Category Archives: Justin Verlander

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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JV tries to kill us, Inge kills the internet, and this is only week 2

(This was written yesterday, FYI, so assume this was all yesterday morning after JV’s start.  I forgot to e-mail the post to myself from the work computer.  Oops.)

Why do I feel like this season has been at least a month long already? My heart should not be litterally pounding during the 10th game of the year. Insanity.

And speaking of insanity, this team (and the fans, actually) has rendered me incapable of coherent speech multiple times over already, so here’s a collection of disjointed thoughts for you.

– At some point during the third game against the White Sox, I had completely transformed into the “Y U No” guy and found myself screaming at the television:

TIGERS OFFENSE Y U NO HIT BASEBALLS?

BULLPEN Y U NO THROW STRIKES?

LEYLAND Y U NO KILL SCHLERETH?

PRINCE Y U INJURE OWN STARTER?

DELMON Y U NO LIKE RUNNING?

DUNN Y U HIT BASEBALL NOW?

FANS Y U NO LIKE OWN TEAM?

And so on. Thank God for Porcello and his rediscovered sinker. When you are reduced to meme-speak this early in the season, you know you’re in for a long summer.

– Boys, I know it is self-preservation, but you’re supposed to protect your pitcher. One of you couldn’t have stood still or knocked down that foul ball or something and kept it from hitting Wilk?

– I guess if you’re going to pass sinus infections and strep around the clubhouse, best to get it out of the way this early in the season. Maybe you don’t want to give it to your broadcaster who just went through chemo, though. Just a thought.

– The fan panic continues at a level that is so ridiculous that I can’t even read Twitter during games if things are going badly. Ryan Raburn should be burned at the stake! Miguel Cabrera is ruined! Jim Leyland should be fired because we lost a game/for leaving JV in/taking JV out/ever using his bullpen/using statistics to compose a line-up/breathing! After last night, it turns out I can’t even read Twitter during games when things are going WELL. I hopped on after Inge’s homerun of majesty last night to see if Samera was gloating (heh) and check the feeds of the few other Tigers fans I can stand to follow. According to a few of those folks, people have such a deep hatred for Brandon Inge that they were actually angry that he hit a home run. That broke a tie. And ended up being the difference in the game. And gave JV a chance at his first win.

… I don’t even know what to do with this information. If you hate a guy so much that you can’t tip your hat and say “huh, good job, I guess”, or even acknowledge that he might have changed the outcome of an entire game, I don’t want to know you. You might call yourself a fan of the team, but we have very different definitions of the word “fan”.

– Along that same line, should we really be upset that the bottom part of the order is stepping up to win games when the middle is so clearly slumping? I love you, Gerald Laird.

– I hate to get my hopes up, but I kind of want to marry this version of Austin Jackson. Never leave us Austin Jackson Who Hits Balls and Takes Walks!

– The MLB Tonight commentary during their live lookins during the 9th inning last night were hysterical. They were utterly convinced that Leyland had gone out to pull Justin during his mound visit and had been talked out of it. Having watched far many, many mound visits during Justin’s starts, my husband and I believed that, after his last start, Leyland was absolutely going to leave Justin in, even if he lost the lead. We never for a moment thought that mound visit was anything more than a “Look, you need one out, just get this done”. I even told my husband that it was all probably some sort of psychological thing for him after the last start and Leyland was letting him work through it. The reactions and expressions of pure relief and glee on Avila and Verlander’s faces after the final out confirmed this long before the quotes from MLB.com did. Do I agree with letting your star arm throw that many VERY FAST pitches in April? No, I do not. But I kind of get it, even if it almost KILLED ME DEAD.

– I hate the White Sox. I hate them in their stupid White Sox faces.

 

Spring training update- it begins (part 1)

For most of the year, my husband and I pretty much hate living in Florida.  This time of year is a massive exception.  All the heat, humidity, traffic, tourists, terrible drivers are almost worth it when you live 30 minutes from Joker Marchant Stadium in late February.  My new President’s Day tradition is using my day off from work to wander around the practice fields and try not to implode from the awesomeness of it all.  My first visit to Tiger Town is when my excitement for the season truly kicks in to high gear.  This year, my day off happened to coincide with the first official pitcher and catcher work-out, Justin Verlander’s birthday, and the arrival of Prince.  I’m sure you can imagine the circus that ensued.  Small-scale, mind you, but still insane compared to the day I visited last year.

I haven’t figured out a good way to organize to work this into a neat narrative, and frankly, I don’t have the patience.  Instead, I’m going to use the best of my pictures, notes from my cell phone, and the random texts I sent to my poor, working husband to give you some highlights from the morning.

I’ve noticed that there are three groups of people who show up to watch the early workouts- snowbird/transplanted/vacationing fans who come to watch the players and see how they look (that’s me), local baseball fans who have some free time and want to see what’s up, and autograph hounds.  The autograph hounds are always the first to arrive so they can get a prime spot.  By the time I showed up at around 8:30am, this was the scene:

fan mob

Anticipation!

This was already more people than I saw last year and more kept coming.  There was some muttering from later arrivals that they wish they’d gotten there earlier to get a good spot, that they had no idea it was going to be this crowded.  I was wish I had left later or stopped to get breakfast and coffee since the rumor was that practice wasn’t starting until at least 9:30am.  It wasn’t all bad, though.  One of the things I love about Spring Training is talking to other fans, finding out where they’re from, why they’re there, throwing inside jokes back and forth, listening to rumors, etc.

pitcher parade

The pitchers emerge!

Notice that Coke is the only one letting his uniform fly?  Yep.  Pretty much everyone walked through (to applause) and didn’t stop to sign.  I think Porcello may have signed a few before moving on.  Scherzer and a few stragglers came out a few minutes after.  After another few minutes, the press started gathering and we knew that The Man was emerging.

JV emerges

This is what happens after you win an MVP and Cy Young.

Verlander actually signed for a good amount of time, which led to a woman loudly complaining about how this was all a big show because the cameras were running, since “last time” there were only four of them standing around and he didn’t bother.  She made the same comment repeatedly while Justin signed, which got old, especially since I’ve seen him sign autographs multiple times and had just listened to a man tell a story about how he’d taken pictures with fans at a movie theater once when he was out on a rain-out day.  Anyway.  After he finished and started to jog off, a few of us yelled “happy birthday, Justin!”, which got him to turn and wave with a big smile.  He was followed by the coaches and office staff…

boss men

Baseball is serious business.

…and, much to our amusement, Laird and Avila brought up the rear.

the catchers

Welcome back, G-Money!

They were running and Laird was having issues with the bag on his shoulder (aw.), but they both looked happy and were chatting away.  They stuck together pretty closely throughout the day and I’m hoping that they’re falling back into a nice routine together.  Alex looked healthy and energetic, which was a huge relief after the end of last season.

Tiger kids

There was also some ridiculously cute baseball going on.

 

charge

Ladies and gentlemen, The Pitchers.

After a seemingly endless meeting at the back of the field, everyone took a warm-up lap (running right by us in the process) with Justin, Benoit, and Coke leading the charge.  Do they look excited?  I think they look excited.

Next time: Pitching workouts, fielding drills, Papa Grande attempts to “hustle”, and Coke blames his error on the coach.

File under “Things That are Awesome”

You’ve all probably seen this all ready, but apparently, Justin Verlander is a ninja.  Also, he can get inside Kershaw’s brain.  You know.  Because he’s a Ninja.

This inspired a spectacular cartoon from Roar of the Tigers that you simply must see.

Is it baseball time yet??

I knew there was something fishy going on

Many have probably suspected that Just Verlander made some sort of a dark deal with the sports gods this year.  Last night, we got confirmation of this when he correctly picked not only the winner of the Super Bowl, but the EXACT final score.

Even more bizarrely, he won something for this achievement as part of the Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll, “which is an actual trophy”.  I love that MLB.com felt our collective skepticism and felt the need to point this out.  Excellent use of sarcasm, there.  Even more hilarious is the fact that everyone in sports appears to be all over this story.  We obviously need the season to start, like, yesterday.

I’m sure Justin will put this on the shelf right next to his Cy Young and MVB awards.