Tonight the Tigers were able to roll out their complete lineup for the first time all season. O.k. so they were missing the desecrated corpse of Gary Sheffield and Polanco's wonky back held him out of action again, but with Granderson available for the first time this year (for those of you just waking up from a coma Grandy had missed the first 21 games after breaking his hand during spring training and a hip shark with sunglasses named Zak has become president) and hitting atop the order the lineup finally felt complete. During the Tigers offensive struggles at the beginning of the season, when they were shut out four times in their first fourteen games, I, along with everybody else was extremely disappointed by this offense that was projected to score well over 800 runs.
Not as disappointed as I was when I got a set of Walkie Talkies for my birthday when I was a child and soon found out that they had a range of about ten feet. Man did that suck. I think every kid had dreams about having walkie talkies and going on adventures like the Hardy Boys. Well at least all the lame kids like my friends and I had those kinds of dreams. When I first got them I envisioned giving one of them to my best friend Greg and the two of us would go searching through the wooded areas by our houses hoping to stumble across a dead body that had a briefcase laying next to it with millions of dollars inside. Instead we usually came across high school kids with mopeds and bb guns smoking weed and when we desperately tried to radio for help before getting our asses kicked we discovered just how bad the range on the walkie talkies sucked and that's the story of how I never learned to get my hopes up for anything.
Wait. That's not what I was writing about. Hold on and let me get my thoughts back on track.....hmmm. Oh yeah, Granderson. Anyways, I wondered whether the problem was not just a team pressing to live up to unreasonable expectations but rather the fact that the team was missing its catalyst at the top of the lineup. Nothing against Clete Thomas, who did a remarkable job of filling in and hopefully will avoid contracting Brent Clevlen Syndrome (usually afflicting impressive outfielders during their cups of coffee in the majors who completely lose their ability to hit after returning to the minors and are never heard from again) during his stint in Toledo, but the team just didn't seem to have that same energy it does when Granderson is rocking the top spot. The Tigers seemed so lethargic, old and slow during the first few weeks of the season, seemingly grounding into double plays every time someone came to bat with a man on first. However tonight everything seemed different. It looked like everyone was flying around the basepaths, being aggressive with their baserunning and most importantly having fun.
Look I know as much as the guy sitting next to me....wait. Why is there a guy sitting next to me? I live alone in my apartment. Excuse me sir but can I help you? Uh huh....O.k....understood....thank you. Turns out his name is Reginald and he plans on robbing and kidnapping me but is going to be polite enough to let me finish my post. Now that that matter is cleared up I was saying that I'm not so dumb as to suggest that the Tigers were playing poorly because Clete Thomas doesn't laugh at Edgar Renteria's jokes about the differences between people from Barranquilla and people from Cartagena (for example "Have you ever noticed that drug lords in Barranquilla murder people with machetes and yellow bandanas while arms dealers in Cartagena murder people with machine guns and purple ski masks?" LOL). But when you watch a team day in and day out and they become such an important and interwoven part of your life that you find yourself pretend talking to Marcus Thames on your cell phone and empathizing with his lack of at-bats its hard not to let subjectivity and irrationality creep in. I find myself perceiving things out on the field that aren't really there. Things such as chemistry and energy and hustle and that little demonic badger that crawls out of Chuck Hernandez's mouth and screams at me in German to set the Domino's down the street on fire. I know that if I asked Leyland for his opinion on the improved chemistry or higher energy level after Granderson's return he would just curse at me and then put his cigarette out on my face. Also I know that it's just one game back for Granderson and the Tigers could get shut out tomorrow or that they will continue to be inconsistent until the starting rotation starts to pitch more effectively and deeper into games, but the return of Granderson coupled with a nineteen run outburst made tonight feel like the beginning of what we've all been waiting for. Now if you'll excuse me ich brauche zu Beginn eines Brandes. (That German is horrible, it's been 3 years since I slept through every German class I took over a two year period at MSU so for my one reader in Berlin I apologize. Also I know I forgot to call back to the joke about the guy robbing my apartment but it was kind of lame so I'll just let it die a slow death.)