Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Fourth Annual Authoritative Detroit Tigers Season Preview: Vol 2 Starting Rotation and Bullpen

There are a million other things I should be doing right now other than finishing this season preview, all of them involving studying for my last round of exams ever at law school. Fortunately I just purchased Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney for my Nintendo DS and after successfully solving the first two cases on the game I've never felt more prepared to enter a courtroom. I never knew I could present evidence by interrupting a judge after yelling out "Take That!!!" or stall for more time to set up a defense by faking my own kidnapping with the help of a fifteen year old magician/co-counsel. Seriously I've learned more about the justice system in the six hours I've played Apollo Justice than I have in my two and a half years in law school. With that being said I now give my faceless readers, none of whom I've never met but all of whom I feel obligated to please the final installment of my Detroit Tigers season preview. Behold!

Justin Verlander: My bold prediction for this seasons pitching staff is that Verlander will have a breakout season and be the Tigers first 20 game winner since Bill Gullickson. Well I guess that prediction isn't really bold since about roughly five million other bloggers, sportswriters, analysts, housewives, Sudanese refugees and OBGYN's have predicted the same success for Verlander. Coming into last season I was worried about Verlander and how he would fare in his sophomore campaign after having experienced so much success and pitching so many innings during his rookie season. Turns out I'm an idiot as Verlander somehow improved upon his rookie year by throwing a no-hitter and upping his strikeout rate by 1/3. Now I'm no mathemagician nor historian but if he increases his numbers by a similar margin this season he will strike out 671 batters and shatter Hippo Vaughns single season strikeout mark set in 1878 as a member of the Cleveland Spiders. Amazing.

Jeremy Bonderman: I don't know what to think about Bonderman anymore. We've been waiting for Bonderman's breakout season for the past three years and it hasn't happened. It seems like he's been around forever and has probably peaked/leveled off but then I remember that he's only 25 years old. Last season he started off strong and had a 10-1 record, 3.48 ERA and 4:1 K/BB ratio at the All-Star break before tailing off badly in the second half before he was finally shut down with elbow problems. He has one of the most devastating pitches in all of baseball with a vicious/biting slider but he's been completely unable to develop an off-speed pitch to complement it. He's as exciting as he is extremely frustrating. He might be the biggest enigma/contradiction in all of baseball. He's also the Tigers number 2 starter and I think the biggest key to the Tigers success this season. If he can finally put all of his talent together and give the Tigers the kind of 1-2 punch the Indians had last season en route to winning the A.L. Central behind Sabathia and Carmona then there is no limit to how far this Tigers team can go. However, I get the nagging feeling that I'm going to be writing the same thing about Bonderman this time next year. Aargh.

Dontrelle Willis: Let's see. Dontrelle had the worst season of his career last year. There were scouting reports at the end of last year about his velocity being down in the low to mid 80's and that he might be hurt. This spring the only way his pitching could have been worse was if he had rubbed the ball down with feces before each pitch, he also had the unsettling habit of shaking his arm after pitches like it was hurt as well as looking identical to my friend T.J. who may be, not only the least healthy person I know, but the least healthy person on the planet (T.J. once ate 80 Chicken McNuggets in a 24 hour period, sleeps with random girls from a sleazy bar in Flint and in the death pool my friends and I have regarding T.J....well let's just say I'm feeling pretty comfortable with my prediction of 38). Hmm. So why don't I feel good about D-Train being the Tigers No. 3 starter? For one if Dontrelle lowers his ERA into the low to mid 4's, the Tigers offense should be good enough to get the D-Train about 15 wins. Also I'm going to invest in the theory that Willis was just beat down by the non-existent crowds and losing in Florida and being back in a pennant race will be just what he needs to turn his career around, although by October I'll probably be wishing I had put my money in the "Dontrelle moving to a tougher league w/o a pitcher batting and will see his ERA increase steadily before he goes on the DL in June with a frayed rotator cuff" investment.

Nate Robertson: I wear glasses. Big thick coke bottle type glasses. Without my glasses I am completely blind and if I were set loose in a forest at night without them there is a 96.7% chance that I would scooped up by an owl and carried off into the dark never to be seen again. For years I was ashamed of my terrible eyesight and suffered throughout high school with never being able to read the blackboard. I finally broke down and got contacts about five years ago and, after dealing with two terrible eye infections due to wearing contacts, I switched to glasses at the beginning of this year and wear them proudly. What the hell does this have to do with Robertson you ask? The goggles. I used to think Robertson looked like a douche for rocking Rec-Specs on the mound but no more. I guess you could say I Re-spect the Rec-Specs. Did everyone else just hear a loud groaning sound? That has to be the worst paragraph that's ever been written on this website. Of course I mean other than that tripe Bill wrote earlier this month about the Lions.

Kenny Rogers: I just want Gamblor to be healthy. His injury at the very end of spring training last year seemed to be a harbinger of the bad luck the team would go on to experience last season. I love watching Rogers pitch and I missed him last season on a personal level. I get just as excited watching old savvy pitchers like Rogers, Moyer, Maddux and David Wells pitch as I do watching the Verlanders, Becketts and Peavys of the world. Guys like Rogers really have no business being successful in the big leagues but they are smart or deceptive enough to get by and I really respect that. I hope Rogers can get 20-25 starts in this season at the least.

Todd Jones: Again?!? Yuck. I'll pass talking about Jones for now b/c I'm sure he'll give me reason to vent soon enough.

Denny Bautista: Who? Oh this is just some crappy reliever with a career ERA of 6.93, there's no way he's making the team and even if he does it will be as the 12th man in the pen so who cares. What's that you say? This guy is our set-up man. Surely you jest......Surely......jesus christ, you're serious. I only saw Bautista pitch to one batter this spring and he gave up a homerun to Travis Hafner that travelled about 450 feet. I get the feeling that I'll be seeing that scenario again during the season. Fernando can't get back soon enough.

Zach Miner: I like Miner. I can't really explain why but I think he's going to have a good season and emerge as one of the most reliable relievers on the team. I don't know if I really believe this but it seems like everything I've written after Verlander has been negative so I thought I would try to be positive. This is no fun let's get to Grilli.

Jason Grilli: Anybody who has ever visited this site knows how I feel about Jason Grilli. So I thought I would present a little timeline of my feelings towards Grilli during his time in Detroit. My hatred for him extends all the way back to the end of the 2005 season when I attended a late September game with my sister and her boyfriend to see Alan Trammell manage one of his last games in a Tigers uniform, since by that time it was readily apparent that Trammell was going to lose his job at the end of the season. I was hoping to have a chance to see Trammell go out a winner but by the time we got to our seats in the bottom of the first inning ass-hat Grilli had already given up two runs and the Tigers never had a chance. The next season Grilli became an important part of the bullpen on a surprising Tigers team that would go on to the World Series. In spite of his solid numbers during the regular season I never really trusted Grilli, mainly because of his atrocious K/BB ratio, and my fears were justified when Grilli had a meltdown in Game 4 of the ALCS walking the bases loaded and only throwing 4 strikes in 21 pitches. He was bailed out when Wil Ledezma induced a double play ball and after Maggs hit the walk-off homerun in the bottom the ninth no one cared or remembered Grilli's misdeeds....except me (If you read that sentence in the voice of the guy that narrates movie trailers it sounds cool). At the beginning of the 2007 season Grilli showed his true colors and after he blew a tie game wide open in an early season loss to the Indians I advocated that he should be drawn and quartered after the game, and I was only half kidding. Anyways with all the injuries in the Tigers bullpen this spring the Tigers are relying on Grilli more then ever and if he's not getting booed off the field in early May after giving up a game tying homerun to Casey Blake then I'll be happy...but I'll still hate him.

Bobby Seay: Every season the league is filled with anonymous left-handed middle relievers like Bobby Seay who appear in about 60 games, throw about 50 innings and make a couple million dollars a year for their trouble. Also, unless you completely fuck things up (see: Byrdak, Tim) you can make a nice 10-12 year career out of this role, or if your really lucky you might be like Mike Stanton and set your family up for generations by being lucky enough to be born left-handed with slightly above average athletic ability. This has to be the greatest job on the planet and Bobby Seay is just Exhibit # 4,217 in why I'm tying my kids right arm behind his back the second he comes oozing out of the womb. The next 18 years of my son's life will be spent building up arm strength and working on a variety of pitches in a training regime that makes what the old Red Army hockey team went threw look like an evening spin class for old ladies at Curves. Once he gets drafted I get to use his bonus money to build my dream house and then he'll hate me so much I'll never have to talk to him again, which would be great. If this is getting any of you women readers hot and you want to serve as the surrogate for this experiment send me an e-mail.

Yorman Bazardo: Bazardo has become my new Wil Ledezma. He has the cool name, he was an unheralded acquisition and he made a dominating late season start that I watched that will forever cloud my judgment and make it impossible for me to ever evaluate him in a non-biased manner. I already have come up with a scenario that I play out in my dreams where Rogers misses some starts during the stretch run, which forces Bazardo into the rotation and he becomes a late season revelation, throwing scoreless frames at will and guiding the Tigers to the post-season with a complete game shutout on the season's final day as I sit in the stands nodding in approval, knowing he had it in him all along. Of course the odds of Bazardo even becomes a mediocre major league starters are between about 0.1 and 0.7% and I'm sure in 3 years Bazardo will be a throw in some trade with the Rangers and I'll be falling for some Venezualean pitcher named Yovanni Alvarado.

I know I'm missing some guys, like Rayburn, Rodney, Zumaya and some guy named Clete Thomas who may or may not be the non-threatening ethnic athlete member of the Burger King Kids Club, but its getting late and I'm tired and the Tigers season starts in about 6 hours so I'll write about them later. I just wanted to get to my predictions for the season.

A.L. Central

1: Detroit (95-67): Come on Tigers this is my last year living in Detroit before I have to move back to Clio and live in the crappy Mill Creek Apt's behind VG's and work in my dad's office for the next 40 years. Give me one World Series title before I leave. Please.

2: Cleveland (93-69): Scary scary team. I'm just hoping their bullpen regresses a little like the Tigers did last year. No way Perez and Lewis and Betancourt have those types of seasons again....I hope.

3: Minnesota (83-79): Even though they lost Santana they are always competitive and I love Gardenhire. I think he really gets the most out of his players and is worth a few wins. I think Delmon Young could be huge for them.

4: Chicago (76-86): This team got old fast, I hope this is the season when Ozzie Guillen's head explodes after watching Mike McDougal walk in a tying run in August

5: Kansas City (71-91): They'll give the Tigers trouble because the Tigers can't get DeJesus or Butler out. Those guys bat like .700 against Detroit.

I can't wait for this season to begin....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Fourth Annual Authoritative Detroit Tigers Season Preview: Vol 1 Starting Fielders and Bench

Wow. I can't believe I've been writing these season previews for going on four years. So many memories (Maggs ALCS homerun, Granderson robbing Wily Mo Pena's homerun, Jim Leyland, Marcus Thames and Justin Verlander solving The Mystery of the Astronaut Ghost at the O.K. Corral.....hmmm maybe that was a Scooby-Doo episode. I can't remember.) so many new friends (I bought a cat), even more enemies (namely Big Al, Jason Grilli, Lynn Henning, Sergei Kirov, Leon Trotsky, Sovnarkom Molotov.......wait this is a list of Stalin's enemies, I keep confusing the two). So much has changed in my life since I started this humble blog three years ago. Before the beginning of the '05 season I was a lonely senior in a crappy apartment at Michigan State, downloading porn using BearShare, being used by white trash girls from my hometown who thought I was rich because my dad was an attorney and kissing the TV screen when the cute girls would get off the bus on the MTV dating show Next. Now I'm a lonely third year law student at Wayne State, living in a dumpy apartment, downloading porn using LimeWire, being used by attractive girls who think I'm going to be rich because I'm graduating from law school and kissing the TV screen everytime they show a slightly pudgy Hispanic teenage girl on the MTV dating show Parental Control. Sigh, where does the time go?

But you guys (and girl) don't come to this site to read about all the exciting things that happen in my personal life. No, you come here for in-depth subjective analysis those automatons at Baseball Prospectus fail to see with their soulless grey eyes or feel with their cold, shriveled and blackened hearts. I don't need a UNIVAC tabulation machine named after a shitty Royals middle infielder from the 80's to tell me the Tigers are going to score runs by the assloads (thats a scientific term). In fact my cat, my stoner friend T.J. and I just came up with a formula that projects the Tigers winning 125 games and scoring 1,400 runs this season. We are thinking about calling our new equation common fucking sense. Jerks (I'm kidding of course, I subscribe to BP and read Rob Neyer even though I don't completely understand the things they write, but I wear glasses so it appears as though I'm smart. I call this the Howie Long Corrollary).

Enough nonsense though. Baseball is upon us as on Monday afternoon Ernie Harwell will arrive at Comerica Park flanked by his army of Galapados tortoises and carrying Old Man Winters severed head in his fist thus signifying the beginning of spring and the start of a glorious new season of baseball in the Motor City.....I think...or does the tortoise ride Harwell?.... Onto the preview.

Mike Ilitch: I have always been hard on Ilitch. Even though he has loosened the purse strings over the past few seasons, doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to some of the biggest names in baseball, moves that placed the Tigers into the upper echelon of baseball's financial superpowers and has sportwriters like Peter Gammons comparing the Tigers to the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mets when it comes to spending, I still had a hard time forgiving Mr. Hot-N-Ready (I'm not referencing Little Caesars cheap pizzas here but Ilitch's brief career in stag movies in the mid-60's. Have I mentioned this site is parody? Because it is so don't try suing me or Ilitch or try drinking my blood) for overseeing some of the worst team's in franchise history that happened to coincide with the formative years of my fandom (Jesus, that was a long sentence). I spent my youth as a fan talking myself into being excited about Brian L.Hunter and the other 100+ ex-Astros and Padres the Tigers routinely traded for every off-season between 1995-2000. I remember getting amped about the Tigers signing Craig Paquette and Greg Norton and trading to reacquire Willie Blair. These were supposed to be the greatest years of my life as a Tigers fan and I spent them going to Tiger Stadium with my family only to watch Felipe Lira give up a million runs in two innings against the Orioles during another forgettable 100 loss season. This would be like going through high school and college as a tall, gangly, dorky kid with a voice that sounds like a Muppet that no girls will date. I did that too and it wasn't any fun. So like any irrational sociopath I blamed Ilitch for all the Tigers troubles through the 90's. I characterized him as a greasy vampire hellbent on driving one of the most historic franchises in baseball into the ground and alienating his fanbase. However, that perception changed when I read that he was the impetus behing bringing Cabrera to Detroit, suggesting to Dombrowski that he explore a trade over a Thanksgiving Day phone conversation. Now I love the Ilitch and I'm almost willing to forgive him for the irregular heartbeat his company's cheap pizza's have given me. Speaking of Cabrera...

Miguel Cabrera: Look at Fatty Fat McFatkins over at third base. He has pretty good range for a beached whale. The Tigers can't park their team bus in the infield...wait that's not the bus it's just the Tigers fat-ass third baseman. Now that Cabrera has that big contract he can dive into a swimming pool filled with honey drenched churros and eat his way out. Did I mention Cabrera's fat? Stop, just stop. Cabrera has been in town for five months and I'm already tired of the fat jokes. I made the mistake of watching Around the Horn on Monday and every jackass loudmouth panelist said the same thing about Cabrera, "Sure he's an offensive talent now but what about 8 years from now when he's making $20 million and has his own show on Discovery Health where he has to be forklifted out of the clubhouse and onto the field on a program called 'The 700 lb. Third Sacker.'?" I know his weight is a risk but so far the results this spring have been encouraging. He showed up in shape, he has a ton of veterans to help keep him focused and a manager that's not going to let him get doughy. You think a team with Guillen, Ordonez, Polanco and Sheff are going to let some 24 year old submarine the best team any of them has ever played on by not being in shape or being aloof? Even if he ends up being a fatass as long as he hits .315, 30, 120 for the next eight years I'll buy the Crave Cases for him.

Edgar Renteria: I never wrote about the Renteria trade so I might as well post some thoughts now that I've had nearly seven months to think it over (I'm not lazy I'm just very deliberate). At the time the trade went down I loved it and thought Renteria was exactly what the Tigers needed to field a solid all-around offense. However when the Cabrera trade was consummated I liked the Renteria deal a little less. Once Jair Jurrjens started tearing it up in spring w/ the Braves generating buzz around baseball and drawing raves from Bobby Cox I officially didn't like the trade anymore. Like I said this is all seen w/ hindsight being 20/20 and had the Cabrera deal been the first domino to fall who knows how the rest of the offseason would have played out. It's just that I've really, really, REALLY liked Jurrjens ever since his start against the Indians last season during the stretch run. He was just so poised and filthy and professional and swarthy and handsome and....well you get the idea. This is no knock on Renteria, who I think will be very solid this season, it's just I have this feeling that ten years from now we might look back on this trade and wince a little. It's at times like these that I'm contractually obligated to remind the reader that I was infatuated with Wil Ledezma and compared him to a young Pedro Martinez. Why I signed that contract in exchange for a sleeve of stale Peeps I'll never know.

Carlos Guillen: Last year the Tigers blogosphere convened in ealry spring Houses of Parliament-style to debate whether Chris Shelton or Sean Casey should be the teams starting first basemen. Insults were exchanged, powdered wigs were ruffled and I was firmly entrenched with the pro-Shelton party. Sean Casey won out of course and put together one of the most underwhelming offensive seasons by a first basemen in years and Chris Shelton was relegated to Toledo.. Now both are mercifully gone and Guillen slides over to first base (although I feel awful for all of the people who made the shortsighted decision of sinking a couple of hundred bucks into purchasing a Chris Shelton jersey during his amazing April two years ago and stubbornly continue to wear it to the ballpark). I expect Guillen to do the same things he's been doing every season offensively, which is hit .300 with 20 homers and about 100 RBI, since the Tigers traded Ramon Santiago for him in one of the most lopsided deals in recent history as well as provide some excellent defense and range at first.

Placido Polanco: Speaking of lopsided trades, if the Guillen-Santiago deal is the biggest heist Dombrowski has pulled during his tenure as Tigers G.M. then acquiring Polanco in exchange for machete wielding maniac Uegeth Urbina is a close second. All Polanco does is hit and had it not been for Maggs amazing season Polanco's .341 average would have been the highest by a Tiger in twenty years, (I might be wrong on this but I'm to lazy to research it and the only higher average that I could think of off the top of my head was Trammell in '87 if I'm wrong don't correct me in the comments or I will hunt you down and punch you for showing me up on my own blog. You think that because you got a college degree it makes you better then your old man?). Last season I predicted Polanco would win the batting title and due to my aforementioned laziness I'm just going to roll that prediction over to this season instead of making a new one. Other rolled over predictions for '08. Danity Kane will become this generations version of The Supremes, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry will become the gold standard for comedies and Carpoolers will finally make Jerry O'Connell a superstar.

Pudge: Pudge says hes in the best shape of his life and has hit 8 homeruns in spring training to lead the team, which means he's probably using HGH or some other kind of performance enhancing drugs. I know thats a baseless accusation and reckless to say on my part but with the current climate for steroid accusations being akin to the Salem Witch Trials I could say I saw Pudge, Palmerio, Canseco and Juan Gonzalez dancing around naked in the woods injecting each other in the butt (with needles!....perverts) and then writhe around on the courtroom floor like I was having a seizure it would probably be enough to cause a Congressional Hearing. Seriously though wouldn't this offseason be the best time to take HGH if you were a player like Pudge? Baseball has already blown its wad with the lengthy and expensive Mitchell Report, so if you weren't named in that report odds are you won't ever be subjected to an investigatory proceeding or, by the time baseball got around to commissioning another report, you would be retired and/or so far removed from the game that no one would care, i.e. Lenny Dykstra. It's reminds me of how in high school every great once in a while the principal would call the houses of every kid who was absent and if they weren't home they would get a one day suspension for skipping. Everyone would know when this happened b/c there would always be some fat brainy girl who had the courage to finally do something cool for the first time in her life, like skip class and make out with some married man that was hanging out at the bowling alley, and she would get caught and be completely distraught and suicidal because she got suspended. The great thing about this was that everyone who didn't skip that day knew they had a window of a couple weeks to miss as much school as they wanted because the principal would be to lazy to go through all the phone calls again and even if you did get caught nobody would give a shit because everyone would still be making fun of and gossiping about the fat girl (Roger Clemens). I've belabored this point but my message is HGH like crazy now if your playing baseball even at the high school or Little League levels because you won't get caught. Like Crazy.

Jacques Jones: Jacques was my name in French class during high school. I picked it because it was the most stereotypical French name I could think of. I was a good student in high school and rarely made trouble or spoke in class. However, I used French class as a release to act like the total smartass jerk I always wanted to be. So whenever I hear the name Jacques I think of my teacher Madame Refice, yelling out "Jacques are you pushing those desks together to sleep on?", or, "Jacques did you pay that elementary student you were tutoring 50 cents to break all the nerdy kids pencils in half?", maybe even, "Jacques why did you draw penises on every page of Leslie Miller's textbook?" I made Jacques my alter-ego alternating between acting like Wally Cleaver during most of my day but turning into Eddie Haskell in French class (Yes I just referenced Leave it To Beaver I hope that's still hip b/c I've got a badass Rifleman reference queued up next.) What does all this have to do with Jacques Jones. Nothing.

Curtis Granderson: The amount of love Granderson receives is amazing. Even my mom, a 90 year old full blooded Native American who has spent her whole life in isolation because she is the last known speaker of the Natchez language and whose interest in sports begins and ends with her love of kapucha toli has Granderson in her Top 8 friends on Myspace. Granderson is out for 2-4 weeks with a broken finger and it will be interesting to see how the lineup performs without him, because there is no doubt he is the Tigers catalyst....blah....blah....blah. I can't think of anything to write about Granderson that hasn't already been written about a thousand times on sites better than this one. So go read those and then come back here with the other sites toaster because I need one for my apartment. I bought Eggo's at the grocery store last week but I forgot I don't have a toaster to make them in, so....where am I?

Magglio Ordonez: I still can't get over how insanely good Maggs was last season. Had he posted those numbers during any season or league not occupied by A-Rod he would have won the MVP like a cake walk through the cake park. I've never seen a guy so locked in and comfortable at the plate as Maggs was last season, sometimes it looked like he was going to take a nap in the batter's box and then he would smoke a double into the gap. The most amazing part about Maggs season on a personal level is that even though he was on my fantasy team and posted those outrageous numbers I still finished in last place. I must squander more talent on a yearly basis playing fantasy sports then any other fantasy manager out there, but who cares about that? I don't expect Maggs to duplicate his numbers from last season but hitting in the middle of this lineup he could still drive in 140 runs even if his average and homerun power tailed off some.

Gary Sheffield: I hope Sheffield is over the jinx my friend T.J. put on him last season after T.J. decided to stop bashing Sheff and jumpon his bandwagon in July even buying a Sheffield t-shirt jersey the same day he got hurt playing right field. I think Sheff will have a tremendous bounce back season as long as he stays healthy because when he was 100% last season the offense really clicked and the Tigers had the best record in baseball. Then Sheff got hurt again and the rotation imploded and things went to hell (I'm not dumb enough to say there is a connection between Sheff's injury and the rotation breaking down I'm just noting that both went south at the same time). The thing that surprised me most about Sheff last season was how great he was on the basepaths. He picked his spots to steal bases and moved from 1st to 3rd, read balls off the bat and all those little things that sportswriters and managers get all misty-eyed about, better than anybody I'd ever seen before. It was like having Alex Sanchez again only exactly the opposite.

Brandon Inge: Inge has been a hot topic during this off-season because of his morose attitude about losing his job to a player that is somewhere between 20 and 1,000,000^9 better than him offensively. Everyone loves Inge, teenage girls scream when he comes to bat, middle age women rock his jersey and talk about his ass and one of my favorite Tigers plays off all time was when he dove face first into the crowd in Seatlle to catch a foul ball, which as I wrote at the time would have had the whole Baseball Tonight crew in a masturbatory froth had Derek Jeter done it. But Inge is wrong here. The Tigers don't owe him anything and he should just accept his new role. I remember he pulled this same crap and complained when the Tigers signed Pudge a few seasons ago. Back then his complaints were laughable b/c he was hitting about .031 for his career and Pudge was a sure fire Hall-of-Famer on a team that had not had a star player since Cecil Fielder. His complaints are a little more justified now since he's established himself over the past few seasons but its not like the Tigers brought in Wes Helms or Pedro Feliz to take his job, no it's Miguel Friggin Cabrera (how ironic that his middle name is Friggin', his parents must have known how awesome he was going to be.) Inge reminds me of my friend Kevin. Kevin is a good guy, he's funny, he's nice, he's good to be around but he's also overly sensitive. He'll joke and make fun of you but if you make fun of him or do anything he perceives as a slight he gets offended. Not angry offended, but mopey and quiet and you have to coddle him for a bit before he comes back around to acting normal. As a friend you deal with it but after awhile it gets annoying. Very annoying. I think Inge is a lot like my friend Kevin and right now I'm very annoyed with him.

Marcus Thames: I love Thames. He just crushes everything and I'm glad he's on the team even though there were persistent rumors that he might get traded for relief pitching. I think his power bat off the bench is way more valuable than what Joe Smith or Scott Schoenweis would have provided as a reliever even taking into account the Tigers dreadful bullpen. Even though I'm glad he's a Tiger I still wish I could see Thames get 600 at bats for a mediocre team, just to see what his power numbers would look like. I imagine something like .232-46-110 with some ridiculous slugging percentage around .600. He would be a modern day Gorman Thomas minus the insane facial hair.

Ramon Santiago: He'll be fine doing the things Ramon Santiago does....whatever that is.

Friday, March 21, 2008 Vault unveiled a new section of their website today called The Vault. It has every issue of Sports Illustrated ever published and is costs nothing. I just finished browsing through an issue featuring Alan Trammell on the cover and profiling the 84 Tigers amazing season. I've never wanted to smoke Lucky Strikes, buy The Empire Strikes Back on VHS or sit in Tiger Stadium as badly as I wanted to after reading that issue. I can't recommend this website strongly enough, so stop reading this and go check it out right now. For those that are interested in what I writing I am putting together my Tigers season preview and its going to be epic. 3,000 words and counting.......

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ballplayers My Dad Thinks Are Handsome Vol 1

Duly noted Bill.......

I'm not trying to hijack Bill's first post on this site by posting a picture of Jim Palmer in his underwear. I haven't got to the point of being jealous about being the second best writer on the website I created and built up through hours of hard work, gallons of blood and.....liters?.... of tears to do something as petty as bury one of Bill's post under a bunch of garbage posts......yet. Anyways read his take on the Lions below b/c its better than anything I could put up regarding those dirtbags. Welcome aboard Bill.

Why the Detroit Lions are so pathetic

For those of you who care, I'm Bill, Andy's friend. He has invited me to contribute. Don't hate me.

Writers, fans, sports radio hosts, etc. have long provided explanations for the ever present pathetic fucking abortion of a football team we call the Detroit Lions. I've taken a step back and really given this topic some thought. And by taking a step back I mean that I've completely stopped caring about the Lions altogether (e.g. did not watch a single play of the Lions' last three games of 2007). Of course the World of Warcraft-related bedsores I have all over my body from continuous play over the past year certainly has something to do with my absence. God I hate myself.
Anyway, here is what I've come up with: In general, those who care about the Detroit Lions routinely blame Bill Ford Sr., Bill Ford Jr., Matt Millen, and any one of the coaches who have run through the ever-present carousel. I suppose the players have been subjected to some blame, but to a lesser extent. Typically, if a player underachieves, causes problems in the locker room, demonstrates lack of testicles or sustains an injury, those quality individuals running the team are criticized for acquiring the player in the first place.

So who really deserves the blame?

First of all, we can't hold the coaches responsible. Rod Marinelli currently has a team full of average to below average players who receive premium salaries, which has led to a lack of top-flight NFL starters and overall depth for most positions. With the most recent departures of Fernando Bryant, Big Baby, Kevin Jones, and Damian Woody among others, the Lions haven't managed to replace even the marginal talent they've lost. Rest assured that it won't be corrected in the draft.

Well, Wayne Fontes was the only coach who actually had enough talent on both sides of the ball to routinely field a playoff contender, but I won't blame him because he never should've been head coach in the first place. Bobby Ross was ok, but he quit midseason in 2000 and seemed generally frustrated with the organization. Good for him. Gary Moeller was fine as an interim coach. He posted a 4-3 record and remains the only Lions coach in the last 30 or so years to post a winning record. Moeller, of course, was replaced by Marty Mornhinwheg following the 2000 season by Matt Millen.

So Fontes, Moeller, and Ross all recieve a pass. Also, Mornhinwheg, Steve Mariucci, and Dick Jauron receive a pass for the same reason Marinelli gets one. Any coach who is left with the zeroes routinely acquired by Matt Millen shouldn't have to answer to anybody.

Ok, so after all Millen must be the one to blame. He's either hiring the wrong coach or if he does hire the right guy we wouldn't know because of his inability to draft, sign free agents, or appropriate funds in the direction of meaningful talent in any way, shape, or form. Anyone reading this right now doesn't need me to go into the man's innumerable blunders. You know and understand where I'm coming from.

By the way, I don't think Millen is to blame for the current state of the Detroit Lions. The reason is that he never should've been hired in the first place and once he demonstrated a measurable amount of incompetence he should have been fired. There is nothing about Matt Millen that makes him qualified to run a multi-million dollar business.

What is it about this guy that convinced the Fords he was the guy to hire? Ok, so his claim to fame is that he was an above average linebacker in the NFL. I guess he was an alright color guy for one of the networks. I don't remember which one.

Oh, I get it now. Millen was good at finding a guy who was carrying a football and then running toward him and bringing him down to the ground. So, because of Millen's unique ability to tackle a ball carrier, he must be the most qualified individual available to manage a salary cap, scout talent, draft players, hire a team of coaches, etc.

Using this logic, it would be reasonable for the board of directors of Subway to hire a sandwich maker as a CEO, because of the employee's unique ability to make a sandwich. In what way was Matt Millen more convincingly demonstrating the skills required to run an NFL franchise than the hypothetical sandwich maker was to head Subway?

It's not Millen's fault that he remains president of the Lions. One might think that he should realize his own lack of success and resign. I wouldn't resign if I was Matt Millen. Who else is going to hire him to run their football franchise?

So what I'm trying to say is that it must be the Fords' fault for failing to hire someone capable of running their franchise, right? No, actually, I'm not blaming William Clay Ford Sr. or Jr. either.

I don't blame either Ford because their rise to prominence had little to do with any particular attribute about themselves that indicated they were qualified to obtain leadership roles in one of the world's largest automotive companies. This, of course, led to their immense wealth which afforded Bill Sr. to purchase the Detroit Lions in 1964.

Fans have long complained about the inability of Lions' ownership to somehow field a Super Bowl caliber team, or at the very least a team that consistently makes a playoff run. But why should we expect so much of the Fords in the first place? They are only who they are because they were born into a prominent family. If you're the grandson or great-grandson of Henry Ford, all you have to do is not be a complete waste while growing up and you've landed yourself a leadership role in a Fortune 500 company.

It's not their fault that they were entitled to an NFL franchise if they wanted one, just because they were born rich. Have I used the word nepotism yet? Well, I'm not going to.

The way I see it, Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. are just a couple normal guys running our beloved Detroit Lions. We expect greatness out of a couple men who never needed to be anything special to get where they are. Henry Ford was a self-made, wildly successful man. Of course, that doesn't mean anyone falling into his family tree has the same recipe for success.

So why don't the Fords have enough sense to hire someone capable to run the Detroit Lions franchise? Why can't I think of something funny to write? Who knows? We expect them to make sound business decisions, but never have they had to make them in the past. Right now, the Lions, unlike Ford Motor Company, are making a huge profit. Only in the NFL can a franchise as poorly run as the Lions still make tons of money.

If we can't blame the players, the coaches, the team president and the ownership, then who can we blame? I guess we can only blame society. We live in a society where individuals are consistently given positions of leadership for reasons other than their qualifications. Anyone knows that leadership is an important part of the success of any company. Unfortunately for fans of the Detroit Lions, the leaders aren't leading them anywhere anytime soon, we have no one to blame, and there's nothing we can do about it.