NOT HELPFUL, DELMON

Are you freaking kidding me with this??

Okay, look, Delmon.  Let’s talk about this for a minute.  New York City is an exciting place.  I know you were probably excited that the team got in early enough to enjoy a little time in the city.  But New York is a great place.  There are many, MANY things to do that do not involve drinking and staying out until after 2am.  And, hell, if you were going to drink?  Have a beer.  Maybe two.  Meet some locals.  Go to bed at a descent hour.  But you are on a team that is slumping.  Drinking to a degree that impares your judgement the day before a game against the NEW YORK YANKEES is a STUPID IDEA.  One of your OWN TEAM MATES can provide you with endless reasons as to why this is true.
Also?  Your team just lost 6 of 7 games at home, 3 of those against the Mariners.  Fans are angry.  Your manager is frustrated.  The longest employed player in the organization, whom some of your team mates have known for 10 years, was just fired.  For one second, did you think that MAYBE putting yourself in a situation that COULD lead to trouble was the absolute LAST THING any of your team mates or bosses needed right now?  They’ve been through this before.  Recently.  I have a feeling their patience for these kinds of shennanigans are wearing very, very thin.

And, if we’re being really honest?  You’re no Miguel Cabrera, and you’ve been in trouble before.  You’re a free agent at the end of this year, and you’ve seemed very concerned about that fact whenever anyone thinks that maybe your lack of range in left may mean you should be a full-time DH.  Do you really think this kind of behavior is going to help you get a job next year?  Really?

One of the reasons I love professional baseball is because this kind of crap doesn’t seem to happen with nearly the frequency it does in, say, the NBA or the NFL.  I want the athletes I root for to be good role models for my kids someday.  Good people make mistakes.  Good people make poor choices.  But the information coming forward that this may have a anti-semetic aspect to it makes it harder for me to write this whole situation off as “one of those things”.  Drinking lowers our inhibitions.  It doesn’t change who we are as people.

Jim Leyland stood up in front of a room full of people just days ago and praised your team for who they are as people.  Do you remember what he said?

“We just have a wonderful group of guys. In fact, to be honest with you, if we’re going to win this thing, we’ve got to find that little mean streak that’s in all of us. We need that, and we’re going to have to have that. We are going to need that little mean streak, I can assure you, that little swagger, because we’re the hunted. But I’ll take my chances with this group. We’ve got a lot of characters, a lot of wonderful guys with great, great personalities.”

“I’ve never really seen many good players or good teams that didn’t have a little mean streak, a little selfishness in them, to be honest with you. I mean that in a good way. … In our case, I think it’s particularly important because a lot of people have talked about our club, blah blah blah.  There’s time to be a real nice guy and a gentleman, but it’s not when the game starts. You have to have a little bit of [a-hole] in you, if you want to know the truth.”

This isn’t what he meant.  Not at all.  I’m sure he’s embarassed by what happened this morning, and I hope you appologize to him and the fans for representing the club in this way.

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the hardest goodbye yet

Well, that was fast.

I knew it would happen.  I knew it would happen this season.  I hate that it happened at the end of a completely disastrous homestand.  Because, look, we can all agree (even this supporter) that Inge has been terrible aside from the random extra base hit, but he’s been with the team since 2001.  He was part of the 2006 club.  I cannot imagine that losing a guy like this as a teammate after being SWEPT BY THE MARINERS and before you get on a plane to New York felt very good.  The only good thing I see in this as a fan is that Inge no longer has to endure the hail of boos that happens anytime he shows his face on the field.  It felt cruel and cheap and I was sick of hearing it.  He said he thought it was funny, but when they showed close-ups of his face during games, it was like looking at a different person.  I think he was miserable, and maybe this was the best thing for him.  Have fun with your kids, Brandon, and I hope someone picks you up.

Really, I’m just angry, and not for the reason you think.  I’m pissed because I’m sure there are fans who feel like they’ve won, like they booed hard enough, complained loudly enough, that the front office heard them and gave them what they wanted.  And that just isn’t true.  This was going to happen one way or another, and I hate that people feel giddy about it.  There’s nothing good about watching a guy try so hard but fail.  Nothing.  Inge leaving doesn’t fix this team.  Leyland wanted the guys to get angry.  Maybe this will help.

As I’ve said, I was a late fan.  Brandon Inge was the first player I called “My Tiger”.  I don’t know why I zeroed in on him, but I’ve always liked him, and I’ll keep wearing my Inge jersey until it falls apart.  I’ll miss seeing his goofy, ridiculous face on the team, and if he lands somewhere in another uniform, I’ll follow him, no matter how wrong it looks, just like I have with Granderson in pinstripes.

Random baseball happenings, some of it Tigers related

We’re not talking about last night, so here’s a delightfully random collection of linkage:

Apparently, we have re-acquired Zach Miner.  I have no interpretation for that.  Just thought you all might want to know.

Pudge finally makes it official.  How much do you love that Avila got his first catcher mitt from Pudge?  Aw.

Phil Coke’s Brain gives you a rundown of Tigers Twitter insanity, both official and not.   There’s some great stuff here and definitely worth a look.  I haven’t been able to handle Twitter during games lately, but if you’re brave, I recommend @RodAllen12, @mario_impemba, @philcokesbrain, @blessyouboys, @spacemnkymafia, @catswithbats, and @RoarTigers for information and laughs.

Have you guys seen the Chevy spots featuring the Tigers?  Check out “On Deck”, “Wind Up”, and “Rear View”.  The first two are my favorites, particularly “Wind Up”.  Simple and effective.  Love.

Apparently, Mike Rizzo has said that Strasburg will be shut down after between 160-180 innings, regardless of the Nationals’ playoff situation.  This makes my brain explode.  Nationals fans, you have my sincerest apologies in advance for how your season could potentially end.

Joe Posnanski is my favorite baseball writer and has just left Sports Illustrated for a new project.  You can check out his revamped blog here, though!

I don’t need to tell any of you that Curtis Granderson hit three home runs last night in consecutive plate appearances, right?  Because you all heard that already and wept quietly into your pillow.  Favorite reaction- last night, during the Tigers broadcast, Mario said “So, it looks like Curtis is having himself a day”, to which Rod replied, with a knowing, weary tone “What has he done?”.  Because everyone misses Curtis.

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.

 

The Tigers prove they’re capable of losing, fans promptly lose their minds

::sigh::

Okay, listen Tigers fans.  Come over here and have a seat.  Don’t worry, I have tissues and beer.

Here’s the thing, you guys.  You’re all sports fans, and what’s more, you’re all TIGERS fans.  You know how this works.  Sometimes, teams lose.  In baseball, with the season lasting the better part of a year, the odds of this happening frequently is actually pretty high.  And, sometimes, your team will lose in a way that is so soul-crushingly, mind-numbingly, yell-obscenities-at-the-radio-and-nearly-drive-off-the-road terrible that you will question why you ever chose to put yourself through following them.  Do you all remember That Twins Game?  Yeah, you do, even if you try to pretend you don’t.

Yes, it is completely infuriating that Justin could pitch THAT WELL for 8 innings (I mean, less than 80 pitches?  What?) and blow it in the 9th.  It is more infuriating that Schlereth and Valverde gave back-to-back walks after he left the game and broke the tie.  And it is just BLISTERINGLY INFURIATING that Fernando Rodney, FERNANDO, could put down Cabrera, Prince, and Peralta in order.

Give me a second, I need to take a breath…

Okay, I’m better.  Look.  You can Monday morning quarterback this all day long, but here’s the truth.  The way Justin was pitching, no one could have guessed he would look that different the next inning.  Even after he started to struggle, fans were booing when Leyland went out to talk to him because they thought he was getting pulled.  Was Schlereth a good choice for the next pitcher?  Probably not.  Was it a good plan to put Valverde into a non-save, bases loaded situation?  Maybe not.  But statistically, it was probably just as likely for them or Verlander to blow the lead.  The manager has to make these choices, and if it works, he’s a hero.  If it doesn’t, fans wail and gnash their teeth, calling for his head.  After this team won the first four games of the season.  You know how many teams were undefeated this morning?  The Tigers.  You know how many wins the Twins had this morning?  Zero.  Just think about that for a minute before you start mentally firing the whole team.

I hate to have to bring this up again, but @catswithbats mentioned on Twitter that she really hoped she wasn’t hearing booing on the broadcast at the end of the game.  The only, ONLY reason I hope those people had was that they were expressing their displeasure for Rodney’s new-found abilities.  The Rays are a good team.  They swept the Yankees and, last season, beat them to make it to the playoffs.  Aside from the final inning, Verlander pitched like a master.  Shields also pitched a great game and we were frankly lucky to get the runs we did.  This was just one of those games.  If there were people booing simply because we lost, I’m frankly ashamed to call them fellow fans.

Valverde isn’t going to get every save, Cabrera and Prince aren’t going to get back-to-back hits every time through the rotation, Verlander isn’t going to pitch a no-hitter every outing, and we’re going to lose sometimes.  This team is made of win and magic and we’ll all enjoy this season a lot more if we can calm the hell down.  If we don’t, this is going to be a long, miserable season.

Take heed, American League teams

Oh, you all know we have this guy . . .

. . .  and this guy . . .

. . . and you may have heard we had this guy.

But, with all of that going on, you may have forgotten that we still have this guy . . .

. . . and this guy . . .

. . . and, of course, this guy.

So, you know, good luck with that!

Signs of the apocalypse; fans feel the first stirrings of panic

For Tigers fans, there are very specific events that might signify a coming apocalypse.  Inge batting above .250, Scherzer pitching with control for two consecutive starts ( . . . can you tell I’m watching the game right now?), etc.  I don’t know if any of you noticed, because he doesn’t belong to us anymore, but something happened this weekend that makes me think we may not have much time left.

Fernando Rodney has a win and a save this season for the Rays.  Already.  In fact, he got a save yesterday on one pitch.

I know, right?  I really have nothing else to say about it.  Just thought you all might want to be aware.

In other news, while our bats have proven as magnificent as we could have hoped (get it together, Brennan), the pitchers are responsible for the first stirrings of panic in our hearts.  I’m not talking about the 37 pitches Scherzer just took to get through one inning, either.  Fister is the first regular season DL victim, which I declared The Worst Thing yesterday, proving that I am not immune to the hysteria.  For those of us freaking out, Jim Leyland offered these comforting words:

“[Brayan] Villarreal has joined the team and we will have a starter at the appropriate time. Who it is, I have no clue. None.” (MLB.com)

I thought it was obvious that Below would be the starter, especially since Below pitched well above my expectations when he took over for Fister and thus can be on the same rest schedule as Fister, and Smyly would be pulled up as scheduled.  However, this also happened yesterday

Smyly- 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO

Ladies and gentlemen, your fifth starter!