Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Mike Maroth and Taking a Look at the Man in the Mirror

If you haven’t heard by now, ex-Tiger pitcher Mike Maroth has announced his retirement. Maroth is infamous, of course, for being the first pitcher to lose 20 or more games since 1980, when he did so with the awful 2003 Tigers team.

I spent time today thinking about writing something about Mike and how much I appreciated and liked the guy. (No matter what I could come up with, it wouldn’t be as good as Ian CasseIberry’s great piece on him for SB Nation Detroit. Please check it out.)

I thought about what a nice guy he always came off as to the press and fans. He was always there signing autographs and answering questions with a smile on his face. I thought about the awesome one-hitter he threw in 2004 against the stupid Yankees, one of the top-five favorite baseball games I’ve ever seen. And I thought about how much I appreciated him taking the ball every fifth day in ’03 with that woeful team behind him and how he had no fear in losing 20 games and becoming a joke to the ignorant fans and sportswriters that didn’t watch him every day. (Unlike Jeremy Bonderman, who the team shut down after his 19th loss, not wanting to damage his fragile, young mind. Never mind the fact that Bondo cannot likely count to 20.)

Yeah, I was going to write something nice about him, like I did Matt Anderson last week. But then it dawned on me. Mike Maroth wasn’t very good. Neither was Anderson. Neither were Timo Perez, Josh Anderson, Marcus Thames, Jason Smith, Justin Thompson, Paul Bako, and countless others I consider past favorites of mine. Hell, my favorite player of all time is Bobby Higginson. And he was average-to-terrible for much of his career.

Take a peek at Maroth’s career numbers. They’re horrible. Why do I have such fond memories of him and these other guys? And how can I sing their praises when I continue to, in nearly every post, poke fun at guys like Brandon Inge, Clete Thomas, Will Rhymes, Nate Robertson, and Don Kelly for being bad at baseball ? How can I continue to make fun of their supporters, too?

Look at my arguments for Mike. He was a great guy. Please, I dare you, find a nicer person in baseball than Mr. Brandon Inge. The guy can’t hit a curveball, but I’m pretty sure he’s qualified for sainthood at this point. Rhymes is, pardon the idiot sportswriter cliché, like a kid out there. You can see the excitement in his eyes and he plays the game and interacts with fans. Clete, Nate, and Kelly are all reportedly great guys and wonderful teammates, too.

Mike had his moments on the field. Over a long enough time, everyone has their moments on the diamond. Inge is a whiz in the field and hits the occasional big homer. Rhymes hit over .300 as a rookie. Clete was hitting 3rd for us at one point. (shudders) Nate got the name “bulldog” for a reason that I’m assuming didn’t involve peanut butter and his owner’s crotch. Kelly can play anywhere on the field and help out with the occasional knock.

Maroth was a gamer. Again, everyone else I tend to poke fun of on here can be described that way, too. These guys try their damndest and I continue to mock them. Why is this? Have I been wrong all this time? Damn.

Should I apologize to these players and the fans that idolize them and wear their jerseys?

Should I maybe quit being a wiseass for ten minutes and think about the sacrifices they’ve made to get this far in the game?

Maybe…just maybe, I should think back to the time when I would just support any guy that happened to be wearing a sweet “D” on their chest, like I did Maroth, Anderson, and the others. Just be a rah-rah fan and stop being this monster I’ve become since starting this blog that was based off a joke after a Nate-blowup.

Should I?

The answer is simple.

F-ck and no. Are you kidding me? I’m a fan. Fans do not follow simple logic. There are Tiger fans out there that ignored what an incredible player that Miguel Cabrera is and wanted him released/traded after his alcohol moment. There are people that gave up on Magglio Ordonez the second he started having problems at the plate in 2009. There are those that worship Brandon Inge and those that want to see him shot. Fans are fans, even the mutant trolls that post at mLive and the freep. From the loudmouth prick that won’t shut up behind you at the game to the single mom bringing her kids to their first ballgame, everyone is different and everyone has their favorites. They don’t need to make sense.

Me? I’m kind of a prick. I love the Detroit Tigers and I love to make fun of them, too. I make jokes about Brandon Inge being a dork and not being able to hit worth a damn. But when the little prick hits a homer or makes a run-saving, diving grab, there’s no one cheering louder than me. Does that make me a bad person or fan? Maybe. But f-ck it. I’m having fun. And that’s what baseball is all about.

So yeah, THANK YOU Mike Maroth. You deserved better in your career and I hope that you find happiness in your retirement. You were the poster boy for that horrific 2003 team and became a symbol of futility. That’s how most will remember you. But to me, you were a true badass that put the team ahead of yourself and always gave it your best, even if it wasn't very good. And as a fan, that is really all I can ask out of a any player. I’m proud that Mike Maroth was a Detroit Tiger.

As for Don Kelly, I still hope he falls into a tar pit. Worthless sh-t.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Armando's Goodbye is Cut Short By a Visitor

ARMANDO GALARRAGA: Wow. This all happen so fast. Can’t believe it over. I really like playing here…it was like family.
BRANDON INGE: Yeah, Mando. We hate to see you go. You were a swell teammate and, gosh, we’re all gonna miss you. I’m sure great things are ahead for you in Arizona.

GALARRAGA: Gracias, Brandon. You’re good man. I wish you luck this year.

INGE: Thanks, pal. Same to you. It’s not going to be the same without you around here.

GALARRAGA: I just hope I fit in with Ar-zona like I do here. I gonna miss you guys. And the Skipper. Who knows what it gonna be like down there?

/loud pounding on door

INGE: Who could that be?

/door flies open

Friday, January 21, 2011

P.T. Barnum Would Be Proud of Seattle

Another sucker has been born.

Our Hero has been signed to a minor league deal by the Seattle Mariners and received an invite to Spring Training.  Checking early reaction from Mariner fans proves that they should stick to complaining about NFL officiating and throwing fish around, as they seem to know nothing about baseball.  Many are happy and think Nate can fill an immediate hole in the rotation.  We Tiger fans know that Nate's skills at this point are pretty much limited to wasting payroll and chewing bubble gum.

With Florida and Philadelphia last year, Robertson went a combined 6-8 with a 5.95 ERA, 1.549 WHIP, an ERA+ of 71, and 63 strikeouts in 101.1 innings.  It's amazing...if you're left-handed, people will keep giving you chances, no matter how terrible you are.

All joking aside, I wish the Patron Saint of DNR well.  He's a very nice man.  Just a very below average pitcher.  Say hi to Luke French for me, Nate.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tiger Droppings: Yawn Edition

 Things more interesting than baseball’s offseason:

*Glenn Beck’s views on anything.
*The mating habits of the fruit fly.
*One of those shows on MTV where underage whores are pregnant.
*A Clippers/Grizzlies game.
*Did Brett Favre fart today?
*Anything with George Lopez.
*A preview of the Tiger season written by Jen Cosey of Old English D for (Ha, I kid. It’s actually a good piece by Magglio’s mistress. Check it out.)

So, yeah. Not a whole lot going on. But I’ll do what I can here. Hey…at least I still have my beloved Chicago Bears to root on! (Until Sunday…)

Let’s get the jump out of the way.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Return of the Golden Arm?

When we first saw him, we were amazed.

I mean, it’s not every day some cocky kid takes the mound and not only hits 100 mph on the gun, but hits 102 or 103. It’s the kind of stuff that we, as fans, dream about. This kid is special, we thought. This kid is the closer of the future…for years to come. No more trotting Todd Jones out there to float junk up there and hope for the best. This kid’s going to be a star in Detroit. Get your popcorn ready and enjoy the show.

Then the setbacks happened. One after another. The dream arm exploded and had turned into a nightmare. The baseball gods were once again being cruel to the Detroit faithful, but more importantly, cruel to this kid’s big league dreams. He’d come back and go down. Back and down.

Well, he’s back again.
No. Not him. I’m talking about someone else. But yeah…good luck to you, too, Joel. Congrats on getting another raise for being hurt all year.

More after the jump.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Welcome home...TIMO!

I had to change my shorts this morning when I received the news that the Tigers have signed 35 year old Timo Perez to a minor league deal.  Timo, as long time readers of DNR know, is a favorite of mine.  Why?  Because unlike Clete Thomas, Don Kelly, and others, he can HIT THE BALL!  Timo is old and will probably not see any time with the club, but I'm still thrilled to see him back in the organization.  Anything's better than the Mexican League for a guy with his talents.

Read more about Timo here in one of my more interesting posts.  Was I being serious or not?  Who knows!

Also, Brad Penny signed to be the fifth starter.  At first, I wasn't too happy about the deal due to his injury-filled past.  But then I remembered what ELSE was in his past:
Alyssa Milano!  That's right...Brad Penny used to date her!  Hooray!  Granted, Milano's pretty much been passed around MLB and the NHL like a joint at Woodstock, but WHO CARES!  Eat that, Matt Treanor!  Misty-May's an ugly skank compared to Alyssa Milano!  Good hustle, Brad.  Good bloody hustle.
Giggity goo.  Now if only Timo could hook up with Milano....HEAD ASPLODE!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let's LynnChat, Shall We?

Lynn Henning of the Detroit News took part in one of his chats on Friday, 1/9/11. Here are some highlights. By “highlights”, I meant the stuff I felt like making fun of. The entire chat can be found here. Any typos are those of Lynn or his genius guests.

Steve: Lynn, what are the chances the Tigers sign (Brad) Penny?

Henning: Not bad.

Lynn apparently works in the front office now. That or he sucks DD’s ass enough to get courtesy texts in exchange for good press. Kinda like Peter King and Brett Favre, I suppose.

Depends how the scouts have graded his arm.

Old? Washed up? More fragile than a newborn’s temple?

He'd be a great addition, 

No he wouldn’t.

not only as depth,

Having a plethora of #5 quality starters is not depth.

but because it would help free up a trade ...

That you won’t elaborate on. How vague.

Rick P: Hi Lynn, 


The Tigers have a surplus of outfielders.

And exactly two of them are good. And one of the two is old and brittle.

Maggs, Jackson, Rayburn, Kelly, Clete, Wells, Boesch. Any thoughts on how this might play out. Thanks

Jesus Tapdancing Christ, people. How hard is it to spell “Raburn”? Every time I see some mouth-breathing, Inge jersey owning, jerkoff spell it “Rayburn”, I want to punch them in the dick. And it will play out like it always does, Rick. RaKellCletWellBoesch will be mediocre, occasionally do something nice, and will each have their own section of annoying fanboys demanding that they get more playing time. Of course, I keep the hope that Kelly will eventually die of superAIDS. I’m sorry, I’m hijacking Lynn’s chat here.

Henning: Great question,

No it wasn’t.

and it plays into thoughts that Dave Dombrowski will yet make a trade, either before spring camp, or before Opening Day.
You’ve been saying that for some time.

I've thought that for some time.

I know.

A package deal, involving at least one of those names and a pitcher, could gain a bat for left field or second base.

Giving up on Sizemore already? That didn’t take long.  And indeed...with all these outfielders, we need another one.  Grrr...

I'm very open-minded on that particular point. I think it could happen.

Examples? Didn’t think so.

More after the jump...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What Annoyed Me About This Year's HOF Voting

So, I've given it 24 hours to digest the Hall of Fame voting this year.  Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar both got in.  Thank goodness, since Robbie was jobbed last year and Bert has been being screwed for over a decade now.  Here's how the top ten nominees fared with the percentage of votes they received.  Keep in mind, it takes 75% to get in.

Roberto Alomar:  90%
Bert Blyleven:  79.7%
Barry Larkin:  62.1%
Jack Morris:  53.5%
Lee Smith:  45.3%
Jeff Bagwell:  41.7%
Tim Raines:  37.5%
Edgar Martinez:  32.9%
Alan Trammell:  24.3%
Larry Walker:  20.3%

Other notables:  Mark McGwire with 19.8%, Don Mattingly with 13.6%, Rafael Palmeiro with 11.0%, and Juan Gonzalez with 5.2%.

Since this is a Tigers blog, let me first address those guys.  Trammell is my second favorite player of all time.  But he isn't a Hall of Famer.  I've already discussed that here and here in the past. 

Neither is Jack Morris.  I've flirted with the idea of Jack being included, but much like Kirk Gibson, he was a good player with some great moments.  That shouldn't override the face that Jack just doesn't have Hall-worthy numbers.  And don't give me that "Most Wins in the 80's" junk, either.  First, wins are overrated.  Second, just because it is in the same decade, that doesn't make it better.  Who won the most games from 1995 to 2005?  I don't know.  It doesn't matter.  If you do know, you probably need to get laid.  Point is, I love Jack, but he doesn't belong in there.  In fact, forget all that.  Read this by David at BYB.  He said it much better than I could.

Juan Gonzalez is an ass.  I hope a helicopter crashes into his house.  He shouldn't even be allowed to visit the Hall of Fame.

What would my ballot have been if I were an old, white, bitter sportswriter?  (Those are the qualifications, by the way.)

1.  Bert Blyleven
2.  Roberto Alomar
3.  Jeff Bagwell
4.  Mark McGwire
5.  Pete Rose (write-in)

Bagwell's numbers are unreal if you look at them.  Please do so.  Big Mac has a career OPS+ of 162.  That's ridiculous.  Hate steroids all you want, but most of the league was on them.  Get over it.  If putting a shot into your ass was the sole reason to hit the ball that well, everyone would have hit 50 homers a year.  As for Pete, he's a dick of a human being, but he should have his own wing of the Hall named after him.  As long as he didn't bet AGAINST the Reds...let the man in.  Geez.

Larkin was a great player, but like Trammell, only had one really awesome year and was hurt a lot of the time.  Lee Smith sucked.  Saves are stupid.  Edgar and Raines were really good players, and I might be able to be talked into their inclusion...but not right now.

If you want better in-depth looks into it, check out Lee's piece on it or this excellent article written before the voting came out by Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times.  But that isn't the purpose of this blog piece.

I'm pissed again.  It's not because Bags and McGwire got hosed.  It's something much worse.  Follow after the jump to find out why...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Secret Manager Search: Volume 3

 Detroit Tigers Headquarters, Detroit, MI
DAVE DOMBROWSKI: Happy New Year, Mr. I. Glad to be back in the office. I trust you had a good New Years?
 MIKE ILITCH: Indeed. Marion and I had a couple hundred of our closest friends over for champagne and baby seal eye pizza. It was delightful. I’m surprised you didn’t attend.

DOMBROWSKI: I wasn’t invited, sir.

ILITCH: Of course not, Dan. You’re the help. If I could find your Venezuelan equivalent, he would have taken your job months ago. I was kidding.

DOMBROWSKI: It’s Dave, sir.

ILITCH: Whatever. On to business. Has the man arrived that I requested you set up an interview with?

DOMBROWSKI: Um, he has. But I have to ask you…are you serious? You can’t possibly be considering replacing Jim Leyland with this…

ILITCH: I know what I’m doing. People said I was crazy by opening a pizza franchise using only rat meat and the cheese from diseased goats. People said I was crazy when I kept Randy Smith employed for so long.

DOMBROWSKI: I’ve been meaning to ask you about that…

ILITCH: The man gave a hellova massage, my friend. A hellova massage. Point is, I know what I’m doing. Send him in!

/door flies open

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fourteen Rookies: Not a Good Thing

Happy New Year, assclowns. Hope none of you got arrested…even I avoided it this time! High five!

But before we move on, I’ve got one more thing on the 2010 season that’s bothering me.

Bless You Boys recently listed their Five Favorite Stories about 2010. I completely agree with them on the career year of Miguel Cabrera and the contract extension of Justin Verlander. The “rise and fall” of Brennan Boesch was more depressing to me than a “favorite” thing. And though I consider Armando Galarraga’s imperfect game a case of tremendous luck against a team fielding mostly Double A talent, I understand its inclusion, especially for the class Mando showed afterward.

But the one “favorite thing” I can’t agree with and get behind from 2010 were the 10 rookie debuts for the Tigers. What is the obsession, at least among the online Tiger community, with rookie players? Especially bad ones? Take a look at the players that either made their debuts in 2010 or were otherwise technically still considered rookies.

Austin Jackson: 618 at bats, 102 OPS+
Will Rhymes: 191 AB, 107 OPS+
Alex Avila: 294 AB, 79 OPS+
Brennan Boesch: 464 AB, 99 OPS+
Scott Sizemore: 143 AB, 72 OPS+
Danny Worth: 106 AB, 77 OPS+
Casper Wells: 93 AB, 142 OPS+
Jeff Frazier: 23 AB, 40 OPS+
Max St. Pierre: 9 AB, 49 OPS+
Robbie Weinhardt: 29.1 Innings Pitched, 69 ERA+
Andy Oliver: 22 IP, 58 ERA+
Casey Fien: 2.2 IP, 47 ERA+
Jay Sborz: 0.2 IP, 10 ERA+
Alfredo Figaro: 14.2 IP, 64 ERA+

That’s 14 rookies, not including Daniel Schlereth, though I think he qualifies. (Just in case I’m wrong, I left him out.) Out of the 14, only three had numbers considered “above average”. Jackson and Rhymes barely made it, while Wells did his work in less than a hundred at bats…hardly enough to judge a guy. What I’m getting at here is quite simple: What’s there to be so happy about?

These players, for the most part, did poor jobs for the Tigers. Why do we get so weepy-eyed for guys stinking up the field, just because they’re young? No team with a two-bazillion dollar payroll should have 14 rookies taking up time on the field. Does anyone other than myself want to, you know, WIN baseball games?

Austin Jackson is awesome on defense and did a nice job overall. I love him. Rhymes hit over .300 and he and the rest of the Keebler elves do a top notch job making crackers. I get that. Boesch was Superman for the first half and the Invisible Man the second. Who knows what’s going to happen with him? Sizemore was hurt at the beginning of the year and might still have something to offer. Wells impressed with the bat in his short time.

The rest of these guys (except maybe Oliver) are dogsh-t. Avila isn’t going to hit, despite what the front office thinks. (Sorry, Pops.) Worth is worthless and will never be anything more than a utility option. Frazier and St. Pierre are career minor leaguers for a reason. Weinhardt might be an average middle reliever, if we’re lucky some day. Oliver is still at least a year away from being helpful. Fien, Sborz, and Figaro are all out of the organization already.

This was not a good thing, people. These kids and the fact that the organization had so little depth to cover the injuries to Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, and Joel Zumaya were the reason we were a third place team…and lucky to be third. Only the general sh-ttiness of Cleveland and Kansas City, and the superhuman efforts of Big Mig and JV kept us from finishing lower.

Championship teams do not win with rookies. And if they have rookies on the team, they’re usually, you know…GOOD. These guys were not good.  Or even average.

And the fact that there were so many of them was not a good thing, at least in the opinion of Your Party Host.

Now if we could’ve found some spots for Timo Perez, Mike Hessman, and Josh Anderson…sigh. Fine…I’m just as bad as the rest of ‘em with my weird favorites. Bite me.