The curse of second base . . . reversed?

There is a long running theory in our house that the Tigers have some sort of Voldemort/Defense Against the Dark Arts type curse going on at second base. The origin of this curse, we felt, was when the Tigers let Placido Polanco walk, because as much as we hated watching Granderson leave,  that decision struck us as particularly stupid.

Yesterday, thanks to my husband, a new theory arose. It may have only partially been Polanco’s fault. No. The blame for the curse may have always rested on the shoulders of one Omar Infante.

Think about it! Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago were supposed to be the second baseman and shortstop of the future. In the 2004 season, Omar played 142 games, the majority of them at second base. And it did not go quite as planned.  Omar hit .264 in 2004 and .222 in 2005 (not all games at second, mind you). Sensing the need for a hitter at that position, the Tigers went to the Phills and picked up one Placido Polanco, who proceeded to hit very, very well from 2005-2009 before he was stupidly unsigned despite hitting .285 and winning a Gold Glove. (You know what he did for Philly the next year? Hit .298. But I’m not bitter.)

So, based on our previous theory, Polanco was bitter for not getting the offer from the Tigers he deserved and placed a curse on second base. I certainly wouldn’t blame him. But let’s consider Omar for a moment. Despite having his job taken, he hung around and played off our bench for two more seasons, playing pretty much every position on the field, and watched Polanco be the second baseman his team always wanted before finally going to the Braves for the 2009 season. Still, he played off the bench, playing only 30 of 70 total games that year at second.

But a funny thing happened in 2010. The Braves played Omar for 134 games, 65 at second base. He hit .321 that year and was assigned to the All-Star team as a reserve second baseman. Huh. In fact, over the years prior, though it was generally smaller sample sizes, he was quietly increasing his batting average. The Marlins obviously noticed this and made him their daily second baseman in 2011 and, as well all know, 2012, with good results. The Tigers, having endured multiple years of years of second base insanity (Raburn, Santiago, Worth, Inge, Rhymes, Guillen, Sizmore,  . . .), looked back to Infante, who was playing very well for a team that has become the laughing stock of the National League, and said “Son, your time as come. Come home”.

And what has Infante done since? In 15 games, he’s hit .315, 8 RBIs, 2 home runs, 2 triples.

Yes, Polanco might have cursed the second base position. But isn’t it equally likely that second base, after losing Polanco, has just been waiting for Infante to come home?

A brief conversation about Ryan Raburn going to the DL

Me: Raburn just went on the 15-day DL? I mean, for what, exactly? A sore ass?

Husband: Seriously? He hasn’t played in like a week. Splinters, maybe?

Me: Hee! Butt splinters!

And then we acquired a replacement Raburn, and I felt a little bad for the guy, but it was still funny. So there you go.

Tigers @ Rays 6-29-12: David Price is Really Good

If it feels like Tigers starters have given up an inordinate number of home runs this season, believe me, it feels much worse when you’re watching the Rays hit solo homer after solo homer off your ace.  But let’s not dwell on the outcome, because I have pictures!  I’ll post the whole set somewhere and have a link at some point, but for now, I’ll give you the highlights.  Please feel free to share with a credit back to this blog.  Enjoy!

Coke pitches in the bullpen

Action Coke!  Tampa’s bullpen is on the field, so photo ops are easy.

Avila and Yong during BP

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Crossing a line

I’ve been staying off Twitter a lot lately, particularly during games, because it just makes me too angry, especially during a loss.  I’m usually pretty careful to follow people who only Tweet amusing things about games, even during ugly losses, but with the ability to retweet, I inevitably end up pissed off about something and have to log off.  This weekend, I cautiously ventured back onto Twitter, and generally enjoyed it, probably in no small part to the hysterical chronicles of the rain delay last night by people who were getting hailed on at the park.  

Something came up on my feed today, though, that set me off all over again.

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I mean, for real?  There are fans who would actually do that crap?

Social media and the internet are great for a lot of reasons.  God knows I use them enough.  The downside is, though, that relative anonymity makes people brave.  For most of us, having to look someone in the face while saying something to them makes us censor ourselves a tad.  The internet gives you more of a hit-and-run mentality to being mean.  

I have no problems with people having opinions about how a team is being managed.  Fans will disagree, think they can make better decisions, play Monday Morning QB, etc.  That’s just how they are.  I’ve done it myself.  And, sometimes, fans will frame these opinions in an unnecessarily negative way.  I don’t like it (see: my opinions about booing home players), but that’s sports and it will never change.

But, really, that isn’t the issue here.  The problem in this case is that some fans think it is perfectly acceptable to voice their opinions on how a team’s manager sucks to that manager’s son.  That’s crossing a line.  Yes, Patrick is on Twitter, and probably sees passing comments from time to time.  But this person apparently Tweeted directly to Patrick, and that’s completely uncalled for.  I guess they thought, hey, Jim Leyland isn’t on Twitter, but his kid is, so this is the next best thing?  Maybe?  I don’t know what the thought process was, but it isn’t okay.

Luckily, Patrick handled it gracefully, which speaks volumes about his upbringing.  This was the next Tweet, which gave me some hope for humanity:

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He also chose to post a video of his dad being interviewed as his response to any questions about Leyland’s loyalty to the Tigers, which I thought was a classy, appropriate response.  

So kudos to you, Patrick, for sticking up for your dad, and kudos to Jim for raising a good kid.  

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Stay tuned for about a billion pictures from the Tampa games, as soon as I can narrow down which ones I want to post.  

Oops?

Here’s a fun secret I failed to anticipate about starting a blog following your favorite sports team.  When they’re winning, it seems super easy and fun.  When they’re not . . . well, less fun.  And kind of difficult.

I mean, really, how many different ways can you say the following things- screw the injury bug, the offense makes me want to set fire to the team, WTF Scherzer, please don’t talk to me about second base.  It gets kind of redundant, the way every loss feels exactly the same, how you can call when a guy is about to hit into a double play, how terrible pitchers are suddenly complete game throwers against us.  This wasn’t supposed to happen, you know.  But it is happening, and that makes it hard to find things to write about.

HOWEVER.

I will be attending three of the four Tampa games next weekend, so I should have plenty to talk about and I’m hoping that might get me going, at least for a bit.  I should also have plenty of pictures to show you.  Let’s consider this a blog reboot, shall we?

Until then, I’ll sit here on the couch and keep watching the Cardinals and our boys deadlocked in the most boring game ever played and pretend that our bullpen isn’t going to blow this thing.  Prince just hit a single, so maybe there’s hope?

Know your Tigers: a refresher for the folks at MLB.com

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This picture has been in the MLB.com photo gallery for last night’s game against Oakland all day today.  Apparently, no one has felt the need to correct it.  You know, on the website dedicated entirely to professional baseball.  Thus, I feel the need to provide some information to help them properly distinguish between certain Tigers hitters.

The above picture is of Brennan Boesch.  Brennan Boesch used to hit second for the Tigers.  He is currently hitting .231 with an OBP of .254, an OPS of .604, and is slugging .351, which is why he is now batting 8th.  He has been playing with the Tigers since 2010 and has only ever worn the number 26.  He is huge but has a baby face and almost constant stubble.

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(image from mlive.com)

This is Andy Dirks.  He is four inches shorter than Brennan, has a distinctively thick neck, and I have yet to see him play with stubble.  He’s played with the Tigers since last season and has only ever worn the number 12 in the majors.  He is hitting a ridiculous .371 with an OBP of .413, an OPS of 1.042, and is slugging .629.  This is why he is now hitting second in the lineup instead of Boesch.  

I hope you will find this guide helpful in the future.  Or, if you’d like, I would happily come write captions for your Tigers game photos for you.  I bet I would get all the names right and everything.

I have a lot of feelings on this matter, but Christy said every last one of them, so I’ll let her down the talking and say “ditto” for now.