Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The DNR 25: #23 Todd Jones

Full Name
Todd Barton Givin Jones


Jacksonville State University

1989, First Round (27th pick), Houston Astros

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons
1997-2000, 2006-2008

Career Stats
58-63, 319 SV, 3.97 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 111 ERA+

Career Leaderboard
2000 All Star
2000: 1st in saves (42)
2004: 1st in relief wins (11)
All Time: 14th in saves (319)

Best Tiger Season
Though 2000 was Jonesey’s year as an All-Star, I think ’97 was his best year as a Tiger. He only saved 31 games compared to the 42 in 2000, but his ERA was better (3.09 vs. 3.52), his WHIP was better (1.357 vs. 1.438), and his ERA+ was awesome in ’97 (148 vs. 133). Sadly, it would go overlooked as the Tigers were terrible for so long.

Little Known Fact
Although Todd is a right handed pitcher, he bats left handed. He never does anything the easy way.

Reason For Being On The List
More than any player I’ve ever watched (with the possible exception of Alan Trammell), there’s never been a guy more proud to be a Detroit Tiger. Jones actually cried in a press conference when he was traded to Minnesota in 2001 for Mark Redman. Granted, I wouldn’t want to play in the Metrodome, either, but for Todd it was upsetting because he loved Detroit and the Tiger fans so much. You don’t see that much anymore in today’s players.

And though I’ve made it clear that I think saves are overrated, Todd is the Tigers all-time leader in the category. When you mention the word “closer” to a Tiger fan, they’ll probably come up with the names of Hiller or Hernandez. But Jonesey has more saves than any of them.

He always had a great sense of humor (as you can see in the above pic imitating Magglio) and was always available to the fans. While the guy could be a roller coaster on the mound much of the time, Jones was a guy that you felt good rooting for. And he was a better pitcher than he got credit for, much of the time, too.

What Happened To Him?
Injuries and age caught up to Todd in 2008 leading him to retire before the end of the season, ushering in the brief Fernando Rodney era in Detroit. He still writes for “The Sporting News” in every issue and works as an advisor to the local high school and middle school baseball teams in Pell City, Alabama where he lives with his wife, Michelle, and their children, Alex and Abigail.

Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Available Free Agents

Quick post for now, my friends. I think we all can agree that the Tigers may/should still be looking for cheap options in the form of a left handed bat, as well as a right handed reliever. Here's a quick look at guys still on the free agent market that shouldn't be too expensive. (via MLB Trade Rumors)

Hank Blalock
Russell Branyan (maybe too expensive after last year?)
Jack Cust (already rumors connecting him to Detroit)
Eric Hinske
Mike Jacobs
Garret Anderson (Type B FA)
Cliff Floyd
Scott Podsednik (rumors...ugh)
Ryan Church
Jason Giambi
Jim Thome (how much can he demand anymore?)

Mike MacDougal
Danys Baez
Joaquin Benoit
DJ Carrasco
Chad Cordero
Kelvim Escobar (more Tiger connected rumors)
Bob Howry (Type B FA)
Jason Isringhausen (37 years old)
Justin Speier
Jeff Weaver (doubt it)

Any ideas from you kids? Is trade the better route?

Or do we need more lefties out of the pen? Harf, harf...be back in a couple days with #23 on the DNR 25. Hint: It's another fat guy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis The Season To Be Surly

I run a sports bar in Southeast Michigan. And around the holidays, people are dicks. Shopping, traffic, family…it all is too much to bear for a lot of folks. So, they take it out on us. Needless to say, my job sucks this time of year. People are jerks and it’s made me cranky. I swear, one more dumb thing and I’m going to snap…

Oh. Hello, Jamie. Didn’t see you come in.

I wasn’t’ going to do this anymore, but geez…I’ll try to be nice.

What comes below ‘F’?

Not sure. But, I’m pretty sure “U” comes after it.

The Tigers entered the off-season needing to shore up the starting rotation

Done. Max Scherzer is, at worst, at Edwin Jackson’s level. And Phil Coke appears to be set to be given a shot at joining the rotation. He had good numbers as a starter in the minors. Plus, Jeremy Bonderman should finally be coming back. We’re paying over $20 million to Nate and Dontrelle, so they have to be given a shot. I don’t see them returning any money to find another starter. And of course, Verlander is God. There's really nothing more than can be done at this point.

and the bullpen

Daniel Schlereth and Brad Thomas have been added. Schlereth is being touted as a young Billy Wagner. Thomas has been very good overseas and could be this year’s Fu-Te Ni surprise. Joel Zumaya’s also coming back again. There’s a slew of young pitching talent from the minors that’s going to be trying to make the club. Plus, they’re looking at other players as we speak including Kevin Gregg, Kelvin Escobar, and others. Don’t forget, the World Series only ended a month ago. You don’t sign every free agent the moment the champagne is uncorked. Why are we grading the offseason after only 40 or so days?

and add a dependable bat to the lower third of the lineup.

Says who? Did I miss the memo where we were going to replace Laird, Everett, and Inge with Joe Mauer, Hanley Ramirez, and A-Rod? They still have their commitment to defense with the re-signings of Everett and Santiago. Laird’s role will be reduced next year in an increased role for Alex Avila or Robinzian Diaz. That can only help his production, not being forced to catch every day. And as much as I like to crap on Mr. Brandon Inge, he was hitting the ball pretty good last year before his knees blew up. He should be healthy again by springtime. With this crew, we almost finished in first. And at the very least, they aren’t going to be worse than last year.

Instead, they’ve subtracted.

Granderson and EJax were two guys. Add in Rodney and Lyon. That makes four. Scherzer, Coke, A-Jax, and Schlereth are four by themselves. So we’re even. Add in Diaz and Thomas. Now we’ve added two. Oh…Polanco. Still up one. I’m confused…who are we talking about in your math? Does the offseason suck because Dusty Ryan was DFA’d?

Gone are the top two guys from the lineup last season.

Who struggled to get on base all year. Which is why we couldn’t score runs.

Gone is the setup man.

If you were honestly behind topping the 3 years/$15 million that Houston gave to Lyon, please begin pounding your testicles with a hammer. It makes as much sense.

Gone is the No. 2 or No. 3 starter, depending on who you ask.

Jackson pitched like a #5 starter the second half of the season. He’s also pitched like that for his entire career with the exception of the first half of last year. We got a guy in Scherzer who many people, including myself, think is going to be awesome. Seeya, Edwin. Thanks for three good months.

And unsigned is the closer who saved 97% of the games he could.

That idiot wants $30 million over three years. And his 4.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 104 ERA+ don’t justify half of that. Saves are the most overrated stat in baseball, too. Who doesn’t know this by now?

So I’m having a hard time seeing how a team that fell just short of the playoffs in 2009 is somehow magically better.

We aren’t better. But who is in the Central? The Twins have lost their security blanket of the Metrodome which always added 10 or so wins to their total every year. The White Sox keep adding guys to the team (Pierre, Rios) that couldn’t get on base consistently if you set the ball on a tee for them. The Royals are still the Royals. Cleveland is an abortion. I’d say we’re still where we were last year. I’m sorry, but Curtis Granderson is not Manny Ramirez, okay? And with Nate, Dontrelle, Bondo, and possibly Magglio’s contracts going bye-bye after 2010, I’d say we’re looking REALLY sweet for the future.

Are they financially healthier? Perhaps. And that’s what this off-season is all about.

In that case, give them an “A”. Success!

As stunned as I was by the Curtis Granderson trade a few weeks ago, I was more stunned at the vitriol that spewed from fans and (some) media. All of a sudden, if you liked Granderson as a player, you were labeled a homer and a dope who doesn’t understand baseball. It almost seemed like there was a calculated effort to discredit Granderson and his accomplishments on his way out of town. That would be so unseemly, I couldn’t imagine it happening. Could it?

Yikes. Let’s start with the fans. Not (some) fans…all fans. Really, dude? Is there ANY Tiger fan out there that was happy to see Granderson leave? I’m the most bitter person I know, and I loved Curtis. But I understand the move, as I outlined in my last post. Every Tiger fan comment I’ve seen online has gone something like this: “GRANDYZ GONE? Dumbroski should be fired! Trade drunk Cabrera instead! LOLZ!”

As for the media, with the exception of Lynn Henning, I don’t get who you’re talking about. Most posts and articles I’ve seen have been of the “sky is falling” variety. Just not to the extent of yours.

But are they better? Please.

Haha…I just imagined you saying “n-word please”. Made me laugh. It’s funny when Dave Chappelle does it…why not Jamie Samuelsen?

Maybe Max Scherzer will be an upgrade over Edwin Jackson. Maybe. But remember, at the end of the season, the Tigers were forced to throw Alfredo Figaro in a crucial game, so they’re not exactly rich in starting pitching.

These two topics have nothing to do with each other. Um, if EJax was still in the D, does that mean Figaro doesn’t pitch? But he did…I don’t understand. And we got Coke, who’s going to get a shot to start. Two starters instead of one. Silly goose…

Maybe Scott Sizemore will end up being a good second baseman. Maybe. But he’s not better than Placido Polanco right now.

A week and a half ago, you said letting Polly go was a good idea. See? Well, which one is it, Mr. Smarty Pants?

Maybe Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth will be good additions to the bullpen. Maybe. But will they be better than Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney were last season? That’s a pretty tough standard to beat.

Maybe Jamie Samuelson will make a good argument one day. Maybe. But not in this article.

If you give Lyon what he got in Houston and give Captain Crookedhat what he wants, that is $45 million over three years. We’ve established that your math skills are goofy, but that is just insanity. And again, Rodney is terrible. If your idea of a “tough standard” is Fernando Rodney, then your standards are worse than Britney Spears’. I do miss K-Fed, though…

And maybe Austin Jackson will be better than Granderson. Maybe. But Jackson hasn’t even shown yet that he’s deserving of a spot on a big-league roster. So I’m not yet ready to elevate him past a player who hit 30 homers in 2009, even if he struggled against lefties and did all that pesky charity work that kept him away from the hitting cage.

Anyone that expects Austin Jackson to immediately step in, from his first ever at bat, and make people forget about Granderson has a severe learning disability. Comments like this are the kind of thing that are going to turn the sheep fans against the kid from the get-go.

I also like that you focused on the ONE stat of Granderson’s that hasn’t been rapidly declining over the past couple years. And as for the charity work? Is it too much to ask that for the duration of the baseball calendar that a guy you are paying millions to, I don’t know, focus on PLAYING F-ING BASEBALL? Save the charity work for the offseason. It’s cold in December…kids need the attention more then.

When you fall a game short, you owe it to your players and your fans to improve the team the following year.

The Tigers were in first all season and their attendance was down quite a bit. Less money in the bank and not much of a commitment from the fans, either. And with Magglio, Guillen, Nate, Dontrelle, Bondo, and Cabrera sucking up the cash that’s there, where are they supposed to be getting the money that it’s going to take to bring in free agents when other clubs are out there giving stupid contracts out like Lyon’s? And where is the “one game short” rulebook that you have? I have misplaced mine, it appears.

Instead, the Tigers chose to look to the future. And maybe this off-season will be deemed a huge success in 2012 or 2013. But in terms of contending in 2010, it’s a failure.

Whatever, man. Dombrowski did what he thinks is best for the team. We are going to contend in 2010. Our division is too poor for us not to…just like last year. I hate to break it to you, but the Detroit Tigers were not a very good baseball team in 2009. Wanting more of the same is just foolish. But these moves have given us a great head start on 2011, 2012, and beyond.

I understand that people are upset over losing a decent ballplayer and a wonderful guy in Curtis Granderson. I’m going to miss him, too. And it’s not going to be easy watching him hit 35 home runs in New York’s ridiculous ballpark. But Double D did the right thing here. If you have to give him an “F” for that, so be it. Your school sucks.

There. I feel better. And I wasn’t even that mean. My Christmas gift to you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tiger Fans: Blinded By Granderson's Smile?

He was the home grown star. He was the face of the franchise. He was one of the Tigers’ “untouchable” players. But should he have been?

If I can, allow me to take off my usual court jester’s hat and play Devil’s Advocate for a moment.

I’ve spend several days reading hundreds of comments and articles from Tiger fans who are upset over the trade of Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. Although there are some in favor of the trade, most seem to be up in arms over the whole deal. Many of these folks are bloggers and newspaper writers that I like and respect. Others are just people upset that their favorite player has been traded for prospects, while the team remains loaded with dead weight. Myself, I too, was upset at first. After some time, I wondered why we didn’t get more out of the trade, like Phil Hughes, for example. And now, I’m kind of accepting the whole deal and am generally happy with it.

Why is that? Well, is it at all possible that we Tiger fans have turned Curtis Granderson into the most overrated Detroit Tiger in history? Is he really that good?

The numbers don’t lie. Odd as it seems, Grandy only played four full seasons as a Tiger. It seems much longer, the way the city took to him. After an okay rookie year in 2006, he exploded in 2007 with his famous 20/20/20/20 year. But the past two seasons since, he has done nothing but regress. Have his outside interests overtaken his on the field responsibilities? Jim Leyland brought this up during the ’09 season. Has the league just started to catch on to Granderson’s abilities and learned to pitch him better? Is he too focused on becoming a home run hitter? That number is about the only stat improving.

Maybe, just maybe, Dave Dombrowski unloaded a guy that’s declining as he approaches age 30 while he still has some value left. Take a look at these numbers.

Stat: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

VORP: 21.7, 64.7, 41.4, 25.8
OPS+: 98, 135, 123, 100
OPS: .773, .913, .858, .780
OBP: .335, .361, .365, .327
SLG: .438, .552, .494, .453
wRC: 86.3, 120, 99.3, 91.7
WARP1: 2.4, 7.0, 4.7, 2.7
Avg: .260, .302, .280, .249
Doubles: 31, 38, 26, 23
Triples: 9, 23, 13, 8
Comerica Park Avg: .249, .286, .277, .230
Comerica Park OPS: .715, .863, .854, .696
Avg vs RHP: .274, .337, .288, .275
Avg vs LHP: .218, .160, .259, .183
OPS vs RHP: .805, 1.014, .900, .897
OPS vs LHP: .671, .494, .739, .484
Strikeouts: 174, 141, 111, 141

My apologies for not knowing how to make a chart on Blogger.

In almost every case, Granderson has started to decline since 2007. He is dreadful against left-handed pitching. What is there to say that this pattern won’t continue?

Sadly, it’s not just his offense. Granderson’s Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has gone from 13.7 in 2006, to 14.2 in 2007, to -8.9 in 2008, to 1.6 in 2009. I know we all like to think of him robbing Grady Sizemore of a walkoff homer, but that was just one play, people.

Look, I get that Curtis Granderson is a special person, especially in the world of the me-first athlete. He is a hellova guy. He is one of my favorite players of all time and will be featured later on in my DNR 25 Countdown of my favorite all-time Tigers…in the top ten, in fact. I love the guy. But he’s not Mickey Mantle. He’s not Al Kaline. He’s a good ballplayer…not a great one. Baseball-reference.com has something called “Similarity Scores” where they compare stats of players and come up with guys in baseball history that players are most similar to. You know who Granderson’s #1 Similar Batter is? Kal Daniels, an okay journeyman outfielder in the 90’s. His Similar Batter at the age of 28? Bobby Higginson, of all people. At 27 it was Reggie Sanders, and Corey Hart at 26. Decent players, but not great ones.

It seems to me that Tigers fans want nothing but good guys on their team. As long as they smile and pat sick kids on the head, it doesn’t matter that they aren’t producing at the ballpark. See Granderson, Curtis and Inge, Brandon, arguably our two most popular players last year. Really, are there two more overrated players in baseball to their fanbase just based on what nice guys they are off the field? Don’t forget, until the last week of the season, Miguel Cabrera was a role model to many. Until two weeks ago, Tiger Woods was EVERYONE’S role model. I’m not comparing Curtis to them, but I’m just saying…you can’t keep a player because people think he’s a nice guy.

Dave Dombrowski managed to get a decent left-handed pitcher in Phil Coke and the #1 or #2 position prospect in the Yankees organization in Austin Jackson for Granderson. Jackson has succeeded at every level that he’s played in at his young age. He’s farther along that Grandy was at the same age, from what I’ve read. Is he going to be the next Rickey Henderson? Doubt it. Is he going to be the next Brian Hunter? Hope not. We don’t know. We won’t know for a few years. But Dave Dombrowski rolled the dice while he had the chance.

Again, the stats show that Granderson has done nothing but decline the past couple years. He makes only $5.5 million in 2010. That jumps to $8.25 million in ’11, $10 million in ’12, and an option for $13 million in ’13 (with a $2 million buyout option). If trends continue, what would Granderson’s trade value be down the road when the salary jumps? I’m thinking it could possibly be where guys like Ordonez, Guillen, and Robertson are today. Meanwhile, the opportunity was there now to get a possible blue chipper in Jackson. It is a chance that Double D felt he had to take.

For Curtis Granderson’s sake, I hope the trends don’t continue. I hope he succeeds in New York. I’m not going to quit rooting for the man just because he’s wearing a different shirt, nor do I expect other Tiger fans to. More importantly, I hope that Tiger fans are patient and give Austin Jackson a chance to develop into something special of his own. This trade wasn't his idea.

But one thing I do agree with my fellow bloggers and Tiger fans on is this. Dave Dombrowski had better be right about all of this. If I’m wrong about Granderson’s decline and Jackson’s potential…big deal. But if Dave is wrong, he is probably going to be out of a job.

In the meantime, put the torches and pitchforks away, people. Quit comparing this to Smoltz for Alexander or Jurrjens for Renteria. If we’re lucky, maybe this time we’re the ones that are getting a rising star for a fading one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The DNR 25: #24 Dmitri Young

Full Name
Dmitri Dell Young


None (Rio Mesa High School), Oxnard, CA

1991, 1st Round, St. Louis Cardinals

MLB Seasons

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
.292, 171 HR, 683 RBI, .351 OBP, .475 SLG, 114 OPS+

Career Leaderboard
2003 & 2007 All Star
1998: 2nd in doubles (48)

Best Tiger Season
2003 was, without question, DY’s best season as a Tiger. He put up a 144 OPS+ that year, hitting .297, 29, 85, with a .909 OPS in 155 games. He was the Tigers lone All-Star in ’03 but never made it into the game because, as you know, only Red Sox and Yankees players are guaranteed to get into the All-Star Game. On May 6, 2003 (my birthday), Young went 5-5 with two homers, two triples, and a single. His second triple came in his last at bat in the game. When asked after the game why he didn’t stop at second to have the cycle to his credit, Dmitri responded that the outcome of the game was still in doubt and that the personal accomplishment had to take a back seat to the team. Awesome.

Little Known Fact
Dmitri’s father, Larry, was one of the Navy’s first African-American F-14 fighter pilots and is currently a pilot for Delta Airlines.

Reason For Being On The List
Dmitri was, plain and simple, a fun player to watch play the game. He was a big, lumbering dude when he played in Detroit at 6’2 and nearly 300 pounds. But you had to cheer when the big man would stroke one into the gap, take off running, flip off his helmet, and rumble into a base. Add in his cool flame tattoos on his arms that he’d show off when he hit a homer and Dmitri was just a guy that brought a smile to your face.

He was also a player that I saw spending a lot of time laughing with fans before games and signing autographs. Before Dmitri’s personal problems became public, he was awesome when it came to the fans, from what I saw at Comerica. He was also very popular with his teammates and was often seen being a cheerleader in the dugout for other guys.

People turned on him in 2006 when his life was crumbling at home. He missed a lot of time and struggled early in the season. I was there for his return on July 21st, and cheered him on while thousands of others booed, including my friend that went with me. I get so annoyed at Tiger fans when they turn on the players they used to cheer. At least I’m consistent with my dislike of the Nates, Cletes, and Rodneys of the world.

He was hitting under .200 upon his return. Dmitri came through, though, with two hits and a couple RBI’s that had everyone cheering for him again by the end of the game. When my buddy started cheering him again after the second hit, I slapped him in the face and called him a horrible name that I don’t recall.

Plus, DY had a cool afro. Let’s see Clete Thomas grow one of those.

What Happened To Him?
In 2006, Dmitri went through a divorce, was treated for alcohol and substance abuse, and depression. He also faced an assault charge against a young woman in Birmingham, MI. He was released on September 6, 2006 towards the end of the Tigers’ miracle season in a move that I hated. The day after Thanksgiving, he was rushed to the hospital where it was discovered that he had diabetes.

In 2007, Dmitri signed with the Washington Nationals. He would end up as the Nats’ only representative at the All-Star Game, hitting .340 in the first half. He would get into that game and single in his only at bat. (No Yanks or Sawx to worry about in the NL) At the end of the year, he received the Player’s Choice National League Comeback Player of the Year award.

In 2008, Dmitri lost his starting job back to Nick Johnson of the Nationals. His diabetes would start acting up and take him out for the season on September 17th. Then, in May 2009, he lost his mother to cancer after over a three month battle. He is currently a free agent and may be trying to come back once again, though it is doubtful due to his age and history of health problems.

Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The New Cats

A quick look at the guys we've apparently received for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Max Scherzer

Scherzer is a guy that if he stays healthy, is going to form quite the "Big Three" with JV and Kid Rick. Here is a quick look at his 2009 season in Arizona.

8-11, 4.12 ERA, 30 GS, 170.1 IP, 63 walks, 174 K's, 1.34 WHIP, .253 BAA.

In 17 of his 30 starts, he struck out at least 6 batters. We know that Double D digs the strikeout. Lefties hit .265 with 11 homers off of Max. Righties hit .239 with 9 homers.

The coolest thing about "Mad Max"? He has heterochromia. That means that his right eye is blue and his left one is brown. See?


Daniel Schlereth

Schlereth is the son of ex-Denver Broncos lineman and current ESPN talking head, Mark Schlereth. I'll try not to hold that against him. He played a bit last year in the pros, too.

1-4, 5.89 ERA, 21 games, 18.1 IP, 15 walks, 22 K's, 1.64 WHIP, .221 BAA.

He's another power arm from the left side and has been compared to Billy Wagner in a couple posts I've seen. Oddly enough, in a small sample size, lefties hit "Stink Junior" better than righties, .222 with 1 homer to .220 with 0 homers.

Sadly, unlike Scherzer, he isn't deformed in any way, unless you count his uncanny resemblance to his father.

Phil Coke

"Cokehead" (I'm so original) comes from the Yankees and is another lefty releiver. Goodbye, Bobby Seay? Last year, Coke was a big part of the New York bullpen.

4-3, 4.50 ERA, 72 games, 60 IP, 20 walks, 49 K's, 1.07 WHIP, .209 BAA.

Coke had a .081 WHIP against lefties that ballooned to 1.46 against righties. He's being viewed as a "throw in" type player in the deal, but could be a decent situational guy late in games.

Austin Jackson

This kid is the key. If he develops into a solid outfielder, the deal is a win. If he turns out to be Brian Hunter, Dave Dombrowski is going to be remembered in a Randy Smith type way for letting a guy like Curtis Granderson leave Detroit. Jackson spent last year in AAA for the Yankees.

.300, 4, 65, .354 OBP, .405 SLG

"Action" Jackson (original!) had 23 doubles and 9 triples in '09. He also stole 24 bases and was only caught 4 times. He has speed, obviously. But 40 walks and and alarming 123 strikeouts have me worried about his lead off ability. But we're used to a lead off guy that strikes out, I guess. Will he be ready to take over the huge center field of Comerica Park in 2010? I'm worried that they're going to feel the need to rush the kid. We'll see, I guess.

Not a bad haul for a guy we got for Matt Joyce and a, let's face it, guy that should only start against righties. Too bad Grandy was such a great guy. I'm just upset that I have to root for a Yankee from now on.

Just imagine the welcome Curtis is going to get in his first game in pinstripes at Comerica Park. I'll bet it dwarfs the ovation that Pudge received his first game back.

The Trade

Initial Reaction?

After a couple hours?

Not bad, I guess. Not sure what Arizona's thinking here. They got hosed. I'd feel better if Phil Hughes was somehow included...that or we unloaded Nate or Dontrelle somehow.

Lots of righties in the batting order now. Lots of lefties in the bullpen. I'm sure DD has more moves on the horizon.

Thanks for everything, Curtis Granderson. Enjoy becoming a star in New York.

Austin Jackson...you'd better be good.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Your Tigers Holiday Shopping Guide

Hey, kids. Do you have trouble trying to come up with the perfect gift for friends and family during the holidays? I know I usually do. So, this year, your good pal and Party Host has done the research for you to find that special present for the difficult Tiger fan on your list. Here's 15 items that I've tracked down on the glorious internet and who you can buy them for. Thank me later...

1. Your White Trash Uncle

$9.99 from amazon.com. Just try and tell me that your dad's classy brother that you don't like to talk about won't look his best when he's gittin' 'er done at NASCAR races and Steeler games in this beauty.

2. Your White Trash Aunt

$13.99 from amazon.com. And if you buy for him, you have to buy for his 80's hair having wife, too! She'll be the belle of the trailer park ball in this bad boy.

3. Your Niece That Cuts Herself

$9.99 from detroitathletic.com. If she's going to wallow in dispair and watch "New Moon" over and over at the theater, let her go in style with this piece of headwear that never fails to bring painful memories back of Tiger pitchers incapable of making simple Little League plays in the 2006 World Series. But will she be Team Zumaya or Team Verlander?

4. Your Visiting Friends From Chicago

$4.99 from detroitathletic.com. Idea submitted by Miguel Cabrera. Harf, harf, Cabrera jokes...I could write for the Freep.

5. Your Drug Dealer

$25.97 at shop.mlb.com. Does your drug dealer wear ugly hats? All of mine do! And this was the ugliest hat I could find online.

6. Fat Person

$63.50 for the 3X size (which is the most probable size for anyone that would like this) at detroitathletic.com. Only fat people and Samoans wear Hawaiian shirts. And all Samoans are fat. It's a scientific fact.

7. Your Mistress

$7.99 at amazon.com. I suppose you could buy your wife this thong, but where's the fun in that? Right, Tiger? Oh, I forgot. Only small ones are left in stock. That most likely leaves her out if she's an Inge fan.

8. Loser

$44.99 at amazon.com Every family has a pathetic loser in it. Get this Bobby Higginson street sign for him to go over his stupid Higgy bobbleheads that he still stares at every day. Wait a minute...

Never mind. Moving along...

9. The Dog

$29.99 at detroitathletic.com. For the record, I think anyone that dresses their dogs up in clothing should immediately be drowned in the closest river, but I've been wrong before. I am the guy that thought Josh Anderson was going to become the next Rickey Henderson as a Tiger in '09.

10. Grandma

$18.99 at amazon.com. Only Grandma would like this creepy Tigers garden gnome. Then again, Grandma always appreciated whatever ugly pictures you drew for her as a child, too. Nice lady, that Grandma.

11. The Underachiever Of Your Family/Group of Friends

$99.99 at detroitathletic.com. If Clete's .240/.324/.385 line does it for you, you may BE the underachiever of your family or group of friends!

12. Person You Hate

$9.99 at amazon.com. Get stuck with someone you don't like in your gift exchange at work? Buy this for them...just to see the look on their face! Please take a picture, too, and send it to me.

13. Your Douchebag Cousin

$15.95 at amazon.com. Ever see anyone in a visor that WASN'T a douchebag? Didn't think so.

14. Redneck Neighbor

$16.99 at amazon.com. Rednecks love belt buckles. Good luck getting him to replace his Jim Beam one with this, though.

15. Your Ex

$209.99 at shop.mlb.com. Please, baby! Come back! I promise I won't take you for granted again! Please!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The DNR 25: #25 Jamie Walker

Full Name
James Ross Walker


Austin Peay State University

1992, 10th round, Houston Astros

MLB Seasons
1997-98, 2002-2009

Tiger Seasons

Career Stats
19-21, 4.13 ERA, 12 SV, 442.0 IP, 1.296 WHIP, 108 ERA+

Career Leaderboard
2003: 2nd in games pitched (78)
2007: 1st in games pitched (81)

Best Tiger Season
Jamie “The Cat” Walker was great for us all five seasons he spent in Detroit. But if you have to pick one, 2006 was his best. It was also his lightest workload as a Tiger. He appeared in 56 games, had a 2.81 ERA, and and amazing ERA+ of 162. He was one of many guys that happened to have an outstanding season for us in ’06.

Little Known Fact
In 1997, Jamie was traded with Jermaine Dye by the Atlanta Braves to the Kansas City Royals for Keith Lockhart and Michael Tucker. Atlanta must only make good trades for them with Detroit.

Reason For Being On The List
Well, other than being such a consistent force for us out of the pen, I’ll always be a fan of Jamie’s after meeting him at the 2004 TigerFest at the Joe Louis Arena. 2004, as you know, was two years before most Tiger fans realized baseball was played in Detroit. And this particular TigerFest was about a week before the signing of Ivan Rodriguez became finalized.

I’m not sure how TigerFest is set up now since it has been moved to Comerica and is attended by too many people for me to be interested in dealing with nowadays, but back then, they had you wait in line for autographs without knowing who was going to be at the end and signing. They switched out the players every half hour or hour. Since waiting in line is boring, my friends and I each bought these big 32oz (I think) beers for the wait. We finally get up front and there’s Jamie Walker.

Now all of the Tigers had been pleasant enough throughout the day, but most were pretty quiet and tried to keep the line moving. There was one guy who seemed to be brain damaged or something. (His name rhymes with Leremy Stonderman.) But Walker was different than the other guys...to us, at least.

He smiled, signed, and looked up and noticed the beers in our hands. In his Tennessee accent he said, “Damn! Those beers look pretty good! How much y’all play for those things?” I chuckled and told him eight bucks. “Eight bucks? Holy sheepsh-t! That’s insane!” I laughed and said something about the Tigers needing the money if the Pudge rumors were true. He shook his head a bit, mumbled a "guess so...man", shook my hand, and that was it. Funny as hell at the time.

After that, Jamie Walker was always a favorite of mine. And my friends and I, to this day, still refer to him as “Sheepsh-t”.

What Happened To Him?
Walker cashed in on his success with the Tigers in 2007, leaving for Baltimore. He more than doubled his previous high salary by making $3 million the first year and $4.5 million in ’08 and ’09. While he pitched very well for the Orioles in ’07, the next two years were a nightmare for Walker before finally being released on June 5, 2009. No one else took a chance on him and his career may about be over at the age of 38.

Walker is married to his wife, Natalie, and has four children, Ross, James, Harlee, and Hannah. They live in Kansas.

Info ripped off of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Google.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The DNR 25: Missed The Cut

Later this week, assuming I sober up at some point, I'll start my countdown of favorite 25 players that I've seen play for the Tigers. But first, I just wanted to throw out the names of ten guys that just missed out on the full profile treatment. They remain favorites of mine, just not in the top 25.

They are:

35. Mike Heath, C
34. Bill Madlock, 3B
33. Mike Maroth, SP
32. Justin Thompson, SP
31. Dean Palmer, 3B
30. Carlos Guillen, Disabled List
29. Tony Clark, 1B
28. Timo Perez, OF
27. Dan Gladden, OF
26. Matt Anderson, RP

And on the other side of the coin, a group of guys that you will not find in any Tiger favorite list of mine...

-Paul Gibson, RP
-Kyle Farnsworth, RP
-Edgar Renteria, SS
-Gary Glover, RP
-Eric Munson, 3B
-Jason Grilli, RP
-Fernando Rodney, RP
-Clete Thomas, OF
-Nate Robertson, SP
-Juan Gonzalez, OF

Seeya in a couple days...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grady Sizemore Is A Douchebag

Apparently, the franchise player of the Racist Logos de Cleveland got a new iPhone or something. More pics here at Deadspin if you're one of Grady's Ladies. Somehow I don't see Curtis Granderson ever being this big of a jackass...unless there's an auction going on.

Advantage: Grandy

Trade him and we riot.

UPDATE: It seems that the photos were stolen from Sizemore's computer, so he claims. He has hired the Scooby Doo Detective Agency to help track down the culprit. He's still a douchebag.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The DNR 25

Four months until pitchers and catchers report, and my muse, filty whore that she is, has left me high and dry. I've got nothing, kids. I'm not in the mood to speculate on whatever wild rumors Lynn Henning and others are throwing out there. I don't feel like going into my goofy conspiracy theory of DD secretly hating black folks. (released Sheff, let Thames walk, made Dontrelle go crazy, trade rumors about Grandy and EJax...odd, no?) And my normal ranting and raving with poop jokes mixed in? It gets tiring. (BTW, I'm kidding about the black folks thing. Save your hate mail.)

So, here's what we're going to do. A couple nights ago, as I was trying to calm down the voices in my head and fall asleep, it dawned on me that I've been a Tigers fan for 25 seasons. As we slowly creep towards April, one or two times a week I'll do a little countdown of my 25 favorite Tigers that I've enjoyed watching over the years. I'm going to limit it to guys only from the past 25 years, so obviously there won't be any Cobbs, Kalines, Hortons, Kells, or Lolichs on my list...just players that I watched on a daily basis over the years.

Blake, good friend of DNR, in between his brainwashing of the rich youth of the American Northeast, is counting down every Tiger team ever over at The Spotstarters leading up to the season. So, I'm going to steal his idea a bit, and do my own countdown. Hey...he ripped me off first with his Cup of Coffee piece, see? (Haha...) I'll have stats, career highlights, and yes...probably a bit of poop humor thrown in a bit, too. And if anything important really happens with the team, I'll chime in a bit on that, as well.

So, stay tuned, Happy Holidays, and whatever. And as always, I thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mini Review: The Final Season

If you ever attended a game at Tiger Stadium, you no doubt have an opinion of the now demolished ballpark. Lots of people didn't like it there. Obstructed seats, not enough bathrooms, and an outdated design are complaints I've heard. Others just loved the place. The history, the closeness to the field, the overhang in right field. Myself, I loved it there...much more than Comerica Park which I really don't care for. My dad, however, hated it there. He thought it was a dump. Tiger Stadium inspired some sort of feeling in everyone that passed through the gates. It had too many ghosts living there for it not to.

In Tom Stanton's 2001 book, "The Final Season", Tiger Stadium certainly is inspriring to the author. Stanton attended every home ballgame in 1999 in his quest to write a book on the old ballpark and cover it's final year. And yes, he has a blurb about every game, mostly losing ones, that the Tigers played in '99, but this story is more a love story than a baseball reference. It's a story about families and how Tiger Stadium brought them together over the years.

Stanton spends a lot of time talking about his own family going back generations and their connections to the old park. He talks to parking lot attendents, vendors, fans, and even legends like Ernie Harwell (who, if possible, you will like even more after reading this book) about their families and experiences in Tiger Stadium. There are history lessons on several of the all-time greats to play ball at Michigan and Trumbull. Tiger greats like Cobb, Kaline, Horton, and Trammell are all represented. So are many Tigers that you may not have heard of that played over the years.

He paints a picture of Tiger Stadium with his words that brought back many memories of the park that I hadn't thought of in years. I remembered the first time my dad brought me there, the foul ball I caught years later, the time I flipped out, Randy Quaid in Major League 2-style, after a ninth inning collapse. I remember how a friend of mine would tear up when we exited the freeway, came up the hill, and the stadium came into view. (I used to make fun of him for it, but I did it myself at the last game I attended there, knowing the old girl was being closed.)

Anyway, it's a great book to read for those of you that want to reflect...not on the sub-par '99 team the Tigers had...but on a park that housed everyone from Kell, Greenberg, and Lolich, all the way to guys like Fick, Kapler, and Ausmus. If I have a complaint about the book, it is that Stanton spent a bit too much time on his family's history. But then again, that is what the park did to him. It made him think about his family and how the Tigers and Tiger Stadium brought them together over the years.

Check it out if you get a chance. I don't think you'll regret it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tiger Dorks Unite

Kudos to Kurt from Mack Avenue Tigers on getting 20+ of us to take time away from our mother's basement to reunite the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes (DIBS). With so many Tigers blogs out there now, it seemed like a good idea to get us all together on a project.

What's the point of DIBS? Just another voice, I guess. It's an opportunity to hear from the nontraditional media on subjects. And Kurt put out four catagories for us to vote on. We each wrote our votes down on paper, sealed them in manila envelopes, and drove them to the parking garage of a seedy hotel in the greater Detroit area where a midget named "Screwball" was kind enough to collect them from us. Nice fellow, that Screwball. He thought Jen Cosey was cute. Anyhoo, the catagories and winners?

Tiger Hitter of the Year: Miguel Cabrera
Tiger Pitcher of the Year: Justin Verlander
Breakout Player of the Year: Rick Porcello
Most Improved Player: Justin Verlander

No surprises there, methinks. Those were the guys that my first place votes went to.

Your DIBS contributers...

Bless You Boys -- Ian Casselberry
Daily Fungo -- Mike McClary
DesigNate Robertson -- Your Party Host
Detroit4Lyfe -- Bob Biscigliano
Detroit Tigers Den -- Austin Drake
Detroit Tigers Weblog -- Bill Ferris
Eye of the Tigers -- J. Ellet Lambie
Fire Jim Leyland -- Mike Rogers
It's Just Sports -- Patrick Hayes
Jamie Samuelsen's Blog (Freep.com) -- Jamie Samuelsen
Mack Avenue Tigers -- Kurt Mensching
The Cutoff Man (MLive.com) -- James Schmehl and Scott Warheit
Old English D -- Jennifer Cosey
Roar of the Tigers -- Samara Pearlstein
Spot Starters -- Blake VandeBunte
Take 75 North -- Matt Wallace
Tigers Amateur Analysis -- Erin Saelzler
Tigerblog -- Brian Borawski
Tiger Geist -- John Brunn
Tiger Tales -- Lee Panas
Tiger Tracks -- John Parent
Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb? -- Greg Eno

Yikes. Does this mean I'm not allowed to make fun of Jamie Samuelsen anymore when I'm having a bad day?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Know Your American League Fans

As an overall group, I think Tiger fans are pretty cool people. Think about it. On what other team could you have tens of millions locked up on useless ballplayers like Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, and Jeremy Bonderman...thus causing the team to not be able to resign good players like Placido Polanco and maybe Brandon Lyon...and the early rumors of the offseason are that the team may unload one or more of the most popular players on the team in Curtis Granderson, Brandon Inge, and Edwin Jackson because they're bleeding money?

Just as sure as the was the longest run-on sentence I've ever typed, in damn near any other city, people would be calling for the GM's head on a platter. He screwed up by giving huge deals to guys that didn't deserve them...and the team is now screwed. But Tiger fans that I've spoken to are taking it in stride. Fans elsewhere would be freaking out. If it were New York or Boston, it would be a heavily debated topic on ESPN. But in Detroit? Not so much. Amazing. Is that cool after all? I dunno.

In all, I think Tiger fans don't expect much. It's been 25 years since Detroit won a World Series. The teams have been pretty much terrible since then with a couple notable exceptions. ('87, '06, '09?) Tiger fans take it on the chin and move on. Truth be told, there's more important things than sports to worry about in Detroit. But what are the characteristics of other AL teams' fans? I thought I'd take a quick look at that with this post.

Boston Red Sox
-Racist and homophobic
-Have at least one kid named Tom, Brady, or Nomar
-Thinks JD Drew would be a superstar if he'd just play more like WelKAH does for the Pats!
-Complains about the Yankee payroll when the Sawx are always second in payroll, dwarfing #3
-Since 2004 have done the impossible in becoming more annoying than Yankee fans

New York Yankees
-Probably also fans of the Lakers, Cowboys, USC, and Duke
-Will talk to you about "True Yankees" like Scott Brosius and Paul O'Neill while not being to explain what a "true" Yankee is
-Feel entitled to the World Series trophy every year...and will constantly mention that they have won 27 championships
-Insist that Derek Jeter is the greatest shortstop ever...meanwhile, if he played on any other team, he would be Michael Young
-Are probably Italian...or very hairy in some way

Toronto Blue Jays
-Say funny things like "aboot", "looney", and "hoser"
-Usually polite until they get drunk--Canadian beer has a higher alcohol proof than our American beers
-Think Joe Carter belongs in the Hall of Fame because Mitch Williams hung a pitch in 1994
-Love Bryan Adams
-Think Roy Halladay should play left wing for the Leafs in the offseason

Baltimore Orioles
-Believe that Peter Angelos is Satan (wrong...David Stern is)
-Lay claim to Babe Ruth since he was born there...silly folks
-Think Nick Markakis would be a superstar in another market (sigh)
-80% of fans couldn't tell you the O's manager on any given day
-Believe that baseball was "saved" because their broken down shortstop was hurting the team by not taking a day off

Tampa Bay Rays
-All over the age of 59 years old
-Freak out over the word "Devil" for some reason
-Would attend more games, but are usually in bed by the 7pm starting times
-Wish the grandkids would call more often
-Enjoy Ensure, "60 Minutes", and Jay Leno's "edgy" brand of humor

Chicago White Sox
-Think Ozzie Guillen is a rational human being
-Also own Bulls and Raiders Starter caps/coats
-Cannot be trusted...they cheer for AJ Pierzynski, for crissakes
-Fatter than Cecil Fielder on a month long ice cream binge
-Have no soul

Minnesota Twins
-Think sideburns are dreamy
-For most, the first black man they ever saw in person was Kirby Puckett
-Would be more interested if Brett Favre were somehow involved
-Children think baseball should naturally be played on concrete, surrounded by garbage bags
-Males usually pee sitting down

Cleveland Indians
-Haven't been sober since Pat Tabler was on the team
-Best fans at throwing "Goodbye" parties since every athlete leaves town whenever they prove they are any good (Manny, Thome, Sabathia, Lee, Blake, Belle, soon to be Lebron, etc)
-Believe that "Major League" was a documentary
-Have a group called "Grady's Ladies" who are much like Brandon Inge's female fans, except that they're usually under 200 lbs.
-Think that racist logos are funny

Kansas City Royals
-Forced to get excited by signings of failures from other crappy teams
-Feel inferior to Cardinals fans who are a stone's throw away rubbing their futility in their faces
-Hate the smell of pine tar
-Think fountains are pretty
-Still bitter after being promised that Alex Gordon was the next George Brett

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
-Indecisive...can't figure out where their team is located
-Will tell you that rally monkey tastes like chicken
-Feel superior to Dodger fans because they leave games in the bottom of the 7th inning instead of the top of the 7th
-Actually miss Darin Erstad and David Eckstein's "scrappiness", even though they were terrible at baseball
-Own stock in Disney

Oakland Athletics
-Too poor to live in San Francisco
-Think steroids aren't a big deal--I believe they used to be sold in vending machines at the stadium
-Would attend more games if they had cool, scary costumes to wear like Raider fans
-Still think that Billy Beane is a genius despite zero World Series appearances with him in charge
-Couldn't pick a single player on the team out of a police lineup

Seattle Mariners
-Most likely Asian
-Enjoys rain showers, flannel shirts, and heroin
-In extreme denial over Ken Griffey's current talent level
-Think that since they can throw a fish, they could play at a "Jay Buhner" level
-In a band...could be HUGE if they'd just get a break

Texas Rangers
-75% illegal aliens, 25% crooked Texas oil men
-Think that with Josh Hamilton's resume, he could be governor, owner of the team, or president
-Care more about high school football than the Rangers...despite not being in high school, having any kids in high school, or a high school diploma
-Would enjoy team more if they involved cocaine and prostitutes more like the Cowboys do
-Wear funny hats all the time

Be happy that you're a Tiger fan. You may not get to enjoy victory as much as others can, but at least you can look at yourself in the mirror every day and not see a terrible human being.

Friday, November 6, 2009

THE TEAM: Exit Interviews

(Two weeks ago in Dave Dombrowski's office...)

DAVE DOMBROWSKI: Well, Jim, I think having these exit interviews with the players this year was a great idea. We’ve had a chance to go over the positives and negatives from the season, as well as letting the players know what we expect them to work on in the offseason and into spring training. Where did you come up with this idea again?

JIM LEYLAND: (puffs cigarette) Iwasdrunk. (cough)

DOMBROWSKI: Yes, well, wherever the idea came from, I think it has gone splendidly. We only have a few players to go. (into intercom) Rachel, can you send in the next player, please?

(door opens)

CARLOS GUILLEN: (slides to chair, waits 30 seconds, sits in chair) Hey, guys. I think I just sprained my ankle…

DOMBROWSKI: Hello, Carlos. Funny you should mention that. Overall, we still think you are capable of being the kind of player that we are paying you to be. But what can we do to keep you healthy?

GUILLEN: Play me every day. And I don’t want to DH. And I want to play shortstop.

LEYLAND: (cough, cough) Jesusfuc…

DOMBROWSKI: Ahem! Carlos, how can we play you every day when you are constantly on the disabled list? We were actually thinking the opposite. Perhaps a couple days off a week, some extended DH time…things like that. We really need a full, healthy season out of you, especially with Placido, most likely, moving on.

GUILLEN: I want to play every day. I’m sick of changing positons. (raises finger) I want (finger snaps) OWW! (gritting teeth) I can’t perform well if I’m not in the lineup every day.

LEYLAND: Listen (cough) youdumbsonofabi…

DOMBROWSKI: Okay! Let’s make a deal, Carlos. You work on staying healthy and we’ll make a commitment, right now, to you being our everyday left fielder next season. Agreed?

GUILLEN: Si. Gracias.


(trips and falls in hallway)

LEYLAND: (lights cigarette) Areyououttayour (hack) frigginmind?

DOMBROWSKI: I just want the players to leave these meetings on a positive note, Jim. (into intercom) Rachel! Next player, please!

(door opens)

JUSTIN VERLANDER: (glares menacingly at Leyland and Dombrowski)

DOMBROWSKI: Hey, Justin. Thanks for coming in. Great season, by the way. I’m sure we’ll have no trouble coming together on a deal and avoiding arbitration this year. Don’t you agree?

VERLANDER: (glares straight ahead)

DOMBROWSKI: Um, yeah. Now one concern we have is your pitch counts. We need to work on making you more efficient. We can’t keep having you approaching 100 pitches in the sixth inning every night. Can we agree on that?

VERLANDER: (begins sharpening knives)

LEYLAND: (cough) GreatjobJustin. You’re (hack) excused.

(Verlander leaves saying nothing. Stares at Rachel for five minutes while sharpening knives on way out.)

LEYLAND: Youtryingtogetuskilled? (cough)

DOMBROWSKI: Sorry. We need to get him some help. (into intercom) Rachel! Next player, please.

(door opens)

DUSTY RYAN: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me in.

(uncomfortable silence)

LEYLAND: (cough) Whothehellareyou?

DOMBROWSKI: Hey (looks at notecard) Dusty? Okay. Um, we have big plans for you in the future. Keep up the good work. That’s it! See you in Lakeland this spring!

RYAN: Um…thanks. (leaves)

DOMBROWSKI: (shrugs shoulders) (into intercom) Rachel.. Call security on whoever that was. And please send in the next guy.

(door opens)

CURTIS GRANDERSON: Good day, gentlemen! I brought some wine for the two of you.

DOMBROWSKI: There he is! Mr. Franchise!

GRANDERSON: Don’t you mean Mr. Marvin Miller Man of the Year? Say that five times fast, ha, ha. But seriously. It feels great to be recognized for all I do, but I just like the feeling of helping people. Do you know the progress that we’ve made in my Grand Kids charity? The kids we have helped? Not to mention, the hospital visits I do, the charity basketball games, all sorts of stuff! I may be just one man, but I’m enjoying the heck out of making a difference for everyone I can come into contact with!

LEYLAND: (cough) Exceptus.

GRANDERSON: What was that, Skip?

DOMBROWSKI: Well, Curtis, what Jim’s trying to say is that your game seemed to suffer this year and we’d like to see you concentrate a bit more on baseball in 2010 than your side projects.

GRANDERSON: But I hit 30 home runs this year.

LEYLAND: (hack) Andyouhitforjacksquatotherwise. Whoyouthinkyouare? BarryBonds?

DOMBROWSKI: Curtis, we love the player that you are, but what happened to the guy that hit line drives all over the park? Mr. 20/20/20/20? That’s the guy we want being the face of the Tigers!

GRANDERSON: Guys, I’d love to sit and talk to you about this, but I’ve got a charity auction to get to in a half hour. Then tomorrow, there’s this Make-A-Wish dinner. Then, I’ve got union talks to get into. After that…

LEYLAND: Getouttahere.

GRANDERSON: Gotcha, Skip. Have a GRAND offseason, guys! Ha, ha, ha. (leaves)

LEYLAND: Hemakesmesick. (cough) Howmanymorearethere?

DOMBROWSKI: Sigh. Just two guys to go. (into intercom) Rachel? Is our next person ready?

(door opens)

FU-TE NI: Herro, Mistel Domblowski! Herro, Mistel Reyrand. How wonderfur to be hel with you.

DOMBROWSKI: Hello, Mr. Ni. Great to see you. We just wanted to tell you what a fabulous surprise we found you to be this year. Not only did you do more than a quality job out of the bullpen for us, but your impressions are hilarious!

NI: Sank you, Mistel Domblowski. Tly this one. (curls lip and sings) Don’t be cluer. To heart that tlue. I don wan no otha rove! Baby it you I think oooooooof! Sank you velly much!

LEYLAND: (opens mouth) (cigarette drops into lap)

DOMBROWSKI: Great Elvis impression, Fu. You really are too much. Anyways, keep in shape this offseason. We’re expecting your role to expand even more next year. See you this spring.

NI: Sank you. It’s been honol to pray basebarr in Detloit. Ter me, Mistel Domblowski…is Lacherr singer?


NI: Lacherr. The leceptionist.

DOMBROWSKI: Oh. I’m sorry, Fu. I believe that she is engaged.

NI: Oh. That is tellibre. Anothel night with plostitute fol Fu. See you ratel. (leaves)

LEYLAND: What (cough) thehelldidhesaythatwholetime?

DOMBROWSKI: You’re one to talk, Jim, quite frankly. (into intercom) Rachel? Is our last meeting here?

(door opens)

(bed is wheeled in by a nurse)

BRANDON INGE: (fighting back tears) Hey.

DOMBROWSKI: Holy hell, Brandon! You okay?

INGE: Great. Never better. I’ll be ready to hit the field whenever you need me. (sobs quietly)

DOMBROWSKI: Brandon, you were a true inspiration this year. You played in 161 games despite being hurt. But I’m worried that maybe you were hurting the team more than helping at times. Next year, if you’re in pain, we’re going to give you some time off.

LEYLAND: Likehellwewill! Gimmiemysmokes! (Inge's nurse hands over a carton of Reds)

DOMBROWSKI: Jim, you have him running errands for you in his condition?

LEYLAND: Helovesit. Shuddup.

INGE: It’s okay, Dave. Ow…I’m happy to do it for my Skipper.

DOMBROWSKI: Brandon, it was a hell of a season. I mean, you started out so great! You were killing the ball! Then out of nowhere, your knees just went on you. I don’t get what could have happen…

(door flies open)

GARY SHEFFIELD: Brendon! You no good piece of sh-t! Where’s Sheff’s sh-t? I know you got into Sheff’s sh-t!

DOMBROWSKI: Gary? What are you doing here?

SHEFFIELD: Sheff was pissed when you punks dropped his ass. I took off…left some of my, um, supplements behind. Brendon’s locker was next to Sheff’s. I know this punk bitch took my sh-t! You owe me money, sucka!


SHEFFIELD: You ain’t foolin’ no one, Brendon! Power goes up. Knees break down. Sheff knows the drill. You either give me my sh-t or give me my duckets, Brendon!

DOMBROWSKI: (into intercom) Rachel, please get security up here again!

SHEFFIELD: That’s it. Sheff’s gonna kill all you punk bitches! Unless you want to talk deal, Dave. How’s four years, forty million sound?


(door flies open)

GUARD: Someone call for a security guard?

DOMBROWSKI: (facepalm)

LEYLAND: ShootmefirstGary. (cough)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who's Pitching? Good Sign or Bad Sign?

Last night, I was out having a few drinks with friends, and at one point when I wasn't saying rude things to loudmouth Yankee fans, I was talking to a guy about the Tigers season. He made a remark about whenever Justin Verlander was pitching, he was sure that we were going to have a good chance at winning.

Now, that's not exactly a bold statement, especially with the year that JV put together. But it got me to thinking...is it true? Could I turn on a game in progress and make a conclusion about the outcome based on who is pitching? Probably not, but I have nothing better to do with my time today.

Here's a look at the record of the Tigers this year in games when each pitcher took the mound.

Justin Verlander: 23-12
Edwin Jackson: 17-16
Rick Porcello: 18-13
Armando Galarraga: 10-19
Nate Robertson: 8-20
Dontrelle Willis: 2-5
Eddie Bonine: 5-5
Jarrod Washburn: 4-4
Luke French: 4-3
Alfredo Figaro: 2-3
Chris Lambert: 0-2
Zach Miner: 25-26
Brandon Lyon: 37-28
Fernando Rodney: 61-12
Bobby Seay: 51-16
Fu-Te Ni: 11-25
Ryan Perry: 22-31
Casey Fien: 1-8
Clay Rapada: 0-3
Joel Zumaya: 20-9
Freddy Dolsi: 1-5
Jeremy Bonderman: 3-5
Juan Rincon: 2-5

I admit, this doesn't tell us a whole lot. The closer is going to appear in mostly winning games (unless he's Brad Lidge). Edwin Jackson didn't get a lot of run support. And Zumaya really pitched in 20 winnings games?

It does, however, help to explain why I want to jab a red hot poker into my eyes every time Nate takes the mound.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving The Freep's Jamie Samuelsen What He Loves

Just when I thought I was out of things to make fun of...here comes Jamie Samuelsen again.

From the Freep...

Oddly, Brandon Lyon is Tigers' top free agent to re-sign

Oddly, Samuelsen is still (I assume) paid to write about the Tigers.

The Tigers obviously don’t have a lot of money to spend, so which one of these four free agents is most necessary to re-sign: Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon or Adam Everett?

Dude, you already gave us your answer in the headline. But since you asked, I'm going with none of the above. None are necessary. But Lyon and Polanco would be cool with me. Especially, Polanco.

Welcome to the portion of the blog where I praise Placido Polanco and call him one of the most important Tigers of the last five years.

Thank you. You are too kind. Now, in turn, let me welcome you to the portion of my blog where I agree with you for the first time ever, I believe. I love Polly as much as I can possibly love a multi-millionaire with a deformed head, from Santo Domingo, that I've never met.

Then I suggest that maybe his best years are behind him and that the Tigers would be wise not to invest too much money in an aging second baseman.

I'm still with you. Though, I have a feeling that you're about to turn into a sarcastic prick.

Then you, my loyal readers, will crush my e-mail box telling me what a moron I am. I love it.

Really? You love it? May I now ask all nine of my readers to please flood Mr. Samuelsoen's e-mail box with hate mail? He loves it, you know. Come up with an interesting way of telling him to kill himself. Like walking into a spinning helecoptor blade. He loves it.

He's like Drew Sharp...without the readers.

Yes, I am passing on Polanco. Love the guy.

As much as you love being called a moron? I hope your testicles somehow end up in a wood chipper.

He’s a huge reason the Tigers are where they are,

Playing golf?

and at the end of the this season, he was one of their most consistent hitters (even if Jim Leyland did bench him in a clinching game).

Take THAT, Mumbles McMarlboro! I thought Samuelsen usually defended Leyland. Didn't get enough hate mail that way? He loves it, you know.

But with money committed to players like Magglio Ordonez, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers simply can’t afford to commit to another player who won’t be able to live up to the terms of his deal.

Magglio beat the hell out of the ball the second half once his personal problems were behind him. Overpaid, still? Sure. But his option for 2010 kicked in because he LIVED UP TO THE TERMS OF HIS DEAL.

Nate sucks, sure. But he showed late in the season that he can still be effective at times. Bondo? Turned 27 yesterday. (Happy Birthday, Jeremy!) Let's not shovel dirt on him until we see him fully recovered from surgery, shall we? Dontrelle...I've got nothing there.

Point is, there are no "terms" on any of their deals. Unlike the NFL, there's nothing we can do about their stupid contracts now. Are they overpaid? Sure. Useless? Other than Willis, not quite. That's your gimmick, Jamie. Proceed.

And at this point, at the age of 34 with almost 1,500 games under his belt, he won’t be able to live up to it. We’ve seen his range on the decline. So if he can’t play second, where do you put him?

Polanco can't play second anymore? Are you fist-f'ing me, Jamie? The guy won the Gold Glove just two years ago breaking the record for errorless games. And sure, I'll agree with you that his range isn't what it once was. But to say that the man isn't capable of playing second base anymore is the dumbest thing I've heard since "Porcello is done and Zach Miner is coming into the game."

Plenty of great second basemen have moved to first after their range disappeared. Joe Morgan, Jeff Kent and Robbie Alomar all shifted around the infield when they couldn’t get those balls up the middle (like the one Polanco couldn’t get that would have WON THE DIVISION!).

You're right! It's all Mr. Potato Head's fault! He's a witch! Burn him!

Did Alomar really ever leave second base? I did black out in the late 90's, but still...

The difference with those players is that they were power hitters whose teams needed to keep them in the lineup.

Calling Joe Morgan and Roberto Alomar power hitters is a bit of a stretch. They were great hitters with more power than Polanco, but power hitters? Was Alan Trammell a "power hitter"? Of course not. But Polanco did hit 10 homers and drove in 72 runs (a career high). And why in the blue hell are you talking about moving Polanco to first base? That's...um, what's a synonym for "f'n retarded" that isn't offensive to people? Maybe, I'll come back to that.

But back to your switching postions nonsense, don't we have one of the best young (power) hitters in the majors at first base? Remember him?

That, and the Tigers already have a first baseman -- assuming he’s not hanging out at the Townsend.

There you go. Nice drunk joke. Next, call his mother a whore. Screw his near-MVP type numbers he put up.

This team already is stocked with poor-fielding players who can’t find a position.

Yeah, Laird. And Granderson. And Inge. And Cabrera. Worthless pricks.

The last thing they need is another one. So let the e-mails begin.

Dear Jamie. I hope you end up as a victim in a copycat reinactment of the latest "Saw" movie. Normally, I wouldn't write this, but I hear you love this "hate mail" stuff. XXOO, Rogo

Try to get Polly to stay for a year at what he was making. Or a slight raise. It doesn't hurt to ask. If he thinks the market is going to be huge for him, I think he's crazy. I don't see anyone offering him 3 years/$24 million. And I don't see this Sizemore kid being ready for an entire season at second base...broken leg or not. He needs another year in AAA to work on defense and cutting down on the K's. Polanco's the only guy in the linup that we can count on to make contact with the ball.

Rodney goes, too, because he’s simply going to be too expensive.

And he sucks.

He had a fantastic year,

4.40 ERA
1.47 WHIP
41 walks in 75.2 IP
9 ER in 8.2 innings after September 24th...ya know, when we kinda needed him to be good?

But he was 37/38 in saves...the most overrated stat in baseball.

That's like my kid coming home with a report card full of D's and an A+ in home ec. I'd rather have Farnsworth back on the team than Rodney. (shudders)

but it had all the trappings of a career year. Unless your name is Mariano Rivera, your best years as a closer come in your 20s.

Go to hell, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Lee Smith, Goose Gossage, Rollie Fingers and countless others who saved games effectively, WELL into their 30's.

It’s not a fine-wine scenario in which you age and improve.

Wine sucks. Gives me a headache. Like Jamie Samuelsen columns. Thank goodness I only read him once a month when I'm hard up for material.

Again, I fear that Rodney would get a two- or three-year deal, and we’d be kicking ourselves in year two or three for throwing money at a reliever you don’t even trust to close games.

Like Brandon Lyon. Whom you want us to resign.

Probably totally unfair, given the year that he had,

He sucked.

but I’ve seen too many Rod Becks and Robb Nens and Randy Myerses and John Wettelands who lose it as 30somethings. Why should FRod be any different?

Beck, Nen, Myers, and Wetteland had track records. Rodney has had ONE misleading year. If he gets K-Rod money, I'll poop you out a koala bear.

Adam Everett sure was a smooth fielder,

And oh, that hair!

but he became such a liability at the plate in the second half that I can’t justify bringing him back. Second-half numbers: .207 average, .248 OBP, 17 RBIs. I’m more comfortable with Everett defensively than I am with Ramon Santiago, but not more comfortable enough to justify the drop in offense.

Everett sucks at the plate. But at most, he'll cost $1.5 million, methinks. And who else are we going to get that cheap? John McDonald? Lyon, Rodney, and Polly are all $3-$7 million guys. Why is Everett even in this conversation? Huff or Washburn would have made more sense. Your blogs are about as well thought out as that plan hatched by the balloon kid's family. Want to talk about Matt Treanor, too?

So I’m left with Brandon Lyon, which makes me very uncomfortable.

2.86 ERA
1.11 WHIP
31 walks in 78.2 IP
2 ER in 8.1 IP after September 24th...ya know, when we kinda needed him to be good?

Wait...Lyon WAS good. Why are you uncomfortable? Not enough hate mail yet? I know...WHERE ARE YOUR SAVES, BRANDON? That is how you tell what a good year is!

It’s like when you fill out your NCAA bracket from start to finish and get to the Final Four and say, “This is what I came up with?”

George Washington, Davidson, Tulane, and NC State? Thank God I write sports for the Free Press!

Lyon is what I came up with?

I had Col. Mustard in the study with the candlestick, personally.

But he was one of their best relievers down the stretch.

He was the best one. Granted, with guys like Miner, Fien, and Seay getting bombed every night, the competition wasn't that fierce.

And he’s only 30, so he doesn’t violate my Rodney age rule, either.

Rodney turns 33 in March. Can we quit talking about him like he's Dick Cheney's age, you asshat?

Actually Lyon falls into the Todd Jones category (which must THRILL you),

Tigers all-time saves leader...I'm with you...

where he doesn’t throw hard enough to have the age thing really come into play.

Throwing hard...that's all that counts. ZOOM!

Whether he can he close is the biggest question. And I still think he can.

Empty the bank account, Mr. I...Jamie thinks he can.

Pitching is pitching

Unless you're over 30.

and getting people out is the aim, whether it’s in the first inning or the ninth.

Or if you give up 2 runs every game and still get a save. That's a good outing.

I never bought the whole situational thing. Either you can get guys out or you can't. If Brad Lidge can overcome his postseason demons the way he has, then Brandon Lyon should be able to pitch the ninth.

WTF? Lyon and Lidge. Lyon was good this year. Lidge was an abortion. Lidge was great in the postseason last year...and has been on target this year. Quit comparing apples to Volkswagons.

Okay. Let's forget every stupid thing you had to say and (for some weird reason) concentrate on just Polanco, Everett, Rodney, and Lyon. I agree, the Tigers probably can't afford all of them. Double D has said that some people are going to have to go. You offer Potato Head a one year deal, take it or leave it. You offer Everett one-two years, $1.5-3.5 million. Cheap and it sures up the defense. You tell Rodney to walk into oncoming traffic...let the Cubs or someone overpay his dumb ass. And Lyon? Offer him market value.

Again, saves are the most overrated stat in baseball. Can just anyone close? No, but I don't think closers are as special as they're made out to be. Some are just lucky. (Rodney) Some truly are great. (Rivera) And some, just are given the role and they're either good or bad, depending on the year. (Todd Jones) If Lyon takes a fair deal, let him close. He's earned a shot after 2009. If not, let Zoom, Perry, and whoever else fight it out in the Spring. Rodney did it all year and he wasn't even supposed to close for us...Lyon was.

Another year out of Polanco seems to be the most important signing to me. But don't send me any hate mail over it. Send that to Jamie.

He loves the stuff.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's A Little Known Fact...

Cliff Claven, of the televison show "Cheers", used to come up with "little known facts" about any goofy topic you could imagine. Being incapable of coming up with an original idea of my own, I took the Claven approach and dug up some little known facts about our 2009 Tigers that you may or may not have known. As far as I know, all of these things are 100% fact, unless you are telling me that wikipedia could possibly be wrong. Enjoy.

-Two of the '09 Tigers were on the 2000 US Olympic gold medal winning team. They would be Adam Everett and Bobby Seay.

-Although mostly practiced in Texas (I think), three Tigers go by their middle names or nicknames instead of their real given first names. Those gentlemen are Fredrick Alfred (Rick) Porcello III, Charles Brandon Inge, and DNR whipping boy, Michael Clete Thomas.

-Edwin Jackson is one of twenty-seven major league players in history to be born in Germany. Also, when drafted by the Dodgers in 2001, he was actually drafted as an outfielder.

-Ryan Raburn was selected by Tampa Bay in the '99 MLB Draft. Instead, he decided to go to South Florida Community College. Good for us, I guess.

-In high school, Rick Porcello had a 3.93 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society, as well as a member of the Spanish National Honor Society.

-Porcello is the grandson of shortstop Sam Dente, who played from 1947-1955, including an appearance in the World Series in 1954 for Cleveland.

-Magglio Ordonez has three kids. There's Magglio Jr. Also, there's a girl named Maggliana. His other daughter is named Sophia. No idea why he didn't go with Maglietta.

-Jeremy Bonderman is the only high school junior to ever be drafted by a major league team. (Oakland in 2001)

-You know that we got Armando Galaragga from the Texas Rangers. But Texas originally got him in the deal that sent Alfonso Soriano to the Nationals in 2005 (along with Brad Wilkerson and Terrmel Sledge).

-Fu-Te Ni's given name is the same as the formal name of the Chinese God of the Land.

-Placido Polanco's son has a famous godfather. That man is none other than Albert Pujols. Also, when translated into Spanish, Placido's name means "Placid Burro".

-Adam Everett's wife is from Birmingham, MI. This was one of the major factors in him signing with Detroit last year.

-Miguel Cabrera has over 100 career starts at first base, thrid base, left field, and right field.

-Cabrera was the third player since 1900 to hit a walkoff home run in his first major league game.

-One more on Miguel. He is both a Catholic and a practitioner of Santeria, a syncretic religion of Caribbean origin. In 2006, he became a Babalao (a high priest).

-From 1994-1996, when in high school, Bobby Seay went 30-4 with a 0.79 ERA, with 362 strikeouts in 221 1/3 innings pitched.

-Clay Rapada was with the Cubs minor league team, the Lansing Lugnuts in 2003. During a game against the Tigers affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps, Rapada and six others were ejected after a brawl on the field.

-In college, Marcus Thames went by the nickname, "Slick". The name was the result of getting his hair cut much shorter than intended when he was four years old.

-Thames was the 80th player in MLB history to hit a homer in his first major league at bat. It came on the first pitch he saw from likely future Hall of Famer, Randy Johnson.

-On 7/3/06, Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya, and Fernando Rodney became the first three players on the same team to be clocked at over 100 mph in the same game.

-The first pitch Freddy Dolsi threw in the majors was hit over the center field fence in Comerica Park for a homer by Manny Ramirez.

-When he was six years old, Aubrey Huff's father was shot and killed as an innocent bystander in a workplace domestic dispute attempting to take away a gun from a man who had just shot his wife. Yikes.

That's all I've got for now. Go Phillies, I guess. (Gotta root for Stairs, Bako, and Durbin...always a Tiger, kids.)