In 2006, after 19 years of futility, I didn’t expect the team to make the playoffs. When they got in as a wildcard, I was happy but expected the Yankees to roll through the them. We made it…good enough. But it wasn’t good enough for them and they stuck it to Jeter, A-Rod, and the rest of the Bombers. By the time the Oakland series came around, I didn’t know what to feel…it was a dream come true. It was so surreal to be in that spot, it didn’t even seem like the end of the world to me that our boys eventually lost the World Series to the Cardinals.
Yeah, it sucked, but I appreciated that the Detroit Tigers had just given me and Tiger fans everywhere a season that we would never forget. It was such an amazing feeling to be winning for once after so many seasons of disgust. I’ll never forget it.
And that’s why I’m getting playoff fever in late August/early September. I expect to be there this season. This is the best baseball team the city of Detroit has had on the field since the wonderful 1987 season that was so important in making me a fan. Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, Jose Valverde, and the rest (except for Don Kelly) are more than capable of beating Boston, New York, or Texas and making the World Series this year, I feel. Unlike 2006, anything less will be a disappointment. To be honest, Philadelphia is the only team that really scares me.
As the mentally unstable court jester of Tiger sites, DesigNate Robertson pokes fun at the Tigers on a near-constant basis. But I hope that underneath it all, you, the reader, understands that it’s all meant in good fun and that I live and die with this baseball team. As an 8 year old in 1985, my grandmother introduced me to Tiger baseball and I fell in love with it. I’ve enjoyed good times and MANY bad times since then. I’m sure most of you all have, too…even those of you that have only been on this wacky ride since 2006.
But that’s what I want to write about the next couple days. These are my five worst and five best memories of the Tigers in the past (almost) 26 years. I realize that I have covered some of these events in the past on this blog, but most of these are moments that I never get tired of reliving…well, at least the good ones. And isn’t that a big part of being a fan? Sharing our heartbreaks and triumphs over and over about our favorite team?
Anyway, today I’ll deal with heartbreak. In a day or so, I’ll give you the triumph. Deal? Deal…
I Temporarily Go Insane
June 9, 1998
The ’98 season in Detroit was depressing, to say the least. It had been five years since the Tigers had finished over .500, and that team was only a mediocre third place team in the strike-shortened year of ’93. These Tigers finished the inaugural first season of the new AL Central in last place at 65-97. The team’s best pitcher was Brian Moehler. Tony Clark, Damion Easley, and Bobby Higginson were the only guys on the team that could hit a lick, other than a young Luis Gonzalez who was quickly traded to Arizona for a pile of garbage. Even manager Buddy Bell resigned after 135 games because he “couldn’t stand the losing”. Yeah, Buddy…I was there with you. But I stayed.
Since ’87, the team had fielded three teams over .500 in eleven years at that point. And a month past my 21st birthday, I went with a buddy of mine to Tiger Stadium to see the Tigers/Astros game. It was the second year of interleague play and I was excited to see Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, my two favorite non-Tigers, in person for once. But of course, I was there mainly to root for my loser Tiger team more than anything.
And for once, they looked like a good baseball team! Amazing! Higginson, Brian Hunter, and Joe Randa each came up with clutch two-out RBI’s and Brian Moehler was brilliant through 8, only allowing one run. Detroit led 3-1 to start the 9th and Moehler came out to go for the complete game, still well under 100 pitches.
Cue the ominous music. Moises Alou led off the ninth by launching a homer to left field over where we were sitting. It’s now 3-2. Moehler then got the hook and Todd Jones was brought in to get the save. You know where this is going, right?
Jonesy got Carl Everett to fly out to left and then Dave Clark struck out. Two down. The immortal JR Phillips then came up to bat for shortstop Ricky Guitierrez. He drew a walk. Todd then uncorks a wild pitch to every-other-year-Tiger Brad Ausums to move the runner to second. Ausmus, with two strikes on him, of course then singled him in. 3-3 tie. That brought up Biggio, who on the first pitch hit one that may not have landed yet to this day. 5-3 Astros. Doug Brocail came on for the final out and in the bottom of the 9th, Billy Wagner came in to strike out the side, sandwiched with a pair of walks. Higginson, my hero, was the guy to K to end the game.
From the Jones meltdown to the game-ending strikeout of Bobby, I just sat there in left field quietly losing my mind. And then I snapped. All the losing seasons, the dozen-plus games I attended yearly in an empty stadium, all these emotions just exploded out of me in a fury that I can’t quite totally remember, to be honest with you.
Have you seen “Major League 2” when Randy Quaid’s superfan character finally goes nuts after all the losing and starts screaming at the team at all times? That was me. I actually climbed on top of the left field wall letting loose with every profanity that I could think of. I just lost my mind for a minute and had to be restrained by my friend. I never yell at players when I attend the games. I think it's the most disrespectful thing in the world. Nothing like that had ever happened before and it hasn’t happened since. But I seriously wanted to kill someone at that moment.
Many people say that Todd Jones made them crazy over the years in Detroit. Well in my case, the bastard really did, even if it was just for a moment.
The End of an Era
April 10, 2005
It’s 2005 and the Tigers are at the beginning of what will be their fifth straight year of losing at least 90 games. I organized a bus trip for the bar I worked for at the time for a Tigers/Indians game, since Toledo has such a mix of Detroit and Tribe fans. We had a group of about 50 people head to the CoPa and I’d say that about 75% of us were Tiger fans. My then-obnoxious boss, however, was an Indians fan. In fact, he’s one of the most annoying Cleveland fans I’ve ever met and that’s saying a lot.
Well he teased me the whole trip up there because Bobby Higginson had an elbow injury and wasn’t expected to play. Bobby, by this point, hadn’t been worth a damn since 2002 and most of the Tiger “faithful” had turned on him. But not me, or my friend from the Astros story, who was on the bus trip, too. Higginson was our favorite and I just took the abuse from my boss while occasionally questioning his sexuality or the size of his anatomy. Whatever.
Fun fact for this game? Brandon Inge hit leadoff for the Tigers. Yikes. Anyway, Jeremy Bonderman had one of his many “Bad Bondo” games and allowed 7 runs in 6 innings. But the Tigers kept it close and entering the bottom of the 9th, they trailed Cleveland 7-5.
Indians closer Bob Wickman entered the game and got Marcus Thames to pop out to start the ninth. Second baseman Jason Smith is due up, but who is sent out to pinch hit? Bobby Higginson, that’s who.
I immediately start going nuts. So does my buddy. My boss is bad-mouthing me, fans are booing Higginson, and he works a full count. My friend and I, both wearing Higginson jerseys, still believe. Wickman winds and delivers…Higginson SWINGS…and strikes out.
My boss laughs his ass off and hounds me. Tiger fans are booing and screaming at Higginson and me for my jersey. I believe I threatened to fight several people at that point. To add insult to injury, Inge would then single, Carlos Guillen would drive him in to make it 7-6 and I still had hope with Pudge Rodriguez coming up to the plate. Even my boss shut up for a minute. Of course, Pudge grounded out to third on the first pitch to end the ballgame.
It was the last time I saw Bobby play in person. He would see action in six more games that year before finally being forced to retire. And now, six years later, I’m seeing history repeat itself with my current favorite, Magglio Ordonez, as his career is winding down due to age and injury.
It’s hard to see your heroes fail. And it’s even harder to see them broken down and not being able to perform anymore. But for a moment during this game, I still had that hope that Higginson still had one more in him. And that kind of hope, even if it doesn’t pan out, is one of the best parts of being a fan, in my opinion. It can also be one of the worst.
43-119. That was the record for the 2003 Detroit Tigers. 119 losses is the most for any team in American League history and only one less than the worst of any team in MLB history. And miraculously, they won five of their last six games to avoid the dubious record. By comparison, this year’s club won their 43rd game on June 27th. If you weren’t with us in ’03, imagine us not winning any more games after June 27th. That would require three months of not winning a ballgame. Yeah, it was awful beyond words.
The Tigers were outscored by 337 runs over the course of the season (928 to 591) and finished 47 games behind the first place Twins. Blame for the dismal season was shared by both the pitching staff which had an ERA of 5.30 and the batters who finished with a team batting average of .240…19 points below the American League’s .259 batting average.
Mike Maroth became the poster boy for futility that year by losing 21 games, the first guy to do so since 1980. Finishing second and third in the AL in losses were Tiger pitchers Jeremy Bonderman (19) and Nate Cornejo (17). But they were all terrible that year with the exceptions of Dmitri Young (.297 avg, 29 HR) and relief pitcher Jamie Walker (ERA+ of 130 in 78 games).
Poor manager Alan Trammell was forced to send out guys like Eric Eckenstahler, Chris Mears, Brian Schmack, Danny Klassen, Kevin Witt, and Ernie Young that year. If you’ve never heard of any of those guys, there’s a reason. Brandon Inge was the starting catcher and had an OPS+ of 64. Starting shortstop Ramon Santiago was even worse with an OPS+ of 59. Looking back, I can’t believe they’re with the current club. Only three regulars hit over .250 that year…pathetic.
It was hell being a Tiger fan in 2003 is what I’m trying to say. So whenever people today start complaining and acting like the sky is falling when their first place Tigers lose two games in a row, I think back to 2003 and remember how lucky we are in 2011.
I would wish 2003 on no one. Except Yankee fans.
October 6, 2009
The ’09 Tigers spent 146 days in first place. They had a three game lead with four games left to play over Minnesota. From September 13th to October 4th, the Twins finished the season 16-4 to tie the Tigers for first place. Three of those four losses were to the Tigers. Oakland, Cleveland, Chicago, and Kansas City went 1-12 against the Twins during that stretch. One little win by any of those guys in those games would have prevented the one-game playoff between Detroit and Minnesota and would have sent the Tigers into the playoffs against the Yankees. It didn’t help that the Tigers went 11-10 over the same stretch.
So there we were, Tigers vs. Twins in the dreaded Metrodome. Rick Porcello went 5.2 solid innings of 4-hit ball, only allowing 2 runs (only 1 earned). In the third, Miguel Cabrera took Scott Baker deep to give Detroit a 3-0 lead. I was in a bar surrounded by at least 150 screaming Tiger fans (and one Twins fan) and we were all going ballistic. With two outs in the sixth, Porcello gave up a homer to Jason Kubel to make it 3-2. A walk later and he was lifted for Zach Miner. Miner got the final out with the lead still intact.
Then the bottom of the 7th happened. Miner would give up a single to Nick (F’ing) Punto and a homer to Orlando (MF’ing) Cabrera. 4-3 Twins. Fu-Te Ni and Brandon Lyon would stop the bleeding and keep the Twins lead at one.
The top of the 8th was lead off by a homer by Magglio Ordonez, my favorite player on the team. I was beside myself as the bar went crazy. Amazing moment. The game would go to extra innings and in the 10th, Brandon Inge would come through with an RBI double to put the Tigers up 5-4. Fernando Rodney just needed to get three outs. Sigh.
Leadoff triple for Michael Cuddyer. COME ON! Delmon Young grounds out…run holds at third! Woo hoo! Brendan Harris walks on a 3-1 pitch. And light-hitting Matt Tolbert comes up as Tiger fans everywhere can see the double play coming, right? It’s Matt Tolbert! Base hit to center, game is tied again. Punto would then line into a double play. Both teams would go in order in the 11th, leading into the famous 12th.
Clete Thomas, a defensive replacement for Ordonez, flied out to center, followed by a Cabrera walk. That brought up Don Kelly who had ran for Aubrey Huff earlier in the game. I immediately began cursing Leyland, God, and anyone else I could think of. Amazingly, Kelly made up for losing a ball in the Metrodome roof earlier in the year by singling Mig to third and taking second on the throw! Oh, happy day! Ryan Raburn was then intentionally walked to get to Brandon Inge. Then IT happened.
Inge was clearly hit by a pitch. Tigers should have taken the lead. But, of course, the ump missed the ball grazing Inge’s jersey. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs along with 150 of my new closest friends. Inge hit a grounder and the Twins got the force at home. That brought up offensively challenged Gerald Laird and I remember begging for a pinch hitter. Nope…Laird K’d on a full count.
Rodney was sent back out for the 12th and I was beside myself. I knew he was gassed. He knew he was gassed. The bar knew he was gassed. Everyone in the world knew it, except Jim Leyland. Single, groundout, walk, RBI-walkoff single by Orlando (MF’ing) Cabrera wins it for the Twins.
It was one of the greatest baseball games ever. At least that's what the lone Twins fan told me after he was done celebrating and trying to shake my hand. I told him he should probably leave before he got lynched. And it’s the first time I almost cried over a baseball game as an adult. Excuse me while I go throw up for just reliving it.
March 24, 2009
May 4, 2010
November 4, 2010
When you watch a team day in and day out, they almost become a part of your family in a weird way. In fact, I see Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila and the boys a lot more than I do my actual family, now that I think about it. But when guys are around for years, no matter what their capacity with the team, you start to feel that you know them. They become important to you. Well, they do to me, anyway.
And it was even more so in my youth. As an impressionable 8 year old, I fell in love with baseball and the Tigers. And there were four men that I considered to be my teachers of the game. They were George Kell, Al Kaline, Ernie Harwell, and Sparky Anderson. Kell and Kaline were the TV commentators when I was growing up, Ernie was the legendary radio announcer, and Sparky was the colorful general on the field. And I adored all of them.
George passed away first on March 24, 2009. Ernie went next on May 4, 2010. And Sparky left us on November 4, 2010. In a little over a year, three of the four men that taught me the game all died. And while my sadness over this could never compare to those who actually knew and loved these gentlemen, I was still heartbroken over their passings.
As hard as it has been to watch Higginson and Ordonez decline in skill, nothing can compare to hearing your heroes have died. George, Ernie, and Sparky touched thousands and thousands of people’s lives in their decades they spent in the game. And some might feel that myself or any fan is silly to feel so close to people they only knew through a TV, a radio, or whatnot. But not me.
No, these men were a huge part of making me the fan I am today. They taught me the game of baseball, which went on to be a big part of my life whether it was playing for six years as a kid, watching for 25+ years, writing this silly blog, or passing on what I know to my young son. In fact, I can’t imagine being near the fan I am today if it weren’t for them and their lessons.
Is that stupid? To be honest, I really don’t care what anyone thinks. Every fan becomes a fan for a different reason. George, Ernie, and Sparky were three of the biggest in me becoming one. And I can’t thank them enough for it.
Rest in peace, gentlemen.
So that was the heartbreak. In a day or so, the triumph.
Click here to go to Part Two, The Triumph.
79,000,000 people are engaged in sex - right now!
58,000,000 are kissing.
37,000,000 are relaxing after having sex.
and you are sitting reading this Blog ???
But never mind..You hang in there Sunshine!
INGE: Sure thing, pal. You see, when I was with the Mud Hens, I assembled myself a little support group, see? We’d go out, have ourselves a swell ‘ol time, and it really helped to clear my noggin, you know? Shani seems to think that might be part of my struggles since that first game back. So, hopefully we can meet up with the fellas tonight and have a neat time.
PAULEY: Sounds good to me, man. So who are we meeting up with tonight? The guys from the Hens?
INGE: Heck, I wish. But Upstate Baller’s moved on to Seattle, Fu, 'Lil Will, and Clete are still givin’ their all in Toledo, and so on. So, these gents are guys I’ve played with over the years and they agreed to meet up with us tonight. Boy howdy, I can’t wait!
PAULEY: Do you know if they’re here yet? I can’t wait to meet some of your pals, man. I haven’t made many friends in Detroit yet. Oh, here comes a hostess.
INGE: Thanks, miss. Say, I’m supposed to meet some fellas I used to play with.
HOSTESS: Of course. The ex-Tiger table. They’re seated in the back. Is it just you meeting them tonight?
INGE: Well, actually my teammate David here will be joining us, too.
HOSTESS: Um, who? I don’t see anyone…
PAULEY: I’m standing right here, ma’am.
HOSTESS: Oh, wow. I apologize…how didn’t I see you there? Well, guys, come right this way.
/escorts them to table
INGE: Well aren’t YOU guys a sight for sore eyes!
INGE: Hey, Jamie. Long time, no see. What the heck’ve you been up to, buster?
WALKER: Shoot, son. Been ‘wit mah kinfolk back down south. Livin’ the life. Now mah ‘ol lady might be dumber’n a box of hog shit, but ah reckon she’kin cook with the best uh un. Speakin’ of which, I’m hungry enough to ta eat the south end of a northbound skunk. Siddown, man!
INGE: Haha. How about you, buddy? No offense, but I didn’t really expect you to show up. We weren’t always the best ‘o’ pals, you know?
INGE: Well, you always called me names. And hit me a lot. One time with a tire iron. And called my wife a whore.
SHEFFIELD: Oh, hahaha…yeah, that silly bitch. Sheff remember. Damn, Brendon. Sheff was just playin’ wit choo, boy. Sheff actually missed you, you fuckin’ peckerhead. Hey, Tigers need a DH?
INGE: Um, I’m not sure, Gary. Nice to see you lookin’ well. How about you, big man? Doin’ a lot of fishing, I bet?
INGE: Haha…Bondo. Always a kidder.
BONDERMAN: I HAS GAS. MAKE STINKERS.
SHEFFIELD: Boy, Sheff told yo ass, you shit yo’self again, Sheff’s gonna cut a nig…
INGE: Whoa, fellas. Calm down. Say hi to my new bud David Pauley. He’s a Tiger now.
WALKER: Brando, y’all sure your elevator’s hittin’ the top floor? I don’t see no’un.
SHEFFIELD: Brendon, you high? Sheff don’t see no fool wit’choo.
BONDERMAN: BONDO HAVE INVIZZLE FRIEND, TOO. HIS NAME MISTER SMELLY AND HE MAKE STINKERS.
SHEFFIELD: Jimmy, Sheff told you no mo’…
PAULEY: Nice to meet you guys. I’m right here.
WALKER: Holy fuckin’ sheepshit! Where’d you come from, son?
SHEFFIELD: Jeeeesus Christ! What the fuck was that shit? You a ghost and shit?
SHEFFIELD: Yo, baby, give Sheff the all-you-can-eat ribs and a Hennessey. And yo digits, heh heh.
WALKER: Hey, baby gal, gimmie a Busch Light…and shoot. I’m ‘bout as lost as a goose in a snowstorm wit’ this menu. Juss bringin’ me somethin’ with bar-b-que. ‘An some taters.
BONDERMAN: ELEVEN-TEEN HOT DOGS AND CHOCOLATE MILK, PLEASE, FOOD LADY.
INGE: Oh, I’ll just have the shrimp cocktail and a water.
PAULEY: I’ll take…
WAITRESS: Thanks, guys. I’ll get that order right in for you.
PAULEY: But I didn’t get to order…
SHEFFIELD: Now what’d you bring all our asses together tonight for, Brendon? You best not be wantin’ no money.
INGE: Haha, no, not that, Gary. I’m doing fine there.
SHEFFIELD: Shit. Can you loan Sheff a few thousand then? Craps table ain’t been kind to Sheff lately…
INGE: Actually, I need all of your help. I just can’t figure out what in heckfire’s wrong with my swing. In Toledo, I was RAKING, I tell ya! But back in Detroit, I just can’t catch a break. Golly, It’s tough.
SHEFFIELD: Brendon, you ain’t ever hit for shit. What the fuck you cryin’ for now?
WALKER: He’ins right, Brando. You’re a hellova nice guy ‘an a great hand at third, but as for hittin’, you’re about as useful as bird shit on a pumphandle. No offense.
/spits wad of chew in Pauley’s lap
WALKER: Shoot, son. Sorry. Forgot you was here.
INGE: I guess so, Jamie. No offense taken. But I always felt like I could hit a homer every time up, you know? No matter how many curveballs a foot off the plate I try to pull into the seats, eventually I thought I’d figure them out. And I did a few times. I just need confidence, I think.
SHEFFIELD: Too bad you fucking suck, Brendon. Tell you what. Retire. Sheff can take yo place. Sheff can still hit, man! Right, Jimmy?
BONDERMAN: HOT DOGS TASTE LIKE SMILEY FACES.
SHEFFIELD: See? Jimmy know.
WALKER: What Gary’s tryin’ to say, Brando, is quit tryin’ to be somthin’ yer not. You may never hit fer shit, but yer still usefull to a ball team. And if that ain’t true, grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultry, and the Mona Lisa was a man.
INGE: I guess so.
WAITRESS: Okay, guys. Here’s your food and drinks. Anything else I can get for you?
PAULEY: Actually, you forgot to take my…
WAITRESS: Great. Just speak up if anyone needs anything!
INGE: Thanks, ma’am. So what you’re saying is I should give up on hitting .300.
SHEFFIELD: Haha, motherfucka, quit dreamin’. Sheff’d suck yo dick if you sniff .230. Wake the fuck up.
INGE: So you think I should just focus on my strengths and try to be the best teammate possible?
SHEFFIELD: That teammate shit don’t make sense to Sheff, but whatever makes yo dick hard.
WALKER: Naw, that’s EXACTLY right, Brando! Y’all can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, ya know? But dey say if you can’t run with the big dawgs, stay under the porch. And I don’t think yer ready to lie under the porch, are ya?
INGE: No, sir.
BONDERMAN: INGY BE CATCHER AGAINS. GIVE HAIRY GUY SLEEPY DAY.
INGE: Whoa, let's not get carried away. But thanks, fellas. I knew us getting together was a swell idea! Whaddya say we just eat, okay?
SHEFFIELD: Now you talkin’, Brenden!
BONDERMAN: HOT DOG TASTE FUNNY.
SHEFFIELD: That’s cuz you eatin’ your napkin, you dumb shit.
INGE: Hahaha…you guys are the best!
PAULEY: I’m so hungry…
WALKER: Y’all hear somethin’?
WALKER: Never mind. This brisket is DEE-lish!
said I was in good hands. 'Now,' she asked me, 'Has your plane arrived yet?'... (I work with professionals like this.)
5 ) While working at a pizza place I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time then said 'Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.
6 ) And last, but not least ...... Dumb as a box of Rocks!
A noted psychiatrist was a guest speaker at an academic function where Nancy Pelosi happened to appear. Ms Pelosi took the opportunity to schmooze the good doctor a bit and asked him a question with which he was most at ease.
'Would you mind telling me, Doctor,' she asked, 'how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?' 'Nothing is easier,' he replied. 'You ask a simple question which anyone should answer with no trouble. If the person hesitates, that puts you on the track..' 'What sort of question?' asked Pelosi.
Well, you might ask, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?'' Pelosi thought a moment, and then said with a nervous laugh, 'You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history.'A man was driving when he saw the flash of a traffic camera. He figured that his picture had been taken for exceeding the limit, even though he knew that he was not speeding... Just to be sure, he went around the block and passed the same spot, driving even more slowly, but again the camera flashed. Now he began to think that this was quite funny, so he drove even slower as he passed the area again, but the traffic camera again flashed. He tried a fourth time with the same result. He did this a fifth time and was now laughing when the camera flashed as he rolled past, this time at a snail's pace... Two weeks later, he got five tickets in the mail for driving without a seat belt..
You can't fix stupid ......
Put the knife down! Get off that window ledge! Do NOT swallow that mouthful of pills, dammit!
No, this year is different. I know that September and the Tigers fighting to win the division usually go together like fluffy bunnies and hungry wolves, but this time is going to be different. Your Party Host promises you. Why am I so sure? Well, because this is a completely different situation that what we’re used to seeing in Septembers in Detroit.
Let me explain.
There is no Terminator coming for us this time.
In 2009, the Twins went on their monumental run at the end of the year, something that felt like 30-1 down the stretch, to catch and pass the Tigers at the end. Well, take a look around. The Twins are 17 games back and a mess. The Indians are 6.5 games back and are counting on 75 year old Jim Thome to somehow make the rest of the team not suck. Good luck. And the White Sox? Sorry, Chicago, but Paul Konerko and Mark Buehrle cannot make up that kind of ground by themselves.
There is no Terminator waiting for us behind every corner this time. Jason is dead. Freddy’s nightmare is over. No matter how you want to say it, there’s no threat in the division left this year playing dead, only to jump up and kill the Tigers at the end. Enjoy the happy ending.
The schedule is kind to us.
Have you seen the remaining schedule the Tigers face? 29 games remain. Six with the Royals. Six with the White Sox. Six with the Indians. Three with Minnesota. Four each with Oakland and Baltimore. 17 of the 29 games are at home. And of all of them, only Chicago is currently over .500 (66-65). How have the Tigers done against these teams this year?
Kansas City: 8-4
That’s a grand total of 38-25 for the mathematically challenged. I cannot see any possible way this team tanks down the stretch against this schedule. Especially when you consider…
These aren’t your Tiger hitters of recent past.
Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, Jhonny Peralta, and whatever combination of Brennan Boesch/2nd Half Ryan Raburn are going to hit, no matter what. The 2009 team didn’t have this grouping, other than Mig and Ryno. This team is the most loaded Tigers team on offense since the eighties. And I didn’t even mention Magglio Ordonez, Austin Jackson, Carlos Guillen, Wilson Betemit, or Delmon Young. Those guys all have shown in the past that they can get hot, too. Speaking of DY…
Delmon Young and Doug Fister are NOT Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn.
Delmon Young may turn out to be the biggest steal in Tiger trades history, well, along with Polanco for Urbina. DY has played 13 games as a Tiger and looks like the Delmon of last year, hitting .304 with 2 homers and 10 RBI already. The Dougie is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA in his 5 Tiger starts so far. These guys are young and in their primes, unlike Huff and Washburn were. These two have the potential to be impactful Tigers for years to come.
Simonson said they’d tank.
All year, we’ve had to listen to Bill Simonson say how the Tigers would fall apart. And as I pointed out last week, The Troll King is never right about anything. If he tells you the sun will rise tomorrow, you’d better go out and buy as many candles as you can afford. (Speaking of which, today he picked the Lions to finish 10-6, and Michigan and MSU each at 10-2…y’all are screwed.) And he’s not alone.
The sports radio hacks here in Toledo have done the same all year. Release Raburn! Release Inge! Leyland is crazy! Bring Inge back! Delmon Young is a bad pickup! Jimenez over Fister! Blah, blah, blah. STFU.
Sports radio hosts do not care about being right. They only want to anger you into listening more. Colin Cowherd, horrible as he is, at least admits that fact. The Troll King and his court are paid to be doom and gloom and create controversy. Sorry, jerks. Not this year…there will be no obnoxious “told ya so’s”.
Justin Verlander is God.
Remember those teams we’re facing the rest of the way? Do you think Justin Verlander and his 5-6 remaining starts is the slightest bit afraid of any of those lineups? Yeah…me neither.
So THIS is what a bullpen looks like.
Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, and Phil Coke are all looking amazing right now. They’re peaking at the right time. And Ryan Perry and Daniel Schlereth are even looking good right now. Assuming that this year’s Zoom, Al Alburquerque, doesn’t forget how to play baseball after taking a ball to the noggin (think Justin Morneau), we have one of the better bullpens in baseball. Have we EVER been able to say that?
And there’s more. We have depth on the bench. We’re reasonably healthy. Leyland and company are (hopefully) wiser this time around. Inge isn’t starting with two withered legs. And so on.
So embrace this, my friends. Unless something this side of JV and Mig being struck by lightning and turned to dust, we are winning the AL Central for the first time ever. And we’re going to the playoffs.
Enjoy the ride. And don’t look back.
God Bless America !
A Washington DC airport ticket agent offers some examples of 'why' our country is in trouble:
1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)
2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman's (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Cape Town. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, ''I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts ....''
Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, ''Cape Cod is in Massachusetts , Cape Town is in South Africa"... his response -- click.
3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando . He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.
He replied, 'don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!'' (OMG)
4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife (Landra Reid) who asked, ''Is it possible to see England from Canada ?''
I said, ''No.''
She said, ''But they look so close on the map.'' (OMG, again!)
5. An aide for a cabinet member(Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas . I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas . When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, ''I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.'' (Aghhhh)
6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m.
I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois , but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.
7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, ''Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?'' I said, 'No, why do you ask?'
He replied, ''Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!''
After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno , Ca. is (FAT - Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage.
8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii . After going over all the cost info, she asked, ''Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii ?''
9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright from Alaska who asked, ''How do I know which plane to get on?''
I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, ''I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have that number on them.''
10. Senator Dianne Feinstein called and said, ''I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?''
I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola , FL on a commuter plane.
She said, ''Yeah, whatever, smarty!''
11. Mary Landrieu , La. Senator called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China . After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. 'Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those.''
I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, ''Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!''
12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, ''I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York .''
I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, ''Are you sure that's the name of the town?''
'Yes, what flights do you have?'' replied the man.
After some searching, I came back with, ''I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a rhino anywhere."
''The man retorted, ''Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!''
So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, ''You don't mean Buffalo , do you?''
The reply? ''Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.''
Now you know why the Government is in the shape that it's in!
Could anyone be this DUMB?
YES AND THEY WALK AMONG US, ARE IN POLITICS, AND THEY CONTINUE TO BREED..
I don't write it, I just offer it for your consideration. Like manure, you just gotta spread it around.
I really do believe that Avila has been team MVP this year, especially in the past month. Yet I wouldn’t consider him the AL MVP over guys like JV or Miguel Cabrera. Does that even make sense? Do I ever make sense? Let me attempt to explain without sounding clueless like Joe Morgan.
Let me begin with Miguel Cabrera. In the AL, Monster Mig is currently 5th in batting average, 10th in home runs, 8th in RBI, 2nd in OBP, 6th in slugging, 4th in OPS, 3rd in hits, 6th in doubles, 2nd in intentional walks, 2nd in OPS+, 4th in runs created, and 9th in WAR. He hit .311 the first half, and had upped that to .336 in the second half for the stretch run. And with runners in scoring position, he’s hit an amazing .391. In other words, Miguel Cabrera is really, really effing good. He deserves to be in the MVP discussion and then some.
As for the amazing Justin Verlander, in the AL he leads all pitchers in wins, games started, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP, and hits/9 innings pitched. He’s 2nd in ERA, 2nd in complete games, 3rd in shutouts, and 1st in WAR among pitchers. Oh yeah, he threw that no-hitter and almost had another. JV is a cyborg and also belongs in the MVP talks…the Cy Young Award is his, no question.
Alex Avila is hitting .304, with 16 homers, 63 RBI, a .397 OBP, .529 SLG, .926 OPS, 155 OPS+, and a 5.0 WAR. Those are all outstanding numbers, but they’re not going to be enough to get him in the AL MVP talks with Ellsbury, Bautista, Gonzalez, or Granderson…let alone Big Mig or Verlander.
So why did I name him my Tigers MVP for the season so far?
Maybe I should have named him Most Irreplaceable Tiger. With Victor Martinez unable to catch the past few weeks, Ironman Avila has done nothing but up his game. In August thus far, Alex is hitting .418 with 6 homers and a 1.336 OPS despite catching every day and taking an incredible beating behind the plate. He’s done an admirable job handling the pitching staff, too. All that while having to shave every three innings…not an easy task.
If Avila wasn’t here, who would have been catching for us? Omir Santos or Max St. Pierre? Do you think we’d still be 6-7 games up in the AL Central with those guys and their Gerald Laird-like offensive ability?
Miguel Cabrera is the greatest Tiger hitter I’ve had the pleasure of watching the past 26 years. But if he went down for 4-6 weeks, a combination of Victor Martinez/Ryan Raburn at first base would not sink the team, in my opinion.
The team is 20-8 when Justin Verlander starts. He’s awesome and the best Tiger pitcher I’ve ever seen. We are a very lucky fanbase right now. But the team is also 17-10 when Max Scherzer starts and 15-9 when Rick Porcello starts. If JV got an arm owie for a month and missed 5 starts, would those 5 games kill the team with Jacob Turner or Duane Below subbing for a while? I don’t think so.
But without Avila, I don’t know where we’d be. I don’t see Santos getting the key hits that Avila has seemed to deliver on a daily basis. It amazes me that a guy I didn’t think should be starting games in April has such a positive impact on the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers found a franchise catcher out of a guy that many, including myself, only thought was around because of who his father was. My apologies, Mr. Avila.
Or should I say, Mr. Team MVP.
France pleads for global help after being taken over by Islamic countries -- no nation steps forward. Serves them right.Castro dies aged 104; Cuban cigars can now be imported to US legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned smoking
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Australian Tax Office cuts tax rate to 75 per cent - lowest in decades.
Also, Your Party Host has given in to the constant BEGGING of the Bless You Boys folks and will be appearing on the BYB Podcast tonight for the first time EVER. Be on the lookout the next couple days over there for that, as I'm sure it'll take a couple days for Al to bleep out my unique four-lettered insight. I can only imagine your excitement at getting the chance to here me whip out some baseball knowledge like:
"Huh? I wasn't listening, Al. Sorry."
"Don Kelly sucks. Uh, huh huh huh..."
"Can I say (BLEEP) on the podcast? Haha...(BLEEP)."
Yup. I'm not in the running for Most Valuable Blogger for nothing.
As always, thanks for your support.
And not all of them are bad, with the exception of the #1 on this list. But the majority of these fanbases are horrible people that need to spayed or neutered for the good of mankind. As much as I love sports, I remain a normal (though a little cranky) human being while watching my teams. These people turn into psychopaths.
Let us now examine what I view to be the ten most annoying fanbases in sports. And yes, I’m sure that many of you will be unhappy with at least one of my choices. Please do not slash my tires, you bloody savages.
10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fans
I always hated the stupid Rally Monkey nonsense, but it wasn’t until a couple weeks ago with the Jered Weaver incident that I didn’t realize how dickish these folks could be. Relive the stupidity here if you weren’t around. Yeah, that was an ugly, childish exhibition. If anything, it made me root more for Texas to come out of the AL West this year. Angels fans can eat shit and die.
9. Chicago White Sox fans
I meet a lot of ignorant fans in my line of work. People that don’t know their roster, don’t have a basic understanding of the sport’s rules, people that think Brandon Inge is a good baseball player, etc. But I have yet to meet a White Sox fan that has the slightest clue what the fuck they’re talking about. They may the most delusional people alive. Everyone else sucks. Yet somehow, AJ Pierzynski is a good player. Despite the man being a moron (though entertaining), in Ozzie they trust. After all, this is the fanbase that had a father and son bond by jumping the rail and attacking the elderly first base coach of the Royals a few years back. Also, Sox fans get very angry when you talk badly of their team, too. As fun and laid back as Cubs fans are, the South Siders are the complete opposite. They just make no sense to me and it mildly upsets me that I’m friends with three such fans. Oh well, it could be worse. Keep reading to see how.
8. Philadelphia Eagles, Phllies, Flyers fans
City of Brotherly Love, my ass. Philly fans are the angriest people alive. They don’t care if they win or lose, just as long as someone gets crippled. They’re famous for throwing batteries, cheering when rival players lay paralyzed on the field, and booing Santa Claus. Eagles fans had a franchise quarterback in Donovan McNabb who they booed on draft day, talked trash about during the multiple NFC Championships he led them to, called him a choker in the Super Bowl they made, and cheered when he was traded to the rival Redskins. Phillies fans will turn on Roy Halladay one day, just watch. No amount of success will ever make these dicksnots happy, therefore all of their teams should be relocated to somewhere harmless. Like Iowa.
7. Dallas Cowboys fans
Odds are, if you are dumb enough to speak to someone in a Cows jersey, that person has never actually seen an entire football game. Meanwhile, they’ll be smack talking about how great the team is, despite them not winning a playoff game in years or not being able to name someone on the roster not named Tony Romo. The Cowboys are at least amusing to me in the way that they are one of the “bandwagon teams” (Cowboys, Yankees, Lakers), yet they haven’t won shit since the ‘90’s. I give Jerry Jones credit for being a marketing genius, but he and his team’s fanbase are all jackoffs of the highest order.
6. Oakland Raiders fans
They got moved ahead of Dallas after one of their finest shot a Niners fan during the preseason game last weekend. These are grown men that like to play dress up. They cheer for penalties rather than touchdowns. Did I mention that they like to dress up like Darth Vader and wear makeup? My hope is they eventually relocate back to the LA area and start killing off some of the Angels fans. At least they would be doing some good for once that way.
5. Detroit Red Wings fans
Here’s where 90% of you get pissed at me. But hear me out and hopefully better yourselves. My selection of Wings fans comes from working in bars that become infested with red and white clad mouth breathing drunks when the playoffs hit. Many admit to have watching few, if any, regular season games. Yet there they are, screaming through the entire game, treating my wait/bar staff like garbage, and making a gigantic mess of the bar, and an ass out of themselves. A couple years ago, a Red Wing employee brought the Stanley Cup into the bar. This person acted like they were so above everyone else in the place and treated everyone like dog shit…and it’s not like they actually PLAYED for the Wings. No, this was a secretary or something and they were even awful to the Wings fans around. So yeah, I can’t stand the Wings and who I root for in hockey generally goes like this:
A. Colorado (to annoy Wings fans)
B. Canadian teams (it's their sport, after all)
C. Whoever is playing Detroit (unless…see E)
E. Florida, California, and any southern state teams…they don’t deserve hockey
4. Ohio State Buckeye fans
These pricks are the biggest hypocrites of all sports fans. They talk all sorts of shit, yet complain when other fans do, especially Michigan fans. They bitch about USC and other teams running dirty programs, yet cry conspiracy at the Pryor and Tressel stories that have come out. They’re also loud, rude, and annoying. And I say all this as a neutral Notre Dame fan…I have no rooting interest in Michigan football, if that’s what you’re thinking. But while I’m at it, fuck Michigan, too. But the GO BLUE crowd is at least amusing to be around, at times. Buckeye fans are awful and should all be forced to drink bleach before the new season starts.
3. New York Yankees fans
Entitled, ignorant pricks. They’ll turn on any player not named Jeter in a heartbeat. They EXPECT to win and don’t see why other fans get upset at their billion dollar payrolls. They feel New York is the most important city in the world and will never stop reminding you of that fact. And I really have nothing more to say about them that hasn’t already been said. Fuck the Yankees, fuck their stupid fans, and fuck Derek Jeter. In the ass with a rolling pin dipped in acid.
2. Boston/New England fans (any sport when they’re winning)
This is the ultimate ignorant bandwagon group of assholes on the planet. Red Sawx Nation played the underdog card for so long that I even bought into it and rooted for them in 2004. But since then, their true colors have come out. And that color had better not be black, since these are the most racist fans on Earth. More entitled feeling than the Yanks fans, more ignorant than the Cowboys fans, and more obnoxious than the Philly fans, Boston fans are a disgusting bunch. I’m willing to bet they can’t name two Patriot players before Tom Brady came along. I know none of them owned a Bruins jersey before last year. As for the Celtics between Bird retiring and Garnett’s crew arriving, how many games did your average fan attend? Agreed, they’re not all bad. They love their Sawx. But the majority of these fucksticks have ruined Boston sports forever with their “OWAH TEAMS AWAH BETTAH THAN YOWAH TEAM” bullshit. I pray every day that a tidal wave takes out Boston and New York. Fuck ‘em.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers fans
The worst of the worst. Steelers fans are the reason that I support abortion rights. None of these fuckers should be allowed to breed again. These fat, stupid, bandwagon, rapist supporting, drunk piles of pig shit are the face of what is wrong with sports fans. They are loud. They are rude. They don’t tip for shit. And they are EVERYWHERE. Steelers fans are famous for having “Steeler bars” in every major city in the country. And in those bars are bartenders and servers that fucking hate them like Bartolo Colon hates vegetables. You can’t fully understand my hatred of these assfucks waving their filthy yellow towels with their fat, wing sauce covered fingers while screaming “BIG BEN” and “POLLY MOLL EWWW” non-stop for three hours on a weekly basis after every meaningless two yard gain. They’re all awful. Not a decent one among them. And if you, John or Jane Q. Internetreader are in fact a Steelers fan? Do me a favor. Find a sturdy area near the ceiling of your trailer. Turn your size-52 belt into a noose. And hang yourself. Please.
There you have it. Narrowly missing the cut were Packer fans, Indians fans, the eleven Rays fans, Dodger fans, and anyone that watches NASCAR.
Better luck next time.
One member of staff managed to slow the island-hopping tourist ferry down, but the vessel, carrying 54 passengers, slammed onto a rock near the shore of Helsinki, the Finnish coastguard said Friday.
The captain got stuck in the bathroom because of a jammed lock and yelled for help, the coastguard said.
Some passengers were bruised and tableware was broken in the incident. The coastguard is investigating whether the captain's actions amounted to criminal endangerment.
"He was stuck in the toilet. As soon as the staff member got the door open, it was too late," said Jan Sundell, head of investigation.
(Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl)