Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday Re-cap

As I'm posting this I'm eating a Ham & Cheese Hot Pocket and a bag of Cheetos Puffs, so if this post abruptly stops half way through it's because my cholesterol reached such a high level that my blood stopped coursing through my body and I need you to call 911 for me. Immediately. Regardless today was a big day in Detroit as the Red Wings played the Oilers in Game 2 of their first round playoff series, the Tigers went for the sweep against the Mariners, and the Pistons started their playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

I say the Wings playing was a big deal, because it is to a lot of people, but personally I could care less. No, that's selling it a bit short, I do care.........a little. I want them to do well and win strictly because they're the local team, and if I happen to catch a game on I'll watch it, or at the very least have it set as my previous channel, so I can flip back to it while the thing I'm really watching is on commercial, but I'm not going out of my way to watch the Wings games and I'm
sure as hell not waking up at 1 P.M. to watch one. I used to love hockey starting about the time I was 10 in 1993 up until about 2000. I was first introduced to the sport by NHLPA 93 for the Sega Genesis, which easily ranks as one of the top 3 sports games of all-time, and continued to follow hockey mostly because of EA NHL series. I lived and died with the 1995 Stanley Cup finals where Martin Brodeur played out of his skull and I first learned to passionately hate Claude Lemieux. However for whatever reason my interest in hockey continually waned until it became nearly non-existent. Seriously if you told me Bill Ranford and Bernie Nicholls had started for the Oilers today I would've believed you. Anyways I slept through most of this game and apparently the Red Wings lost, which I'm sure will lead to serious teeth gnashing by angry Wings fans who still lose sleep over the 93-94 upset to the Sharks. (If any of you aforementioned crazy Wings fans read this, please don't send me a blood soaked Pat Falloon jersey, I think owning two is enough for me.)

I did manage to crawl my ass out of bed to watch the Tigers finish a sweep of the hapless Seattle
Mariners. I don't think it's possible for a team to be more boring to watch then the Seattle Mariners. Outside of Ichiro they have no identity, no personality whatsoever. Tigers pitching owned this series, with my former room mate Mike Arnold........I mean Mike Maroth setting the tone in Game one by shutting down the Mariner's for six innings with the soft left-handed stuff, before turning the game over to the flamethrowing Joel Zumaya for two innings, before Todd Jones made his highly anticipated.........scratch that, dreaded, debut. The best thing about Jones being back is that it allowed the Tigers to send that dirtbag Chris Spurling back to the minors with his ridiculous giant #48 gold pendant that drives me absolutely crazy.

Game Two of the series featured some outstanding pitching from Nate Robertson......wait that can't be right....Nate Robertson?......really?......huh, the surprisingly little used Jamie Walker and
Fernando Rodney who combined to two hit the M's. However after watching this game I think a Clio Little League team could two-hit the Mariners playing on the Pony fields at the Clio Sports Complex that measures 250 in straight away center........but I digress. This game also featured Gene Lamont getting two runners hosed at the plate while testing out Ichiro's arm. Hmmm, I know Ichiro has a strong arm, you know it, even my dog Sadie is mildly aware of it, so how does the Tigers third base coach not know it......I don't know, but hopefully this doesnt become a problem as the season goes on.

Today featured Justin Verlander versus Felix Hernandez in a battle of star pitching prospects. First off there is no way Felix Hernandez is only 20. No way. He's way to
developed, and I was around when all those Latin American ball players aged five years over night (especially Deivi Cruz who went from 27 to 43) once the INS cracked down on birth certificates a couple of years ago. Anyways Verlander was spectacular today with his fastball hitting 101 MPH and although he didnt get a lot of K's he kept guys off balance. However Zumaya proved he was human by getting touched up for a few runs, but that's all right, it's just a little blip, Rodney bailed Zumaya out, as opposed to allowing every inherited runner to score Spurling style, by striking out Roberto Petagine, (which coincidentally is Chef Boy-ar-dee's real name) and Todd Jones pitched a flawless ninth for his second save. As I said the pitching was the most impressive thing in this series, especially the bullpen, because it seems as though we have three guys who could be relied upon to close in Zumaya, Rodney and Jones.........However I remember writing the same thing last year about Farnsworth, Ugie, and Percival and we know how that turned out.

Finally the Pistons played Game One tonight, and soundly beat the Bucks as many people expected. It was nice to see them shut down Michael Redd for the first time in......well, forever. The only big news is that Rip hurt his ankle, which more then anything seems like a bad omen. Rip should be fine however, and I think if you need to rest him in Game two go ahead and do it. I think the Pistons could win without him, by rotating in a combination of Delk, Delfino, and Evans, and that would give Rip until Saturday to get well. Even if they did decide to rest him and lost, I don't think it would matter in the long run as it would make this series run 5 games instead of 4. Big deal. Go Pistons.

Finally.......again. I have final exams for law school over the course of the next three weeks. I'm not going on hiatus or anything, but posting may become more infrequent, shorter, and increasingly hostile/depressing. I may also have a nervous breakdown during the course of the next three weeks, which would put things on hiatus as I roamed Asia with Ricky Williams trying to find the meaning of my existence. Hopefully it won't come to that, but wish me luck. Thanks.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Well, the Tigers are frustrating the hell out of me today. In case you've missed todays game it's gone something like this so far. Zito walks a guy on 4 pitches, next guy comes up and grounds into a double play, Zito hits the next batter, and then ends the inning on a check swing strike out on an 88 MPH fastball around the eyes, repeat for seven innings. Christ. Anyways, as you can see by the title of this post, I'm not going to write about the Tigers but rather about the NBA MVP race. The NBA regular season ended last night but the debate over the MVP is still wide open. My criteria for MVP is quite simple, all that I look for is if the player put up good numbers on a good or great team that had expectations of greatness coming into the season. So here's my list of candidates in reverse order.

8: Elton Brand: I've always admired the Clippers from afar. Seeing as how I've been a fan of the Lions and Tigers for all of my life, I look for other franchises and fanbases that are equally pathetic and with whom I can relate, and pretty much the only team that can rival, no, exceed the ineptitude of the Lions is the Clippers. This year they made an excellent trade for Sam Cassell, signed Cuttino Mobley to fill some of the scoring void and they became a sleeper 8th playoff seed in the West. Well now they 6th in the West after a strategic tank job, with home court in the 1st round and a real chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since they were the Buffalo Braves. The main reason for this is Elton Brand who went from a solid, slightly underrated player to an elite post player who gave the Pistons and everyone else fits all season. That Tyson Chandler for Brand trade is looking more ridiculous every season.

7: Shawn Marion: Steve Nash gets most of the credit for the Suns success the past two seasons and deservedly. However, I think Marion has been just as important AND he's an unstoppable fantasy player, whose never on my team, which explains why I finish 9th out of 10 in my most recent fantasy basketball league, well that and a series of bad trades that I made........oh well, I wish Marion could get a little more recognition especially this year where he stepped up his game even more in the absence of Amare.

6: Kobe Bryant: Ive heard so much made of his 81 point game and 62 points through three quarters from people advocating his MVP candidacy, but the last time I checked the MVP award was for the best performance over the entire season and not for the best single game performance during the season. Granted Kobe did take a terrible supporting cast and single handedly delivered them to the playoffs, which is a spectacular feat but do the Lakers seriously have a chance to win the title? No. Do they even have a chance to get out of the first round? No. So therefore I don't think he deserves the MVP. Plus I just dont like him.

5: Dwyane Wade: He's a spectacular player, but he was a little too quiet down the stretch for me and the Heat scuffled and barely held off the Nets for the 2nd seed in the East. Plus he plays for Miami and being a Pistons fan I have to hate him......and I wish he was in a Pistons jersey, but at least we have Darko, oh wait I mean Kelvin Cato.......Jesus Christ. Note: I'm distracted right now because the Tigers are clawing their way back into this game, and Brandon Inge is in the midst of a 75 pitch at bat against Justin Douche-r. (I know it's a lame joke and everyone thinks that when they hear that guys name, but it's absolute hell trying to spell it correctly.)

4: LeBron James: Once again this is no knock on LeBron or Wade, I think they will be competing for the MVP award for the next decade, but I don't think they are at that level yet. Close but not yet. He made great strides in taking over games late and getting his team to the playoffs for the first time. Also I think people make to much about playing great late in games, especially during the regular season. I'm more impressed with teams like Detroit who are beating teams like the Hornets so badly at the end of games that their starters are relegated to towel waving duty, as Jason Maxiell wildly tries to throw it down on everybody, instead of guys like LeBron that need a big shot to put away an inferior team. Regardless he's only 21 which is frightening to a Pistons fan like me (please sign with a team out West LeBron, Cleveland hates you. Leave the Central...........I know he doesnt read know how I know? Because no one reads this.)

3: Steve Nash: Personally I think Steve Nash is the most entertaining player in the NBA, and is the perfect guy to run the Phoenix offense. He seamlessly integrates new players into the system and increased his scoring output in the absence of Amare. So if he's better this year then he was last year and he's the reigning MVP why doesnt he win again? Well, I wish I had a good answer for that but I don't, and this is my blog and my awards so shut up and stop asking so many questions. O.K. I'm not paying you to talk, as a matter of fact I'm not paying you at all, Do I come to your job and knock the broom out of your hand. Didn't think so.

2: Dirk Nowitzki: Oh my god Fernando Rodney is giving me a heart attack right now. The Tigers went up 4-3 in the top of the ninth after grinding out 3 runs and now Fernando's pitching so bad that even Rick Ankiel thinks he looks a little wild. Anyways Dirk has played his best this season, and.......oh my god the bases are loaded, if they lose this game I swear to god........this is the first time it's really been Dirk's team and he's stepped up.....ground ball, get the force at home!!! Good Job, Inge. Anyways I expect the Mavericks to.....STRIKE OUT!!!! YES! (series of fist pumps followed by a sprint to the bedroom and back) Way to go Rodney, oh man that was a big win for the Tigers.....what was I talking about again......nevermind moving on to No.1.

1: Chauncey Billups: Everyone had to have seen this coming, and go ahead and call me a homer, because I am, but the reason Chauncey is the MVP this season is because, as he said on the Hot List on SportsCenter last night, he's the catalyst for the best team in the league. Catalyst is the perfect title for him. A lot of people discredit Chauncey because of the overall talent and teamwork the Pistons utilize on their way to the best record in the league. I think this works in his favor more than anything, because it takes a special player to keep a team so talented running this smoothly over the course of an entire season. Billups was flawless in running a new offense as exhibited by his increased assists total, and more telling was his impeccable assist/turnover ratio. Also I think every Piston brings their own unique thing to the Pistons, Ben exemplifies toughness/hard work, Rasheed brings the craziness factor, Hamilton provides the energy, Dale Davis has his fouls, but Chauncey is the most responsible for the Piston's confidence and swagger, which I think is the most important part of this teams character. Chauncey makes the big shots, he never gets nervous or rushes when they fall behind early and when they win he doesn't celebrate much because he expects to win every game. It takes a lot of confidence to state before the season that you plan on finishing with the best record in the league so you can play game seven of the Finals at home and then actually go out and do it........with relative ease no less, while adjusting to a new coach and winning 10 more games then the previous year, when you were already an NBA Finals team. However we all no Chauncey won't win the MVP and will struggle to crack the top 5, because sportwriters are infatuated with Kobe and will select him because it takes no effort or thought to pick him. Oh well, I'm sure Chauncey will be more satisfied in June when he wins his second Finals MVP, and leads the Pistons to a second title in 3 years.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Journey to Comerica

Well it's not really a journey because I live about two miles from Comerica, but short hop or quick trip doesn't sound as interesting nor as epic as journey or adventure. Regardless I was able to attend this Saturday's Tigers-Indians game at Comerica with my friend Matt and his friends Nick and Matt #2. It's next to impossible for me to write a coherent paragraph about a series of events over a short period of time, so in lieu of this I'm going to take the easy way out (is there any other way) and write a timeline of the events leading up to the game.

Friday April 14.

11:00 P.M. After working hard on my outline for Property for a whole five minutes I reward myself by perusing the internet for the next two hours. After realizing that Deadspin stopped updating 6 hours ago, I stop checking their site, and instead start refreshing my Yahoo! fantasy baseball page. After getting bored with this after about 20 minutes I make my way to, to see what the pitching matchup is for the next game. I'm thrilled to find out its Jeremy Bonderman who Ive never seen pitch, and not that Nate Robertson bastard who Ive seen pitch 1,078 times, and then I'm horrified to see that some guy named Fausto Carmona is making his major league debut against the Tigers. Normally it would be a good thing to face a guy making his debut and hope he get's nervous and starts grooving his pitches, or pull an Adam Pettyjohn and throw up on the mound. However we are talking about the Tigers and normal baseball logic doesnt apply to them, because they usually get owned by guys making their debut, and then after the game say things like "We didn't have video of the guy". We''ll see how this turns out.

Saturday April 15

10:30 A.M.: My alarm goes off and I open my eyes and listen to my brain say, "Dude, Andy, what the hell's going on, it's only 10:30 A.M..........on a Saturday, you don't have to get up for another four hours, and what's with the sunlight, draw the shades and go back to sleep." And seeing how it's early morning, and I'm tired, I find my brain's argument more then reasonable, hit the alarm and go back to bed.

10:45 A.M.: My phone rings and now I really don't know what the hell's going on. Groggy, I look at the phone and see "Matt"on the screen, and cycle through all the Matt's in my head. Matt Dillon, Matt Groening, Matt Morris, and Matt Anderson are readily dismissed because I don't know any of them. Mats Sundin? That doesnt even make sense. Maybe my cousin Matt from I havent talked to him in years and don't know his number. Matt......Matt............TIGERS GAME!!!!

11:30 A.M.: I arrive at Matt's, meet his buddies, watch a bit of the Devil's Advocate, debate weather Keanu Reeves career peaked with Bill & Ted, watch an old ass Jeopardy on Game Show Network and call a cab to take us to Comerica, because 1) it's only $5 and 2) we dont have to deal with parking.

12:30 P.M. Cabbie arrives right on time and to our surprise Dmitri Young is driving, it's nice to see him reach out to fans even when he's on the DL. Seeing as how there is four of us one has to ride shotgun with D'Stink Hook, and when Matt goes to hop in the front seat he finds what you would expect to find in a Detroit cab: A bag of White Castle and a 12 inch long hunting knife.

12:45 The cabbie drives us 10 miles in the wrong direction, pulls the knife on us and tells us to put our wallets on the seat and get out...........well actually this didnt happen.......we get to the stadium, but honestly when I wrote that first sentence you wouldnt have been surprised if this happened next. You racist.

1:00 We settle into our seats behind the third base line and being at Comerica on a perfect spring day in April makes me feel alive. However after a looooooooong winter inside I'm about three shades paler than death so no one would be able to tell I felt or even was alive and the sun is beating mercilessly.

1:01 I'm sunburned.

1:05 Top of the 1st, Hafner comes up as I debate what I should yell at him, before I even get a chance to think of something funny, or at least offensive to antagonize the group of Indians fans sitting in front of us CRACK!!!!! Hafner hits the first pitch about 600 feet to rightfield effectively shutting me up for the rest of the afternoon.

1:20 Bottom of the 1st, Granderson leads off with a single, and I'm thinking we might give Fausto some trouble, then Infante strikes out, followed by a double play by Guillen......uh oh.

Top of the fourth: Maybe I will give Hafner crap today, just in spite of the aforementioned Cleveland fans in the row in fr..........CRACK, double of the base of the wall. Jesus Christ this guy's good. Bonderman starts getting hit around, and after each walk Carlos Guillen walks towards the mound and gives Bonderman the Roger Dorn "Strike this motherfucker out!" no avail. By the time all is said and done Bonderman gets chased after giving up a double to the most random Rookie of the Year ever Todd Hollandsworth, and everyones favorite adult film star Jordan Tata gets out of the inning.

Bottom of the sixth: The guy I came to see, the man who has single handedly kept my fantasy team afloat for the first week and a half, the red-hot Chris Shelton, is coming up with two on and one out and is due. Fausto is circling the mound and officially sweating bullets. Shelton will show those obnoxious Cleveland fans who the best young hitter in the AL Central is........wait what's happening? Double play inning over.

Bottom of the eighth: Matt Miller strikes out the side, we realize that not only is Dmitri Young driving fans to the game, he's also selling Lemon Chill's in the stands. We also realize that no one has talked or moved since the conclusion of the sixth as the sun has completely sucked the energy out of all of us and one of us may have actually evaporated.

Bottom of the ninth: Tigers go down swinging with Vance Wilson striking out: I peel myself out of my seat, go to the bathroom to assess the damage, see that my skin is identical to the color of the Phillies shirt I was wearing and leave Comerica. We hail a cab, pile in, the driver looks like an old black Krusty the Klown with white hair and smells like burning trash, but everyone's too tired and miserable to care........but we can all agree that we can't wait to go back.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Series Wrap-Up Texas Rangers April 6-9 ChiSox April 10-13.

The Tigers won the first three games of this series and looked as though they may never lose again. In the first game the Tigers hit seven homeruns off the Rangers staff including six off of knuckleballing R.A. Dickey, (which sounds like the name of an old timey 1890's baseball player, an era when guys used to go strictly by their initials and you would see names like H.M.M. Chesterfield and O.W. Preston, why did this change, why are initials now limited to the T.J.'s and J.R.'s of the world.) This game was on T.V. so I actually got a chance to watch it, well in between commercials on the Pistons-Heat game. Impemba and Allen were as excruciating as ever breaking out the cliches that they use every year (i.e. country strong, country mile, fundamentals, blah, blah blah.) I actually thought I might get a reprieve from Impemba/Allen, when WB20 picked up an extra 15 games this season, finally gettting to listen to gentle Frank Beckmann and a parade of drunk Tigers from the '84 team (look everyone its Dan Petry!, he was good...remember......) But it was not to be , in fact it was the worst possible scenario as the team announced it would be the same two jackasses, which means everyone has to be subjected to at least 45 more hours of their nonsensical banter.

The Tigers ended up winning the next two games in the series, with Justin Verlander getting
Tigers fans legitimately giddy with a two hit performance Saturday night in the Ballpark of Arlington. It was great because every year it seems as though there are a handful of rookie pitchers who get a ridiculous amount of hype and those pitchers have never been on the Tigers (unless you count a Peter Gammons article from about three years ago, where he compared Cornejo, Bernero, and Maroth to a young early 90's Braves rotation of Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine. Jesus Christ Gammons, he must have been tripping serious balls with Walton as he wrote that.) Also at some point during the series Shelton, was batting a mere .700 and was on pace for 216 homeruns, I think it goes without saying that I have the hands down 19th round pick steal of the fantasy draft this year. The series ended with Shelton getting owned by Vincente Padilla (!?!) by striking out three times and the Tigers lost their first game of the year and proved they were human by shedding their first drop of blood.

Unfortunately that drop of blood turned into massive hemoragging out of control and spraying blood all over Comerica Park in getting swept by the White Sox. I skipped my Contracts class on
Monday to watch the home opener, but that's not saying much as I've skipped my Contracts class to watch the conclusion of Roadhouse. It started off pretty exciting as the two jets that flew overhead at the end of the national anthem flew directly over my apartment building about 1 second later, which means that if I ever traveled from my apartment to Comerica at over 600 MPH I could get there in a little over 1 second. Bonderman got the start and looked great early before giving up a 785 ft moonshot to Jim Thome, unfortunately for the Tigers, the Thome moonshots would become a theme for the rest of the series. Of course Allen remarked that Thome was "country strong". Seriously who didnt fucking see that coming, I practically mouthed the words along with him, I swear to God I hate these guys.....hate them. The other highlight was Craig Monroe's homerun and the cameraman showing a homeless guy sitting behind the Tigers dugout.......oh wait that's just Jeff Daniels, what happened to this guy, has anybody told him he doesnt have to play and look like Harry Dunne anymore? The Tigers then dropped the next two in the series to complete getting swept, although Shelton did hit two more homeruns in the series to raise his total to 7 although it came at the expense of his average as it came tumbling all the way down to .514. Personally I think he's starting to focus on the long ball too much and should be sent to Toledo to work out the kinks. (If anybody takes that last sentence serious, I just want to let you know I'm joking, and that you're an idiot.) Verlander also came crashing back down to earth today, getting roughed up for seven runs in 2.2 innings. I'm not sure what his problem was, because once again the game wasnt on T.V. because FSN didnt want to lose those highly rated poker tournament matches. Chris Spurling came in and did his thing today as well, relieving Bobby Seay, and immediately allowing all of the runners he inherited to score. So what's Spurling's appeal again? Has he ever been anything but below average? Is it good when the only adjective you can come up with to describe a pitcher is "hittable"? Regardless the Tigers now stand at 5-4 with red hot Cleveland and Pronk coming to town, I'm going to the game on Saturday so I can personally watch Shelton and Hafner battle for Goony, Un-Athletic, White Guys, Who Flat Out Rake supremacy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ryan Field Must Have Rocked his SAT's

I wanted to mention something from Tuesday nights Pistons telecast. During the second half of Tuesday nights game sideline reporter Ryan Field reported that the Hornets locker room was flooded and then compared the Hornets having to leave their locker room, to the Hornets having to leave New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Hmmm.......seems like a bit of a stretch to me, but lets try to break this down.

Chris Paul's monogrammed CP-3 plush towels get soaked compared to tens of thousands of people losing their homes.

David West's Italian leather shoes get damp compared to the complete devastation of one of America's largest, most historical communities.

Arvydas Macijauskas brown bag lunch with his ham sandwich and banana gets soggy, compared to a city that faces months/years of rebuilding.

Oh I finally get it, millionaire athletes being slightly inconvenienced is just like hundreds of thousands of poverty stricken individuals being displaced, how ironic..........thanks for the insight Ryan.

(Note: This man was seen leaving the Hornets lockeroom shortly after the end of the 3rd quarter: Early reports indicate he was seen carrying the contents of Marcus Fizer's locker.)

Series Wrap-Up: K.C. Royals April 3-5

I was trying to think of the best way to cover the Tigers this season, and decided the best choice would be to post after the completion of each series. Posting individually after each game would take too much time and effort, two things which I'm surely lacking. Regardless, we'll see how this goes. My prediction is that just like every other idea I've had on this site, (remember my R.B.I. Baseball neither), I'll keep it up for a couple of weeks regularly, gradually start to miss series/posts, and by July it will be like this never happened.

The Tigers swept a two game mini-series against the Royals, outscoring the Royals 17-5. The first game Kenny Rogers came out and pitched solid. Actually he was better then solid, he was fantastic, and I actually enjoyed watching him pitch. Rogers didnt get many strikeouts and he'll never be confused for a power pitcher, but as I've mentioned before I think it's more fun to watch a guy strikeout because he has no idea what pitch is coming, and he either sits there staring with his bat on his shoulder, or does some kind of gross check swing nonsense. Then Leyland made an excellent managerial decision and threw in Zumaya in a close game to blow guys away, old fashioned style, with pure gas. The on thing that had me mildly concerned is that the Tigers scored their only three runs on solo homeruns and left a ton of guys on base, just like last season, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year.......well you see where this is going. Anyways those fears were put to rest today because the Tigers put up 14 runs today while lighting up the pride of Carmen Ainsworth (take that Jon Runyan), Joe Mays (Correction, Didre has informed me that Joe Mays did not attend Carmen Ainsworth, but rather Southwestern Academy in Flint, MTMO regrets the error and would like to add that he's got nothing on former U of M qb and Tiger Rick Leach). Also it looked as though Jeremy Bonderman is in mid-season form, as well as dirtbag Chris Spurling, who came in and immediately gave up a jack to Emil Brown. Unfortunately I didnt get to see any of this game because it wasnt on TV, and I would have been in class for most of it, so I can't really elaborate.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fantasy Baseball

As I alluded to in my Tigers season preview, I am one of several million people who play fantasy baseball, and one of only about fifty who will readily admit it. I've noticed that when I'm talking to someone and the subject of roto baseball comes up they seem startled, feign interest in what I'm saying, and then launch into a five minute discussion of how they think they drafted Aubrey Huff too soon. For me the fantasy baseball draft is one of my favorite nights of the year as it officially signals the beginning of spring for me, whets my appetite for baseball, and validates all the hours I killed while "working" at my dad's office last summer, poring over statistics and trying to find the breakout star for next, this is pathetic. Anyways I'm going to give my round by round picks from this year's draft , so at the end of the year when I'm in 9th place and my team is a bigger trainwreck then Scary Movie 4 ( Jesus Christ, how do these movies still keep getting made, I thought a sequel couldn't get any worse then Tremors 3, and now this), I'll know where it all started to go wrong. Our league is a 6X6 mixed league with the offensive stats being AVG/R/HR/RBI/SB/OPS, and pitching categories being W/K/SV/ERA/WHIP/K:W.

Round 1: I pick third, which means I'm the first person to not get Pujols or A-Rod. I'm debating between taking Johan, Manny, or Vladdy. I like Vladdy because I was a big Expos fan (they were my second favorite team and my sister and I made a trip to Montreal to see them once) but his back scares the hell out of me. You can pencil in Manny for 35/140, but he's so damn flaky I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled an Artest and quit midseason to promote Coco Crisp's rap album. Plus I have a weakness for pitchers so I decide to draft Santana.

Round 2: As I just said I have a wekness for pitchers, and when the pitcher is a Cy Young candidate who doubles as the only person capable of growing a frightening orange/red beard rivaled only by.......well, me, then you have my second round draft pick. Roy Halladay. I had Roy on my team the last two years and neither experience has been good, two years ago he had arm problems and last year he was lights out before breaking his leg in July, and then teasing me into thinking he was going to make a comeback, anyways third times a charm......right?

Round 3: Even though I've already got two elite starters, right before my pick there wa a run on players I was hoping to get....namely Jake Peavy and Ben Sheets, so I panicked and took Carlos Zambrano. I love Zambrano, becuase he's a little insane, but a good hyper-competitive kind of insane, not the Albert Fish kind of insane and it's funny when he runs the bases full bore, weighing about 250 pounds in a nylon pitching jacket. Also he's been on my team every year since I've been playing roto, and I can't imagine playing without him.

Round 4: Now I'm coming unglued taking a pitcher for the fourth straight round, this time Rich Harden. The problem is I don't even really like Harden, he's got a little too much Prior in him for me. High potential and injury risk. THe has the potential to be this seasons Oliver Perez for me......... something I still don't like to talk about.

Round 5: Bonds. I usually don't like taking older guys, especially 42 year old guys, coming off a major knee injury, with a steroid investigation hanging over his head, two books chronicling his failings as a human being, having syringe needles thrown at him, openly contemplating jumping off of a bridge, and possibly the most despised man in the history of baseball (although Ty Cobb would probably like to fight him for that honor).......and I was afraind of taking Manny.

Round 6: Joe Nathan, I needed a closer and he always seems a little undervalued.......other than that I've got nothing to say about him.

Round 7: Hideki Matsui, He kind of reminds me of a Japanese version of Shemp from the Three Stooges, we're both avid pornography collectors, and he was half of the Mike "Marothra"/Godzilla/joke/abomination Impemba laid on us a few years back, (I still cant take Impemba seriously after that, that and he just sucks).

Round 8: Richie Sexson, I had him the year he blew his shoulder all to hell with the D-Backs, so I was reluctant to take him, thankfully we have a category for DUI's.........oh wait, we don't. Shit.

Round 9: Troy Glaus, I figure if you combine Sexson and him you might get a pair of healthy shoulders, to go along with a .247 average.

Round 10: Scott Rolen. If your scoring at home, that makes 4 offensive players I've drafted in the first 10 rounds coming off of recent major injuries, during the beginning of, or in the middlfe of, the downside of their careers.

Round 11: Cliff Floyd, make it 5 of 11......WHAT AM I DOING!!!!

Round 12: Randy Winn.....thats it the wheels have officially come flying off for team Oral Sex Grandpa, (that team name is not as dirty as it sounds, there is actually a reason for it, if you can believe that.)

Round 13: Derrick Turnbow, I was fortunate enough to pick him up last season off of waivers and enjoyed his breakout season, now I get to reap the horrors of his sophmore slump.

Round 14: Chris Ray, I was intrigued by him and I think he is poised for a breakout season.

Round 15: Julio Lugo: At least he continued my streak of starters getting injured on or before Opening Day, which began the year I drafted Derek Jeter in the first round only to have Ken Huckaby bury his knee into Jeter's shoulder, derailing my season before it even got started. (Players I have seem to have something tragic happen to them every year, like this season I had T-Mac, who threw his back out and then had every immediate family member die, I even had Daryl Kile the year he died. I swear players probably wake up screaming in the middle of the night after I add them to my fantasy team.)

Round 16: Bengie Molina, Solid catcher, I think he'll be motivated for a big contract again, and it never hurts to have someone named Bengie on the team.

Round 17: Jose Vidro, I love the aging injured guys, which is strange because I ususally like to select a guy with potential to break out, rather then break down, but I couldnt pass on to former Expos.

Round 18: Chris

Round 19: This is were I nabbed Chris Shelton, the hands down unequivocal steal of the draft, not often do you find a .300/25/90 guy this late in the draft, and some solid insurance for the inevitable Richie Sexson injury. But seriously look at that fucking guy.

Round 20: This pick is kind of sad, Adrian Beltre, he was a second round pick last season by my friend Bill who compunded this mistake by sandwiching this pick between Carlos Beltran in the first round and Eric Gagne in the third round. Needless to say we had to talk him off the ledge and into playing this season, where he had a meltdown, drafting both Justin Verlander, and Edwin Encarnacion about 5 rounds too high. It's amazing when you can pinpoint the exact moment somebodys career was ruined. His draft should be in the Draft Disaster Hall of Fame next to everything by Randy Smith and Matt Millen.

Round 21: Bobby Crosby: Bill Simmons mentioned this in his Opening Day Running Diary, but it warrants mentioning again; being named the preseason MVP by Jayson Stark, Peter Gammons, and Harold Reynolds, is the ultimate kiss of death. Of course he got dinged up on Opening Day for the second consecutive year, which means I couldnt even have a healthy shorstop on my roster for 24 hours this season, between Crosby and Lugo.

Round 22: Daniel Cabrera: Late round flyer on a guy who I hope Leo Mazzone can turn into a 15 game winner. Peter Gammons also predicted this, so I'm sure I'll have waived him by the time you read this.

Well there it is, all 22 rounds I hope it was as boring to read as it was to write, now if you'll excuse me I've got to go check some box scores.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Authoritative Detroit Tigers Season Preview Vol: 2 Pitcher's Edition

This past week was pretty hectic and I didnt have time to update my site. I had to present my oral argument on Thursday night and spent most of the week preparing for it, but in the meantime the Tigers announced their 25 man roster. I covered the position players last week and the only major changes were that the team decided to keep Marcus Thames over Alexis Gomez AND my favorite Tiger Nook Logan, and the Tigers finally released the enigmatic Carlos Pena, which means he's poised for a breakout 30 homerun season for whichever team signs him next.....who says being a Tigers fan makes someone cynical. I really thought Nook would make the team, at least as a defensive replacement/pinch runner, but Granderson had such a kickass spring that it really would be hard to justify him losing at bats to Nook, and Granderson is the future, and hopefully long term answer to a position that has been a perennial weak spot for Detroit since Chet Lemon left, (Brian L. Hunter, Alex Sanchez, Milt Cuyler) so I guess I understand the move but that doesnt mean I have to like it. Although I'm still holding out hope that Nook can make the team by stowing away in Dmitri Young's beard. However this post will preview the 13 pitchers the Tigers are taking north with them to begin the season.


1: Kenny Rogers: The Gambler has been sick for the past week battling the flu, or whatever VD he contracted from a Lakeland floozy, but he is still scheduled to start against the Royals on Opening Day. I'm mildly excited about Rogers and I think he will be solid this season. I predict he'll go 14-10 with a sub 3.80 ERA and that his pitching style is perfectly tailored for Comerica Park. I also have a feeling that Rogers may enjoy one of those crazy Jamie Moyer type seasons, where he inexplicably wins 18 games and befuddles and outsmarts opposing batters for an entire season. However this is coming from the same person who compared Wil Ledezma to a young Pedro Martinez in last season's preview, which means I'm hopelessly optimistic or, more likely, completely delusional.

2: Jeremy Bonderman: For some reason I'm down on Bonderman, and not just because he continues to remind me of a toad. Well down is a pretty harsh word, because I still believe he will be an excellent pitcher, I just don't believe he will ever turn into a surefire number 1 starter/elite pitcher/stopper that I, and many other people, thought he would/could be. I know he is still young (23) but I get the nagging feeling that he may be leveling off, and will never be more than a 15-16 win 4.00 ERA guy, which is still great, but not as good as I was hoping, which was a probably unrealistic belief that he would be a perennial All-Star/second coming of Curt Schilling. It seems as if he's been slow to develop a third plus pitch to his repetoire and runs the risk of getting shelled when his slider isnt finding the strike zone and hitters can just sit back and mash on his fastball. I think this lack of a third pitch will be what keeps him a second tier starter and out of the elite class. Here's hoping he proves me wrong and continues to improve or unveils an improved changeup, however I'm going to be patient with him and temper my expectations and say he goes 15-10 with a 4.30 ERA.

3: Nate Robertson: This guy just spent his time in Lakeland getting his ass rocked after what was an undeniably dissapointing second full year in the big leagues. The thing that concerns me the most about Nate is his declining strikeouts. I don't know if this is because hitters started to catch on to what he was doing after seeing him a few times or what, but regardless it's safe to say that Nate has got me a little concerned heading into this season. Also it seems as if Nate has started 95% of the games (seriously I don't plan on going when he pitches, but I swear to God he pitched on 3 consecutive days last year just because I was in attendance,) I've attended in the past two seasons, and I might just be getting a little sick of seeing his face and goggles every time I go to Comerica. I predict 9-12 4.50 ERA.

4: Mike Maroth. Maroth freaks me out, because he bears an uncanny resemblance to my old room
mate in college, whose name was also Mike. Mike and Mike look exactly alike and I wish I had a picture of my old roommate with me that did not contain full frontal nudity, so I could post it on this site to show the similarities. (Come on this is a family site, I know parents and their children gather around their computers to read what I posted as if they were eagerly awaiting the delightful racism of the Amos and Andy show). I always had the theory that my roommate popped out of Mike Maroth's back after Maroth got wet a la Gremlins......not sure where I'm going with that.......anyways I'm looking forward to Mike Maroth being Mike Maroth and winning 13-14 games and posting a mid 4 ERA. If anything I think he'll continue to incrementally improve as he becomes older/wiser/craftier, like the aforementioned Jamie Moyer.

5: Justin Verlander. To say I'm giddy about the Verlander era is an understatement. To say I'm frothing at the mouth and in an immediate state of arousal at the mere mention of his name, would also be an understatement. Seriously though HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GUYS FUCKING MINOR LEAGUE STATS!!!!!! Has anyone in the 100+ years of baseball posted a 0.28 ERA in Double A? Also unlike Bonderman he already has 3 major league ready plus pitches, A sharp curve, a fastball that tops out at about 100 MPH and an off speed pitch. I'm not expecting anything huge this season because he still has some control problems, and he's inexperienced, but I do think there will be times this season where he pulls out a 7 IP 3 H 1 ER 8 K line and is just downright filthy. I think he has the potential to be the future Number 1/ace of the staff although that might still be a few years away. For this season I'll say he goes 7-6 with a 4.20 ERA.


Todd Jones: Hmm, the season hasnt started and our aging closer has already found his way onto the DL. This sounds awfully familiar........oh thats right, because we just went through this shit last year with Troy Percival. I know Jones isnt on the DL for something as serious as elbow problems, (he has a pulled hammy), but this just seems like a bad omen. At least we now know that we will get to go another two weeks before we have to hear Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows ad nauseum, and we should cherish this short yet precious time.

Fernando Rodney: He's back in the closer role, with Jones on the DL. Rodney has got one of the filthiest change ups in all of baseball when he has it working, which unfortunately is only about 70 % of the time. When he doesnt have it he turns into Franklyn German, which is never a good thing. He's also my favorite for "Tiger most likely to appear on COPS," only becuase it looks like he spends the early innings of the game freebasing in the bullpen. (That last line is why I'm so popular with children.)

Bobby Seay: Who the fuck is this guy, he was released by the Rockies for crissakes because he had an ERA over 8.00..........oh thats right, he's left handed, which means he'll always have a job in the big leagues under the C.J. Nitkowski Rule. I swear to god when I have a kid I'm tying his right arm behind his back, and then sit back and watch the money roll in.

Jamie Walker: The other lefthander, only this guy can actually get people out. I'm nominating him for "Tiger reliever most likely to get trotted out each day until his arm either A: explodes, or B: detaches from his body." Previous winners include Mike Myers, Sean Runyan, and that worthless piece of no talent garbage named Al Levine.

Chris Spurling: I hate this guy, I hate his stupid tattoo, and his ridiculous 48 gold chain he wears around his neck, and that meatball he served to Juan Uribe last season, which was the beginning of the end for Trammell, yet he doesnt go away, so I respect that.....I guess....moving on.

Jordan Tata: I think this would make a great porno name, not as good as Zesty Alvarado, but close. Tata is currently on the team because of Jones being on the DL, and he's put up impressive minor league numbers, I could probably give them to you but it's late and I'm tired , but trust me they were impressive, and why would you read this site if you didnt trust me.......

Jason Grilli: He's from Royal Oak and played for Italy in the WBC, where he was impressive despite having to pitch in a tight mint green tracksuit, that doubled as the Italian teams uniforms. Forget it I'm gonna see how many Italian stereotypes I can get in about Grilli. He is
believed to have the shortest temper on the team threatening to fight Chris Shelton after Shelton allegedly insulted Grilli's mom's spicy meatball recipe. He petitioned the Tigers to change their uniforms to white chef hats, and when told no, he told team officials to "Shut up a yo face." His team photo on the Tigers website is posted on the right. (I know Ive lost what little credibility I had in the last few sentences and possibly ruined a political career, and if any Italians want to beat me up I'll be on the lookout for your IROC Camaro........sorry I can't stop.)

Joel Zumaya: I can't wait until five years from now when our rotation has Verlander and Bonderman as the anchors, and Zumaya is in the back of the pen closing things out with an unhittable/nasty 100MPH fastball. I'm either going to look back on that last sentence in five years as me being a sage, or it will make me cry because things didnt go as planned, knowing the Tigers I'm going with the latter.

Finally my Central Division Standings Prediction

1: Chicago White Sox: Their pitching is just too deep, and they added a huge bat in Thome who I think has a couple of good DH years in him
2: Detroit Tigers: The surprise team that could win 88 games
3: Cleveland Indians: I think they'll slide some because I don't like their pen, and they have Jason Johnson......I hate that guy.
4: Minnesota Twins: I look at their lineup and I dont see how theyll score, I'm also not buying the Joe Mauer hype.....not yet.
5: Kansas City Royals: I'm not going to joke about the Roylas....being a Tigers fan I can empathize with their fan base, and its painful......Sorry.