Sunday, October 29, 2006

Congratulations St. Louis

I know this post is about 48 late but I've been having issues with Blogger and wasn't able to post Friday or Saturday. Still, I don't feel like talking about this yet.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Game 4 Re-Cap

I've always prided myself on never becoming so emotionally invested in a team to the point that their performance on the field would directly effect my mood/personality/well being. I've watched the Pistons lose a NBA Finals Game 7, seen numerous Michigan losses to Notre Dame, Ohio State, Iowa, etc., watched the Lions.....well the Lions have never played a game I expected them to win so forget that example, and I've never let it effect me to the point of ruining my day. Sure I'll be disappointed with the result, I might throw my hands up in the air and curse, but usually within 30 minutes or so I've calmed down, realized there was nothing I could do that would change the outcome, and moved along. This Tigers team and the World Series has been different though. Here it is 2 hours after an extremely frustrating Game 4 loss and I'm still stewing and I don't see myself calming down any time soon. I've tried to relax but it isnt possible. I tried to play Madden but barely held off the Colts, (o.k. I won 42-10 but that's a close game) and only took a small amount of satisfaction in ending Peyton Mannings season at the hands of a vicious Boss Bailey blitz. But I couldn't enjoy it because I was thinking of Fernando Rodney's ridiculous throwing error that allowed two runs to score. I tried to watch Puppet Master on AMC's Monstervision, (terrible, terrible movie by the way, I can't believe I used to be scared of this as a child), and could only think of how I wish Blade was killing David Eckstein in the elevator instead of that psychic woman. I sat down and listened to Sister Christian on ITunes and could only see Curtis Granderson slipping and getting turned around in centerfield. AHHHHHH!!!!!! I can't escape tonight's game. The Tigers should have tied this Series tonight, but they blew way to many opportunities (8 guys left on base), and their sloppy play was compounded by the fact that they had incredible bad luck, (4 straight games with a fielding error by a pitcher, has that ever happened before? Anywhere at any level? If I were the Cardinals I would bunt back to the mound every at bat and take my chances..........I'm only half joking about that).

I know I shouldn't be complaining because at the beginning of the season no one thought the Tigers would be playing in the World Series, its been a magical season, I should be grateful, blah, blah, blah, and all that noise. I'll concede that for the most part this is true, it's been great following this team, October baseball in Detroit has been amazing, it's great to see the city embrace this team, and Maggs Game 4 ALCS homerun was one of the most exciting moments of my life, but I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be disappointed if they lost this World Series. I want them to finish the deal, I want the Tigers to turn this season from a memorable season into a magical, historical, three years removed from the depths of hell, TV movie, telling my grandchildren sitting on my knee, type of season. That's why I'm holding out hope that the Tigers can come back and take three games in a row to win this Series. Are things bleak? Absolutely. Do I think they can do it? Not really. Only 6 teams have ever come back from being down 3-1 in World Series history and one of them was the 1968 Tigers against who? The Cardinals. Does that have anything to do with these two teams? No. Am I grasping for anything to hang my hat on? Yes. Am I asking myself to many questions? No doubt. But all I/we can do is hold out hope that they win tomorrow night and bring this Series back to Detroit. Go Tigers.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

World Series Game 3

I don't know what to make of tonights game. A large part of me wants to panic, put my hands on my head and mumble "Oh my God, the Tigers have reverted back to the team that went 19-31 down the stretch and got swept by Kansas City at home on the final weekend of the regular season." I think this reaction would be justified based on these facts from the first three games:

1: Granderson, Polanco and Pudge being a combined 0-34. Granderson has reverted back to the horrendous leadoff man he was down the stretch. He gets behind in the count so quickly it seems as though he walks to the plate with an 0-2 count. He's also swinging at every breaking ball thrown his way, which happens to be tomorrow nights starter Jeff Suppan's specialty. Great. I was surprised that Polanco was 0-Series because it seems as though he's hit the ball hard several times, and of course I also wrote before the Series started that I didn't think he was capable of getting less than two hits a game, so is partially my always. Where Granderson and Polanco have played well in the previous two rounds Pudge, on the other hand, has been completely worthless throughout the entire postseason. He doesn't have a hit since Game 1 of the ALCS, grounds out weakly to second base or if there are guys on, a momentum killing double play. Also it seems he's been lazy and indifferent behind the plate being slow or completely reluctant top get in front of balls in the dirt. Is it reactionary and stupid to suggest giving Vance Wilson a spot start? Yes. Is that what I'm asking for? Maybe.

2: Speaking of sloppy defense the Tigers are coming apart at the seams defensively at other positions, namely the pitching staff with three errors in the first three games. Verlander and Zumaya's errors were inexcusable. Verlander had no reason to try to hold an injured Pujols on first base and Zumaya who can consistently locate 100+ MPH fastballs can't toss a ball to Inge at third without it being 10 feet behind him. I've never understood why pitchers have such a hard time throwing to a base after they field a ball when they are so accurate otherwise. Does this apply to other professions. Do NASCAR drivers drive erratically when they are going through a neighborhood. Do surgeons carelessly mangle carving up turkeys on Thanksgiving.

3: Equally frustrating is Capri Sun's insistence on using these stupid pouches that just bend up your straw until you poke through the other side and have it drip down your leg in a vain attempt to get to the sweet nectar inside. Switch to boxes already, why must you tease us !!!!!

4: The Tigers were back to being the undisciplined free swinging group that got them into trouble late in the season. For most of the night Carpenter was averaging less then 10 pitches in inning, as most of the Tigers were swinging at the first strike they saw, or just going down on 3 straight pitches.

However the rest of me still isn't worried. If there was one game that I thought the Tigers would potentially lose heading into this Series (and I honestly thought the Tigers were going to sweep) it was going to be Game 3 at Busch Stadium with Chris Carpenter on the hill against Nate Robertson. That isn't a knock on Nate because I think he's a solid pitcher but Carpenter is the reigning N.L. Cy Young and nearly unhittable at home (for those of you who want to point out that I said the N.L. was the inferior league and Carpenter would be nothing more then a solid No.2 on a decent A.L. team, I just have one thing to say to you, "I'm not here to talk about the past",......moving on.) I still think the Tigers are in good shape and should be able to steal tomorrows game with Bonderman matching up against Jeff Suppan. Before the post-season I questioned Bondermans make-up and said he was going to be a complete disaster or he was going to come-up big and establish himself as one of the premier young pitchers in the A.L. and so far he's been the latter, pitching extremely well in the Series clinchers in the first two rounds. I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a little worried about the Tigers and the direction this Series is heading, but I still believe in this team and expect them to come up big tomorrow night. Go Tigers.

Monday, October 23, 2006

World Series Game 2: Pine Tar Palm-Gate

I know that's a horrible title for a post but I'm obligated to put "-Gate" at the end of every post title that deals with a controversial decisions or events. I hate doing it, it's cheesy and played out, but my hands are tied. It's the rules, for more examples look at the AP re-cap entitled "Smudgegate" and Karl Ravech referring to tonight as "Dirtgate".

Here's my take on the events tonight:

A couple of months ago Rogers was struggling to the point that Lynn Henning writer/jackass for the Detroit News called for him to be replaced by some guy named Chad Durbin. So Leyland, seeing that his pitcher is feeling a little down, puts a bunch of pine tar in a jar, slaps a label on it that reads "Pitchzyte, guaranteed to increase the break on your pitches by 6 inches", gives it to The Gambler and tells him that if he smears some on his palm before each start he'll be unhittable. Rogers, who is desperate to try anything to get back to his first half form tries it out, pitches a great game against the White Sox, and turns into the Tigers best starter down the stretch and through the first two rounds of the playoffs heading into tonights game. That's when Fox announcers Tim McCarver and Joe Buck drew attention to the magic smudge on Rogers throwing hand during the first inning which lead to a Cardinals clubhouse minion to slither down into the dugout to inform Il Duce La Russa. Il Duce in turn informed the umpires who convened and told Rogers to wash the substance off his hands. Rogers retired down the dugout steps to a sink in the walkway washed the magic substance off his palm, wiped his brow, grabbed both sides of the sink and dropped his head, dejected. What was he going to do? Was he going to revert back to the horrendous pitcher he was before he received the jar?

"It was pine tar." A raspy voice said behind him.

Rogers was baffled, turned around and saw his diminutive manager standing in the concourse shadows.

"In the jar Kenny, it was only ordinary pine tar. I saw your confidence was down so I gave you a jar of pine tar and deceived you into believing it was something magical. But it wasn't, it had no effect, all the success you've had since August, the scoreless inning streak, everything. It's been you, Kenny, not the substance. You. Now go and pitch the game of your life" Leyland concluded.

Anyways regardless of whatever was on his hand, mud/pine tar/fecal matter (I'm leaning towards the latter), Rogers pitched out of his mind tonight.......again. Rogers, who had never made it out of the fifth inning in any of his postseason starts before this year has now turned in 23 straight scoreless innings. Wow. It's events like this that re-affirm my belief that this Tigers team is destined to win the World Series this season. Here are a few more quick observations from tonights game.

1: It's really annoying having the Cardinals announcers calling the Series for Fox. According to Buck and McCarver Albert Pujols can do no wrong, and when he does mess up it's not his fault. If Pujols wants to recklessly charge a bunt in front of the pitchers mound by sliding in front of Weaver and attempting to barehand the ball that leads to an error then it's Weavers fault because he got in Pujols way. Pujols runs half ass on every ground ball but it's ok because he has a bad hamstring and it's not worth going all out in the cold weather. It wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't coming from Buck, who seems to take pleasure in killing other star athletes who he doesnt perceive as giving their all, (i.e. Randy Moss' fake mooning and pointing out every half hearted blocking attempt or route by Moss), but he looks out for his St. Louis boys. I can't believe I'm saying this but I almost wish Steve Lyons was calling these games. Speaking of Lyons he must be dying at home wanting to make fun of Hispanic players. I can just see him sitting on his couch at home talking into a microphone by himself watching Game 7 and saying things like "Endy Chavez just stole that homerun from Rolen like Lou Pinella took my wallet."

2: So far the only player who looks completely overmatched by being in the World Series is Brandon Inge. Of course I picked him as my sleeper World Series MVP and predicted a Brooks Robinson-esque Series defining defensive play. So what's Inge done? A couple of basehits, a slew of strikeouts, and 3 errors in two games. I am the worst jinx ever. Seriously go back, I predicted Guillen to win the ALCS MVP, in which he hit about .000081 and said it was great for the Tigers to be injury free hours before Zumaya got hurt. A Tiger could run over numerous black cats, while driving under a ladder for a photoshoot for the SI cover on Friday the 13th and still have better luck then if I write about them.

I would write more tonight but I'm completely drained. Tonight was the first Tigers World Series victory I've ever witnessed and it was amazing. I can't wait for the next three.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Game 1 Re-Cap

I waited my whole life for that? That sucked. New Prediction: Tigers in 5.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tigers - Cardinals World Series Preview

Sorry I haven't updated since the Tigers won the ALCS Saturday night, but there hasn't been much to post about since then, (Brandon Inge bags leaves handles other chores. Curtis Granderson rents American Dreamz [o.k. that's just a shameless excuse to post a Mandy Moore photo] and is disappointed. Not exactly thrilling headlines,) because the damn NLCS dragged on trying to determine which team was the least terrible choice to represent the Senior Circuit. The winner: St. Louis. The reward: A 4 game beatdown at the hands of the Tigers and a lengthy World Series preview breaking down the teams by position written by yours truly. So let's dive right into this thing.

Managers: Jim Leyland and Tony LaRussa are both great managers and they also happen to be best friends. This fact is going to be beat over your head repeatedly over the next week by Fox. They talk 3 times a day. They are the godfathers to the others children. The winner lights stress release candles and bathes the loser after each head to head matchup to show there's no hard feelings. Ugh. By the fifth inning of Game 1 you will be so sick of this story line you'll want to crawl through the television and throttle Joe Buck..........even more so. (By the way did you see where they unveiled the first invisibility cloak today. That's amazing. We can't be that far away from actually being able to crawl through the TV or traveling through time. Somebody make this happen. Isn't there more important things to develop, like a cure for cancer, or where they just like "This shit's tough, let's try to make invisibility cloaks." "Awesome" High fives.) So whose the better manager? Tough call. They've both won World Series rings and they are great strategists. However I hate LaRussa's smoked glasses, his Sega baseball game was atrocious and he's going to wear out the grass from the dugout to the mound, ensuring none of these games finish in under four hours.

Advantage: Tigers

Catcher: Pudge v one of the Molina's: First off Molina is scary looking as all holy hell and sure
Bengie was the hero tonight with his homerun, but he's known more for his defense. In fact some say Yadier is like a young Pudge defensively, and Jose sure likes to make the snap throws down to first but in the end the edge has to go to Pudge. He's a better hitter, he's better defensively, faster and capable of making hot, passionate, Latino love for hours.

Advantage: Tigers

1st base: Casey v. Pujols. I can't even come up with a way to justify breaking this down and making it seem close without losing the little credibility I have. Hmm.... Casey is chattier at 1st is that gonna do it? No.

Advantage: Cardinals

2nd Base: Ronnie Belliard may be the first 300 pound second baseman in history and he's good for at least 3 errors this series. He tricked the Brewers into giving him 8 years to prove himself before disappointing and he keeps getting chances. I think scouts see him and say, "Hey, that guy kind of looks like Manny, I wonder if he hits like him, lets give him 3 years and find out." Meanwhile former Cardinal second baseman Placido Polanco isn't capable of getting less then two hits a game, is solid if not spectacular with the glove and has a head shaped like a Milk Dud.

Advantage: Tigers

3rd Base: Scott Rolen singlehandedly killed my fantasy team down the stretch with his horrendous play dropping my team from out of contention to the basement and he's got a bum shoulder and is whining about his manager......again. Meanwhile the one thing Inge has going for him is karma. He's been a part of the worst franchise in baseball his entire career. Almost lost his job forever when the team signed Pudge three seasons ago and revamped himself to become a solid hitter and one of the best defensive third basemen in the game. He's my sleeper pick to be the MVP for this Series and could turn in a Brooks Robinson series defining defensive play. I'm certain about this, just like I predicted Guillen's breakout ALCS 2 weeks ago and look how that turned out. Oh, he batted .143......nevermind.

Advantage: Draw

Shortstop: David Eckstein's scrappy. He may be the smallest guy on the field but he's the toughest. Tim McCarver will say those two lines approximately 1,743 times this series. Those are good things to possess, but Eckstein lacks one major attribute. Talent. Guillen on the other hand can't help but be good. He's the most indifferent star in baseball. He seems annoyed that he hits .300 and has the most range of a shortstop in baseball. (I can't prove that last statement so if any sabermatrician e-mails me with equations and charts don't bother, I'm just throwing it out. I don't understand it and it frightens me, just like Mitch Albom.)

Advantage: Tigers

Leftfield: Strikeout machine Preston Wilson apparently still plays. Who knew? On the other hand if Monroe wins a World Series MVP my friend T.J. won't let me hear the end of it. He's been driving the Monroe bandwagon for years and for the most part its been a lonely trip, and if he brags incessantly (just for the record I initially wrote incestently, caught my mistake, debated leaving it in as a joke, but took it out.) about Monroe that will make me have to kill two friends in one week.

Advantage: Tigers

Centerfield: Jim Edmonds is washed up and liable to go down with a strained vagina at a moments notice but still capable of making a spectacular catch. Granderson is an up and comer and seems like a cool guy. That's it....that's the analysis, I've got nothing else to add.

Advantage: Draw

Rightfield: I hate Juan Encarnacion. He did nothing in five seasons in Detroit other play the most erratic rightfield in history and disappoint, (oh yeah and he got hit in the face with that fastball, that was awesome.) Now he's batting cleanup for a World Series team. Wow. He's also capable of inexplicably crashing into Belliard or Edmonds and killing them. Maggs is also erratic in the field and could take a flyball in the chest. However he could go hitless in this Series and I wouldn't care because of the homerun in Game 4 of the ALCS. Amazing.

Advantage: Tigers

Starters: Jeff Weaver might start Game 1 for the Cardinals and he would be our 8th starter. I'm not kidding either, he's arguably worse then Ledezma, Miner and Maroth. The only decent pitcher in St. Louis is Carpenter. In the N.L. he's a Cy Young winner, In the A.L. a solid No. 2 on a good team. If I were Walt Jocketty (which is a great old-timey baseball executive name, like Branch Rickey, I 've never seen Jocketty but I picture him wearing a bow tie, high trousers, talking fast and ending every sentence, with "......see") I'm calling up Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton before turning in the final rosters.

Advantage: Tigers

Relievers: Zumaya, Rodney, Ledezma, Jones, v. Hancock, Flores, Kinney, umm Lee Smith.......Todd Worrell?

Advantage: Tigers

Final Prediction: Tigers Sweep.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I can't believe it, I'm in no condition to write. Went downtown afterwards for much celebration and mayhem. WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

ALCS Game 3

Yesterday when I was sitting in class with my phone sitting on my lap so I can check the time every 3 minutes hoping that it's time to leave even though I know it's not even close yet, (I actually believe that time moves slower inside the Wayne State Law School, they should send a physicist there to investigate) my sister called. No big deal I thought, probably just wants to see if I want to watch the Cardinals/Mets game tonight or something. Then two minutes later I saw that she called again. I'll call her during break. Then my dad calls and leaves a voicemail. Now I'm kind of worried, maybe something serious happened, maybe there was an accident.I decide that if anyone else calls I'll leave class and see what's going on. Two minutes later my sister calls again and I get up, leave the room and answer, expecting potentially bad news.

Me: "Hello"

Becky: "I've got 4 tickets to tomorrows ALCS game"

Me: " Ohmigod, Ithnjbjkmeyhesjdissgebnopxlpljkde !!!!"

Becky: "What, slow down, think before you talk."

Me: "Oh my God, that amazing, I think my head is going to explode right here in the hallway!!!!!"

So this afternoon I was able to attend Game Three of the ALCS at Comerica Park with my dad, sister and her boyfriend Patrick, (we didn't neglect my mom, she would have just sat and worked crossword puzzles had she attended the game) to watch Kenny Rogers pitch against Rich Harden in what turned out to be three of the best hours of my existence. We arrived at Comerica shortly before the first pitch after being dropped off outside Comerica by our 87 year old cab driver, (Nothing noteworthy happened on the trip down, I just felt obligated to say that we had an 87 YEAR OLD CABBIE!) We walked into Comerica to our kickass seats, Upper level third row on the first base side, (upper box seats are some of my favorite seats at Comerica because you have no one in front of you and you are right on top of the action), and sat down just in time to see Rich Harden walk Granderson on 4 straight pitches. I was really hoping to see Harden struggle and not just because I wanted the Tigers to win, but also because I hate Rich Harden. He was on my fantasy team this year and jerked me around all season with his tricky elbow. He'll be back in a week, he's out for the season, he's throwing on the side, he's had a minor setback, so he languished on my DL for over three months and then decides to come back with 2 weeks left when I'm already buried in seventh place. Bastard. (Sorry I don't like writing about fantasy but I needed to get that off my chest, and if you don't think I complained to everyone in an earshot tonight about this, well then Shorty you don't know me. I don't like T.I. either but I heard that song about 30 times tonight.) Anyways Harden never looked comfortable letting up 2 runs in the first and 3 in 5 2/3 innings while walking five and having numerous hard hit balls off him. It seemed as though the Tigers wasted a lot of good opportunities today and could have blown the game open early, but it didn't matter because Kenny Rogers was electric again. O.K. show of hands. Who here thought that Kenny Rogers would pitch 15 straight scoreless innings in the playoffs and break the record for fewest hits allowed in an ALCS game when we signed him this offseason. Anyone? Wasn't the knock on Rogers was that he faded badly down the stretch and was horrendous in the post season? Well I don't know who that guy is because the Rogers we have this year has been amazing, ending in a second straight standing ovation, cap-tipping, shutout performance. Wow. I'm ready to build a statue of Rogers after this season, regardless of how he performs in the World Series. He completely shut down the A's lineup, I bet Oakland wishes they still had Frank Thomas. Wait, he's still playing? Ha. (I hate Frank Thomas and all becasue Big Hurt Baseball was the worst sports game ever released on the Genesis. Just a terrible terrible game.) Anyways Rogers pitched out of his mind, again, while losing his mind.........again. Rogers was doing his normal stalking around screaming into his glove, pumping his fist, and being a more crazy, aggressive, emotional version of Jack Morris and he was brilliant.

Enough about the game, you all watched it and know how it turned out, let's talk about being at Comerica. Since Comerica opened 6 years ago I've gone to countless games and everyone of them before this season was meaningless, especially those late September home games, where its 50 degrees out and the lineups resemble the Toledo MudHens and Omaha Royals more then Major League teams. That's why walking into Comerica tonight to watch a playoff game in October was so surreal. The red, white and blue banners hanging from the upper level facing, the ALCS logos painted along the baselines, the olde English D painted on the backside of the mound, the out of town scoreboard shut off because no other teams are still playing in the AL, THE DETROIT TIGERS IN A PLAYOFF GAME AT COMERICA, the whole atmosphere was unlike anything I've ever experienced at a ball game before. That's why I urge everyone who is a Tigers fan to get on their computers on Monday morning and try to get tickets to the World Series. I know playoff tickets are expensive but its worth it. If you have kids make them skip eating lunch, if you're in college don't buy textbooks next semester, child support payments, skip them, just scrounge up whatever money you can find and get down to Comerica. It's been 22 years since the Tigers have been to the Series and it may me that long before they get back ( I think this team will contend for a long time, but I'm sure people were saying the same thing back in '84.) I'm 23 and I waited my entire life for this. If I have to wait another 22 years I'll be 45, bald, divorced, still deathly skinny, and so beat down from my crummy law job that I won't care as much about the Tigers, so I have to take advantage of this now, and I urge everyone else too. One more game until the Series. Go Tigers!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

ALCS Game 2

I will never question Jim Leyland again. I never like second guessing managers because I figure they know a million times more about matchups, scouting, personal issues, and health then I do, (at least I hope they do. They get paid millions of dollars to make those decisions, and I expect that entails more then looking up split stats on Yahoo! like I do). But I can't say I was happy to hear from my friend T.J. that Alexis Gomez was starting at DH tonight in place of Marcus Thames. I was at the law library printing out a case for my Con. Law class at about 7:30 when T.J. first informed me of the lineup change. I know its rude to answer my phone in the library but this is how the conversation went.

Me: Make it quick, I'm in the library.

T.J.: Leyland's starting Gomez at DH for Thames.

Me: (Silence) Hang on. (Calmly and quietly gathering my books logging off the computer and stepping outside the library). HAS HE LOST HIS FUCKING MIND !?!? (spit flying everywhere) What's his love affair with Gomez? The guy sucks, he's like a seventh outfielder on most teams and it's not like we are using him for his defense because he's DH'ing, and his defense sucks anyways. I watched him airmail a throw over the screen behind home plate last season. Jesus Christ. And you know he's gonna come up with the bases loaded and strike out or ground into a double play because he ALWAYS does this. This is just fantastic, two black holes in the lineup with Gomez and Neifi Perez. What are you going to tell me next Neifi's batting second tonight.

T.J.: He is.

Me: (Passing out onto the floor) ......

Thankfully I regained consciousness in time to see the first pitch and was in a foul mood when Neifi strode to the plate, and squared to bunt on the first pitch he saw, even though there was already one out, no runner to advance and Neifi's to fat and slow to run out a bunt single, and then struck out looking and I'm ready to pour gasoline on myself instead of watching the Perez/Gomez duo submarine the Tigers offense.

Top of the fourth, the Tigers are losing 3-1 and start a rally loading the bases after a run scoring RBI single by Monroe. I'm excited and standing on my futon before remembering whose coming up next. I flop down. Shit. Gomez. Just don't ground into a do........ground ball left side Chavez ranging over to turn two killing a Tigers rally as Thames stews on the bench. That's what should have happened but you can't script the Postseason, (oh no did I just quote those terrible Fox commercials? I'm sorry we've only been subjected to them 5,000 times over the course of a three and a half hour game, I couldn't help it I've been brainwashed.) Instead the ball rolls under Chavez's glove into left field , base hit Tigers take a 4-3 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Fast forward again to the top of the sixth, Tigers clinging to a 5-3 lead, Monroe doubles with one out off Loaiza and Gomez strides to the plate with one career homerun (which he hit during a game I was at this year against the Astros, I missed it because I had left to go to the bathroom thinking he was an automatic out. The more I think about it I think Gomez only plays well to spite me). Gomez gets a 2-1 count and then crushes one into right center field. 7-3 Tigers. I'm running back and forth between the T.V. and my bedroom pumping my fist and screaming "Leyland's a genius, a crusty old sage, I was wrong to doubt you Leyland, please God forgive me." It was also at that time that I realized this is a team of destiny. I can say with the utmost confidence that the Tigers will win the ALCS and make it to the Series. Even Todd Jones, who was just dying to give this game away in the last inning couldn't do it. Something more powerful then Jones suckitude is at play here. For Alexis Gomez, the absolute definition of a fringe/hanger-on/journeyman player to come out and play the best game of his career is just more evidence that this Tigers season, which began with few experts picking them to finish .500 let alone make the playoffs, is destined to have a magical ending.

(Note: Please remember that this is my first playoff experience and I may be getting swept up into some kind of overly optimistic frenzy. If the Tigers go out and lose the next four games after suffer multiple injuries/blown out elbows, I'll take full responsibility. 100% my fault based strictly on this post.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Game 1 Re-Cap

O.K. so my quick prediction has gotten off to a bad start, but I couldn't be happier. I thought the Tigers would drop tonight's game because the pitching matchup was slightly in Oaklands favor seeing as how Zito was 7-5 with a 2.68 ERA in his career against Detroit including a stellar outing in a no decision earlier this year. However the Tigers pitching is on a roll and it continued tonight with Nate Robertson giving us five solid innings before turning it over to the bullpen, which was spectacular for the last four innings and secured a huge Game 1 victory.

As a way to avoid writing full coherent paragraphs with transition sentences I am going to write some rapid fire observations from tonight's game. If you start to get a splitting headache from reading this I would advise you to stop because it might be your brain melting inside your head.

1: Nate Robertson wasn't sharp tonight but he was lights out every time it looked like the A's might crawl back into the game. Case in point was the bottom of the fourth inning after the Tigers had jumped on top 5-0 and chased Zito from the game. Frank Thomas led off with a walk followed by a Jay Payton double to deep left that Craig Monroe played terribly off the wall, (although he did have a spectacular diving catch to rob the completely insane Milton Bradley later in the game. Honestly though if your name is Milton Bradley you only have two options growing up to be a nerdy white guy who wears one of those green accounting visors or being a completely insane black guy, theres no in between.) Robertson looked as though he was going to have a mini-meltdown similar to game 1 of the ALDS where he gave up 6 straight base hits. So Chuck Hernandez walks out calms Robertson down and then gets Chavez to strike out swinging. Ditto Swisher. Now its up to Marco Scutaro, strike 3 looking Robertson pumps his fist, I jump up and start exchanging awkward high fives with strangers and the A's never really threatened again. Easily the biggest moment of the game.

2: Speaking of Frank Thomas anybody could have scored on that Payton double. Anybody, including my Grandpa who probably would have scored and had time to roll up his pantleg and show Eric Chavez how bad his case of gout was. He was never a fast guy to begin with but watching Frank try to run around the bases is just sad, can't we chip in and buy him a Segway to move around the bases or something.

3. For having a reputation as a free swinging team, the Tigers have been very patient at the plate the last four games. They haven't drawn a ton of walks per se but they are working the count, being patient and getting the pitches they want to hit. When was the last time they made a pitcher throw 40 pitches in an inning like they did tonight? 1911? I don't know how I feel about Zito either. It seems like he would be cool sometimes and then you see that one of his favorite actors is Patrick Duffy. He also seems like he would switch from being really nice and funny to moody and pissy. I've never had as hard a time deciding if I like or hate an athlete as much as I have with Barry Zito.

4: I thought I would let you the reader know that by the time you read this post I may be dead. It's 3 A.M. and I'm eating Nutella smeared onto Nilla wafers and washing it down by drinking out of a two liter of RC Cola. I believe that there is 54 grams of fat on each of these Wafers. I can't back this up as a fact, I need Jared Fogle to tell me these things.

5: Fernando Rodney was great tonight in his first appearance in over a week, including hitting 100 MPH on the gun. It also looked like he had spent the last week in a crack den in Detroit. That guy has to be on drugs. Has to be, either that or he has the worst untreated case of pink eye in the history of man.

6: I love Joel Zumaya. He has it all, the fastball, the swagger, the acting I am 100% envious of this guy. There is nothing better then when Zumaya realizes he has a guy at the plate who is completely overmatched by his fastball. Frank Thomas was the victim tonight like Giambi was in the ALDS. Zumaya threw a 100+ MPH fastball right by him and he knew the at bat was over. Thomas didnt have a chance and grounded out weakly to shortstop. That guys amazing.

Finally I can't believe that the Tigers are 3 wins away from the World Series. It didn't fully hit me until tonight that if the Tigers win this series they will be in he World Series. I'm not saying this series is over by any stretch of the imagination because Oakland is an excellent team, but I can't wait until this weekend when Oakland comes to town and its 36 degrees out and Zumaya is throwing 101 and it feels like they are trying to hit a shotput because its so freaking cold out, and they just want to go home. I can't wait until this weekend.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Quick ALCS Preview

I just got back from class about ten minutes ago and won't have time to go through an in depth preview of the series before it begins, so I'm going to run through some prediction quickly.

I think the Tigers will win in six, losing Game 1 tonight in Oakland and Barry Zito outduels Nate Robertson in a low scoring pitching battle like 4-3 or 3-1 something like that. Verlnader wins Game 2 tomorrow. Tigers take 2 out of 3 in Comerica this weekend before wrapping things up in Oakland with Verlander on the mound again. Yes, that's right, I am picking the Tigers to go to the World Series, and I can't believe it. Not because I think the Tigers are a bad team but because its still so unexpected. The World Series? The World Series !!!! However Oakland is a very, very, good team and matchup well against us, but I think Detroit has a little bit more offense and that should carry the Tigers to the World Series.

ALCS MVP: Carlos Guillen. I think he's going to bat something like .429 with 2 homeruns 6 r.b.i.'s good fielding and smart baserunning, maybe the only stolen base between the two teams in this series, as he gets ready to get a boatload of money from the Tigers in a contract extension.

Also I absolutely plan on live blogging one of these games but I'm not sure which one will fit into my schedule. Check back for updates, this is going to be fun.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tigers Win ALDS !!!!!!

Wow. I missed the game because I was at the Michigan-Michigan State game in Ann Arbor for a first hand account of Sparty getting wrecked. However I did record the Tigers game and I'm going to sit down and watch it right now.

Kenny Rogers

I am 23 years old and been a Tigers fan all of my life (anyone who has read this site before already knows this because I mention it in every post) and during the time I have followed the team, which has been through some pretty lean years, I have never ever EVER witnessed a pitching performance as masterful as the one Kenny Rogers delivered tonight (although I think John Doherty might, no). When I write a post I try to write something humorous, (often failing miserably........ nahhh Im going to stop being modest. Everything I write is hilarious, I am a comedic genius, hahahaha........oh no I think that last sentence alienated everyone, I was joking......come back!!!!) but tonight I'm going to write in reverential and highly formulaic tones. Note: It's 4 A.M. I'm coming off an emotional high that Ive hardly felt before and I'm watching Parental Control on MTV, we'll see how this turns out.

Heading into tonight's game my friend Bill and I were discussing what we hoped Rogers would give us and agreed that if the Tigers got 6 innings and 3 earned runs out of The Gambler then the Tigers would be in good shape. That seemed like a reasonable best case scenario given Rogers playoff history and the Yankees success off of him. In the first inning Rogers looked good, had his fastball pumped up into the mid-90's and had a rather uneventful inning. On the other side the Yankees chicken faced 6'10 fireballing mutant was pitching well and it looked like we were in for a good old fashioned geriatric pitching duel, with both guys trying to get home in time to watch Diagnosis Murder on PAX. Then the Tigers in the bottom of the second strung together a few singles and with the aid of some kick ass base running took a 3-0 lead. That's when something happened in the top of the third. Kenny Rogers had an out of body experience. Seriously, if someone took a photo at the top of the third you could probably see Rogers soul escape from his body, like those photos on the cover of Weekly World News. Incidentally I think I experienced the same thing sometime after the Granderson homerun but I digress. For the rest of the game he didn't miss one spot, and I'm not exaggerating. Pudge didn't move his glove once, and the ESPN K Zone backs this assertion up. The only analogy I can think of is in a baseball video game, (seriously I can't relate to anything but sports and video games, this guy on Parental Control, which has been fantastic by the way, has gone on more dates in 30 minutes then I go on in 2, yeah) where you get to chose your spot and throw it with pinpoint accuracy, so if you have a good enough pitcher you can live on the black all day and watch every batter you face roll the ball over to second. For example I used this method in All-Star Baseball 2005 for the PS2 and had every one of my pitchers with sub 0.50 ERA's, except for Nate Cornejo, he was a lost cause and the one that keeps me up at night........I feel like I failed him, where was I...........oh yeah, Rogers was like that tonight. He was making perfect pitches, like huge Zito-esque curveballs that started out at his eyes and hit the very bottom inside corner on the K Zone. Everytime. And to the credit of home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez, he was very consistent with his strike zone and nailed 98% of those calls. Seriously has Kenny Rogers ever thrown a curveball with that much break in his life. Anyways after the third inning I knew this game was over. Rogers was pitching the game of his life. He had every pitch working for him, was changing speeds and locations, and was supremely intense and confident. He even threw a screwball to Bobby Abreu for a strike. A screwball. A SCREWBALL!!!!! It was as if the ghost of Willie Hernandez had inhabited his body and compelled him to throw a screwball. Wow. In the end Rogers went 7 2/3 and left to a standing ovation from a fantastic Comerica crowd. After a performance like that I will never say anything bad about Kenny Rogers again, (and I supported his signing, check the archives, gloat, gloat, gloat) ever. He could run over my dog while speeding in an old roadster, with my girlfriend/PS2 in the passenger seat snuggling up to his arm while laughing and blowing cigar smoke in my face, and I'd be fine with it. Seriously. He could go out next season and pull a Doyle Alexander 5-18 special and I'd be cool with it after tonights performance. It was the first playoff game in Detroit in 19 years and it was worth the wait. Now they just need to win tomorrow.

Finally, how great was it to have Ernie Harwell in the booth for a few innings tonight. Is there any doubt that he's the greatest broadcaster of all time. Any? He even made Joe Morgan seem
competent tonight. Also there is no way this guys pushing 90. No way a guy can be that old and spout the statistics for a baseball team from 85 years ago off the top of his head. And not just wins and losses but batting averages down to the percentage points. And the references, Steve Dalkowski, Harry Heilmann, J.R. Richard, and I'm missing numerous others. After listening to the mind numbing drivel that the abortion that is Mario Impemba and Rod Allen spew on a daily basis, listening to Harwell melted my fucking brain. I've proposed this before but would anyone, ANYONE be opposed to Harwell broadcasting Tigers games from his home (well you might be opposed if your a baby eater or former Nazi but thats it). Is it really important for the announcers to be on location with all the camera angles and technology we have now? I feel so strongly about this that I'm not even open to counter arguments. Bring back Ernie.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tigers-Yankees Game 2.......again

Sometimes when things look their bleakest and frustration boils to the point of exploding in a nasally, whiny complaint, fate intervenes. As I wrote last night I had planned on live blogging Game 2 and had cleared out my Wednesday night schedule, which had previously consisted of sitting by myself in my apartment watching the Project Runway reunion show, to watch Game 2 live. Of course it got rained out and rescheduled for this afternoon, which didn't work out for me (and several thousand other equally frustrated fans in Michigan and New York) because I have class on Thursday from 1:20 to 7:30. It seemed hopeless, I had waited 19 years to watch the Tigers make the playoffs and now I was going to miss the majority of the first two games because of previous obligations, (I missed part of Game 1 to attend my 23 birthday party, an by the time I got to watch the game closely the Tigers were already losing 5-0). However, shortly after midnight I received an e-mail from my Professor saying my 3 o'clock Con. Law II class, (which is completely insufferable) was cancelled because of a shoulder injury he sustained while cycling. It was as if all my negative energy had caused a stick to leap of the ground, lodge in my Professor's front tire and send him hurtling over the handlebars. I was thrilled, not that my professor was hurt, (o.k. maybe a little) but that I could get back in time to watch at least the last 4 innings of the game.

So today I rolled out of bed at about noon, (literally rolled out right on to the floor, thats how I get up in the morning), got ready for class and watched the top half off the first inning before leaving for Sports Law. Luckily 90% of the kids in class had various Gamecasts going on their laptops (I'm apparently the only person in the history of law school to not own a laptop, William Blackstone probably banged out his principles of law on a iBook 250 years ago) and since its a sports themed class the Professor was cool about people giving updates. Anyways I raced out of class with the score 3-2 Yankees and got back to my apartment just in time to see Carlos Guillen come up to the plate in the top of the sixth, and in the first pitch I saw since the top of the 8th Guillen turned on a Mussina fastball and drove it into the right field seats. Tie game. These rest of the game was a blur but here's what I remembered.

1: Thames had a great game and Granderson came up big late but the MVP of Game 2 was Joel Zumaya. He completely overwhelmed the Yankees hitters for two innings. The Yankees shouldn't have even bothered to come to bat because they didn't have a chance. The only person who can even hit Zumayas fastball in the whole Yankees lineup is the guy who has the fastest bat in all of baseball Sal Fasano.....err I mean Gary Sheffield. If there is one thing I can guarantee for this series its that Larry Bowa will be decapitated by a foul ball during one of the Sheffield-Zumaya showdowns and I couldn't be more excited about this possibility. I also love Zumaya's attitude. Sure, he's only 21 and was pitching in his first post season game against the most storied franchise in baseball history, (although Philadelphia's a close second with their one title in 100+ years) but that doesn't stop him from striking out 3 current or former MVP's with pure gas, (assuming Jeter wins it this year, and barring Ortiz doing some Chicago style ballot dumping into Lake Michigan), and then pumping his fist and spinning off the mound after recording his final out. And I havent even wrote about the curveball he spun to Abreu....Jesus, I can't wait until this guys our closer in a couple seasons.

2: Granderson did an excellent job of proving me wrong today with his tie breaking triple in the seventh inning that stood as the winning run. Thames led off the inning with a double, making him 9-11 in his career against Moose, which might be one of the craziest stats ever, before Inge bunted him over to third and brought up Granderson with one out. I thought for sure Granderson was going to strike out as he's done so many times this season in similar situations, and sure enough he falls behind 0-2 and I grip the remote really tight and stalk around the room ready to unleash it in a moment of fury against the wall, call my friend and bitch about how many leadoff doubles the Tigers have failed to get across the plate in the last month. 100? 200? 5,000? When strokes the ball into the opposite field gap for a triple. Didn't see that coming, and I couldn't be happier that he proved me wrong. Now I'm online trying to order a Curtis Granderson T-Shirt jersey.

3: I also had another fickle fan moment in the ninth when Matsui led off the bottom of the inning with a single. Yankee Stadium is going crazy, Jorge Posada is coming up, Leyland is walking out to the mound and things look grim. I've watched to many games that the Yankees have won in similar situations to not be scared to death, and the fact that Todd Jones has stretches where he gets his brains beaten out (i.e. May-July of this season, with parts of August and September mixed in) and I'm getting visions of Cano atoning for his hitless day with a three run homerun as Yankee Stadium goes crazy, with a shot of the Jones walking off the field and covering his face with his cap, Leyland hurrying into the clubhouse to smoke a pack of Lucky Strikes, and I'm laying comatose on the floor. So what does Jones do? He starts pumping strikes gets a couple of easy popouts and has a rather uneventful save, and I get to stay conscious. This works out best for everybody.

So now the series shifts back to Detroit where a playoff game will be played for the first time since 1987, or to put it into better perspective a time when Kenny Rogers was a spry 63 year old man. Incidentally Rogers will be pitching tomorrow against an equally geriatric Randy Johnson the first time the two have pitched against each other in the postseason since 1934, (that's right two straight Kenny Rogers is ancient jokes, you want more because I got more........actually thats about it). My prediction for tomorrow Rogers goes out and does Kenny Rogers things, turns the game over to the bullpen after allowing 2 runs over 6 innings and the bullpen does the rest. Randy Johnson and his balky back go 2 2/3 allowing 3 runs before the Yankees realize he doesnt have enough. This causes the Yankees to wear out their bullpen in a 6-2 Tigers victory, and Karl Ravech's raging Yankees boner slowly turns into a mushy semi.

Seriously though, if the Tigers don't win another game this series I won't be disappointed, (o.k. maybe a little). But today was my first taste of playoff baseball and it was amazing. I love baseball and care very deeply about the Tigers, probably more than is healthy, and today's game was the most thrilling baseball game I ever watched. After witnessing Game 1 I thought I would lose my playoff virginity like I did in real life. Sloppy, uncomfortable, over before I even knew it started and followed by hours of crying, (I mulled over weather that last sentence would be too personal, creepy, or offensive to the girl I lost it too, my friend T.J.'s mom, before deciding to run with it so I apologize for it). But today's game made a lifetimes wait worth it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tigers-Yankees Game 2

Wow, tonight's game had it all. The excitement of watching the ground crew race onto the field and cover it with a giant tarp. The thrilling anticipation of waiting for a rainstorm that never came. Watching Detroit's rookie sensation walk confidentally onto the field to begin stretching. Jim Leyland looking over scouting reports one final time before autographing programs. Yankee superstar Derek Jeter sitting in the clubhouse playing cards. What an amazing night of baseball. I'm glad I cleared out my schedule so i could live blog this game. O.k. this has gone on for too long. Tonight's game was rained out.....kind of. From all reports it wasn't really raining that hard in the Bronx, but they were anticipating rainstorms, which didn't come until 3 hours after when the opening pitch was supposed to be thrown. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn't because we are dealing with MLB, which historically makes some of the most bewildering decisions and compounds their mistakes by a steadfast refusal to change their bad decisions in spite of mounting eveidance to the contrary. For example MLB couldn't even inform both the teams that were in the same stadium that tonights game was postponed, because they couldn't get their cell phones to work, (I can just envision Bud Selig using the world's only rotary cell phone), so the Tigers had to be informed that the game was cancelled from one of the members of the grounds crew. Good thing that the guys who make 10 bucks an hour to manage the field are on top of things or Verlander might be throwing his 175,394th warm-up pitch in front of 45,00 confused fans. The decision was made in part by Commissioner Selig who apparently consulted Ollie Williams BlackieWeather Forecast, (It's gonna rain!!). Of course the game has been rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 1 P.M. when I'll be sitting in Sports Law class reading dull cases about an agent's duty to babysit their immature athlete clients. So if your scoring at home, (and if you aren't I'm selling official Andrew Stout scorecards for $5 a piece) I've waited 19 years for the Tigers to make the playoffs and now I'm going to miss most of the first two games, (I missed most of Game 1 because my friends threw me a 23rd birthday party.) On the bright side I won't have to watch Karl Ravech salivate over the Yankees, which has been driving me insane the past couple of days. Seriously anytime they ask a question about whether the Yankees or Tigers have an advantage he should just stand up, point to the raging boner he has and say, "Who you think I got. Come on. Look at that, What do you think Peter?," as Gammon just sits there and dr......... nevermind, it's too soon for those jokes.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I realize I haven't updated in a while, but I've been really, really, busy with school work. However for the twenty or so people that stumble across this site a day I have wrote a Tigers playoff preview for Deadspin so go there and check it out. I hope to be back and updating regularly on Tuesday or Wednesday.