Sunday, August 29, 2010
It started with hope
The Tigers’ season Twenty-Ten
But here we are now
All disappointed again
An offseason trade
Saw us lose Grandy and EJax
And new heroes arrived
Austin Jackson and Mad Max
Early injuries hit
Losing Zach Miner and Bob Seay
But free agency brings
Valverde and Johnny D
Questions are asked:
Will it be Dontrelle or Nate?
Is Bondo now healthy?
And will Gerald Laird hit his weight?
Which Maggs will show up?
Was giving Sizemore the job wise?
Is Kid Rick for real?
And what happened to the black guys?
Spring started out fine
Traded Nate Robertson away
Then JV pitched well
And we won on Opening Day
Starting pitching was weak
As April moved on towards May
But our mohawk clad pen
Always seemed to save the day
Damon hits a walk off
AJax makes fans say, “Curtis who?”
And then Carlos goes down
With his first major boo boo
Then Motown would weep
As Ernie Harwell passed away
The greatest of all time
Nothing else needed to say
We get swept by the Twins
But we’re still in the race
This Boesch kid’s damn good
And Justin’s pitching like an ace
Carlos at second base
Max and Sizemore have back luck
And who’s this Don Kelly?
Holy crap, does he suck
Scherzer comes storming back
Strikes out 14 Oakland A’s
And Valverde’s dancing
Has Comerica fans in a daze
With too many screw-ups
Dontrelle’s traded out of town
And Miguel Cabrera
Is headed toward Triple Crown
Armando then gets
His fifteen minutes of fame
As ump Jim Joyce robs him
Of baseball’s 19th perfect game
Adam Everett’s released
Tigers kick ass in interleague
But Jim Leyland’s strange lineups
Are giving many fans fatigue
The All Stars are named
Miguel, Valverde, and JV
And down to the Mud Hens
An ineffective Fu-Te Ni
The pen takes a hit
And Lynn Henning sheds a tear
Joel Zumaya’s arm explodes
And sends him out for the year
We flirt with first place
As the trade deadline does pend
But then we are hit
With the beginning of the end
First Maggs breaks his leg
Los injured again makes us cringe
Then we all facepalmed
As the DL would claim Inge
In just two weeks time
The season was stole from us
From head of the pack
Sent to the back of the bus
A barren Triple A
Sees the debut of Will Rhymes
Then Matt Garza’s no-hitter
Marked this the worst of the times
For some reason comes in a trade
Too little, too late
As the Tigers continue to fade
Brandon then gets healthy
But now Boesch can’t buy a hit
Cabrera’s still bashing
But everyone else plays like sh-t
Some waiver wire drama
Damon says no to the Sawx
Is he really that loyal?
Or just real sly like a fox?
Then late season hope
Beat up on Cleveland and KC
But road woes continue
And end winning hopes for the D
Third place now we sit
But fans, remember, don’t fear
Just a couple more months
And we can focus on next year
Yeah, I’m running low on ideas. Bite me. Hey, it’s better than my original one:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Don Kelly sucks
And Brad Thomas does, too
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The whole blog title of "DesigNate Robertson" was done as kind of a joke. I never thought it would ring true over and over and over...
Our Hero started the season with Detroit. In the spring, they decided that Dontrelle Willis was the safer bet (ha!) and shipped him off to Florida for one of Dave Dombrowski's not-so-secret fetishes, the left-handed reliever, Jay Voss. In Florida, Nate put up a record of 6-8 with a 5.47 ERA and ERA+ of 76. That sucked enough for him to be DFA'd by the Fish.
He was then picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds have a good history in helping pitchers to rediscover their old forms when a guy is down and out. Sadly for Robertson, in 20 innings for the Cards' AAA team, he was 2-1 and an ERA of 9.45. Yikes. The Cards said the same thing and let him go.
The Philadelphia Phillies are the latest team to attempt to give a home to the Patron Saint of this humble little blog. He has signed a minor league deal with them the other day and will report to their AAA team. I, as always, wish him luck.
We are paying this man $9.6 million this year to attempt to play for every NL minor league team within the same calendar year. How does Double D sleep at night?
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Out of everyone in the Boston media, there is no one more recognizable than Dan Shaughnessy. He’s the originator of the whole “Curse” nonsense, you know. He likes to promote himself and he has really, REALLY bad hair, though he doesn’t seem to realize it. He thinks he’s funny, though he rarely is. He thinks he’s a big deal, though he really isn’t. He is the quintessential modern Red Sox fan, when you think about it. And he can’t BELIEVE that Johnny Damon isn’t foaming at the mouth at the chance to return to the ESPN Boston Red SAWX Nation!
Dan, keep it good and I won’t get medieval on you.
So it’s official: He really is an idiot.
Well, that didn’t take long.
/gloves come off after the jump
Dan, keep it good and I won’t get medieval on you.
So it’s official: He really is an idiot.
Well, that didn’t take long.
/gloves come off after the jump
Whenever I end up in a group of people talking about Tiger baseball, the question inevitably comes up. “So, who’s your favorite Tiger of all time?”
I hate this question. I don’t hate it because I find it difficult to decide. I don’t hate it because I’m a private person that guards my baseball secrets. And I don’t hate it because I generally dislike conversation with people (which is kinda true).
I hate it because my favorite player of all time is Bobby Higginson. Nine times out of ten, my answer is met with a roll of the eyes, a smart alec comment, or a blank stare. “Bobby Higginson” has become a name that no longer means what is good about the Detroit Tigers baseball club. It’s now a term that is used as a punch line on sports talk radio and in bar conversations.
In less than a decade, people have forgotten what Bobby once met to the city of Detroit and its fans. And furthermore, they don’t even care.
And it drives me insane.
“Bobby Higginson was overpaid.”
At the end, Higgy was quite overpaid for what little he was able to contribute to the team. From 2003-2005, the Tigers paid Higginson almost $30 million for three seasons where he delivered a batting average no higher than .246 and 26 total home runs. 2005, in particular, was hard to swallow for many Tiger fans as Bobby was limited to ten ballgames, hit .077, and was forced to retire from the game due to injury. People had already been calling for his head at this point as a young Marcus Thames was being held back in Toledo to keep the aging, slumping Higginson on the roster.
What people tend to forget now, though, is that throughout Higginson’s younger years, he (like many players) was quite underpaid for the numbers he put up. 1996 and 1997 saw Bobby put up OPS+ numbers of 145 and 133 while making $170,000 and $375,000. He made $4.4 million in 2000. That’s not bad for a guy that became one of only 19 men in baseball history to hit .300, score over 100 runs, hit 30 home runs, hit 44 doubles, drive in over 100 RBI, and steal 15 bases in the same season. 2000 also saw him lead all left fielders in putouts and assists. He would repeat in both categories in 2001.
Overall, I hate when people complain about a player due to his salary. Would you turn down that kind of money when you’re near the end of your playing days and trying to plan you and your family’s future? Would you have turned down the money thrown at Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, or Dontrelle Willis? Heck no, you wouldn’t have. If you want to be angry about stuff like that, save it for the GM that threw the cash away. Be happy for the player put himself in a position to make the kind of money that we could only dream of.
“Bobby Higginson was a jerk.”
There’s all sorts of stories out there about Bobby not being a nice guy. You can read about him fighting with teammates, management, flight attendants, fans, and probably that singing hot dog vendor yahoo at Comerica if you looked hard enough. I can’t count the amount of times I saw Higginson mouth the “f” word while on the field. In fact, when Robert Fick was on the team, I used to refer to them as "Fick and F-ck". He rarely smiled and never came off as a “good guy” like more current favorites like Brandon Inge, Magglio Ordonez, or the recently departed Curtis Granderson.
And you know what? Who cares? The man was as intense on the field as anyone I’ve had the pleasure of watching in a Tiger uniform. He wanted to win and wanted to do whatever he had to in order to get the job done. (More on that in a minute.) Bobby Higginson was a terror for opposing teams during his peak and was the only consistent offensive threat in the Tiger lineup for around a decade.
But if you insist on looking for those nasty Higgy stories, check out a couple more for me. Read about how he would take his bat after batting practice and walk over to a kid in the stands and hand it over. Read about the wink and a wave he would, from time to time, give to fans in the outfield calling his name. And especially read about how he took out full page ads in both Detroit major papers thanking the fans once he realized his career was over. He might have been a jerk at times, but he showed more class at the end than many of the fans did.
“Bobby Higginson was a loser.”
During Bobby’s playing days (1995-2005), the most games the Tigers won were 79. Eleven long years and the team never even broke .500. To many, they like to shoulder a lot of the blame on Higginson, who was the centerpiece of the Tiger linup for the majority of these seasons. It didn't help that the first full year without him, the Tigers went to the World Series.
The people that like to make this argument make me feel like I’m getting a brain tumor. Baseball, more than perhaps any other sport, is a team sport. One player cannot decide the fate of a baseball team. Was it Higginson that was responsible for the miserable pitching Detroit fans were subjected to for over a decade? Is Bobby to blame for the fact that the best players his supporting cast would see in eleven years were immortals like Tony Clark, Damian Easley, and Dean Palmer?
This is the same kind of argument that is going to cost Miguel Cabrera the MVP award this year. I heard the following on ESPN radio the other night. They were talking about the AL MVP race and the commentator (whose name escapes me right now) was saying that despite Cabrera’s superior numbers, he has Robinson Cano and Josh Hamilton ranked ahead of him due to their teams’ records. If anything, putting up amazing numbers on a losing team with little support makes guys like Cabrera and Higginson look even MORE like superstars in my eyes. I just don’t get it.
“How could Bobby Higginson be your favorite player?”
Everyone is different. I make fun of Brandon Inge fans all the time. But I get why they like the guy. More power to them, but he’s just not what I look for in a baseball player. As a kid, Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell were my heroes. I hardly think I’m alone there. But it was in my late teens to my early twenties that I really began to appreciate and love Major League Baseball. And that’s when I started watching every Tiger game and got to see Bobby Higginson play every day. He was the best player on some awful teams and his struggle became something that I could get behind. Bobby was an underdog, in my eyes, and I just wanted to see his efforts pay off, even just once.
If I haven’t completely bored you yet, in closing, here’s a couple of moments in Bobby’s career that I will never forget.
September 27, 1998: Roy Halladay has a no-hitter going with two outs in the 9th against the Tigers. It is broken up by a home run by Bobby Higginson. Awesome.
1998-2000: In six consecutive games that I attend in Detroit, Higginson hits home runs in each game. The seventh, he doesn’t hit one. But he does homer again in the eighth and ninth games I attend. We had a special bond, you see. If I had season tickets, he would have won an MVP.
Date I Can’t Remember, Early 2000’s: A buddy of mine and I aren’t speaking over some nonsense with a girl. I know…shut up. Anyway, I go to my local hangout to watch the Tiger game. Who is sitting on the other side of the bar? My estranged friend. We sit through the entire game without a word spoken between us. The Tigers are trailing in the bottom of the 9th and who comes up with a chance to win it? Bobby Higginson, that’s who. And sure enough, Higgy hits a walk off homer to win it. Both my friend and I jump up screaming, look at each other, and run over and hug each other like nothing ever happened. We’ve remained good friends ever since. Thanks, Bobby.
August 17 and 19, 2004: The end is near. I’ve been hearing it from everyone on how Higginson is done with. He’s toward the end of his final full season and it’s been a struggle. The Tigers are in Chicago in the middle of another losing season. Bobby remains in the lineup with people hating on him, but in these two games, he would have his last hurrah. Each game would see Bobby hit two home runs against White Sox pitching. I can remember him after his second in one of the games rounding the bases and pointing into the Tiger dugout as if to say “I told you so”. I was in my glory going nuts yelling “he’s back” and making ridiculous predictions for Bobby’s comeback. He would hit three more homers the rest of his career.
April 10, 2005: Goodbye. The Tigers are trailing the Indians 7-6 in the bottom of the ninth. The tying run reaches base and there are two outs. The injured Higginson comes to the plate as the winning run. I begin going bananas in the outfield bleachers, bargaining with God or whoever for one last Bobby walk off. The friend from the earlier story is with me doing the same. However, the God of Baseball was not taking requests this day as Bobby, like the Mighty Casey before him, would strike out to end the game. It was the last time I ever saw him play in person. He would only play in six more games period after this.
So, that’s my Higginson stuff. To me, Bobby’s always going to be on my personal Detroit Tiger Mount Rushmore along with Gibby, Tram, and Magglio. But Bobby remains special to me and whenever people continue to ask me who my Tiger is, no matter how much I might not want to answer, the response will continue to be “Bobby Higginson”.
I remember Bobby Higginson. And I’ll always care.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
During today’s four-for-five performance, I received texts from a couple of people about Will Rhymes (pictured above on the far left). “He’s trying to win you over.” “Your boy doesn’t look too bad, haha.” In fact, since his recall from Toledo after Carlos Guillen’s latest boo boo, Will “The Thrill” has gone eight-for-seventeen for the Tigers. I even conceded that he might not be as bad as I thought in one text.
Then, I remembered that we were playing the Indians, perhaps the only team in the American League featuring more border line major leaguers than Detroit. I remembered that Cleveland has had guys pitching this series that even Don Kelly has been feasting on. And I remembered that I’m not a f-cking moron. Nice try, though.
Will Rhymes has had 72 major league plate appearances. Small sample size, I know (pun intended). But in those plate appearances, he has an OBP of .314, an OPS of .663, an OPS+ of 78 (100 is average), a WAR of -0.1, and 4 walks. Wait…four walks? The guy has a strike zone the size of a Hot Pocket and has only drawn four walks? And this is the guy that every Tiger message board poster and psycho-Inge-fan wants to be our second baseman now? Am I the only Tiger fan in the world that cares about winning baseball games?
He’s not a horrible baseball player. But he’ll be 27 by Opening Day in 2011. He is below average and is not going to improve. And what of Scott Sizemore? Remember him? The guy that hit .308 last year between AA and AAA with 17 homers, a .389 OBP, and .889 OPS? The guy that struggled with the big club early in 2010, but has responded back in AAA by hitting .293 with 8 homers and an .837 OPS? Why are we dealing with a guy smaller than the bat boy slap-hitting and needlessly bunting balls around instead of getting a look at our real future second baseman?
And for the love of everything that is holy, good, and decent...do not EVER describe Will Rhymes to me ever again as scrappy, gutsy, gritty, pesky, a sparkplug, a throwback, a hustler, a grinder, a gamer, a guy that’s 155 pounds (most of it heart), a guy that does the little things, a guy that gets the most out of the least, a guy with moxie, or a guy with spunk. If you do, I will throw back my gritty spunk in your face after reading Hustler.
To me, he’s another in a long line of light-hitting, white, cookie-cutter, mediocre AAAA players that Dave Dombrowski keeps cloning and sending up to the big club in an attempt to drive me crazy.
Except from now on, I will be referring to this one as Tinkerbell. Ha.
Sigh. I miss Magglio. I can't even enjoy wins anymore.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Yeah, I’m going to give this a shot today. I’m a glutton for punishment. It’s Rick Porcello vs. Phil Hughes this afternoon. Judging by how the season’s gone so far, I’m predicting a Yankees victory, 96-1. And that’s being conservative.
Weren’t we in first place like a month ago? Baseball is quite frustrating. At least we’re not Pirates fans. Keep reminding yourself of that. Eff it…let’s do this.
/takes two hits of acid
And I’m ready. Let’s go.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I don’t like Will Rhymes (pictured above). He’s terrible at baseball, too old to be considered a “prospect” anymore, and the fact that he was called up to the team this year makes me depressed at how barren our farm system currently is. Yet as I pour through Tiger sites and message boards, I’m astounded at the amount of Tiger fans out there that (seemingly without spell check) are such big supporters of Rhymes and want him on the team. It blows my mind. I get it…he’s tiny and/or “scrappy”. Great. But he sucks at hitting a baseball and we’ve got enough guys that have that ability.
Anyway, it got me thinking about other Tigers over the years that I would have preferred been drowned at birth, rather than grow up to take up space on my favorite baseball team. The team you support is like your family. You usually support them, no matter what. But remember, some animals eat their own young. And there have been several guys wearing the Old English D that I just could not get behind. I have no doubt that many of these guys are wonderful people from a personal standpoint, but their play in the D over the years has caused me to utter “f” words like a deranged sailor with Tourette Syndrome.
I narrowed it down to my top five. But (dis)honorable mention must go to (deep breath) Rhymes, Nate Cornejo, Paul Gibson, Melvin Nieves, Juan Encarnacion, Karim Garcia, Kyle Farnsworth, Felipe Lira, Eric Munson, Gary Knotts, Gary Ward, Neifi Perez, Al Levine, Nook Logan, Chris Gomez, Clete Thomas, Brandon Inge, and yes…Nate Robertson.
But on to the Top (Bottom?) Five…in no particular order after the jump.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
The owner of the Detroit Tigers, Mike Ilitch, has come out and publicly endorsed manager Jim Leyland for the 2011 season. But with more and more fans growing angry with the team’s performance, DesigNate Robertson has learned that Ilitch and his general manager, Dave Dombrowski, have been having hush-hush meetings with possible replacements for Leyland. The following is the first of these double top secret interviews.
Detroit Tiger Headquarters, Detroit MI
DAVE DOMBROWSKI: Well, Mr. I, are you sure you want to do this? It feels kind of weird going behind Jim’s back this way.
MIKE ILITCH: Hey, Dave, I don’t like it any more than you do. You know how I pride myself on my loyalty. But we can’t have the fan base as upset as they are. And anyway, these are nothing but meetings that I’ve asked you to set up. We’re not doing anything wrong or committing to anyone. And if there’s a better man out there, we owe it to the Detroit fans to give him to them.
DOMBROWSKI: I guess so. In the meantime, did you remember to send your bribe money to Lynn Henning and the rest of the Detroit media to keep praising Leyland in their columns?
ILITCH: Sure did. I still don’t think the fans are buying it, though. So, where is this first potential candidate that you’ve lined up?
DOMBROWSKI: I’m not sure, sir. He should have been here fifteen minutes ago…
/door flies open
Thursday, August 12, 2010
As I have been getting caught up with my favorite Tiger writers’ stuff from while I was away, I came across this gem from my old friend Jamie Samuelsen at the Free Press. Do not title an article “Can’t Fault Jim Leyland For Tigers’ Fall” and not expect me to respond. I enjoy a challenge. Hell, I can fault Jim Leyland for our nation’s poor economy, “Jersey Shore” being put on the air, and the inexplicable popularity of Nickelback if you give me enough time and/or booze.
Get comfortable, kids. This might be my longest blog piece ever.
Bring it on, bitch.
Let’s get the jump out of the way early, shall we?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
MAX SCHERZER: All right, guys. I know this is tough for each of us to be here. I mean, we all love playing in Detroit. The fans are great, the media isn’t all over us every day like other cities, and we’re in a winnable division. But it’s getting ridiculous out there. We’re pitching our butts off out there and the team they’re putting behind us? I’ve seen Little League clubs with more pop in the lineup. Am I right?
JUSTIN VERLANDER: /stares straight ahead
SCHERZER: Yeah, I know, man. You’ve been dealing with this a lot longer than I have. How about you, dude? You’ve been here longer than either of us.
JEREMY BONDERMAN: DER…I WANT PANCAKES.
SCHERZER: Me, too, man. But first, we’ve got to take care of business. It’s just not fair. We’re in the primes of our careers, but this team does nothing but make errors and score no runs behind us. Jim’s a nice fella and all, but I don’t think he’s got the balls to make this work anymore! And Dave seems more concerned with putting “nice guys” out there instead of quality ballplayers. Am I right?
VERLANDER: /stares straight ahead
BONDERMAN: WITH MAPLE SYRUP!
SCHERZER: (sigh) Okay. I hope these guys can help. Their commercials sure are convincing.
SCHERZER: Man, what’s going on? Our appointment was for twenty minutes ago…
/door flies open
More after the jump…
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Since we last spent time together, the Tigers have managed to go a dismal 2-11. Are you fist f-cking me? 2-11? I mean, I get that Maggs, Carlito, and that prick Inge were hurt, but my gawd.
Without further buildup, I present to you the return of Your Party Host. The drainer of kegs, the bacon in her eggs, the man for whom she begs…and the face between her legs…
Sorry. Let's review what I missed while gone.
2-11? 9 games back? I bet Lynn Henning’s been in heaven. FML…
You’ve Gotta Be Jhoking Me
There was all sorts of hype going into this year’s trade deadline for the Tigers. Names like Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt, Adam Dunn, Brad Hawpe, Jose Bautista, and John Buck were being thrown around. Then, the injuries happened. When I left you, we were still in the hunt and there was still hope for winning the AL Central. Surely, Dave Dombrowski would be able to pull off a deal or two to help the team tread water until the wounded cats returned.
He got us Jhonny Peralta from the Indians for AA pitcher Giovanni Soto.
Okay, I get the whole not mortgaging the future thing. I get not making a deal if there wasn’t one to be made. But Peralta? He’s been horsesh-t since getting off of steroids. (Jhonny was jhucing…no doubt in my mind.) What was the point of getting him? Let Jeff Larish play third, dammit!
Living in Ohio, I’m surrounded by annoying Indian supporters. I have never seen a group of fans so happy to see a guy traded. I spoke to at least ten Tribe fans and each of them were ecstatic to see Jhonny Boy leave Racist Logo Town. He is hot, stinking garbage...on a good day.
But he had a nice start, though, didn’t he? 3 for 4 with 2 dingers in his Tiger debut? I’m surprised Dave didn’t give him a five year, $60 million deal immediately. Since then, though, he’s gone 6 for 35 with 0 homers and 1 RBI. I’d almost rather see Don Kelly or Will Rhymes out there.
Almost. What other deals did Dave pull off?
-Jeff Larish DFA’d. Signed by Oakland.
Excuse me for a second.
/bangs head into wall over and over
I’ve always been a supporter of Larish on here. I’ve been campaigning for him to get a chance at playing in the big leagues for a while. The Inge injury was the perfect opportunity to see some more of Jeff, his silly batting stance of stone, and his glorious hair. Sure, the guy’s best buddies with that midget Rhymes, but no one’s perfect. The kid has some pop in his bat that we’ve been missing all year. He’s done well at AAA. Did he buy Leyland Ultra Lights by mistake at some point and end up in the doghouse? Did Jim catch him at some point shaking hands with Dusty Ryan? Did he question Don Kelly being a leadoff hitter at some point in his short tenure? We’ll never know.
Meanwhile, Jeff Frazier and Will Rhymes are still on our major league roster. If I’m not mistaken, Larish could have been kept around by simply moving the human muppet, Clete Thomas to the 60-day DL. Or send Frazier or Rhymes back down…no one would’ve claimed them.
And wait...Sizemore was sent back down with Rhymes staying up? WTF? Why do they keep doing this stuff to me? Granted, I hate Jim Leyland’s managing. But I’ve always defended Dombrowski. Methinks I may need to rethink this strategy…
-Tigers acquire Brandon Jones from Pittsburgh for a player to be named later. Jones is a 26 year old left fielder and was assigned to AA Erie.
Excuse me again for a moment.
/buries head in hands for 20 minutes
Knowing Dave Dombrowski’s taste in outfielders and admittedly not knowing anything about Jones, I can only make the following assumptions:
1. Jones is white.
2. Jones cannot hit a breaking ball.
3. Jones will never amount to jack squat.
4. Jones already probably has a weird fan club of posters at Bless You Boys.
5. Leyland will end up batting him third at some point if he gets called up.
He’s 26 and in Double A. What…the…fudge? The last guy we took that the Pirates didn’t want?
Don F-cking Kelly. I hate this team sometimes. Was Craig Monroe too busy working at 7-11 to fill out our minor league roster?
-Wilkin Ramirez traded to Braves for cash or a player to be named later.
Shouldn’t that be a lefty reliever to be named later? Screw Wilkin. But I’d rather have him than Brandon Jones…
And that’s it. No more moves at the trade deadline. But with the team imploding before our eyes, I’m already reading rumors of Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Jhonny Peralta, and Brad Thomas possibly being moved, assuming they clear wavors. No doubt, the Tigers would have to eat all the remaining cash on those deals, especially Guillen.
Yes, the season is over, kids. A week into August and we’re done. And all that’s going to do is turn me even meaner until it’s over. Lynn Henning and the Borat guy at the News: consider yourselves on notice.
But back to Bonderman for a second.
More ranting after the jump.