 pitchers, 4 Position) 4 is good, but the 8 to 10 should be easy if you have been paying attention.
3) Name any player from that same 2003 team that is still in the major leagues. (Hint: one was still with the team at the beginning of the year) There are 8, I knew 4. If you get them all, you are either Howie Schwab, or a liar.
4) History lesson, name the six players enshrined with statues in left field. Bonus points if you can name the one born in Detroit.
5) Not counting this year's trip, how many times have the Tigers been to the World Series. Bonus points for years, outcomes and opponents.

So there you have it, print it out and quiz your friends.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Shot Heard 'Round Brush Street revisited

Bill Mazeroski, Chris Chambliss, Joe Carter, Todd Pratt, Aaron Boone, David Ortiz, Chris Burke, and now Magglio Ordonez.

In the 103 years that baseball has had playoffs, those are the eight men who have ended a series with one swing of the bat. Some are the stuff legends are made of ("Shot heard 'round the world). Some leave you swearing (Aaron Fuckin Boone, Fucking Joe Carter). Some you forget even happened (Todd Pratt). But actually being there for one, I'm still at a loss on how to describe it fully. This video from someone at the game pretty much sums up what it sounded and looked like. As for that feeling, ask anyone that's worn the Old English D for the past few years, how things are going, and you'll get an idea.

video via Deadspin link

Sunday, October 15, 2006

ALCSgams: Game 4, SWEEP!

Growing up I've always heard stories from people about being present for dramatic events throughout Detroit sports history. Mickey Lolich's 5 hit win in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series, Kirk Gibson's HR off of Goose Gossage in Game 5 of the 1984 World Series. The Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup and Barry Sanders breaking the 2000 yard mark in 1997. Now I can say "I was there" when people bring up Magglio's home run. I still can't describe the feeling, some 28 odd hours after. All i can remember is hearing the crack and the roar getting louder and louder as the ball was getting closer and closer to it's landing spot in left field. I scrambled to get my camera out and take a picture of the mob scene at home plate, but in between my hands shaking from pure joy, and the fist pumping of the crowd in front of my I wasn't able to get a good shot so I'll leave you with some other pictures of game 4. Sorry, but they were the best I could do from the nosebleeds.

The first pitch of the game and the "Tiger Towels" in full effect.

Players (l) and Jim Leyland (r) take a victory lap around the field.

The American League Championship trophy presentation, and the sign speaks for itself.

Friday, October 13, 2006

ALCSgasm: Game 3, The Gambler Flops the Nuts

When you think of clutch Tiger pitching in the playoffs, the names Mickey Lolich, and Jack Morris come to mind. Well now after today's 2 hit 6 strikeout performance, Kenny Rogers enters that conversation. This was one of the best playoff pitching performances in the history of the Tigers. The 2 hits sets a record for the fewest hits allowed by Tiger pitching in the playoff. The previous low being three, set most recently by Milt Wilcox in the 1984 ALCS. It seems as though Kenny has made it his personal mission to exorcise the ghosts of all those losing Tigers teams over the last decade and a half, by ridding his legacy of playoff implosion of the past. How else can you explain a guy that previously was winless and an ERA above 9 , into 15 scoreless innings (he has recorded 16 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings if you count his last appearance in 2003 with the Twins) 14 strikeouts and two wins? It's not like he's a soon to be free agent, young, power pitcher. He's 41 years old. At 41, he is the second oldest pitcher (Roger Clemens at 42 in 2005) to win a playoff game. Clemens got his win by entering an 18 inning game in the 15th and pitching 3 scoreless innings. His next start (Game 2 of the World Series) he left 2 innings into his start with an injury, and began his second retirement. Kenny Rogers has shut down and humiliated one of the best offenses in the game with the Yankees, and the #1 run scoring team in the league since the all-star break in the A's. He has taken the mound in arguably each playoff series biggest game, and pitched two of the best games of his life. Being at Game 3 of the ALDS last Friday, and hearing the 43,000+ shake the upper deck with shouts of "Kenny! Kenny!" will be one of the things that will always come into my mind when I look back on this season. Now the Tigers are just one more win from those chants taking place in the World Series.

I will be at Game 4 tomorrow, and I will try to get some pictures and recap here on Sunday, with a liveblog of Game 5 if there is one.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

ALCSgasm: Game 2, The Liveblog

Well with the events of earlier today involving Cory Lidle, I venture into the serious (for once) and leave the lighthearted stuff for later and offer prayers and condolences to anyone involved. Back with the snark when the game begins...
Top 1:
And were off...and three pitches into the game Steve Lyons is annoying. Granderson takes one to the warning track. Neifi Perez is batting second, and promptly strike out looking. Super duper. It's like Leyland wants Polanco to bat with at least an out. Milk duds for everyone, Polanco gets a single. Apparently Loaiza dos not fear the mullet, Maggs strikes out to end the inning.
Bottom 1st:
Parliament Funkadelic is being used to sell minivans, fuck you Honda. Fugly Kendall pops out to start it off form the A's. And there goes the no hitter, Kotsay gets to second on the muff(tee hee hee) by Maggs. Way to block it Pudge, Kotsay to third. Milton Bradley shattered bat single just over Polanco's head. 1-0 A's. And a fucking balk? Not good. Big Hurt, big whiff, 2 away. Verlander seems to be hitting 100 mph, a lot more than I remember him ever doing. I don't think Fox's radar gun is fair and balanced. Chavez to Granderson to end the inning. Inning over 1-0 A's
Top 2nd:
So that Cubs fan has been up there since May? Lead off double for MVP Guillen. Pudge, time to make up for that passed ball. He advances the runner, you're off the hook for now Pudge. Sac fly from Monroe, who said the Tigers can't play smallball? Gomez is the DH? Well he lines out to end the Tigers half. Game tied at 1 a piece.
Bottom 2nd:
A first pitch out with Payton flying out to left. Somehow it makes sense that Nick Swisher went to tOSU. And he strikes out looking to an educated curveball. Domo arigato Mr Scutaro. He strikes out to end the inning. Still tied 1-1.
Top 3rd:
At this rate this game will be over by 10:30. Good more time for me to play Tiger Woods 07. That ball didn't want to come down because Kendall is so ugly. Well at least Neifi didn't strike out, baby steps. To the bottom.
Bottom 3rd:
A foul was just called on that Navigator. Wow, I can't see why those guys on the Holiday Inn commercials shows got cancelled last year. Brown Sugar Jimenez out with an infield pop up. Steve Lyons laughs like a guy I know, Crazy Don. They probably are of equal intelligence as well. Another double for Kotsay. Poop, 2 run homer for mister personality Milton Bradley. 3-1 A's. Another K for Thomas ends the inning. 3-1 A's
Top 4th:
of Casey's leg tear. Thanks Fox. Ah Fuck it's Gomez instead of Inge. Better represent Toledo, Another hit for Polanco, right up the middle. Maggs follows that with a single. Two on for the MVP. A very unMVPlike whiff for Guillen. Bases are ripe and juicy for C-MO. BASE HIT!!! Bases still loaded for Inge. Oh balls, now the trainers are looking at Monroe. Great the Zapruder of Casey calf muscle tear. Thanks Fox. Alexis Gomez is up. represent Toledo. A simple ground ball whoop! it squirts through for 2 runs. 4-3 El Tigres. Close play at the plate...good call ump. Monroe's safe with the 5th run for Detroit. Inge foul tip ends the half Tigers up 5-3.
Bottom 4th:
Sit on it Potsie! Chavez caught looking to start the 4th. Swisher's swinging to tie up the game. Saaawing and a miss. 2 Down. Verlander jams Scutaro to end the inning. Still 5-3 Tigers.
Top 5th:
Jimmy John's commercials creep me the hell out. Before I could even type anything funny to say Neifi Perez grounds out. Well played Mr Perez. Polanco is 3 for 3. Ordonez with a looong strike, then promptly hits into a double play.
Bottom 5th:
Stop lying Thom Brennaman, you still haven't had your first kiss, well from a girl. Polanco nearly pulls a play out of his ass. Verlander is having problems throwing strikes...this could be trouble. Milton Bradley obliges with a line out to centerfield, and Big Hurt with a little groundout to end the inning. 5-3 Tigers.
Top 6th:
Mark this day down, the announcers are fellating Detroit. I withdraw my previous comments Mr. Brenneman. With 2 out, C-Mo disrespects that fastball into the gap in center for a double. I don't think it was Leyland's magic that Gomez got that hit, it was more Chavez booting one. OK that one was all Leyland. Gomez goes deep to put the Tigers up 7-3. Buenos Noches Esteban.
Bottom 6th:
Chavez, welcome to October. He makes it 7-4. There appears to be no quit in Oakland. OK Jim, time to get Verlander. And he does, looks like Wil Ledezma. Let's hope he can keep his cap in one piece tonight. Swisher fouls his way to a walk. That made sense right? Marco Polo, pops up for the second out. And after much trepidation, a fly out ends the inning. Tigers lead 7-4 after 6 and it looks less and less likely I will have time to play Tiger 07 tonight.
Top 7th:
C Grand leads it off with a single. His first hit of series. Hey Neifi did something right, a sac bunt gets Granderson to second. They're intentionally walking Polanco, OK, will Maggs make them pay? Well no, but he didn't hit into a double play and there's runners at the corners for Guillen. Line drive ends it. Time to stretch.
Bottom 7th:
Jason Kendall likes gladiator movies and wrestling, go figure. Ledezma with a wicked slider gets Kotsay swinging. Milton Bradley makes it a little closer with a solo shot. 7-5 Tigers. It's Grilli Time!!!! OK that radar gun is way off Grilli just hit 98. Grilli gives him the heater and sits down Frank Thomas. End of 7, 7-5 Tigers.
Top 8th:
C-MO two feet away from a homer down the line. And what always seems to happen after a near home run, a out is made. The A's seem to want Alexis Gomez on base for some reason. Another booted ball and Gomez stands at first with two out. But Inge hits into a fielder's choice and we go to the bottom.
Bottom 8th:
Crooked hat time. Rodney is in. He starts off by getting Chavez to strike out swinging. Payton's place is on the bench as Rodney gets another K. Rodney strikes out the side. Crooked hats for everyone. Tigers up 7-5 as we go to the 9th.
Top 9th:
A's pulling out all the stops, their closer Huston Street is in. So much for that. C Grand is MONEY! Deep to centerfield, and that my friends is insurance. Lou Pinella wants to make out with Curtis. Hey he got it out of the infield. 0-3 with a sac bunt, Infante couldn't of done that? OK, OK they're winning I'll stop now. Finally they get Polanco out, with a strikeout. Maggs grounds out for the third out. It's Sponge Todd One-derpants time.
Bottom 9th:
First pitch strike, it's over. Teenage Mutant Ninja Scutaro leaves his Bo staff on his shoulders and strikes out looking. Jonesy with another first pitch strike. Another one bites the dust. Two down. Captain Fugly spoils the perfect save with a little base hit through the infield. Jonesy loves drama, throws 3 balls, then 2 strikes for a full count. Milton Bradley looming. And he will come up after a Kotsay single. I'm not at all nervous. Soft dribbler over the mound, everyone's safe. Bases loaded for Frank Thomas...fuck. First pitch strike. GAME OVER, and in the good way. Thomas goes o for 5, and the Tigers win. 8-5.
Post Game:
The Tigers are heading back to Detroit up 2-0. The Tigers fought from behind twice and took the lead and defended it well. The got the A's swinging early and often. Now they are two games away from an even bigger party at Comerica.