Rainy Day Thoughts

So Game One has been postponed until tomorrow due to a monsoon. Reason #7498 why New York sucks.

Here's a few scattered notes from the inning and a half of baseball we did get to see.

-I was fully prepared for this game. I haven't shaved since Detroit clinched in Oakland. They playoff beard is coming in obnoxiously. I also had on the bootleg 2006 AL Champs shirt that I bought from a strange man on the street outside the Copa after the Magglio homer game. Much like my hopes and dreams, the shirt is faded and should have been discarded long ago. In addition, I told my 7 year old that if he bothered Daddy while he was watching baseball, I would drown him in the toilet. To be this ready for a game and have it cancelled...well, it just plain sucks.

-Nice to see Johnny Damon and Matt Joyce come through for Tampa in their destruction of Texas today. Good men...and thorough.

-TBS has John Smoltz in the booth. Dicks.

-The TBS announcers called the Game One Tigers starters a "rebuilt lineup", despite only V-Mart and DY being new to this year's roster. This was the first sign that they had no idea who the Tigers even were tonight.

-Magglio Ordonez came up and the announcers talked about Leyland going with power in the two-hole, despite Magglio having the homer strength of David Eckstein nowadays.

-After Little Dmitri hit an "only in the Bronx" homer off of CC, Big Mig came up to "DUI" chants from the classy, drunken guido crowd. New York is the worst city on the planet.

-Jeter struck out because he's awful, but the ball bounded so far away from Avila on a passed ball that Gene Lamont could have beaten the throw to first. The TBS announcers immediately start gushing about Jeter's hustle. Later, they'd compare it to Magglio striking out and the ball rolling three inches away from Yankee catcher Russell Martin and insinuated that Jeter made it to first due to hustle while Magglio didn't. The TBS crew can get fucked with a cricket bat.

-Granderson came up to MVP chants and the announcers calling him a possible MVP. He hit .262 this year. If he were an Oriole, no one would know his name. Sorry, CJ.

-Jeter scored on a groundout to third by A-Rod. The ball handcuffed Inge and he took the sure out at first. The announcers said that "no one is better at moving on contact than Jeter". I assume they found that stat at baseball-reference.com. At this point, I began missing Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling a game. Yes, it was that bad. If Minka sucked Jeter's cock the way TBS did tonight, they would still be together.

-The Yankees were VERY patient with Verlander in the first inning and drew two walks. JV getting squeezed by the ump didn't help either. I hate always being right.

-The rain started getting bad and the cockroach Yankee fans all began fleeing their thousand dollar seats. This amused me greatly.

-In the top of the second, the TBS clowns actually said that it was raining lighter for the Tigers turn at bat than the Yankees turn. Obviously, this wasn't the case as Ryan Raburn couldn't even see up there. They finally admitted that it was raining harder. Morons. Of course, they waited for Ryno to K before putting the tarp on the field.

That's about it. TBS is awful. There's less oral in pornos than in the verbal fellatio they were giving the Yankees tonight. The weatherman they had in NY that said the rain would be light is even worse. This was an abortion tonight and the downpour isn't supposed to let up tomorrow. The money-hungry jerks running the show should think about this stuff when they schedule these games to start at almost 9pm to maximum prime time revenue on ads.
I'm not a happy camper...

What Frightens Me About the Yankees

I'm going to try and keep this pretty short and sweet today since I'm sure everyone's already sick of reading previews for the Yankees/Tigers series. 

Colin Cowherd will not shut up today that the Tigers have no chance against the Yankees. That shouldn't surprise anyone because Cowherd has the brain of a dead squirrel. But most experts agree that the Yanks are the superior team. None of this bothers me because none of these "experts" have watched one Tigers game this season, I'm willing to bet. The Tigers match up with the Bombers just fine.

The Yankee "mystique" doesn't bother me either. Curses, ghosts, mystique, and the other mumbo jumbo the Fox/TBS announcers will be babbling about this postseason are nothing but creations of the media. They matter about as much to baseball games as the Easter Bunny does.

And God's only son, Derek Jeter, doesn't scare me. Any sane person knows that Jeter is only a shadow of the overrated player he used to be. The same goes for Jorge Posada. Only Granderson and Tex really scare me in their lineup. Maybe Cano.

No, what worries me, especially for tonight, is what I call "Yankee-ball". The Yankees are famous for their patience and fouling balls off. This is the kryptonite to Justin Verlander's Superman act. If the Yankees work counts and foul pitches off, they could easily have JV up to 100 pitches by the 5th or 6th inning. That's why Justin has to be aggressive, yet smart tonight. And if JV leaves early, the Tigers have decided to take Brad Penny for long relief because they are stupid. We're screwed, then.

The other aspect of "Yankee-ball" is the slowing down of the game. If an opposing offense starts gaining momentum, the NY pitcher will slow down. The catcher will visit the mound. Then the pitching coach. Then Girardi. This is why Yankee games all take 4 1/2 hours to play and umpires let them get away with it because they're all too busy asking Jeter if they can have an autograph or smell his penis. The Tigers must not let this silly nonsense rattle them.

The Tigers must avoid "Yankee-ball" if they can, not get rattled by the Vinny's and Joey's in that filthy Yankee crowd, and just play their own game.

If they do that, they could sweep this sumbitch. Screw Cowherd and the other media haters.

I'll talk to you all after the game.

Swimming In the Tears of Red Sox Nation

Wednesday night is being called by many as the greatest night of regular season baseball ever. And it’s hard to argue. New York, Boston, and Atlanta were all one out away from victory and all blew it. Tampa Bay had one of the most exciting and emotional comeback wins ever. Our Tigers closed out their season be sweeping the Tribe AGAIN, with Papa Grande continuing to be perfect out of the pen and Miguel Cabrera slugging his way to the AL batting title. So much fun baseball was played yesterday.

But nothing was more fun to me than watching the Red Sox finish there September to Remember Forget by pissing away their playoff chances against the Orioles. It was glorious.

In the rankings of the worst people in the world, the top three goes like this…

3. Rapists
2. Child Killers
1. (tie) Boston Fans/Steelers Fans

Yes sharing the title currently with trashy Steeler fans are the racist, obnoxious, turn-their-back-on-a-player-in-a-heartbeat Boston mouth-breathers as the worst of the worst. I wish I could have a taste of each one of their tears.

So join me today as I sort through the written word leaders of Red Sawx Nation as they cry, whine, and try to garner sympathy from the rest of us. Sorry, guys. We fell for this nonsense from you pricks for years leading up to 2004. You pissed any and all goodwill away with us since then.

Many of the Boston Red Sox media members are household names. But so is garbage…and it stinks when it gets old, too. Today I kick them while they’re down. They deserve it.



I begin with the most unlikable writer on the planet, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. You know Dan. The originator of the Curse of the Bambino nonsense? The supposed most hated man in Boston, even though he just writes the echoed thoughts of ever ignorant, arrogant Red Sox fan I’ve ever met? Here’s some excerpts from his Boston.com article today.

The greatest choke in baseball history ended the only way it could have ended, with the Red Sox gagging on the Camden Yards lawn one last time.

“Pooo-wah Red Sawx fans! No one un-dahstands owaah pain! Only two World Series championships in the past seven yee-ahs! Fack you, Gawd!”

I’m amazed he didn’t mention Baltimore being the birthplace of the Bambino.

Truly unbelievable. This feels like revenge for 2004 and 2007. It is as if the baseball gods are punishing Red Sox Nation for hubris and arrogance and good times that seemed so good, so good, so good.

You poor things. I hope you don’t win jack shit for 186 years this time.

Then the earth opened up and swallowed the Sox and their fans. Stoic Jonathan Papelbon came on to close it out in the ninth, struck out two, then surrendered back-to-back doubles and a walkoff single that $142 million Carl Crawford (typically) failed to catch.

“Fack you, Cawwwl Crawwfawd! You fackin’ dahkee! Ovah-paid fackin’ dahkee!”

Never mind that Carl Crawford hit the double earlier in the game that could (and should) have sealed the deal for the Red Sox, but Marco Scutaro had a brain fart on the basepaths and was thrown out at home.

Never mind that Carl Crawford won a Gold Glove last year and 99% of baseball outfielders wouldn’t have caught that sinking liner.

And never mind that most of Crawford’s struggles at the plate this year has not been helped by the constant criticism and catcalls of the Boston media and fanbase that will shit on anyone in a heartbeat, unless they’re white with a neckbeard. Crawford should have known better than to play in front of these savages. He should fire his agent for not taking the Angels deal.

Say goodbye to Terry Francona. Tell Theo it’s OK to talk to the Cubs.

“Fack you, Tito! You too, Theo, you fackin' queeah! What have you evah done for Danny Woodhead-Larry Bird Nation!?”

86 years without a championship. Francona and Epstein were the leaders that turned it around for Boston and have turned them into winners. But in a year where injuries and age caught up to the Sox, any loyalty built up toward them is gone. Fuck you, Dan Shaughnessy.

This goes right up there with Denny Galehouse, Bucky Dent, Mookie Wilson, and Aaron Boone (who visited the Sox dugout before the game - how’s that for an omen?).

“No one un-dahstands owahh suffering! Bucknah! Bucknah! Bucknah!”

Do us all a favor, Pedroia Nation…hop in a bathtub, stick your penises in toasters, and plug the bastards in.

Here’s some from another Boston.com article, this one written by, and I’m not kidding here, “Obnoxious Boston Fan”. Insert own joke here.

This should set Red Sox Nation back about 86 years.

“Nevah forget! 86 ye-ahs! Ow-ah World Series drought was ow-ah 9/11 every day!”

An entirely new generation of fans have been scarred for life. This was disgusting, embarrassing and horrifying.

I’ve told you all before how I run a couple bars in the real world. Well, one is in Toledo, OH and the other is in a small town in Southeast Michigan. Every bar has their share of regulars, but in each of my bars there is one regular that is louder, more vulgar, more racist, and more annoying that the others. And both guys at mine happen to be Red Sox fans.

Every Red Sox fan I’ve ever met has been disgusting, embarrassing, and horrifying...and they have scarred me for life.

The greatest collapse in history is complete. Forget Rome. The 1929 stock market crash. The Soviet Union. The Berlin Wall. Super Bowl XLII. The Titanic. The Hindenburg. Home values. Every other baseball team ever. The 2011 Red Sox out Red Soxed themselves –

“Fack all those people that died! This is much worse! Welkah Nation weeps today! How-ah do we recovah from this? Oh, the humanity!”

/cranks up Daughtry CD

/punches girlfriend in crotch

And just like the Patriots, the Red Sox haven't won a postseason game since 2008.

“Three fackin’ ye-ahs! No fanbase is this tortured!”

/ignores championships by Celtics and Bruins

The Curse of Carl Crawford has been born. Where was Mike Greenwell when we needed him?

“That fackin’ dahkee Crawwwfawd facked us! Teddy Ballgame Nation needs mo-wah Greenwell scrappiness! He had hawwwwt!”

In 12 years, Mike Greenwell had a career WAR of 23.5. In two less seasons, Crawford’s career WAR is 27.4.

Oh, and in 17 career postseason games, Greenwell hit .146 for Boston. But it’s all right when you’re all white.

This what happens when you root for the Evil Empire – even for a few hours. Our Faustian bargain backfired. The Devil made us pay and we're in baseball hell. ESPN noted that the Yankees hadn't blown a 7-run lead in the eighth inning or later since 1953.

Oh, fuck you, fuck you, FUCK YOU.

ENOUGH with the Evil Empire bullshit. The Red Sox have out-Yankee’d the Yankees for years now. They’ve shit out millions on Dice-K, Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Bobby Jenks, John Lackey and many more the past few years. The Sawx are Evil Empire 2.0. You guys can’t play this plucky underdog card anymore. It doesn’t work. That’s Tampa’s gimmick now. You dumped a truckload of money at Carl Crawford and plucked him away from the Rays. Instead of crying about it, they played their asses off and forced their way into the playoffs while your millions blew up in your face. Eat a horsecock, you whiny gashes.

Do you want to clean house? Papelbon, Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, Erik Bedard, and Jason Varitek – among others – are free agents.

“Get rid of awll of these fackin’ chok-ahs! We need more Pedroiahhh’s! More Jacoby Ellsbury’s!”

I hope the next “Obnoxious Red Sox Fan” headline I see is “Obnoxious Red Sox Fan Found Dead With Mouth on Car’s Exhaust Pipe”.

We close with a look at the boo-hooing of Mr. Bill Simmons at Grantland.

A month ago, Ryan Lavarnway was in Triple-A. As recently as 48 hours ago, he wasn't playing. Today, in Game 162, with a playoff spot on the line? He's catching and batting fifth.

“How day-ah Tito bat this kid fifth the day aftah he hit two homahs with Youk hurt? Is Tito Grady Fackin’ Little now?”

J.J. Hardy's surprisingly good season (30 homers) inadvertently inspires Daniel and me to discuss whether we'd take HGH if we were baseball players.

“No SAWX play-ah would take PHD’s!”

/ignores HGH-heads Manny and Ortiz being the only reason Boston’s futility isn’t at 93 years

J.D. Drew smacks a one-out single, then cracks wise at first base with Mark Reynolds. "What's going on with J.D.?" Daniel wonders. "He showed emotion last night, now he's smiling. Next thing you know, he's gonna steal a base!" I'm gonna miss these moments with J.D. when he's gone next year. Oh, wait, no I won't.

Every Boston fan hates JD Drew. Never mind that his OPS+ in his Sawx years is a respectable 114. Never mind his WAR the previous four years in Boston were 2.7, 2.7, 5.6, and 2.5. Drew hasn’t been amazing, but he’s been serviceable. But I guess he doesn’t look like he’s TRYING enough. Nothing is good enough for these assholes.

Speaking of bad purchases, Carl Crawford just flied out to end the top of the second.

“Fack you, Cahhhhl! I don’t get it! I talk shit about you every fackin’ day! Why don’t you get bettah?”

I have to come clean: I feel as bad for Crawford as you can feel for someone who's worth nine figures and helped ruin your baseball season.

Yes, blame Crawford. It’s the Boston way. Never mind the Lackey and Lester meltdowns. Or the countless injuries that have destroyed the Sawx roster. All Crawford’s fault.

Two outs, two strikes … home run, Dan Johnson. Right down the right-field line. You've gotta be kidding me. That was basically baseball's version of the Tyree Catch…

David Tyree of the NY Giants is the Boston fan’s football Mookie Wilson or Bucky Dent. They will NEVER stop crying about it. Let it go, people! Move on with your goddamn lives.

Ellsbury quickly steals second and earns some deserved "MVP! MVP! MVP!" chants from the Boston fans on hand.

Let's see: .323/.377/.553, 158 games, 32 HR's, 39 SB's (+24), 105 RBI, 119 runs, good defense in center, the biggest hit of the season (his three-run homer against the Yanks on Sunday night) … it's definitely an argument.

And a shitty one, at that. Let’s see…

Ellsbury: .323/.377/.553, 158 games, 32 HR, 39 SB, 105 RBI, 119 runs
Cabrera: .344/.448/.586, 161 games, 30 HR, 2 SB, 105 RBI, 111 runs

Unless you REALLY love stolen bases, I think Miguel Cabrera gets the edge there.

Although I'd still vote for Justin Verlander.

That’ll work, too. And poor, poor Jose Bautista…

And he goes on crying like my 7 year old with a skinned knee after that.

Look. In 2004, I felt the pain of Tahmmy Brady/Nohmaaaah Nation. I bought into the pain of 86 years of not winning it all. I cheered Boston as overcame the Yankees’ 3-0 ALCS lead and beat the Cardinals in the World Series. And I’m an avid reader and a junkie for baseball knowledge. Take a look at this collection I read after the ’04 season.
But you nut-statins of New England have pissed all that good will away. You became more obnoxious than any Yankee fan ever was. You became entitled. You became an Evil Empire of your own that trumped anything you ever whined about in your stupid penis-envy rivalry with the Yanks.

You have gone from plucky underdog to overbearing asshole in less than a decade. So congratulations on that.

It’s days like this that I’m proud to be a Tigers fan. Take at look at the various Tiger sites right now, including the News and Freep. They’re full of positivity and praise for the team. They’re optimistic and aren’t dwelling on the failures of the past. I rag on many Tiger writers for humor’s sake on this blog, but all of them not named Simonson are doing a heck of a job right now. The same holds true for most Tiger fans. We thrive on hope, not an imagined hopelessness.

We had our own letdowns including 1987, 2009, and the 2006 World Series. But with the exception of a couple notorious hacks, we don’t keep crying about them, make up curses, and beg for attention. We keep moving forward and would kill for a taste of success of Boston sports the past ten years.

Did you happen to see the new episode of Family Guy this past Sunday? The Griffins win the lottery and Peter turns into a terrible, obnoxious ass that no one can stand to be around anymore. This is what happened to Red Sox fans. It's fitting that the Griffins live in New England.

Boston fans are the worst. And it’s fitting they they received the worst September collapse of all time. They can all eat shit and die.
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BONUS CONTENT

I can’t pass up on mentioning this unrelated media fail to you all today.

Yesterday, Jose Reyes of the Mets bunted for a single and then left the game to assure himself the first batting title in Mets history. Whether or not you think that’s a crappy thing to do is irrelevant. But both Rob Parker and Colin Cowherd threw fits about it today, and each said that it’s something that the great Derek Jeter would never do in pursuit of a batting title.

Bullshit.

Via Deadspin: This seems a little unfalsifiable, since Jeter has never won a batting title at all. But there are smaller selfish milestones in baseball, too. Such as the one that faced Derek Jeter on Sept. 26, 2008. There were three games left in the season, and for once, the Yankees weren't going to the playoffs. Jeter's hand was sore from being hit by a ball the week before. His batting average, which had mostly ranged from the .270s to the low .300s through the year, had finished an upswing and started dropping again, down to .301. There was nothing left to play for but pride and dignity and respect for the game itself.

So what did Jeter, the embodiment of everything that's right with baseball, do? He started the game 0-for-2 and saw his average drop to .300—one at-bat away from .2998. At that point, in the third inning, he left the game, never to reappear for the rest of the season.

So spare me the Derek Jeter nonsense, you jackoffs. The Jeter slobbering of the media is almost as intolerable as Red Sox Nation’s media whining.

Tiger Droppings: End of 2011 Season Edition

Happy Last Day ‘o’ the Season, boys and girls. Your Tigers are going to the playoffs, yet still don’t know when, where, or who they’ll play. As of now, it looks like they’ll be opening on Friday night in New York against the dreaded ESPN Yankees. More on that later.

I’ve got a few subjects to cover today including guys with something to prove, the previously mentioned Yanks, Kirk Gibson (the real one) having a showdown with an enemy of DNR, Tom Verducci of SI’s awards voting, and more.

So let’s get going, eh?



MEN ON A MISSION

The postseason in any sport is full of back stories. Perhaps a guy choked in a previous playoff series and is trying to redeem himself. Maybe a guy is in the twilight of his career and this is his last chance at a ring before riding off into the sunset and becoming a bad color commentator for Fox. Or you’ll hear about how an athlete’s club-footed sister with a glass eye has severe hemorrhoids, and her only hope for happiness is to see her big bro win a championship. You know what I mean.

Well, this Tigers team is no different. There’s no shortage of potential “feel good” moments with this team if they play to their potential and bring home a World Series. Check out these possible bad movie scripts of the future.

Justin Verlander: The cherry on the sundae that’s been his remarkable 2011 season would be to dominate his way through the playoffs, shutting down every team in his way, and overtaking Roy Halladay as the undisputed best pitcher in baseball. If anyone can do it, it’s JV.

Miguel Cabrera: As I recently noted, his redemption story from his off-field problems early this year has already been amazing. But if he keeps bashing the ball the way he’s been doing in the playoffs, a national audience will finally get to see what we in the Detroit fanbase already know…Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in the game. And one of the best people, too, despite any mistakes he’s made in the past.

Magglio Ordonez: Tonight could very well be Magglio’s last regular season game as a Tiger (though that rat bastard Leyland isn’t starting him). He won’t be back next year unless he accepts a monster pay cut and a part-time role after his struggles the first half this year. But with his sizable hitting streak this past month and a national stage, Ordonez could show the baseball world that he’s not worth writing off just yet. If Johnny Damon can keep playing as a DH, Maggs has a couple years left in him, too. But probably not in Detroit unless he recaptures some of that 2006 magic in the next week or three.

Doug Fister: Ubaldo Jiminez was the name everyone was talking about at the trade deadline and Fister was an afterthought to the baseball media in his deal to the Tigers. But since then, he’s made everyone stand up and take notice of how truly talented he is. A playoff stage where he continues to pitch lights out will elevate Verlander/Fister into Halladay/Lee territory.

Jose Valverde: The other day on the local terrible sports radio show, ex-Tiger farmhand Ron Rightnowar was a guest and called the Yankees a favorite over the Tigers due to one man…Mariano Rivera. Keep in mind, it’s not 2002 anymore. Valverde is perfect in save situations this year and is approaching Eric Gagne’s all-time consecutive saves record. If he continues to be perfect in October, Valverde could become the Tigers’ X-Factor the way Rightnowar thinks Rivera is.

Brandon Inge: DFA’d earlier in the year, the most polarized Tiger player ever enters the postseason where he’ll definitely see some playing time. He’s under contract for next year and his postseason performance could play a big part in if he’s penciled in as 2012’s starter or a candidate for the unemployment line again. Plus, I'm sure he told some sick kid that he'll try not to strike out in every playoff at bat.

Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer: With all the focus on JV/The Dougie, many are overlooking the other two Tiger starters and what they’re capable of. The two of them have shown this year that they can be both very good and very bad depending on the day of the week. These guys can show the Tigers, their fans, and the rest of the baseball world that the Tigers are more than a “Big Two” in the pitching department and could be a feared dynasty for years to come if they realize their potential.

Alex Avila: He is Captain Nepotism no more. Avila turned in one of the finest regular seasons in recent memory for a catcher with his 2011 season out of nowhere. In the playoffs, he could become a star and make Al Avila even prouder of his surprise sensation of a son. (Say that five times fast.)

Austin Jackson: The man that had the unenviable task of following Curtis Granderson in center field has had his struggles and successes in his sophomore year in the bigs. While Grandy has garnered MVP attention with his homers, Jackson has struggled at the plate while dazzling in the field at the same time. Legends are made in the postseason and AJax could become one himself with a spectacular catch or two on the national stage.

Ryan Raburn: The Ryno was a guy that most of the Tiger fanbase gave up on this year with his usual early season struggles at the plate. But predictably, he’s rebounded for a monster second half and we have to hope that 2nd half Raburn continues to excel as Postseason Raburn. MLive commenter heads would explode if Raburn somehow won a postseason MVP award...I'm praying to my dark lord Satan every night for this to happen.

And so on. You could come up with feel-good stories for all of them. I don’t know about you, but I’m chomping at the bit for it to just get going.

And for the record, I’ll be in Detroit for the first playoff game, whether it be Friday, or most likely on Monday. I can’t thank Jen from Old English D enough for getting a ticket for me to go. If you’re gonna be there, too, drop me a line. Maybe we can meet up and you can tell me how awesome I am. I’m quite needy…

SHOWDOWN WITH THE YANKS

I’m just going to assume that we’re playing the Yankees in the playoffs. Leyland has showed seemingly no interest in getting home field advantage with his lineups since clinching and I don’t see Texas coughing it up at the end here against an Angels team that quit days ago.

So how do the Tigers stack up against the Yankee starters, whomever they end up going with? Well, young Ivan Nova has barely seen action vs. the Tigers in his career, so I’m leaving him out due to small sample size. But the other four Yankee starters aren’t strangers to the Tiger hitters. Take a look.

vs CC Sabathia

Jackson: .286 (4-14), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 K
Ordonez: .268 (19-71), 3 HR, 18 RBI, 8 K
Young: .167 (3-18), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 5 K
Cabrera: .563 (9-16),2 HR, 11 RBI, 3 K
Martinez: .240 (6-25) 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
Avila: .143 (1-7), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 K
Peralta: .059 (1-17), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 5 K
Inge: .190 (11-58), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 15 K (geez, Brandon)
Raburn: .174 (4-23), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 8 K (sigh, Ryno)
Santiago: .292 (7-24), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Betemit: .600 (3-5), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Rhymes: .000 (0-2), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Kelly: Never faced Sabathia.
Dirks: Never faced Sabathia.
Worth: Never faced Sabathia

Pray with me that Leyland is force-fed these numbers and Betemit and Santiago start over Inge and Raburn against the lefty ace of the Yanks. Also, Jhonny Peralta needs to step it up against his ex-Indian teammate.

vs AJ Burnett

Jackson: .500 (1-2), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Ordonez: .214 (3-14), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 K
Young: .214 (3-14), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 5 K
Cabrera: .214 (3-14), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Martinez: .259 (7-27), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
Avila: .500 (1-2), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 K
Peralta: .231 (3-13), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 4 K
Inge: .267 (4-15), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 K
Raburn: .000 (0-3), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Santiago: .259 (1-4), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Betemit: .261 (6-23), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 9 K
Rhymes: .000 (0-3), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 K
Kelly: .000 (0-2), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
Dirks: Never faced Burnett.
Worth: Never faced Burnett.

For a guy that’s famous for not being good for the Yankees, he’s handled the Tigers well in his career. Hopefully things change in the playoffs.

vs Bartolo Colon

Jackson: .000 (0-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 K (sigh)
Ordonez: .220 (11-50), 3 HR, 10 RBI, 5 K
Young: .500 (3-6), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Cabrera: .375 (3-8), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Martinez: .294 (5-17), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
Avila: .667 (2-3), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 0 K
Peralta: .250 (2-8), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Inge: .308 (8-26), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 8 K
Raburn: .200 (1-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 K
Santiago: .550 (11-20), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K
Betemit: Never faced Colon.
Rhymes: Never faced Colon.
Kelly: .000 (0-2), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 K
Dirks: Never faced Colon.
Worth: Never faced Colon.

Wow. Ramon Santiago owns the ex-sumo wrestler Colon. Pray that he starts and bats second if Bartolo clip-clops his way to the mound against Detroit.

vs Freddy Garcia

Jackson: .222 (4-18), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 K
Ordonez: .320 (16-50), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 K
Young: .300 (3-10), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K
Cabrera: .391 (9-23), 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 K
Martinez: .233 (7-30), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 K
Avila: .333 (3-9), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 K
Peralta: .292 (7-24), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K
Inge: .190 (11-58), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 18 K (good gawd)
Raburn: .111 (1-9), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 K
Santiago: .000 (0-5), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
Betemit: .333 (1-3), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
Rhymes: .500 (2-4), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K
Kelly: .250 (1-4), 1 HR, 1 RBi, 1 K
Dirks: Never faced Garcia.
Worth: .000 (0-3), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 K

The Tigers hit Garcia pretty well. It would be in the Yankees best interest to keep him away from the pitcher’s mound against Detroit.

What does any of this mean? Meh, probably not much. But I still find it interesting to look at. And I’ll be pissed if I did that for nothing and we end up playing friggin’ Tampa or Boston.

DON’T ANGER GIBBY, SON

Human pile of garbage, TJ Simers of LA Times and Marcus Thames-bashing fame, decided to get snippy with ex-Tiger hero and current Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson during a press conference. Here’s the video.

The transcript of it can be read here at SB Nation Arizona. Thanks to Kyle (@kpaz1229 on twitter) for the link.

I would have been willing to burn down a homeless shelter for Gibby to have spit on him. TJ Simers is the worst.

SI = STUPID IGNORANCE

Most people either love or hate Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci. Myself,  I can take him or leave him, depending on the piece he writes. Sometimes he’s brilliant, and other times he’s as annoying as Rick Reilly. He recently posted his award winners for this season. Here’s a couple things that caught my eye.

In the MVP race, he goes with Jacoby Ellsbury of DA SAWX as his AL winner. However, he says he'll change that if the Sawx don't end up making the playoffs. This baffles me, folks. Is it Ellsbury's fault that Lackey and Lester can't get anyone out? The MVP is NOT A TEAM AWARD! Arrrrrgh! Drives me insane.

He has Cabrera second, JV third, and Bautista fourth. Poor Jose. No one appreciates him but me.

The other crazy Verducci award is the AL Manager of the Year. He gives it to Joe Maddon. Fine with me...Joe's a good choice. But his runners up are Ron Washington and Manny Acta. Acta? His team went down like Alyssa Milano on a first date with Brad Penny! No love for Leyland at all? I have Jim finishing...well, you'll see when I do my eventual awards post.

Oh, the anticipation!

I found this through John Sharp of DTS taking umbrage to Leyland and Valverde being snubbed. But John, you disappoint me by not only spelling Wilson Betemit's name wrong, but by also giving Ryno the dreaded "Rayburn" spelling. Bad form. Austin's gonna kill you.

WHITE SOX BATTING .500 IN LATE-SEASON DECISION MAKING, AT LEAST

Ozzie’s gone. Yay!

Hawk’s been renewed for four more years. Boo…

Fuck you, White Sox.

BUT, PLUGS

-Matt Sussman at mLive lists his ten most memorable Tigers wins this season. It's a fun list to read, though nothing tops the Raburn/Cabrera walkoff game for me. Matt's also quite entertaining on Twitter, so give him a follow at @suss2hyphens if you haven't already.

-Christopher Czar at MCB offers an apology to Jim Leyland. The Tigers should have a day this winter where Leyland sits on a throne and fans line up around the stadium to apologize to the man.

The always brilliant Sam at Roar of the Tigers talks about how this is finally a good time to be a Detroit sports fan. That's great for you jerks...but I'm only a Tiger fan. The Bears and Irish are awful. Oh well, that's why the baby Jesus invented beer, I guess.

-Over at Bless Yo...you know what, I'm not giving props to anything at BYB until Kurt quits talking about his fucking dog all the time. Go out and kiss a girl, for crissakes, dude. Do they make females in the UP?

-Finally, not a plug, but a congrats to ex-Tiger pitcher Mike Maroth on being named the pitching coach for the Class-A Lakeland Tigers team. Mike's one of the nicest and classiest players I've ever had the pleasure of watching. It's a shame what bad luck he had in his playing career.

Playoffs, bitch. It's time.

Meanwhile...In Chicago...

AJ PIERZYNSKI: Dude, I can’t believe this. Did you hear? Ozzie’s outta here! He’s going to the Marlins! This is crazy! Can you believe it?
JESSE CRAIN: Yup. Don’t care. Go away.

PIERZYNSKI: Whaddya mean you don’t care? This is Ozzie Guillen we’re talking about! He’s this team’s identity! He’s the fiery passion of the White Sox! Without Ozzie, we might as well be the Astros, man. No one’s gonna pay attention to us now. I bet the Cubs are ecstatic about this.

CRAIN: Quit talking to me, AJ. I hate you. And this team.

PIERZYNSKI: Yeah, that’s another thing. Who else is going to put up with my stupid nonsense without Ozzie here? I’m screwed, dude.

CRAIN: Good. I hope you die.

PIERZYNSKI: Thanks, dude. Means a lot that you’re trying to cheer me up with jokes.

CRAIN: No, I’m serious. I hope you get hit by a street cleaner. Or stabbed to death by a maniac fan. Whatever.

/loud cursing and Spanish heard in hallway

PIERZYNSKI: Here he comes now! Oh, I hope this really isn’t the end…

/door starts to shoot open



ZACK MORRIS: Time out.

Hello, I’m Zack Morris from “Saved By The Bell”. As you may or may not know, DesigNate Robertson has been under criticism from some readers for its foul language used here from time to time. You see, many feel that baseball, and the silly blogs that cover it, should be all serious business where nothing is discussed but how hard Will Rhymes runs to first when grounding out and whether or not Brandon Inge thinks the Tigers are ready for the playoffs.

You see, baseball is serious subject matter and any attempt at providing some humor to this sport of grown men being paid millions to play a kids game should not be tolerated. Add in the fact that if Little Jimmy or Little Janie out there might come across a blog where things aren’t taken so serious and read a curse word, they’ll most likely turn to a life of crime, start using meth, or worse, become a Yankees fan. So something must be done other than the warning at the top of the blog that no one pays attention to.

Thus, with today’s Fake Ozzie Guillen post, something different will be done. I mean, you can’t have an Ozzie post without cursing. That would just be silly. A compromise must be made. It’s like the time Slater and I were both trying to date Kelly. We both couldn’t do it, so we agreed that he’d start banging the ugly girl that did “Showgirls” instead. Everybody wins…except poor Screech who got stuck with Lisa who NEVER put out. Sorry, Screech.

So today, we’ll be inserting another DNR gimmick into the post to prevent the youth of America from being corrupted by seeing the “f” word in print. This post will use the Mad Libs format that has been used in previous game recaps on DNR. Every time Fake Ozzie curses, the naughty word will be replaced with another word from the same general category. Today’s category?

Crappy Tigers from the Past That Make Don Kelly Look Good

Awesome! Now the post is relevant to the Tigers, too! Thanks, three or four over-sensitive mLive readers that only click over when Ian, Matt, or someone is kind (or mean) enough to give DNR a plug! I hope you enjoy this exclusive look into the Chicago locker room. Have a great day and don’t tell Belding I skipped class to tell you all this.

Time in.

/door finishes shooting open
OZZIE GUILLEN: Adios, mother(Walewander)s! I outta dis motha(Hessman)!

PIERZYNSKI: So it’s true? You’re really going to Florida?

GUILLEN: You bet ju hairy (Klassen) I am! No more (Lusader)y Chicago media! No more loudmouth, fat, (Logan)head fans. Best of all, no more of Kenny Williams’ bull(Snell). Chicago can suck my (Pittaro)! Hahaha…suckers!

PIERZYNSKI: I can’t believe they’re letting you go, boss. Who’s gonna put bounties out on opposing players now? Who’s gonna throw tantrums to the media to cover up for how much we suck? Who’s gonna give up three to four outs per game with unnecessary bunting? Who’s gonna say racist things about non-Latino players? Who’s gonna keep my annoying, crybaby butt employed now? I’m scared, Oz.

GUILLEN: AJ, here a secret. I always hate your stupid (Schu). I care less.

PIERZYNSKI: Haha…I know you don’t mean that, Skip.

GUILLEN: (Mlicki) yes, I do. Eat (Fick) and die, AJ.

PIERZYNSKI: But why Miami, boss? Their payroll is half of ours. And they only have like twelve fans. Why the hell would you want to leave us for that?

GUILLEN: Three reasons, AJ. One? Dinero. I buying a boat, motha(Hamelin)! Haha! Two, no more Ken Williams. He’s dumber than dog(Hiatt). Overpay Adam Dunn to suck (Greisinger) for us? Trade for an injured, worthless piece of (Haselman), Jake Peavy? Trade Edwin Jackson for nothing but pile of dog(Hunter)? (Figaro) Kenny Williams in the (Berroa) with a broomstick, mang. I outta this (Halter).

PIERZYNSKI: Um, what’s the third reason?

GUILLEN: Dinero again, AJ! Hahahaha! They paying me mad dinero to try and get fans to watch that (Lambert)y team, mang! Maybe I buy two boats! I name one after wife and another after my hairy (Polonia)! Haha…it good to be Ozzie!

PIERZYNSKI: Yeah, but everyone knows that’s not your fault Kenny screwed up, Skip. Please stay.

GUILLEN: I gone. Why I wanna stay anyway? Look around. Look at dis team. Flowers, Pierre, Jesse, Lindsay, Lucy, Alexei, Dayan…is this baseball team or fruity (Fien) bar? Sixth highest payroll in game and you (Cornejo)s not win (Shelby). I may no win in Miami, but at least it be sunny and I getting’ paid like a motha(Lovullo). So suck a (Grilli), AJ. Good luck with yourself. You crybaby (Hinch).

PIERZYNSKI: Goodbye, Skip. You taught me everything I know about being a man.

GUILLEN: Yeah, you a (Borkowski), AJ. (Fossum) off. Forever. I getting’ my bull(Hollimon) from my office and I go buy a Ferrari. Later all you (Ginter)s! Tell you agents not to bother with Marlins! You all can rot in hell! Hahahahahahaha!

/runs out of clubhouse laughing

PIERZYNSKI: Goodbye, Ozzie. I love you.

/tear rolls down cheek as "Arms of an Angel" plays in background

PIERZYNSKI: (whispering) I'll always love you…

Miguel Cabrera: Shutting Up the Haters

Here’s a few things that were written about Miguel Cabrera in Spring Training after his DUI arrest in Florida.

Has the alcoholism for which Miguel Cabrera was treated more than a year ago gripped him so severely that a magnificent baseball player's career, at age 27, is threatened by a disease so unrelenting? –Lynn Henning, Detroit News

And he skated once again, the Pussy Cats happy to enable the player to whom they’ll pay more than $100 million over the next five years because it’s so much easier than holding him accountable. –Jeff Passan, Yahoo

The Tigers are tied to Cabrera because the remaining money in his contract is guaranteed to him under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. His trade value is diminished for now, and the Tigers cannot cut somone of his immense production without handcuffing their franchise for the remainder of the deal. –Alan Babbitt, Holland Sentinel

(Cabrera is) a public menace. –Mitch Album, Detroit Free Press

…the Tigers should seek voiding the remaining five years -- and $107 million -- of his contract. –Drew Sharp

I mocked them at the time for these statements. You can review those and more of me mocking the haters here, here, here, and here if you like.

Do you “highly respected” reporter jerkoffs remember when you all wrote that crap? I do.


Here’s two more quotes for you from the same time...

It has no effect. It might make some dramatic reading material. It’s not going to do shit. Believe me. Nothing. –Jim Leyland

The point of ALL of this is, you don’t know Cabrera’s situation. As I write this, I’m listening to the commentators on ESPN’s “Around The Horn” calling him an alcoholic, talking about suspending him, saying he needs months of treatment, and all other sorts of ignorant nonsense. Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn’t. Point is, WE DON’T KNOW! Every situation is not the same. Life is not always black and white. It's usually shades of gray. –Me, in this piece, one of my favorites I’ve written here since starting this site.

Jim Leyland and Your Party Host...on the same side for the first time ever.

What’s the point of rehashing all of this? A couple reasons.

1. I love being right.
2. I love when people that disagree with me are wrong.
3. Miguel Cabrera is awesome and the sportswriters that all kicked him while he was down, and are now kissing his ass, fucking make me sick.

Here’s what Cabrera has done this year (with three games to go) in a season that many predicted would be the worst of his career:

Batting Average: .341
Leading the league in hitting, highest average of his career.

Wins Above Replacement (WAR): 6.9
4th in the AL, 2nd highest of his career.

Offensive WAR: 7.6
2nd in the AL, highest offensive WAR of his career.

OBP: .447
Tied for 1st in the AL, highest OBP of his career, 27 points higher than his league-leading mark of last season

Slugging Percentage: .579
2nd in the AL, 2nd highest of his career.

OPS: 1.025
2nd in the AL, 2nd highest of his career.

OPS+: 180
2nd in the AL, highest OPS+ of career, 1 point higher than his league-leading mark of last year.

Doubles: 46
2nd in the AL, 2nd highest of his career.

Walks: 108
2nd in the AL, highest walk total of career.

Yes, his home run and RBI totals are lower compared to recent years. Some are down on him for that. But to them, I say give me a freaking break. 29 homers today is 45 homers ten years ago. As for the RBI total, well it’s hard to knock in runners that don’t exist. With the low OBP guys that have hit in front of Cabrera this season, I’m amazed he’s broken the 100 RBI mark at all. Blame Jim Leyland for that.

More Random Cabrera Stats

Runs Created: 143, highest of his career.

K/Walk ratio: 0.81, lowest of his career. In fact, this will be the lowest total number of strikeouts for Miguel’s career in any full season played.

Average on first pitch swinging: .446

Average with RISP: .397

Point is, Miguel Cabrera is amazing and has put together the second finest season of his amazing young career. Only last year was better. Home runs are the sexy stat, but if you dive inside the numbers, you see how outstanding this year has been for Big Mig. If you figure in all the doubters in the media, the ironically drunken fans heckling him about being a drunk, and everything else the man has gone through this season, it just becomes more and more mind-boggling how great he is.

No matter what happens from here on out this year, THANK YOU Miguel Cabrera for being so awesome at baseball. And thank you for shutting up the judgmental pricks in the stands and in the media.

I'm proud to have had your back from the beginning.

Shame on Justin Verlander for Overshadowing Other MVP Candidates

Awwwwwwww...
I don’t care much for Ken Rosenthal.

Why does Ken bother me? After all, the guy was voted Maryland Sportswriter of the Year five separate times. He’s been Fox’s lead field reporter for baseball games for nearly a decade. He seems like a nice enough guy. He’s involved with raising awareness for several charities.

No, I just don’t like Ken because when he talks, I don’t believe a word he says. He sounds fake and forced to me. Like a used car salesman…that’s hiding a body in the trunk of one of the cars he’s selling. And when he smiles, it’s creepy and phony.

Also, I don’t trust any man wearing a bow tie. From Pee-Wee Herman to Tucker Carlson to the shady waiter at a wedding reception…something about the bow tie makes me uneasy and apprehensive. I’m weird, I know.

And in Ken’s new piece at Fox Sports on Justin Verlander and the MVP race, to me he gives me more reasons not to trust him.

And this annoys me.


I’m sensing a groundswell for Justin Verlander as American League MVP.

Me, too. I like it.

And I don’t like it.

Sigh. Of course not. Needs more YANKS AND SAWX, right?

That’s not to say I won’t vote for Verlander — I just might (and, yes, I am one of the 28 voters for the award).

I wish Bud Selig could do something about this. There HAS to be a better way to give out these important awards that mean so much to the players and their careers. 28 writers, with little to no supervision, all with agendas, are deciding the major awards in baseball. And Bud, work on the Hall of Fame selection nonsense, too. It’s even worse.

And the whole “just might” thing. Really, Ken? With less than a week to go in the season, you don’t know who you’ll be voting for? Are you waiting for someone like Robinson Cano to hit homers in his last twenty at bats?

I can appreciate waiting until the season is over before making their decision public. But I refuse to believe that Ken Rosenthal or any of the other 27 voters aren’t positive on who they plan on naming as their choice for MVP. Unless they’re waiting for a bribe or something.

But all the talk of Verlander is masking the legitimate candidacies of others, most notably Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Poor, poor Jacoby Ellsbury. Give me a break.

So, let’s get this straight. All these writers in the country noticing how unstoppable Justin Verlander has been this season is bad because it is overshadowing the years of other players? Wow. Sounds like the Verlander guy should win the MVP.

If I’m going to vote for a starting pitcher for MVP, I want his case to be as clear-cut as possible. And Verlander’s is not.

Define clear-cut. Saturday, JV will aim to become the first 25 game winner in baseball since, I believe, Bob Welch won 27 in 1990. He leads the AL in wins, ERA, starts, innings pitched, strikeouts, WAR, ERA+, and WHIP. He threw one no-hitter and narrowly missed a second. He led his team to the playoffs, has won his last 12 starts down the stretch, and hasn’t lost a game since July 15th.

In fact, if JV wins on Saturday, he'll be the first guy in 62 years to win 13 straight starts. (via Albom who finally came in handy)

Sorry, Justin. You forgot to cure AIDS somewhere along the way, I guess.

The race continues this weekend as Ellsbury and another strong MVP candidate, Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson, meet at Yankee Stadium (MLB on FOX, 4 p.m. ET Saturday).

Way to interrupt your column to plug that, no doubt, epic YANKS/SAWX matchup! Not like we don’t already see them play 25 or so times every year. Die in a tar pit, Ken.

Spare me the argument of East Coast bias,

YANKS AND SAWX! Wait ‘til you see the bow tie I have picked out for the occasion! If you squint at it, you can make out little A-Rod’s all over it!

anti-Tigers bias or any other bias.

I find it hilarious that the big-name reporters from Fox and ESPN always seem to scoff at the East Coast bias that people complain about. Fact is, it’s true. When you force-feed everyone New York and Boston all the time, of course they’re going to think that’s what you care about! It’s all you TALK about, for crissakes. Tony Kornheiser thought the Tigers had been contracted from the league until two weeks ago when Wilbon mentioned in passing how the White Sox got swept by them, I think.

As for an anti-Tigers bias, we all know that it’s just the MLB umpires that practice that.

The question is whether Verlander, as a starting pitcher, has separated himself enough to edge middle-of-the-diamond players such as Ellsbury and Granderson — the kind of candidates I prefer —

Red Sox and Yankee players?

not to mention corner sluggers such as Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera and Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Indeed, there are many fine candidates for MVP this year. I do not dispute that. With apologies to Jason Whitlock (who is a moron…read this dogshit by him hating on stat-people and try not to scream), let’s take a look at the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for each guy you’ve named.

Verlander: 8.5
Bautista: 8.5
Ellsbury: 7.1
Gonzalez: 6.9
Cabrera: 6.3
Granderson: 5.5

Should WAR be the only thing taken in to account for the MVP? Of course not. But it’s not like I can compare JV and the position players by OPS or WHIP. And the fact that Verlander ranks as high as he does in WAR should tell you there’s a reason this “groundswell” is happening and you shouldn’t take a dump all over it.

At least four national baseball writers have indicated they are leaning toward Verlander for the award, though it is not known whether all are voters.

Huh? Only four? And this bothers you enough to write a piece saying the talk of JV for MVP is hurting the other people? Over four baseball writers? That may or not be voters? I’m at a loss here…do you have money riding on someone else?

Several writers, including FOXSports.com’s Tracy Ringolsby, have made the important point that under the criteria listed by the Baseball Writers Association of America, a starting pitcher indeed merits consideration.

Good thing Tracy (nice cheap plug for your fellow Fox-writer, Ken…YANKS/SAWX, too!!!) was around to spell out the MVP voting rules that everyone was already aware of. Wonder if Tracy knows that 23 pitchers have won the MVP before and we should quit treating the idea of JV winning it like it’s the discovery of life on Mars?

But in the rush to justify Verlander, I fear he is being anointed.

1. Who is RUSHING to JUSTIFY Verlander? Many writers have seen the awesome season Verlander has had and have written they consider him the MVP. Are you telling me that no one has done the same for Ellsbury, Granderson, or Bautista anywhere?

2. Anointed? You fear people have made up their minds at the end of the season and proclaimed Verlander the winner? Is that what this means here? Are you afraid people will vote for JV because articles have been written saying he should be in the MVP consideration? I’m confused and annoyed…like when I watch MTV nowadays.

3. Fox sucks. I hope Joe Buck gets cremated alive.

As I’ve written before, the criteria are so subjective that a voter can pretty much do as he or she pleases.

Not true. If it were, every moron sportswriter’s favorite player, David Eckstein, would be a ten-time MVP.

Verlander will be on my ballot somewhere, probably in the top three. I’m just not sure he will be No. 1.

B.S. You know by now, Ken. You’re a liar. Anyone that trusts you here is more naïve than a 5 year old.

The principal argument for Verlander — the Tigers would not have won the AL Central without him — is all but irrefutable.

THAT is the principal argument? Says who? In that case, JV should share the MVP with Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, and maybe Jhonny Peralta. They don’t win it without any of those guys either.

MVP is Most Valuable Player. Not most valuable WINNING player. Not most valuable POSITION player. Why in the world is this so hard for people to grasp?

I also agree that the value of a top starter is not just the day he pitches but the day before, when his manager can empty his bullpen, and the day after, when the bullpen is rested. Three days out of five.

And to be fair, I applaud you for writing that. Because most sportswriters seem to not notice that, so bravo, Ken.

But here is why I like Ellsbury:

1. Plays for Boston.
2. Scrappy.
3. Pedroia-esque
4. Nice to Fox reporters
5. Has yet to make homophobic joke about bow ties

• He has appeared in 152 of the Red Sox’s 156 games.

• He is an elite defender in center, markedly better than Granderson, according to advanced metrics.

Austin Jackson has played in 149 of the Tigers 157 games now. His defensive WAR is just 0.2 behind Ellsbury, but he plays in a much larger ballpark and between two worse defenders. Is he an MVP candidate?

• He ranks third in the AL in slugging since the All-Star Game — an unusual achievement for a leadoff man and a major separator from Bautista, who has declined markedly in the second half.

For one, it’s not just second half numbers that count. It’s the whole season. And another, Jacoby Ellsbury is surrounded by All-Stars in the Red Sox linep. Bautista is protected in the lineup by a guy that was working at Target last week, I think.

• He is more than simply a Fenway creation: Ellsbury’s OPS-plus — that is, his OPS adjusted to his league and ballpark — ranks seventh in the AL, just behind Granderson.

7th highest in the AL? Sounds like an MVP to me!

By the way, the “declining” Jose Baustita’s OPS+ is an amazing 184, tops in the AL. He also leads the league in homers, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS, and intentional walks. With NO protection. (Ya know, Adam Lind’s okay. Sorry, Adam.) But why am I the only person that notices this? Bautista plays AGAINST the Yanks and Sawx…shouldn’t that get him some attention?

• And, finally, he is the only AL player this season with 100 runs, 90 RBI, 25 homers and 30 stolen bases and one of only 22 players in history to reach those marks. The Brewers' Ryan Braun and Dodgers' Matt Kemp have done it in the NL. Granderson is six stolen bases short.

You can cherry pick any group of stats together to make “first in 20 years” claims for lots of players, I'm sure. Or more likely, some anonymous researcher did so for you.

Runs and RBI rely too much on teammates around you. Bautista is obviously handicapped here compared to the other candidates, yet he still has 104 runs and 101 RBI. His 42 homers are tops in the league, as I mentioned. And stolen bases? Come on…you can’t be deciding the MVP based on how fast the guy is.

Look. Ellsbury is a heck of a player, don’t get me wrong. But if you’re not voting for Verlander, anyone but Jose Bautista for MVP is a travesty. The man has had an insane year at the dish.

In fact, many of the arguments for Ellsbury also ring true for Granderson, with Ellsbury’s superior defense the major difference between them.

Curtis just finally got his batting average up to .270 after being below there for much of the year. At .319, Ellsbury is 49 points higher, though their OBP are nearly identical. But lots of people still love batting average, so I thought I would throw it out there.

(Bautista is the best overall offensive player, but, yes, I’m bothered that he plays for a non-contender. Look at what Ellsbury is experiencing now; the level of intensity is just different.)

No, no, NO!

This “no non-contender for MVP” garbage pisses me off to the point where I want to slaughter a bag full of newborn kittens.

How is it Jose Bautista’s fault that the Blue Jays at 79-77 are not in the playoff race? Should Jose be punished because 4 of the 5 members of the Toronto rotation have ERA’s over 4.55? Is it Bautista’s fault that the average fan couldn’t pick another Blue Jay hitter out of police lineup? Fuck and no, it isn’t. It's a minor miracle that the Jays have won 79 games at all! Bautista for Pope!

As for the “intensity” part, who do you think Jose Bautista is facing out there? He’s playing the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays most of the time. That’s three teams, with traditionally good pitching, that are all in the playoff hunt. The lack of respect Bautista gets is amazing to me.

Also, the Red Sox have stunk down the stretch. Tampa almost caught them. They’re going to finish second in their division and limp into the playoffs as a Wild Card. Is that Ellsbury’s fault? Of course not. But if you’re going to give Ellsbury verbal blow jobs for this whole column and then discredit Bautista because his teammates are a group of Don Kellys, at least be fair about it.

The Sawx are going to barely make the playoffs. If Tampa had won a few more games during the season and overtook Boston, leaving the Sox out of the postseason, would that make Ellsbury a worse candidate? It shouldn’t. But by your logic, Ken, it would. And that would be dumber than a haiku poem written by Snooki.

Granderson, who once struggled against lefties, actually has hit them better than righties this season; his 16 home runs off lefties are the most by a left-handed hitter since Ryan Howard had 16 in 2007. Granderson's other splits — home/road, pre/post All-Star Game — are virtually identical, a testament to his consistency.

Much like Ellsbury, don’t get me wrong here. CJ is an amazing player. And unlike Jacoby, I actually like Granderson. But not for MVP over Bautista or Verlander. This is not a TEAM award, dammit.

There is one Granderson stat, courtesy of the Yankees’ PR department,

Fox or ESPN?

/rimshot

that I just love: He is the first center fielder to record at least 130 runs and 115 RBI in a season since the Braves’ Dale Murphy in 1983 and the first in the AL since Mickey Mantle in 1961.

Means nothing to the MVP race. And once again, runs and RBI depend on teammates almost as much as it does for the individual. Try again.

I know those are counting stats, generated in part by the strength of the Yankees’ offense.

Oh, good. You realize that. Then don’t bring them up.

I know Ellsbury also benefits from being part of the Red Sox’s powerhouse lineup.

Ditto.

But Ellsbury ranks first in Fangraphs’ version of wins above replacement (WAR) and fifth in Baseball-Reference’s version. Verlander is second in Baseball-Reference’s version and only third among pitchers in Fangraphs’.

JV’s actually tied with Bautista for first on baseball-reference.com now. As for Fangraphs, those guys are on meth.

Two of my good friends and respected colleagues, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark and Yahoo.com’s Jeff Passan,

Don’t namedrop. It’s unattractive to your readers. You sound like that gash Peter King when you do that. And definitely don’t namedrop when one of them is Passan. He’s an asshat.

have made the point that Verlander’s season is statistically quite comparable to that of the last starting pitcher to win the MVP award, Roger Clemens in 1986.

How nice. Not relevant to the 2011 season.

True enough. But if you go by ERA-plus — ERA adjusted to league and ballpark — Verlander isn’t close to what Greg Maddux did in 1994 and ’95 or what Pedro Martinez did in ’99 and 2000.

Fascinating. Not relevant to the 2011 season.

Neither Maddux nor Martinez won an MVP. Martinez, who in 2000 had the best ERA-plus and lowest WHIP in modern history, finished fifth that year.

Not relevant to the 2011 season. Please stop. Talk about 2011. Every season is different and has different circumstances. Don’t compare apples to dead squirrels.

Listen, we all cherry-pick numbers;

If this were the Olympics, you would win a gold medal in it.

that’s part of the fun. Here’s one more in support of Ellsbury: His offensive statistics are superior to those of teammate Dustin Pedroia in ’08, when Pedroia won the MVP.

NOT RELEVANT TO THE 2011 SEASON. And Pedroia winning in ’08 was a joke. Justin Morneau got fucked like Lindsay Lohan after two Smirnoff Ices.

I don’t want to come off as anti-Verlander;

Way too late for that. Now, if he played in Boston…

/Rosenthal messes pants

I love him as a pitcher and as a competitor. All I’m saying is that the race is extremely close — so close, I’ll probably examine it a dozen more times before making my decision.

What have you been doing so far? Popping zits on your ass? Asking Derek Jeter if you can smell his fingers? What do sportswriters do with their time instead of their jobs? Watch Spongebob with Tim McCarver?

For the record, the DNR MVP voting goes like this:

1. Jose Bautista
2. Justin Verlander
3. Jacoby Ellsbury
4. Miguel Cabrera
5. Curtis Granderson

I didn’t examine it a dozen times, I admit. I figured eight was enough. Dick Van Patten taught me that.

Every voter should.

I can’t wait until the regular season is over. This kind of talk is making my brain melt.

Why can’t everyone just think the way I do? It would make everything much easier…

/imagines a world of chaos, violence, and foul language

…well,maybe not.

What "Who's Your EX Tiger" Says About You

A week ago, I did this piece on what “Who’s Your Tiger” says about you. Kind of like a horoscope/stereotype/racial profiling thing. Whatever. Please give it a quick read so you know what I’m talking about here. I’ll wait.

/checks watch

Good enough. Well, since writing that, I keep hearing from some people that don’t consider “their Tiger” to be on the current team. It’s a Tiger from the past that still holds a special place in their heart. Fair enough.

So, today’s the same deal as last time. I’ll list a bunch of ex-Tigers and we’ll see how accurate I am in describing the kind of person that would enjoy them.

So, once again, try to relax. Take several deep breaths. Down a handful of pills with some vodka. Watch an episode of “iCarly” with no pants on. Again, whatever it is you need to do to calm yourself. Then close your eyes and imagine your favorite ex-Tiger…

Who did you see in your mind? And what does this say about you?

Let’s take a look.



If your ex-Tiger is…

Johnny Damon: You date/marry poorly. Your significant other is an awful person and things you like are not “cosmopolitan” enough for them. You’re physically getting older than your mental self prefers. People have in the past confused you with religious figures. You think the word “idiot” is a compliment. Your loyalty is often questioned.

Kenny Rogers: You are a late bloomer. At some point in your life, you will be unstoppable and most people will forget how mediocre your entire life was up to that point. You do a poor job at washing your hands. People often mock your name because it is silly. You don’t like having your picture taken. Reporters make your skin crawl.

Curtis Granderson: People adore you. You are a winner and a good human being. Yet you are often surrounded by terrible folks that will stab you in the back in a heartbeat. Be careful at all times. You are employed by one of Satan’s top lieutenants. You may someday cure cancer.

Jeremy Bonderman: Words with more than one syllable frighten you. You enjoy simple things like fishing and counting to twenty-one (as long as you have no shoes on and your fly down). Authority figures have often referred to you as “special”. Cartoons are the highlight of your day. Books are dumb. Your arm is held together by rubber bands and silly putty. You talk too much on podcasts.

Placido Polanco: You have an absurdly large hat-size. Mr. Potato Head was your favorite childhood toy. You are a detals-oriented person that always does the “little things” to get the job done. You are under-valued at your job and no one will realize how important you are until you leave. ESPN anchors would never get your name right if you were an athlete. When dating, you rarely “strike out”.

Dontrelle Willis: You peaked early in life, but you’ve declined since because you’re a nutbar. Anxiety surrounds your day-to-day life. You hear voices in your head. You are often not in control of your own actions. If someone asks you toss them their keys from five feet away, you’ll probably end up breaking a lamp. Somehow, though, you remain a friendly and likable person to others. It can’t be easy.

Todd Jones: You’ve caused your share of ulcers in others. You bumble through everything, yet still somehow get the job done. You are a gigantic homophobe. You have a good sense of humor, though, and this is why people keep putting up with your nonsense.

Fernando Rodney: See Todd Jones, but you wear your hat crooked.

Mike Maroth: If there’s a God, he hates you. There is a constant black cloud over your head. You keep a smile on your face, yet you’re dying inside. Whenever things seem to be going your way, the rug is pulled out from under you. Charlie Brown was a Mike Maroth fan, I think.

Ivan Rodriguez: People hate you behind your back. You’re selfish and don’t care who knows it. You are better at your job when on drugs. Your past successes are what keep allowing people to take a chance on you, yet you keep continuing to let them down. Yet still, you act like you’re still that prior success and have difficulty accepting reality. Also, fat girls/guys adore you almost as much as they do Brandon Inge.

Chris Shelton: You are not attractive. You are probably a ginger and resemble Sloth from “The Goonies”. Worse, you may resemble Shelley Duncan. April is your favorite month of the year. You have never had sex without paying for it. Make that overpaying.

Juan Gonzalez: You are not a real person. No Tiger fan likes Juan Gonzalez. And if you somehow are, I would like to beat you to death with a hammer if you have the time.

Gerald Laird: You come from a crazy family. You are not welcome at NBA games. If you hit someone, you don’t hit them very hard because you’re physically weak. When you have your picture taken, it often looks like you’re crapping your pants. Security guards are nervous in your presence.

Gary Sheffield: You have at least one drug addict uncle. Money is your favorite thing in the world. You are a very angry person. You don’t take personal responsibility. Others don’t like hanging out with you. However, you are very patient and powerful. Like the Pudge folks, you are a better performer at your job when on drugs. Hispanics bother you. You have at least one child that you don’t know about.

Kyle Farnsworth: You are a douchebag. You wear “Tapout” shirts everywhere, including the shower. You enjoy bullying those weaker than you. You have a barbed wire tattoo somewhere. You have poor eyesight. Yet somehow, you appreciate the Mormon beliefs. Probably because you’re nuts. You own at least one violent dog. You spend one hour a day flexing in front of a mirror.

Cecil Fielder: Potato chips are your best friend. Cake is a close second. You had/may have to go to a foreign country to get good at your job. If you have a son, he hates you. Your picture is hanging up in several casinos that you’re not allowed in. You owe lots of people money. Yet people that don't know you well like you. Weird, isn't it?

Dmitri Young: You’re at your best when surrounded by people that don’t know what they’re doing. You are probably a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. Maybe both. You may be missing a foot. Though all this, you have a good heart and a great sense of humor. People pity you. You don’t know when to quit. And your younger siblings have learned nothing from your mistakes.

Edwin Jackson: You may be a hobo as you don’t stay in one place for too long. People have often remarked on your potential that you’ve yet to live up to. You’ve been given up on too many times to count yet people keep giving you more chances. You may own Nazi artifacts.

Zach Miner: Your favorite fictional character is the dentist elf from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. The word “consistent” is not in your vocabulary. You have poor health and fail as much as you succeed.

Adam Everett: You have amazing hair. Seriously. Tom Brady is jealous of your hair. Other than that, you suck at pretty much everything.

Mickey Tettleton: You have perfect posture and take pride in standing up straight. You enjoy the simple country life and aren’t a big fan of big cities. You don’t feel comfortable unless you have a wad of tobacco in your cheek the size of a basketball.

Scott Sizemore: Your name is not Kurt Mensching. You have poor depth perception. You are the least aggressive person you know. Your ankle has been known to shatter in the past and you enjoy using that as an excuse for your failures.

Craig Monroe: You haven’t been relevant since 2006. You experienced a bit of success and then just disappeared. Seriously, what happened to you? You are willing to give up your dreams for a job running a restaurant or something. You’ve been convicted of shoplifting at least once.

Ugueth Urbina: You have killed at least one person with fire. You are a psychopath. You deny your guilt when everyone knows you did it. OJ Simpson is an Ugie fan.

Tom Brookens: You sport a mean mustache, my friend. Even if you’re female. You take great pride in your facial hair. In fact, your mustache is the only remarkable thing about you.

Jose Lima: You are loud. You like making a spectacle of yourself. You are full of yourself, despite not being very good at anything. Yet people still are drawn to your energy and sense of humor. You should probably avoid foods that are high in cholesterol.

Tony Clark: People often think you’re asleep on the job. You appear lazy to others. You’re tall. You possess great power, yet you just don’t know how to use it. You’d probably be better off up and moving to Arizona.

Armando Galarraga: You are not perfect. Ha…

Damion Easley: You are probably on disability or unemployment and just enjoy sitting back and collecting a check. You worked hard to get to a certain level and then just tailed off to the point where someone decided it would better to pay you to just stay home. This annoys people and your name is usually accompanied by a scowl when people say it.

Casper Wells: You have woken up in the morning at least twice and not known where your pants are. You have roofied someone or been roofied in the past. Affliction shirts get your heart going. You spend more time on your hair than is probably healthy. Bouncers in clubs facepalm when they see you come in. You smell like a dead stripper.

David Wells: You’re out of shape. Your belt size is over 46. You don’t keep a job for long. You could probably have been something special, but you just enjoy booze and partying too much. People often think you’re a prick. You’re full of crap most of the time when you talk. You have a dumb nickname.

Chet Lemon: You enjoy juice. You light up every room you’re in, despite not being in good health. You’ve been underappreciated much of your life despite always being successful. You may be missing a stupid body part like an appendix, a pancreas, or a spleen.

Charlie Furbush: You love everything “retro”, especially from the seventies. I’m just gonna stop…

Jeff Weaver: You have a younger sibling who is an assbag. He learned it from watching you. You are a crybaby and people can’t stand being around you. You may be mentally unbalanced. You are a waste of potential. Even the Farnsworth people think you suck.

Marcus Thames: People often wanted to give you a chance and once you got it, you blew it. Yet you remain a kind person and people still want to believe in you because of it. Well, not on the west coast…it’s probably a good idea to avoid Cali. Your grandma is a nice lady. And of course, you are “country strong”.

Jason Grilli: You enjoy giving people your “weak shit”. You may be a pyromaniac from all the fires you’ve caused over the years. You are a failure, make no mistake about that, but not as big of a failure as everyone thinks. But regardless, you suck and should probably jump off a bridge into a pit of spikes.

Nook Logan/Brian Hunter/Alex Sanchez/Josh Anderson/Roger Cedeno/etc: You run fast. That’s about it. You’re not good for much else. People used to think you might amount to something, but you quickly proved them wrong. Enjoy your career at 7-11 or just become a drug runner.

Eric Munson: Opposite of the Polanco folks as when trying to find a date, you constantly “strike out”. The only thing you can consistently catch is probably the flu. You are a failure and people often wish they never heard your name. Someone once invested a lot of time and money into you only for you to crap the bed on them. You enjoy visiting minor league baseball parks and want to see every one possible.

Tony Phillips: You don’t like standing still, yet you’re very patient at the same time. You are a jack-of-all-trades and can handle doing multiple jobs at once. You think cocaine’s a hellova drug. You have a temper problem, too. Also, you may contribute to Yahoo and mLive and are trying to legally change your first name to “Uncle”.

(Off topic…did you know this? Tony’s still playing.

From Wikipedia: Phillips currently plays third base for the Yuma Scorpions of the independent North American League along with former Athletics teammate Jose Canseco. In August of 2011, 52-year-old Phillips was involved in an altercation with former Scorpions manager Mike Marshall, then with the Chico Outlaws. Phillips punched Marshall in the face during the incident, causing the latter to press battery charges against the infielder.

God bless independent ball…why isn’t this stuff on TV? ESPN puts on the Little League World Series but not this? What a waste. Sorry, we’re almost done…I promise.)

Kirk Gibson: You have a flair for the dramatic. Pressure situations are what you live for. You play by your own rules and don’t care what anyone else thinks. You like shooting animals and them eating them, cooked or not. You’re not as wild as you used to be, but every now and then you feel the need to cause some chaos.

Alan Trammell: You’re a very good worker. Close to one of the best, but not quite. And you're an excellent human being. Yet, you’re not a leader. You’re in injun, not a chief. When put in charge, things will fall apart. Luckily, you’re well-suited to be one of the workers to clean it up. You have bad skin.

Lou Whitaker: You have the work skills of the Trammell folks. However, you don’t like people. Anyone. You’re a loner and just want to never speak to anyone again. You could be treated like a God somewhere, but would rather spend your days in obscurity living in a Florida slum or something similar.

Ty Cobb: You are in the Ku Klux Klan. Possibly a Grand Dragon. Minorities annoy you in ways you can’t explain. You appreciate excellence, as long as it’s a white person doing it. Make that a white man, because you think women are useless, too. Oh, and you like peaches.

Al Kaline: You are old. You don’t like kids playing on your lawn. You enjoy reading Jerry Green’s work. You might be Jerry Green. Your sense of humor is non-existent. You wish your grandkids would call more often. You have grey pubes. But back in your day, you were somethin’. And you like talking about “back in the day”. No one wants to hear it, though. Sorry.

Nate Robertson: You enjoy blowing bubbles. You also blow at your job. Yet, you don’t give up, so that’s admirable. You enjoy growing obnoxious facial hair. You are a good cheerleader. You may own a bulldog. You may have won the lottery at some point or had a rich family member leave you a fortune. God knows you don’t deserve all the zeroes in your bank account.

Bobby Higginson: You are the smartest, funniest, best-looking person anyone knows. Your potential is limitless. You wake up in the morning pissing excellence. You should have a statue built of you that so people can pause and reflect on how awesome you are. A warm glow emits from your private parts.

If I missed your ex-Tiger, I apologize. It was probably someone stupid.

Holidays / Andy Murray having fun ...



and Hi There,


Holiday time is here again and Rob and I are heading down once again to the land of the 'Auld Enemy' hehehe ... We are travelling first to Newark to visit Rob's brother and his family for the first few days then making for Blackpool for a few days so I'll need to remember to take my 'Kiss me Quick' hat so that I can have a stroll along the promenade. Let's hope the sun will be in evidence - according to the weather forecast we should have a few days of sunshine sooooooo..... Wayyyhayyyy !!


~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~ ~~~


While having a wander around the internet I found a wee video which shows another side of 'sober, po-faced and no smiles' Andy Murray ...... What a revelation hehehe! He should lighten up more often.






Cheers, Kate xxx.

The Most Important Player in the World for the Tigers

No, not him. But yeah, he’s obviously important, too. And interesting.

Going into the playoffs, every player on the Tigers is going to be vital. They’ll all have their roles to play, whether it’s Miguel Cabrera showing the world how awesome his is at the plate, Jose Valverde continuing to be perfect in save opportunities, and all the way down to Don Kelly showing everyone how…whatever it is he does.

But if Detroit’s going to make it to the World Series and beyond, I think there’s one guy under the microscope more than any other, at least to me. If he fails, I can’t see this team making it past the ALCS…if they make it that far.

Who is it? Hint: It’s not Will Rhymes.

Max Scherzer is going to be the key to the Tigers’ postseason chances.

Mig, V-Mart, Avila, Jhonny and the boys will deliver at the plate. Don’t let the Triple-A lineups Leyland has sent out there since clinching the Central fool you. The offense will be fine, especially with the struggles Boston and New York are having in their rotations right now. Texas, outside of Alexi Ogando, doesn’t scare me, either. And Tampa might make it, but eff them, too.

And look, we all know Verlander will be lights out. Doug Fister has been a second ace since arriving from the hell that is Seattle. The bullpen seems to be in a groove right now. But without someone following the Big Two in the rotation, those other AL offenses will end up eating us alive. Rick Porcello still doesn’t have the stuff to blow anyone away. And Brad Penny showed us yesterday why he won’t be on the postseason roster unless he has some sort of scandalous pics of Leyland with a farm animal.

But Max Scherzer does have the stuff to take those offenses apart. He just needs to show it in more than 2/3 of his starts.

Max has started 31 games. He’s 14-9 with a 4.39 ERA in 184.1 IP, while walking 53 and striking out 162. Those numbers are fine, but they don’t completely tell the story of Max Scherzer’s 2011 season.

In 11 of the 31 starts, Max has seemingly pitched out of his brown eye and gone less than 6 innings. His ERA in those games is 9.17. The crazy thing is, many of those starts have been against crappy teams. Two against the Royals, and one each against Oakland, San Francisco, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Toronto. The other four? Tampa, Boston, Texas, and New York. Ruh roh.

But in his other 20 starts, Mad Max has gone at least 6 innings pitched, pitching out of the blue eye. In those starts, his ERA is 2.38! Three outings have seen him pitch 8 innings (two against the White Sox, one against the Yankees). He is capable of being as good as any pitcher in baseball.

This is the Max we need to show up in the playoffs. If you follow JV and The Dougie with Good Max? They can't be beaten in a 5 or 7 game series.

It’s all in how his command is on any given day, I guess. Don’t confuse that with control, though. He’s walking 2.6/9 innings this year compared to 3.1/9 innings over his career. That’s good. But his hits per nine innings are up to 9.5. It was 8.0 last year. That’s bad. He needs his movement on the ball to be the way it’s capable of being and in the way that it’s been in 2/3 of his starts. Otherwise he gets bombed out there, and he resembles Brad Penny without the herpes.

Whatever. I’m not a numbers guy. But my point remains the same. Max Scherzer is the secret weapon, the key, the whatever you want to call it for the Tigers to win it all in 2011. At the end of last year, he was pitching just as well as Verlander was. And he’s shown at times this year that he can still be that guy.

Avoid the brown eye, Mad Max. Nothing good comes out of the brown eye.

We’re counting on you.

Catfight: 1987 Tigers vs. 2011 Tigers

So your Detroit Tigers are the AL Central Division champs. Feels nice, doesn’t it? And as every single article written about this fact has no doubt told you, this is the first divisional championship the team has won since 1987. But for poops and giggles, overall, how does this current crop of Tigers stand up to those Tigers that fought off the Blue Jays to win the AL East 24 years ago?

I did this last month using one day’s lineup with each team, but since we’ve clinched, I thought it would be interesting to compare the entire teams against each other this time around.
That, my friends (and commenters that say I’m the Anitchrist at mLive), is the subject of today’s Catfight.



CATCHER

2011: Alex Avila, .297/.388/.517, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 5.4 WAR
1987: Matt Nokes, .289/.345/.536, 32 HR, 87 RBI, 3.1 WAR

Advantage: Avila. As I said when comparing these two young catchers before, Nokes was a homer machine in ’87, but that was it. His defense was weak, he only had 16 extra base hits that weren’t out of the park, and quite frankly, everyone hit at least 20 homers in 1987. Even Wade Boggs hit 24 that year, despite never hitting double digits in any other season of his 18 year career, other than 1994 (11). Meanwhile, Alex has been a great well-rounded hitter this year, a solid force on defense, and an ironman when it comes to catchers in general.

FIRST BASE

2011: Miguel Cabrera, .331/.440/.557, 26 HR, 97 RBI, 6.2 WAR
1987: Darrell Evans, .257/.379/.501, 34 HR, 99 RBI, 4.9 WAR

Advantage: Big Mig trumps all. Evans is one of the most criminally underrated players in baseball history, but Cabrera is in another league when compared to most men. Miguel has answered his critics with a vengeance this year and should be among the leaders in the MVP voting once again.

SECOND BASE

2011: Ramon Santiago, .266/.318/.401, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 1.5 WAR
1987: Lou Whitaker, .265/.341/.427, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 3.3 WAR

Advantage: Well, Whitaker, duh. I find it odd that from 1982 on, ’87 was probably Whitaker’s worst season as a player when you consider the success of the other hitters on the team and in the league. But despite that, Lou’s an easy choice over the capable utility man Santiago, who has inherited the majority of the playing time at second down the stretch.

THIRD BASE

2011: Wilson Betemit (KC & Det), .281/.336/.432, 7 HR, 45 RBI, 1.1 WAR
1987: Tom Brookens, .241/.295/.376, 13 HR, 59 RBI, 0.1 WAR

Advantage: Push. Sorry, it’s too close to call for me to feel comfortable going one way or the other. Betemit’s a mess on defense. Brookens wasn’t much of a hitter (though even HE got double digit homers in the juiced ball year of ’87). Both are solid role players, though, and their contributions shouldn’t be discounted. If you’re an offense guy/gal, you’d like Wilson here. A defense fan? Brookens. I’m happy being a wuss and saying push.

SHORTSTOP

2011: Jhonny Peralta, .302/.350/.478, 19 HR, 81 RBI, 4.1 WAR
1987: Alan Trammell, .343/.402/.551, 28 HR, 105 RBI, 8.4 WAR

Advantage: Trammell, by far. And that goes to show you how amazing Tram was in ’87, because Jhonny’s been awesome for the Tigers this year. But Trammell was a man possessed. I hate George Bell to this day for somehow stealing the MVP from Tram. Jerk.

LEFT FIELD

2011: Delmon Young (Min & Det), .271/.304/.384, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 0.2 WAR
1987: Kirk Gibson, .277/.372/.489, 24 HR, 79 RBI, 4.3 WAR

Advantage: Gibson, easily. Delmon spent most of his season rotting in Minnesota and dealing with injuries, but excuses don’t matter here. Gibby was still in his prime and a year away from the NL MVP and his dramatic Dodger home run in the ’88 World Series. But even 2010 Delmon (DY’s best year), doesn’t match up to Gibson in 1987.

CENTER FIELD

2011: Austin Jackson, .248/.316/.379, 10 HR, 43 RBI, 2.3 WAR
1987: Chet Lemon, .277/.376/.481, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 3.9 WAR

Advantage: Chester wins this round. Austin has struggled at the plate in his sophomore season, despite being amazing on defense. But Chet was no slouch on D either, and he hit the crap out of the ball in ’87. With Austin’s power beginning to pick up, I’m hoping he develops into this generations’s Lemon and people will remember him the way I do Chet.

RIGHT FIELD

2011: Brennan Boesch, .283/.341/.458, 16 HR, 54 RBI, 1.5 WAR
1987: Pat Sheridan, .259/.327/.361, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 0.3 WAR

Advantage: I’m giving it to Boesch, here. Sure, he’s still learning on defense, he fell apart in the second half again, and he’s lost with his thumb owie, but he still put together a fine sophomore season when you add it all up. Sheridan was never a favorite of mine, but he did a solid job in ’87. But Boesch is the better player.

DESIGNATED HITTER

2011: Victor Martinez, .324/.375/.458, 11 HR, 94 RBI, 2.6 WAR
1987: Bill Madlock (LA & Det), .264/.337/.442, 17 HR, 57 RBI, 0.6 WAR

Advantage: Shop smart, shop V-Mart. Victor has been a hitting machine for the Tigers, offering lineup protection to Cabrera this year. And Mad Dog, as much as I loved him, just doesn’t measure up despite finishing his career with a bang coming over from the Dodgers during the ’87 campaign.

BENCH

2011: Magglio Ordonez, .252/.301/.328, 5 HR, 28 RBI, -1.9 WAR
Ryan Raburn, .250/.286/.424, 14 HR, 56 RBI, 0.8 WAR
Don Kelly, .235/.278/.352, 5 HR, 22 RBI, -0.2 WAR
Andy Dirks, .246/.295/.404, 7 HR, 25 RBI, -0.2 WAR
Brandon Inge, .203/.262/.291, 3 HR, 23 RBI, -0.5 WAR

1987: Mike Heath, .281/.339/.430, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 1.7 WAR
Larry Herndon, .324/.378/.520, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 1.7 WAR
Dave Bergman, .273/.379/.453, 6 HR, 22 RBI, 0.9 WAR
Johnny Grubb, .202/.290/.307, 2 HR, 13 RBI, -0.3 WAR
Jim Morrison, .205/.221/.333, 4 HR, 19 RBI, -0.3 WAR

Advantage: 1987. The way Jim Leyland loves to use his bench players, he would have fell in love with the ’87 Tigers. Heath, Herndon, and Bergman could have been everyday players on lots of teams. Meanwhile, Magglio and company just haven’t been very good for the Tigers this year.

And we’re done with the position players with the ’87 Tigers up by the slim score of 5-4 with 1 push. Let’s move on to the pitching staff.

ACE

2011: Justin Verlander, 24-5, 2.29 ERA, 244 IP, 244 K, 0.91 WHIP
1987: Jack Morris, 18-11, 3.38 ERA, 266 IP, 208 K, 1.20 WHIP

Advantage: Verlander. Of course, Verlander. JV is an MVP candidate and has the CY Young award wrapped up. Morris had an excellent year in ’87, but it would take a perfect season to top what Justin’s put together in ’11.

NUMBER TWO (snicker)

2011: Doug Fister (Sea & Det), 9-13, 2.98 ERA, 205.1 IP, 135 K, 1.10 WHIP
1987: Doyle Alexander (Atl & Det), 14-10, 3.01 ERA, 206 IP, 108 K, 1.12 WHIP

Advantage: Push. Yikes. It’s eerie how similar the Tigers’ two midseason acquisitions in each year are when you put their numbers next to each other. As Tigers, Fister is 6-1 with a 2.12 ERA while Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA. So Doyle was a bit better as a Tiger, but not enough to me to give him a total season’s edge over Fister, especially when The Dougie still has some work to do.

THIRD STARTER

2011: Max Scherzer, 14-9, 4.39 ERA, 184.1 IP, 162 K, 1.35 WHIP
1987: Walt Terrell, 17-10, 4.05 ERA, 244.2 IP, 143 K, 1.42 WHIP

Advantage: I really want to say push, but Terrell threw 10 complete games for Sparky’s crew in ’87, so I’m giving him a slight advantage. Yes, it was a different time, but not THAT different. Walt was an innings eater that always kept the Tigers in the game. Scherzer’s lights-out when he’s on, but sadly this year, he’s only been on about half the time.

REST OF ROTATION

2011: Rick Porcello, 14-9, 4.79 ERA, 169 IP, 96 K, 1.41 WHIP
Brad Penny, 10-10, 5.07 ERA, 172.1 IP, 71 K, 1.53 WHIP
Jacob Turner, 0-1, 7.45 ERA, 9.2 IP, 8 K, 1.35 WHIP

1987: Frank Tanana, 15-10, 3.91 ERA, 218.2 IP, 146 K, 1.24 WHIP
Dan Petry, 9-7, 5.61 ERA, 134.1 IP, 93 K, 1.66 WHIP
Jeff Robinson, 9-6, 5.37 ERA, 127.1 IP, 98 K, 1.46 WHIP

Advantage: ’87 again. Rick, like Scherzer, is good half the time. Penny is always an advanture. And whether I say Turner or early-season-starter Coke, none of them are going to stand up to the years Tanana, Petry, and Robinson had at the backs of the ’87 rotation.

CLOSER

2011: Jose Valverde, 2-4, 2.41 ERA, 46 SV, 67.1 IP, 62 K, 1.20 WHIP
1987: Eric King, 6-9, 4.89 ERA, 9 SV, 116 IP, 89 K, 1.47 WHIP

Advantage: Valverde. To be fair, the ’87 Tigers used several guys to close out games and King actually started 4 games for them. But he led the team in saves, so I’m putting him here. But no matter who you list as their closer, no one’s going to approach the perfect 46/46 save streak that Papa Grande has put together.

BULLPEN

2011: Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Daniel Schlereth, Al Alburquerque
1987: Mike Henneman, Willie Hernandez, Mark Thurmond, Nate Snell

Advantage: 2011, but I don’t feel great about it. The current crop of guys have better stats, which you can see I finally got sick of copying from the excellent baseball-reference.com. But these four from the ’87 squad weren’t one-inning guys like we see now. Apples and oranges? Maybe. But it’s my blog, so screw you. :) I like the current crop better.

7-7…can’t have a tie…

MANAGER

2011: Jim Leyland, 89-64 so far this year, 1580-1579 in career, 1 time World Series champ, 2 time Manager of the Year
1987: Sparky Anderson, 98-64, 2194-1834 in career, 3 time World Series champ, 2 time Manager of the Year

Advantage: Sorry, Jim…Sparky’s a God to me.

THE VERDICT

By this admittedly not scientific way of scoring things, I have the 1987 Tigers barely beating out the 2011 Tigers by a score of 8-7 with 2 pushes.

Both teams have relied on contributions from the entire roster. Both teams are going to be unforgettable to the fans of Detroit.

But hopefully this 2011 squad can do what their predecessors couldn’t do…get to and win the World Series.