Friday, June 3, 2011

Dombrowski and Leyland: Not Deserving of Criticism?

Preface #1: Brandon Inge is on the DL with mono. I admit, I had quite the laugh at this one. Ya know, I thought I had mono once. Turns out, I was just really bored.

/party on, Wayne

Preface #2: I pick on sports journalism quit a bit here at DNR. But I rarely praise something that I enjoy. Here is a link to a piece recently done on one of my heroes, the late, great George “Sparky” Anderson by an old friend of his, Steve Henson. It is definitely worth your time to read.

Okay. When I see a headline like “Dave Dombrowski, Jim Leyland deserve credit as Detroit Tigers hang in AL Central race”, I just know I’m going to be giving it the FJM treatment before I even start reading it. And David Mayo of The Grand Rapids Press, via mLive, did not disappoint me.

On a recent road trip, Dave Dombrowski found his seat among the visiting media members in the press box, where the president and general manager watched the ebb and flow of Detroit Tigers games with increasing tension.

Welcome to our world, Dave. Not so fun, is it?

A bang-bang call, on which the Tigers unjustly got the short end,

Which happens 99 times out of 100 to the Tigers. MLB umpires hate us.

elicited an audibly muffled reaction, in deference to the work area Dombrowski occupied. A one-run loss produced discernible pain.

Which game was it? I hope it was a Brad Thomas one. Those are the most painful to watch. But I doubt it…I’m convinced DD has never seen Thomas pitch.

A couple of days later, manager Jim Leyland sat in his road office, complaining about a particular media member’s penchant for seeing the same half-full glass with undue optimism, or pessimism, depending upon the most recent results.

You DO read me, Jim! I’m honored, I really am. Now, quit fucking playing Don Kelly, you stubborn old shit.

Leyland was animated and funny.

Wait. JIM Leyland? Of the Detroit Tigers? I call B.S.

He also sent the message, implied yet pointed, that he reads and cares about the opinions written about his team, and wants those espousing them to understand his purpose and vision.

Yup…as long as it’s not on the radio. "I don't listen to talk shows…guys that don't know shit about baseball."

Also, understand, but don’t ask him questions. “What do you want me to say? That I wish I had not done it? No, I'm glad I did it. And I'll do it again tonight if we have the same fucking situation if I think it gives us the best fucking chance to win the fucking game. Are there any other questions?”

This man wants us to understand his purpose and vision. Indeed. (If you missed it, those were quotes from Jimbo after Porcello pitched in Pittsburgh.)  Mr. Mayo, I pray this is not what you're referring to.

The Tigers, just beyond the one-third point of the season, are three games better than .500, and those two scenes drove home how the two men most responsible for building and developing the roster live and die a little with each nightly result, and each play therein.

Unlike Billy Beane and Bob Geren of the A's. Or the other 28 GM/Manager combos. Those pricks don’t give a damn.

They can’t make young players develop faster than they’re capable.

Or at all, in 90% of our young players.

They can’t make key veterans, earning enormous salaries, healthy.

They do, however, keep giving enormous salaries to injury-prone veterans.

They can’t force the public to share their temperate approach to day-to-day results, all of which are affected by those elements, and more.

Why would or how could the public share their “temperate” approach when it changes every two weeks? The Sizemore trade after anointing him the second baseman of the future is only the latest about-face these guys have made over the years. There’s a reason many fans keep comparing DD and JL’s approach to the team to throwing shit against a wall and hoping something sticks.

Criticism of Dombrowski and Leyland during a tepid first two months of the season came as somewhat amusing.

I didn't find it all that funny, but glad to be of service. Now if only one of them would listen to the criticism and understand that it comes from people that want to win as badly as they hopefully do.

But with their futures uncertain after this season, it should have come as nothing but unsettling.

My bad. No more judging the performance of people in their contract years, okay kids? If the team looks like shit and keeps playing inconsistent baseball, wait until their contracts are renewed before pointing out the seemingly obvious. Like batting Kelly first or third. Or mismanaging the bullpen. Or 50 other things that have been pointed out by everyone and their brother.

The Tigers have transformed into annual contenders in the American League Central.

Ladies and germs, I give you the worst divison in baseball!

They are a team that fans can’t wait to tune in every night. They give the Michigan summer a sporting purpose.

Well, that and everyone’s unemployed. But I won’t criticize the President for that. After all, it IS about to be Obama’s contract year…

Doesn’t anyone remember the era immediately preceding the current regime, when none of that was true?

Yes. Randy Smith was the biggest pile of shit I’ve ever seen associated with the Tigers. No one likes Randy Smith.

But still, fuck you, pal. Just because something was awful before doesn’t mean we have to accept less than what we feel we deserve now.

Decades ago, would you be bitching at African-Americans for wanting to vote? “Good lord, my dark-skinned friends. Vote? That’s a bit much. I mean you’re not slaves anymore, right? Remember how bad THAT was, you ungrateful savages? Whats next? You want to be PAID the same as us?”

Extreme? Sure. But it doesn’t change the fact that stating we shouldn’t criticize DD and JL because the previous guys were awful is just fucking dumb.

To speak frankly about the Tigers,

Don Kelly is an abortion.

Brad Thomas should be euthanized.

Brandon Inge is on the DL for kissing a diseased transvestite hooker.

That is talking frankly about the Tigers. What do you got?

their up-the-middle youth, with the exception of shortstop Jhonny Peralta, is alarming.

Ramon Santiago is older than Peralta. Rhymes is close to Peralta. Just sayin’. Yes, I’m an asshole.

They never addressed the loss of Placido Polanco in satisfactory fashion,

Or gave their “solution” enough time to see if he was the answer.

which is a big part of the problem, but no team can play a bunch of young kids every day then be surprised when someone like Austin Jackson goes into an extended offensive slump, or the Will Rhymes/Scott Sizemore experiment flops.

Wait. Is this a criticism of Dombrowski? Psst…you know it’s his walk year, right? You sure you should be doing this?

And anyway, if a team decides to play a “bunch of young kids”, they’d better have a backup plan than “trade slumping kid for a relief pitcher with a 5.00 career ERA”.

They plug and play different parts at the corner outfield positions, and there are plenty of people who wonder whether the return of Magglio Ordonez and/or Carlos Guillen will confuse the issue by coming attached to bats that can’t get around like they once did.

I shall add you to the list of people calling Magglio dead before it has been proven true. I’m going to kill you all, you know.

They still have a patchwork bullpen, although on some nights, it looks like something better.

A little better?

Much better.

Ha…I love doing that. Also, your statement there could be restated as "the bullpen isn't very good, but sometimes it's okay."  Not a ringing endorsement for the guy that put it together.

The Tigers have a very good pitching rotation, one of the best sluggers in the major leagues in Miguel Cabrera, a couple of key new veterans in Peralta and Victor Martinez,

I wouldn’t call Peralta “new” anymore. I’m nitpicking, I know…it's my gimmick.

and a bunch of guys who need cajoling and coaxing otherwise.

Are you shitting me? Brennan Boesch needs to be “cajoled” to play baseball? Leyland must “coax” Ryan Raburn to take the field? Why did Dave assemble such a team?

Crap. No criticizing. My bad.

The braintrust knows the issues, the strengths and weaknesses.

I assume that’s why they keep batting the best hitters in the lineup 4th-8th instead of 1st-5th, then. Heaven knows we wouldn't want Mig or Vic to come up with runners on base. “Braintrust” is right.

There is pervasive sentiment that Ramon Santiago should play every day as the permanent solution at second base. Within the inner circle, the concern is that Santiago would break down physically by mid-summer if asked to play regularly.

This is one thing I agree with Beavis and Butt-head on, but not for that reason. Ramon is not the everyday answer at 2B or SS, despite so many people still beating that drum. He’s had almost 1900 big league at bats, people, and his lifetime average is .248 and his OBP is .317. This isn’t someone like Sizemore who hasn’t been given a chance yet. Ramon’s a serviceable backup, but he’s no everyday player on a ballclub that’s trying to be a contender.

Conversely, the public concern that Phil Coke, as a fifth starter, won’t be able to hold up under the demands of increased innings, isn’t shared on the inside. Coke was a career reliever but has a strong physique and Leyland says he thinks workload isn’t an issue.

Coke doesn’t look like no bodybuilder to me. He looks more like the crazy homeless man that tried to wash my windshield the other day. But whatever.

Whether Coke returns to the rotation after coming back from an ankle injury -- young Andy Oliver is ready to press him -- may be in question, but the faith Dombrowski and Leyland have placed in Coke isn’t.

They have faith in him and he’s done nothing to lose his job. But his future still may be in question. Gotcha. Their vision is something I should believe in. Gotcha again.

/drinks bleach to kill the pain

There isn’t a solution to why Brandon Inge doesn’t hit.

He sucks and his knees are shot has mono. Glad DD gave him that contract extension.

Or why Ryan Raburn struggles when he doesn’t play every day and strikes out with abandon when he does.

Raburn sucks no matter what. Glad DD gave him that contract extension.

Also, here’s a great collage/picture of Raburn-Fail that I have stolen from my friend Allison of No Run Support and BYB that she put in a Game Thread last week. This is priceless.
Okay. Let’s finish this up, bub. I’m getting bored. And I get fussy when I’m bored.

There is only the reality that the Tigers are a flawed team with enough exceptional pieces

Exceptional? Verlander and Cabrera are the only exceptional pieces. V-Mart’s a defensive liability, thus keeping him off the “exceptional” list.

that Dombrowski deserves credit for keeping a contender intact, and Leyland deserves credit for having this team as close to jelling as it has been all season, despite big injuries to important veterans.

Lemmie get this straight. Dave deserves credit for not losing JV and Mig? Leyland deserves credit for…what the fudge does “close to jelling” mean?  And Magglio is the only important veteran that they didn't know about so far. Guillen and Zoom are dead. They knew that coming in. Inge just happened and he's about as important to the team at this point as I am.

I hate sportswriters.

When the season ends, the Tigers have some decisions to make, including on their two highest-profile executives.

For all the changes they might make, that would be the wrong place to start.

Why? What exactly WOULD it take for you to think that maybe a change needs to be made? 120 losses? Trading Cabrera for Kyle Farnsworth? Yet another second half collapse? What, dude? WHAT?

This is sports. I’d be amazed if you could get 100 fans to agree that a baseball is round. Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein, Joe Girardi, and Terry Francona get criticized every day with MUCH more scrutiny than Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland ever have. And those guys have WON something in the recent past. These guys haven’t won shit.

Did I just stand up for the Yanks and Sawx?  Dammit.

Do I think DD and JL need to go? Not necessarily. I haven’t made up my mind and won’t until the end of the season. They both have great sides to them and both have things about them that make me want to run over bunnies with a lawn mower.

But don’t infer that they don’t deserve criticism. If you’re happy with being a .500 team just because we used to be much worse a decade ago, then fine. But my aspirations for the Detroit Tigers are a bit higher than that.

And if DD and JL’s aspirations aren’t as high as mine, they can go away fucking tomorrow.

EDIT:  Reader Julie was kind enough to share that Mr. Mayo was arrested in Feburary for growning a piss-load of weed in his home. Lucky prick got suspended WITH pay over it. But all the herb may explain why he is happy with a .500 ballclub that never learns from its mistakes.  Here's a pic of some of the stuff the cops took from Mayo's house, via mLive.
That's good hustle, right there.  Fine hustle, indeed...


Julie said...

David Mayo was arrested for growing weed in his house and trying to sell it.  No joke, just google it on mlive.  It
TOTALLY explains this article.

SRogo said...

Awesome.  Thanks for that.  Post has been updated to include this bit of information.  You are my new hero.

h2opolopunk said...

After that montage, I wouldn't be surprised if Raburn had indulged in some of that fine cheebah. 

Ed Tigertracks said...

...unbelievably on the money! 
...Maggs value has really been noticeable with the void left while he has been of lineup been scary...and not in a good way...
Do not ever stand up for the Yanks nor Saws again!....that's just not right!...Yikes!

Tracy Babb said...

Ya know, I agree with you on why Santiago shouldn't play every day.  He's a career 25th man.  I also hate Don Kelly.  Dirks, Worth, and Wells aren't going to be very good right now.  But honestly, what pisses me off is Inge and Raburn.  Why the hell is Inge getting paid $5.5 million to bat .211 in 161 AB?  Why the hell is Raburn getting paid $1.3 million to bat .200 in 165 AB?  I hate Don Freaking Kelly, but I would be glad to see Kelly to bat a mediocre .262 if I didn't have to watch Inge think he's a pitcher and be an automatic out at the end of the lineup.  All 5 of Kelly, Dirks, Worthless, Wells, and Santiago are far from being good enough to be every day players, and if we had a better solution right now I would love to take it.  Right now though I just don't understand what is so good about Raburn and Inge that they're playing like shit every day when any of those 5 guys could at least play mediocre baseball and get paid a lot less to do it.  Donkelly is mediocre, but at least he would only get paid peanuts to be mediocre.  That's what is infuriating me right now.

Chuck Chessor said...

It never suprises me the garbage that gets posted on Do these writers actually get paid? If so, I chose the wrong career!