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.