Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My Bottom Five Least Favorite Tigers #3

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was going to randomly count down my bottom five least favorite Tigers, starting with #2 Juan Gonzalez, this post is a continuation of that series so if you want read the criteria for selection or how it all began, scroll down a couple of posts, or...I guess I could link it....nah, just scroll down.

# 3: Bobby Higginson: Had I been creating this list in 2001 it would have been unthinkable that Higgy would have cracked the top 5. Just as recently as six years ago Higginson was the face of the franchise, granted it was the most downtrodden, terrible franchise in baseball and a complete laughingstock, but he was the star player nonetheless. Coming off a career year in 2000 when Bobby became the first Tiger to bat .300 and hit 30 homeruns in a season since Norm Cash corked his way to a similar feat 40 years earlier, Higgy seemed to be on the cusp of becoming a perennial all-star outfielder, on a team that had just had its most promising season in nearly a decade and appeared to be turning the corner under the stewardship of Phil Garner (haha, yeah right, Phil Garner was terrible, we weren't going anywhere with that jerk...yeah I said we...because I was on the team...or at least I pretended I was). Higginson had also cemented his status as team leader, having openly challenged public enemy #1 Juan Gonzalez who in turn fled town after a disastrous 2000 season, (You may notice that Gonzo came in at #2 on this list, what an enjoyable group of guys) and Higginson further endeared himself to fans by eschewing free agency, where he reportedly would have drawn interest from the Yankees and Braves, by signing a lucrative 4 year contract extension to stay in Detroit when free agents were avoiding area like the plague, and the team had trouble re-signing their own star players....you know...had they had any. Fresh off the Juan Gonzalez debacle, Luis Gonzalez becoming a star in Arizona after Randy Smith traded him for peanuts, (wait no, that's an insult to peanuts, they actually have value, even though you can buy hundreds of them from a homeless guy outside Comerica for a buck, all the Tigers got was Karim Garcia), the Higginson signing on the eve of Opening Day seemed to be a harbinger for change, a ray of hope, a reason for optimism, a....well you get the idea.

Of course all of this optimism was crushed in the first month of the season as the Tigers got off to an uninspired 8-15 start thanks in large part to a mediocre rotation anchored by a young Jeff Weaver, aging knuckleballer Steve Sparks, and Chris Holt....wait, seriously? Chris Holt? whatever. But I was undeterred in my optimism and in early May my friends Kevin and Mike and I decided to skip our Prom to go to Comerica for Bobby Higginson bobblehead night (Sure this was a conscious decision on our part to skip the game and had nothing to do with the fact that none of us could get dates, although my friend Kevin would vehemently deny this to this day, and if you hear him saying things like "maybe those losers couldn't get dates but I had 9 girls lined up and they were all clamoring to have sex with me.", don't believe him because he's full of shit. He used to by R. Kelly cd's so he "could have something to play for the ladies", and they would sit unopened in his backseat for months, before he tried to pass them off as birthday gifts....wait, this post isn't about how much I hate my friends, back to Higgy.) Anyways that game ended up being the greatest Tigers game I'd ever been too, we got our bobbleheads, moved down to kick ass seats behind the Angels dugout after a rain delay chased away most of the crowd and watched as Bobby Higginson ended the game with a walk off homerun in the bottom of the 11th.

O.k. I know what you're thinking, you are already two paragraphs in and I've said nothing but glowing things about Higginson, this is supposed to be about despising people, bitching, complaining, whining, moaning, all that noise. Well, you've been duped suckers, I just thought I would waste ten minutes of your life and alienate all of my readers, ha. Nah, I'm just kidding, however that Tigers-Angels prom game was the last positive memory I have of Bobby Higginson's era in Detroit. The 2001 season, which started with so much promise, ended up being another near 100 loss season, as Bobby saw a precipitous decline in his production. The next season saw Higginson battle injuries, namely a bad hamstring, which would become a recurring theme over his final four seasons in Detroit. Everything bottomed out in the 2003 season as the team nearly broke the all-time record for losses, and Higginson had career lows across the board, while making an astounding 11 MILLION DOLLARS that season (yes, all caps were necessary to emphasize the fact he made 11 MILLION DOLLARS...sorry that is annoying). Higginson became overly critical of teammates without including himself, openly lobbied for a trade, had an inflated sense of self worth, and fans began to blame Higginson for the franchises woes as the most visible and least productive member of a group of several overpaid underachieving veterans, such as Dean Palmer, Steve Sparks, Matt Anderson, Craig Paquette, and Damion Easley. Higgy's Corner, the #4 themed concession stand in left field closed for the summer, and he was roundly booed during nearly every plate appearance. 2004 was yet another disappointing season, and heading into spring training 2005 Higginson's spot on the roster was tenuous at best as productive minor leaguer Marcus Thames challenged Higgy for the final outfield spot. Higgy struggled immensely in spring training but to the surprise of everyone, including most of the team, he made the final roster. I believe this was the decision that began to undermine Trammell's authority as many of the veterans were outspoken in wondering if Trammell really made the decision in the best interest of the team. Higginson wound up getting only 26 at bats, managing a mere two singles, or 4.425 million per hit, before going on the disabled list for the season. After the season ended Higginson was granted free agency where he only generated interest in various recreational slo-pitch softball church leagues.

To recap Higginson spent 11 years in Detroit, all of which were losing seasons, and collected over 52 million dollars. His ultimate legacy was being the hideous, grotesque, twisted, gnarled, face of the franchise (figuratively speaking, in all honesty he was a very handsome man.....or so I've been told) during the most dark, depressing, bleak, era in the one hundred plus year history of the Detroit Tigers, a stinking rotting corpse of a reminder of all that was wrong with the Randy Smith regime, (I know it's some beautiful imagery, what can I say, I have a gift for painting a nice picture.) Now Higginson owns a limousine rental service in Clarkston, where he reportedly takes some limos out for a spin as a way to "unwind"/use tips for booze money that in turn will get some high school girls drunk on Mad Dog after their Prom Dance, and "hey did I tell you pretty young ladies that I used to play baseball." Oh well, maybe they should have went to a game instead.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Bottom Five Least Favorite Tigers #4

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was going to randomly count down my bottom five least favorite Tigers, starting with #2 Juan Gonzalez, this post is a continuation of that series so if you want read the criteria for selection or how it all began, scroll down a couple of posts, or...I guess I could link it....nah, just scroll down.

# 4: Chad Kreuter: Kreuter may seem like a strange pick, seeing as how he was a journeyman back-up catcher who only spent three years in Detroit. But in that short period of time he managed to earn a spot on this list and receive a lifetime of scorn and hatred from me. As I mentioned before, this list is completely arbitrary and one would be hard pressed to find a reason for someone to detest a rather innocuous reserve catcher, especially since its an interchangeable and mostly anonymous position on a team. I mean, unless you've found John Flaherty in bed with your wife or Raul Casanova stealing your newspaper every morning, these guys don't play enough to despise. However Kreuter is the exception that proves this rule, (yeah its a rule, as a matter of fact I think it's after Newton's second law of motion, so you can look it up if you don't believe me you jerks...shit, stop insulting your readers Andrew.)

Let me set the scene, in the summer of 1993 I was nine and my interest in baseball was reaching its highest point, namely because of one standout player whom I emulated my Little League game after, idolized on a personal level, and would later name my website after...Joe Boever...wait.... no, I mean Mickey Tettleton. I briefly went over my love affair with Tettleton as a young child...(wait that sounded pedophilic, that's not what I intended, let me try again /clears throat/). In a recent post I went over how much I admired Tettleton as a player and how much of an influence he had on my development as a Tigers fan, even though I can't think of any one reason why I developed such a strong attachment to him, it's not like the two of us ever shared a Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial moment or anything, but as I've written several times before, I became a catcher in Little League because it was the position Tettleton played, (although I did try to make snap throws from my knees like Benito Santiago), hit tape measure homeruns like Tettleton...that's a lie I actually I terrible at hitting and was buried in the 8 spot of the lineup between the two "special needs" kids...but whatever, the point is I tried. Now even though I was a big Tigers fan, it was hard for my family to get to Tiger Stadium during the season, For one, we lived about 90 minutes away from the stadium, and second, my dad is a lawyer and seemed to work about a 70 hours a week when I was growing up, (don't worry this isn't like some "Cats in the Cradle" nonsense, I knew even back then I would probably be leeching off him until I was in my mid-20's so he needed to work, just kidding I'm not that spoiled but I was a very unambitious child), which made it impossible to go to weekday games, so the two or three trips we made to Tiger Stadium a year were huge for me.

Anyways the 1993 season started and my family and I planned to make a trip down to old Tiger Stadium early in the schedule, and I was psyched. So my dad ordered the tickets and I circled the date on my Tigers Humane Society calendar, (which for some reason I had every year and featured photos like Tony Clark with his two cats "Marilyn and DiMaggio"), counting down the days before going to the ball park. After much anticipation and bated breath the weekend of the game finally rolled around and we drove the hour and a half to Detroit, which scared the hell out of me as a nine year old, because my only exposure to the city was via the opening scenes of Beverly Hills Cop and Peter Weller getting shot to hell in Robocop (yes, both movies are entirely appropriate for a nine year old and only makes you the coolest fucking parents ever if your kids get to watch them), so I was expecting a lawless city of drug addicts and burned out cars patrolled by Robocops, and now that I live here I know those movies were spot on....minus the robots of course, but I digress. (Also I actually live in Detroit, so if your going to leave a comment saying, "You say you live in Detroit but your probably living in Royal Oak...poseur", save your time, and if you don't believe me let me redirect your questions to the homeless guy singing "Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit" in the bustop outside my window.)

So we arrived to Tiger Stadium and took our seats just in time for the announcement of the starting lineups and I'm eager as hell to see Mickey behind the plate for nine innings, and that's when I see #19 come strolling out of the dugout with the catchers gear strapped on. I start looking around in despair, thinking "Who's this asshole?", got my program out, flipped through it, saw Kreuters face and was devastated. Not only was Kreuter playing catcher that day but Tettleton wasnt even in the lineup as DH, and for this I blamed Kreuter. Sure he had no say in the decision, was playing great at the time and was helping Mickey rest his sore knees, but this didn't matter, I drove 90 minutes to see Mickey Tettleton and NOT this Chad Kreuter bum. I still enjoyed the game and when it was over I couldn't wait to go back but at the same time I couldn't help being shaken a little, kind of like when you see an ex-girlfriend for the first time with her new boyfriend, who kind of resembles a white trash Abraham Lincoln, it's like your satisfied that she's dating someone worse than you, but at the same time your thinking, "Really?...Him?". Anyways Kreuter went on to start the majority of games at catcher for the Tigers that year, which also happened to be the same year my interest in catching waned, and I was moved to the position of "kid in batting helmet that stands by the coach whose pitching", which is where Little Leaguers usually go to die. Once again I irrationally blamed Kretuer for this downturn in my young life. Kreuter ended up leaving the Tigers and faded into obscurity, until one day he made headlines for grabbing a guy that stole his hat while playing at Wrigley, a moment I took some satisfaction in because I thought it finally proved to everyone else what an asshole that guy was, but no one I talked to, or knew, really cared. Anyways (I've started every sentence with "Anyways", but only because I'm tired and lazy) to this day I still hold a grudge against Kreuter for that one ruined afternoon in 1993 and I'm still petty enough to remove him from the lineup in R.B.I. 4 on the Genesis when my friend T.J. and I play, even if it means using the vastly inferior Skeeter Barnes in his place....but 14 years later I just can't bring myself to play with that jerk.

(Update: For those of you who read this site and don't know the death scene in Robocop that I mentioned above, I can't believe you made it this far because we obviously have nothing in common, but here it is courtesy of YouTube and somewhere my copyright professor is shaking his head in shame.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wanted: One Hype Man

I may have sat next to you at a Tigers game, waited in line behind you at the bank, ate at the table next to yours in a restaurant, or sat next to you in class while you were reading my site and I was writing for it and you had no idea who I was even though my name is displayed at the bottom of this page....wait, wait , wait, that was a terrible introduction, it read well in my head but the execution was horrific. It sounded like a commercial for the American Heart Association where they would reveal a person dressed like a high cholesterol food item, stalking a healthy looking man, or possibly the trailer for one of the several outrageously lame horror movies that get churned out on a bi-weekly basis and always star at least one girl from either CW or WB (although I am generally in favor of anything that results in more Kristen Bell and/or Sophia Bush, and if you think I only mentioned those two by name to justify a gratuitous photo of one of them you've been reading this site for a while) running from some generic, maniacal, madman and screaming/begging for mercy. Actually there is probably someone who works for a second rate horror movie production company reading this, nodding his head yes, and trying to see where I am going with this, hell everyone is probably wondering where I'm going with this, but trust me, there is a point to this rambling nonsense.....sort of.

I hardly ever write anything personal on this site and prefer to be a faceless narrator of the area's sporting events, as if the letters that appeared on your screen had been written by God himself, only with wittier insight and better grammar, but in order to properly set up this post I must describe a little bit of my personality. I'm so bashful and inoffensive that it's like I'm invisible, like one of those lame ass lo-fi emo bands whose music you hear but you don't really listen to, and afterward you say was that Dashboard Confessional? Taking Back Sunday? Does it matter? Anyways this type of anonymity can be good, especially when it allows me to duck in and out of class with the professors wondering if I'm even enrolled, but at times it can be irritating, and for the past few days I've been trying to figure out a way to change this, trying to find a way to get noticed, so that when I go out with friends people remember that I was there, and during this time of deep thought, the perfect idea finally dawned on me. I need to hire a hype man to follow me around. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a hype man is let me explain. He's the guy at hip-hop shows who walks around the stage and is responsible for getting the crowd involved in the show and taking over chorus parts of hip-hop songs so the lead performer can catch his breath without interrupting the flow of the song. An example of a hype man outside of the context of a hip-hop show is Duke Tango, the immensely annoying emcee from those late night And 1 Tour shows that air on ESPN2 and which my roommate and I followed closely due to our joint insomnia-induced boredom. Most of the time the hype man just yells out commands to the audience, repeats every other word the main attraction says, and strings together random, nonsensical, boastful ramblings, which is exactly what I need to get noticed.

The way I have it planned out is I would supply the microphone to my hype man only require that he would be dressed like Ice Cube on the cover of AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. My hype man would then follow me around to class and when I was answering questions correctly, he would make noises like "Ho......uh.....uh.....ho" and after I nailed a question he would wave a towel at me, yelling out "He's Hot!! Class dismissed" before bearhugging me and walking me out of the classroom, or if we went to the gas station he could say things like, "Uh, uh, uhhh, here he is Big A Killah, AKA Chicken Fried John Goodman, AKA Hot Bananas, AKA Atticus Ness, crack-i-lackin' da twanky foe's, the hottest shit out of the Belcrest Apartments since that one girl, (you know the one that looked like a skinny Natasha Bedingfield, and always wore the cute matching hat and gloves in the winter and you said hi to her in the parking lot when you saw her but was always too shy to actually start a conversation with......uh disregard this last sentence he wouldn't know me that well...), moved out this fall, Andrew Stout!!!" Sure none of what my hype man says makes any sense and it would be so over the top and ludicrous that no one would take it seriously, but they would certainly remember I was there and that's what's important..........nah....not really but it would be cool as hell.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My Bottom Five Least Favorite Tigers #2

As I'm posting this I'm sitting in Secured Transactions, and I have no idea what the professor is talking about, nor do I care. So instead of paying attention, (there is currently a slide on the projector with a code on whether timber can be used as collateral, which may be the most boring, pointless slide in the history of mankind, and the people in the class are riveted, on the edge of their seats taking notes, I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone), I'm going to list my bottom five least favorite Tigers in a series of posts in random order, because for some reason it just seems to make the most sense to do it this way. I got the idea to write these posts after reading John Paul Morosi's article a few days ago in which Dombrowski and the Tigers refuted a report that the team was interested in re-signing former Tigers-Fan Enemy #1 Juan Gonzalez to a minor league deal. Also these postings are a flip of the one I wrote a couple of weeks ago in which I listed my Top Five Favorite Tigers, so the same rules apply and all decisions are completely arbitrary, and not based on any rational reasoning, sentimentality, statistics, nor multiple regression analyses.....well maybe a couple. I would just sit down and write all five but I don't have the time because class is ending in a little bit and I don't want to miss those amazing slides on secured interests in farm equipment and produce....ugh, why am I here again?

#2: Juan Gonzalez: I remember the day the Tigers traded for Juan Gonzalez in the winter of 1999. I was in 10th grade that November and logged onto AOL one last time before heading off to bed, when I saw the headline that instantly grabbed my attention. Tigers Trade for 2-Time MVP Gonzalez. I couldn't believe it, and that's not just some lazy throw away description of my astonishment, I actually couldnt believe the news. So I calmly went to the phone and called my friend Kevin at about 10:30 P.M., which doesnt seem that late...but you don't know Kevin's parents. I think everyone has a friend like Kevin when they are growing up. He's the really nice, affable, gregarious kind of guy, who has completely insane, overbearing, strict, irrational parents, who will only be able to rest after crushing the spirit, the very soul, of their child by demanding absolute perfection via draconian measures. I had witnessed Kevin get grounded for letting a screen door close behind him instead of pulling it shut, leaning against his dad's car, and for making errors on his mom's tax return, his house was like the surreal landlords home in The People Under the Stairs minus the compassion and with more gimp suits.

So even though calling Kevin's house would probably result in him having to break rocks for 2 weeks I had to verify that Gonzalez was actually a Tiger. I dialed his number and listened for half a ring before Kevin answered with a meek "Hello?". I dove right in, "Kevin, I know I called your house after the sun went down, which is a big no-no and your parents will treat me as if I had tried to sell you heroin instead of disturbing the deafening silence in your house, but this is important. My computer screen said the Tigers had traded for Juan Gone and I can't believe this so I need you to go online and see if your computer says the same thing." Kevin was stunned too, and amid shrieks of "Who is it?" from his step-father, set the phone down, logged online came back and said, "It's true, the Tigers trad....". That's all I needed to hear the darkness started in my peripheral vision and moved across my eyes until I landed in a heap on the floor with the stupidest grin plastered across my face.

When I regained consciousness it all started to make sense, the Tigers for the first time that I could remember were going to be relevant and contend. The excitement was palpable, the Tigers were moving into the newly minted, cavernous, Comerica Park with a legitimately dangerous lineup, featuring Palmer, Clark, Higgy, Easley, and now a two time MVP, perennial all-star, future Hall-of-Famer, who was still in his prime, and all for the cost of...who? Justin Thompson? Sure he's promising but he's no JUAN GONZALEZ, maybe wunderkind Randy Smith isn't a completely incompetent jackass after all, what could go wrong? Everything. The always mercurial Gonzalez, who once refused to play a game because his pants didnt fit right, immediately soured at the prospect of playing in Detroit and went so far as to turn down an 8 YEAR $140 MILLION extension to stay in Detroit. Juan started the season slowly, complained about the cold April weather, the spacious Comerica, clashed with team mates, had an entourage that overwhelmed the locker room and front office, openly bitched in a Sports Illustrated cover story, and most telling watched a bench clearing brawl between the Tigers and White Sox as a disinterested observer 50 feet away from everyone. The Tigers realizing they made a mistake tried to unload Juan Gone on the Yankees for Drew Henson, a deal that ultimately fell apart shortly before the deadline, and with the Tigers trying to stay above .500 and in the Wild Card race in August, Juan missed a key stretch of games as the Tigers tumbled in the standings. Gonzalez walked as a free agent at the end of a season, signed with division rival Cleveland and had an explosive bounce back season in which he doubled his stats from his season with the Tigers. He then returned to Texas for two injury plagued seasons, milked 4 million from the Royals for another injury plagued season, and then 600k from Cleveland before getting hurt for the season in his only at-bat. Now Juan is a vagabond, ex-Independent League player, who left about 100 MILLION on the table after everything is said and done (had Juan signed that 8 year deal it would have hands down been the worst contract in the history of pro sports, think about it, Juan would be making 20 million this season, there would be no Pudge, no Maggs, no playoffs, no World Series, the Tigers would've been buried by that deal, even Royals fans would be saying, "sure we overpaid for Gil Meche but it's not like he's Juan Gonzalez", and probably relocating to Portland Oregon after 7 straight 120 loss seasons) and looking to deceive one of his former employers into thinking that he still can offer something, anything, before ultimately being exposed as a complete fraud when he retires with the first career ending ingrown hair.

If I were Ilitch I would pick up the phone and say, "Hey Juan, I feel terrible about how things have turned out, how about 3 years 30 million and a guaranteed roster spot......(long pause)......nah just fuckin' with you man, see you in hell.....(short pause)....no I'm not there yet I only look like a corpse, asshole." Or, better yet, have Dombrowski meet with Juan's agents like the Tigers are serious, and when exchanging numbers have Dombrowski counter with a two-year contract, for $6.55 an hour delivering greasy-ass Little Caesar's Hot N'Ready Pizzas with a Ford Festiva, with the parties going dutch on gas.....nevermind, I don't think Juan's worth that much either.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


So, if you are one of my four regular readers you may notice that the format here at The Mickey Tettleton Memorial Overpass has changed. I don't know if I like it better then the previous set-up, (especially the fact that the links and previous posts have been moved to the bottom of the page) and I normally fear change, but I'm willing to give this a try, so let me know what you think, and if the feedback is positive, or existent, then I'll go from there.