Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tigers - Cardinals 6/24/06

Normally I wait until after a series is over before I start typing but tonight's game, which clocked in at nearly 4 hours, was to good to wait until Monday afternoon to re-cap. No long ass preface to this game let's just dive right in.

1:) Rod Allen and Mario Impemba are the worst announcing team in the history of baseball. I know this has nothing to do with the game itself but the two of them almost ruined what was possibly the most exciting game of the year. I dont mind Impemba so much because he just seems like a corny douchebag but Rod Allen is awful. I write a ton about how much I hate these guys but I won't stop complaining until they are gone. A list of tonights offenses by Mr. Allen.

1.A) Confusing Albert Pujols with Albert Belle. Then he referred to Pujols as "P-H-A-T" Albert twice, spelling it out for us both times, just in case we didnt get it before.

1.B) Continuing his urban grammar/spelling lessons that impress only Mario, and makes the rest of the viewing audience cringe, ( I also hate Impembas crush on Allen, I bet he broadcasts most of the games with his left hand placed on Allen's crotch) says that Curtis Granderson is "B-A-D-D, badd". Later on Allen broke out the thesaurus and described Granderson's play so far in the game as "nice" and then to really emphasize how amazing Granderson has been so far he says he's "really nice". Seriously, these guys make Dan Dickerson and Jim Price on the radio look like Ernie Harwell and Vin Scully. Speaking of Harwell, would anybody be opposed to the idea of just hooking up a live feed of the game to Harwell as he broadcast the game from the couch, who cares if he's nearly 90 and would mispronounce a ton of names he'd still be better then these guys. But I digress.

2. Back to Granderson, to quote Allen he is "nice" and "B-A-D-D" and to be more blunt pretty fucking spectacular. 4-5 tonight with 1 BB 3 runs, he stole third and scored from first to win it in the 10th, and even though he didnt really show it this game he has a lot of pop, like 20-25 homerun a year pop. He's about two weeks away from me going out and laying down a 150 bucks on a number 28 jersey. I couldn't be happier with this years team but can you imagine an outfield of Cameron Maybin and Granderson in a couple of years. Nice.

3. Earlier today I was talking to a friend of mine and we were discussing how the Tigers have had few spectacular defensive plays this year and how you hardly see them on WebGems even though they are a pretty solid if not spectacular defensive team. Sure enough tonight we saw Shelton's diving snare and Kenny Rogers knockdown, scramble throw, both of which cracked the Sportscenter Top 10.

4. Joel Zumaya. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. He comes in and throws seven pitches five of which crack 101 with a high of 104 MPH. They didn't mention it on ESPN or the Yahoo! recap so it may have just been the effects of a fast gun but still that is unbelievable. 104 MPH!!! That's the fastest since the immortal Matt Anderson, (so lets make sure Zumaya doesnt enter any squid tossing contests). The very idea that there were rumors that Zumaya may be involved in a deal for John Smoltz is so ludicrous that just the mere thought of it makes me want to vomit in rage. (OK I can tell Im worked up now, I'll try to calm down) Seriously though didnt we trade a young up and coming pitcher for an over the hill starter for the stretch run just 20 years ago? Didn't we trade away a young JOHN SMOLTZ 19 years ago for a 36 year old Doyle Alexander who got his ass lit up to the tune of 10 runs in nine playoff innings before completely decomposing during a 6-18 season in 1989. Did some people not learn from this, did anyone think this was a good idea. Good thing Leyland crushed this rumor like the 60 cigarette butts he puts out a day because if this wouldve happened I would be driving around with Dave Dombrowski in my trunk and no jury wouldve convicted me. Just so you know.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Series Wrap-up: Brewers-Tigers 6/19-6/21

(I know this is a couple of days late but Blogger wouldn't let me publish anything over the past couple of days.)

I've always liked the Milwaukee Brewers., and it's still weird to think of them as a National League team even though this is their ninth year in the senior circuit. I've always liked their logo and team colors, as a kid I collected somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 Gary Sheffield Donruss Rated Rookie Cards, ( I have an equal number of Griffey's from that year along with Steve Searcy (?), I hope someone lost their job for the Searcy pick). I also like that the Brewers were moved from the AL Central to the NL Central in 1998 to make room for the Tigers who got pushed out of the AL East by the expansion Devil-Rays, not that it made much difference because the Tigers continued to finish in last place every year, but at least they didnt have to get beat by the Yankees and Red Sox 19 times a season. Also Tigers and Brewers fans can relate because the two teams went through 13 consecutive non-winning seasons, suffered through independent Phil Garner eras, and both teams are currently on the rise. That being said the Tigers opened a three game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee looking to continue their recent hot streak.

Monday night our need for a left handed bat was exposed again, (I know we need a left handed bat, but what we DON'T need is Aubrey Huff or Jeremy Burnitz, please god don't let that happen), as Doug Davis ate the Tigers lineup alive with 9 k's and three hits through 7 innings. Jeremy Bonderman was equally impressive with 12 k's for the second straight start and no runs until Prince Fielder, Cecil's son, former fat kid from the McDonald's commercials, current fat kid first baseman crushed a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh. However the Tigers responded showcasing their power hitting in the eighth inning by reaching base on two bunt singles accompanied by throwing errors. Magglio then doubled in a couple of runs to make it 3-1, before Todd Jones came in and got an amazingly stress free save.

The second game was over before it even started as Rick Helling, easily the most successful major league pitcher in the history of North Dakota took the mound. I'm amazed at how washed up guys continually get chances in the majors based on one or two successful seasons that happened over a decade ago. Really, Rick Helling is the best pitcher you have to throw out there (see also, Jose Lima, Brian Moehler, Aaron Sele, etc). What was Plan B? James Baldwin, Tommy Greene? Roger Pavlik? Anyways Helling got crushed to the tune of 7 runs over 2 1/3 innings and by the time the 4th inning was over it was 10-0 Detroit, thanks to two Magglio homeruns, his first in what seemed to be ages, as well as the triumphant return of Craig Monroe. Had this been the original R.B.I. Baseball the game would've ended in a mercy, however they continued and Zach Miner pitched masterfully. It looks as though he will be the key to the Farnsworth deal last summer and not Roman Colon, much like Robertson became the best pitcher from the Redman deal and not devil incarnate Gary Knotts.

The third and final game of the series wasn't on so I didnt get a chance to watch any of it obviously. However it did feature Chris Capuano as the starter for the Brewers and who was also pitching for my fantasy team. I actually thought about sitting him because the Tigers had been playing so well but decided against it. This was a reversal from three years ago, when I would pick guys up off the waiver wire to throw into my lineup when they were playing the Tigers because they were almost always assured a victory. Regardless Capuano and Robertson both pitched well and the game was decided on a Rickie Weeks homerun of Joel Zumaya, which won it 4-3.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Another Productive Day at the Office

This summer I'm working an internship at my Dad's law office in the wonderful turd-tropolis that is Clio. So far today, I've done some typing, checked e-mail about 5,674 times, (that sounds like a good idea, I think I'll check it again..............Hey 30% off at J. Crew, that was exciting.), Discreetly refreshed the box score to the Pirates/D-Backs game because I had Freddy Sanchez playing a spot start and he was up with the bases loaded (he struck out), ate a handful of Tootsie Rolls, closed the door to my office and talked to my friend TJ on the cell phone, and feigned looking productive when my Dad or his secretary Mary walked by. Anyways, I thought I would close out this hectic rat race of a Monday by killing 30 minutes or so wrapping up the Tigers beat down of the Cubs over the weekend. I remember doing some series wrap-ups pre-Final Exams meltdown, and enjoyed doing them and with the Tigers continuing to play well I think its time to re-start the wrap-ups.

This was a good weekend for the Tigers as they continued their nearly century long dominance over the hapless Cubs. (But then again what team hasnt dominated the Cubs over the last century?) No doubt inspired to avenge the beating administered by Tinkers/Evers/Chance, and Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown on precocious Ty Cobb and the rest of the 1908 Tigers, this years squad completed a sweep in decisive fashion. (Why don't people name their kids like they did in the late 1800's, there is a shortage of Rube's, Heinie's, Mordecai's, and Ira's, or were the people with these names more likely to contract TB, typhoid, and smallpox? I need to know this.) I missed Fridays game because the 2:20 start time did not fit well into my work schedule, but I was able to follow the action live thanks to the tiny yellow dots on Yahoo! gamecast it was almost like I was actually there, (if the game were being played using an Atari 2600). Curtis Granderson, who is quickly becoming my favorite Tiger, thanks in part to his involvement in my two favorite teams, the Tigers and my fantasy team Team bearface, set the tone early, in what would become a theme for him in this series. Nate Robertson was solid again, and I rushed home just in time to see beleaguered closer Todd Jones come strolling in to try to finish off the game. When i saw this my heart sank immediately as I was really hoping to see Rodney take over the role. Jones has been called the "Rollercoaster" by other sites, but I disagree with this nickname. Rollercoasters tend to have peaks and valleys, unless they really suck like say...........the Iron Dragon, however Todd Jones is mainly going from a high point (having the lead) and then plummeting into the depths of hell (see: Tigers v. D-Rays), so if I had to compare him to a rollercoaster it would be the Demon Drop, which I think is a more appropriate name.........but I digress. Regardless Jones closed without incident and the Tigers won but I still dont trust him.

The second game wasnt televised in Clio because we don't get Channel 20, but from what I could glean from half ass reading the Detroit News was that Verlander wasnt particularly sharp, but didnt get hit hard, the Cubs might have got screwed on a foul ball call by the seemingly impossible to get out Henry Blanco, and the Tigers scored a lot late to really put the game out of reach. Hows that for an in-depth re-cap.

Sundays game was intriguing due to the fact that Mark Prior was making his season debut and Kenny Rogers was going for his 200th win. The Tigers greeted Mark Prior and his very hittable fastball by beating his brains in for 3 2/3 innings. Granderson led off the game with a homerun, the first time he's done that in his career moving him to within 80 of Ricky Henderson on the all-time homerun list. (Ricky Henderson says, "Ricky Henderson isnt worried about Kevin Anderson catching him."). It got so bad for Prior that even Vance Wilson hit a bomb off of him. The ghost of Chris Shelton's April returned to hit two homeruns, and Brandon Deer errr I mean Rob Inge continued his torrid homerun pace while sporting a batting average that would make Steve Balboni blush. Anyways this Tigers beatdown was overshadowed by the generic sappy storyline of Kenny Rogers 200th victory on Father's Day in the Friendly Con......blah blah blah, as all the sportswriters channeled their inner Mitch Albom and pretended to believe that their own fathers didnt think of them as bitter disappointments. (Its Monday I have a right to be caustic.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Has anyone ever told you..........?

For whatever reason my passion for sports is in a lull right now. The NBA season is over (this NBA Finals isn't happening, I will not acknowledge its presence nor recognize the champion, I will be in Hart Plaza a week from now, sitting in a folding chair, waiting for Ben Wallace to drive, no this is to painful to write, but you get the idea), the U.S. World Cup team may be the most overhyped bust since "Join Bode", and Todd Jones not only ruined my day but was crushing my very soul, with a string of appearances that left his ERA north of 7.00. The bleakest moment came a week and a half ago when I went to the Tigers-Red Sox game and saw Rogers and Schilling pitch like they did when they were youngsters back in the 1940's. Everything was going smoothly until two outs in the ninth, two strikes on Youkilis, I'm standing and cheering and, Crack. Home Run. Red Sox lead 3-2, the energy is sucked out of Comerica, I crash in my seat next to a 500 pound man who somehow managed to sneak a handful of cheese danishes into the game, and was losing his battle with his stink organ, and the literally TWO SECONDS later my phone rings with my sister telling me the Pistons were down twenty in the third quarter...and I didnt care..........well I did a little but the point was those events which transpired over a mere 30 seconds were so emotionally wrenching, that I couldnt muster the energy to care passionately about sports for awhile. I also started working an internship and stupidly neglected updating this site, (I couldnt even muster the energy to make a Dmitri Young/Little Caesar' Hot & Ready addiction joke (is it too late to say it now? It is? ok moving on) which is one of the few things I really enjoy doing.

Well now that Ive spent a paragraph to essentially say "I'm lazy!" I'm going to write about something that doesnt necessarily pertain to sports, but thats always fascinated me. I need to explain. The other day I'm sitting at the Wendy's drive-thru when the black guy who works the deep fryer (I think it was
Chris Cash) glances at me and it seems as though he recognizes me. I quickly try to think of where he might know me from. Do I owe him drug money? Does he owe ME drug money? No that doesnt make sense I dont do drugs. Now he's walking over, leans out the window and says "Has anyone ever told you, you look like Steve Nash." I respond, "Amazingly yes, even though I dont see it". Of course, his question and my answer draw the attention of the other workers who troll by and say things like "what are you doing up here", and "how's Amare's knee?", all while laughing. I dont mind, in fact I kind of enjoy it, because for whatever reason I've always been curious to see how I look to others. So heres a list of people who are said to look like me by more than one person along with its advantages/disadvantages. For reference, my law school photo is posted a few posts down and I'm not Ricky Williams.

1: Steve Nash: This started when I was at Michigan State and my roommate and I would go to the IM building to play basketball. I had long hair at the time and every time I would show up all the black guys would start laughing and say "looks like we got Nash here tonight." This continued through the Gus Macker tournament last year and now it dogs me at Wendy's. Of course the comparisons stopped when the opposing team realized I was more Travis Knight than Steve Nash, and could barely dribble with my left hand.

Advantages: Having Geri Halliwell show up at my Gus Macker games. Two MVP trophies. Close friendship with German(s).

Disadvantages: Chest Hair.

2. Bob Denver: I've heard this twice in my life and both times in the same week. First by a homeless man selling candles door to door in Lansing, I laughed it off as another hysterical case of alcohol dementia. And then two days later my impish history professor told me this after class, creeping me out enough to keep me from coming back.

Advantages: Hanging out with Dobey Gillis

Disadvantages: random hat beatings from obese captains.

3: Keith Moon: I hear this mainly from my dads crusty old 70's rock friends, and random 50 year old alcoholic guys who wear bandanas.

Advantages: Kickass drumming, Groupies, Drugs, Rock & Roll, and all that.
Disadvantage: Inability to swim.

4: Tyson Ritter: He's the lead singer of All-American Rejects, I had to look up his name, all I know about him is that I supposedly bear a resemblance to him in the "Move Along" video.

Advantages: Picking up 7th grade girls at the Hot Topic located in Genesee Valley Mall

Disadvantages: Being shown on Dateline trying to pick up 7th graders at the mall, making crap rock music that plagues Madden games.

5: Cedric the Entertainer: Seriously is anyone still reading this?

5: Josh Groban: I hear this from mom's who want their daughters to date nice, sensitive, caring Josh Groban types, only they dont know they are dealing with an acerbic, desperate, socially inept Andrew type. Oh yeah and my Uncle Rex said this. Thats right. Rex.

Advantages: None.

Disadvantages: Looking like Josh Groban.

6: Jeff Samardzija: I got this after running for my life outside of Michigan Stadium after Samardzija made the game winning touchdown grab. There was a photo in ESPN the Magazine a few months ago where I could actually see the resemblance, mostly in our gargantuan angular noses, albeit I look like a Samardzija with no muscle, no hands, and no fastball.

Advantages: Lining up the Catholic girls and owning South Bend alongside Brady Quinn next year.

Disadvantages: Having to go to Nortre Dame, Red Haired/Irish Catholic girls, Having to look at Charlie Weiss in shorts.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Tigers Draft Nightmare

Over the next two days Major League Baseball will be holding its annual amateur draft consisting of over fifty rounds and the selection of over 1500 players, 99% of whom won't make it to the big league level, and the 1% who do make it will be backing up an undrafted Latino player. This means that nearly every person in the country with any sort of baseball experience has probably been drafted at some point in time. I think I've even been drafted based on my few years experience in Little League, (however due to the fact that I missed the cutoff date to play with kids my own age by two days my numbers were somewhat inflated, it was like the Steroid Age of Clio Youth Baseball.) It goes without saying that a team that drafts well and constantly has an influx of homegrown talent to complement their veteran players and keep free agent signings of has-beens (Reggie Sanders) and never-weres (Pat Meares) to a minimum are pretty successful. For a while the Tigers were one of the best teams in baseball when it came to the draft as exemplified by the 1984 World Series team, where nearly every major player like Gibson, Whitaker, Trammel, and Morris, were drafted and nurtured in the Tigers system. Then the Tigers struck out with their early picks for about twenty years and when it became to replace the aging Trammel, Whitaker, and Gibson the Tigers were stuck and had to resort to signing the Bip Roberts and trading for the Mark Lewis' of the world and a series of 100 loss seasons ensued. Today I'm going to look at recent Tigers 1st round draft picks (flameouts).

1995: Mike Drumright: Was a highly regarded polished college pitcher and drafted ahead of the riskier high schooler named, wait for it.........Roy Halladay (ugh). Drumright famously threw 150 pitches in 3 innings at Double A, which rightfully got his manager fired, and blew his arm all to hell. According to the statistical, souless, robot unit named Rob Neyer Drumright was almost traded for Bernie Williams in '97 before the "Boss" nixed the deal. Instead he went 24-46 in 5 seasons in the Tigers organization before being traded straight up for Brandon Villafuerte. Drumright ended up making his major league debut in 2003 with the Orioles pitching 4 innings before retiring.

1996: Seth Greisinger: Another college pitcher who experienced arm trouble for Detroit. Greisinger made it to the majors in his second full season and showed some promise after making 21 starts. However arm problems resulted in him missing 3 full seasons. 3!!!! To his credit he battled back from the injuries to start a couple of games for Detroit in '02. However he couldnt make the team in '03 (remember they lost 119 games that year) and has kicked around with the Twins and Braves since.

1997: Matt Anderson: He was the number one pick in the draft and my all time favorite Tiger for reasons unbeknownst to even me. He threw 100 MPH, which he couldnt control, and a knuckle curve that got consistently rocked, but he was exciting. At least until he blew his arm out in an octopus throwing contest in an attempt to win Red Wings tickets that were too expensive for his $4,000,000 salary. Currently he's getting lit up in AAA Fresno in the Giants organization.

1998: Jeff Weaver: Finally the Tigers drafted a solid major leaguer. Weaver was the "ace" on the Tigers staff as soon as he reached the big leagues. However the most impressive thing he accomplished in his Tiger career was bating ultrareligious Royal Mike Sweeney into one of the most spectacular donnybrooks in years. He was eventually traded for Jeremy Bonderman in what looks to be a good deal, given Weavers struggles over the past few seasons.

1999: Eric Munson: Munson was highly touted coming out of college and was taken third overall. He showed promise as a power hitter in that disastrous '03 season, enough promise for me to take him as a sleeper pick at third in '04. That didnt work out to well. After refusing to die in Tampa, where all former prospects go for a last shot (currently Russell Branyan, Travis Lee and Casey Fossum) last season, he's reunited with Phil Garner and the Astros.

2000: Matt Wheatland: I know nothing about this guy, other than the fact that I own a ton of his Topps rookie cards, this was in a brief period when I heavily got into collecting cards again, (heavy makes it sound like a drug addiction, and so what if I was a 17 year old eschewing high school parties to buy baseball cards, the fact that I was also single was purely coincidental I tell you. COINCIDENTAL.) Wheatland held out and got an assload of money as a bonus and went 3-5 in two seasons. Good move by him

2001: Kenny Baugh: Another college pitcher, more arm trouble. According to an old Detroit news article Baugh once threw 170+ pitches in a college game his senior year, and then 210 innings in the minors for Detroit. Soon he was throwing BP fastballs and headed for shoulder surgery. He's now with the Padres organization.

2002: Scott Moore: After realizing drafting pitchers wasnt working out to well the Tigers took a shot on another position player this time a shortstop. Moore hit nothing and struck out a lot in his three years with the Tigers. He was traded to the Cubs in the Farnsworth deal and is still in the low level minors.

2003: Kyle Sleeth: Another pitcher even more arm problems. After missing out on Delmon Young and Rickie Weeks, two top flight, can't miss prospects, the Tigers drafted third and took Sleeth out of Wake Forest. After two unspectacular years in the minors Sleeth had Tommy John surgery forcing him to miss all of last season.

2004: Justin Verlander: He took forever to sign, but so far the early returns have been good. Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, and even earned a little photo on the top left corner of this weeks Sports Illustrated. Wait, did I just say our top pitching prospect of the last 25 years just appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated? NOOOOOOOOO. If anything happens to Verlander in the next few weeks I'm kidnapping Rick Reilly and feeding him to Steve Rushin.

2005: Cameron Maybin: To early to tell with him, but his first season has been promising and he is known as a toolsy player who has been compared to (I'm not making this up) Ken Griffey Jr. However I remember hearing the same thing about Ruben Mateo......howd that turn out?

Update: According to due to the incompetence of the Royals the Tigers have taken Andrew Miller in the first round. The consensus best pitcher in the draft out of North Carolina, and supposedly the most major league ready.