Results tagged ‘ Detroit ’

A Sadness, and a Certain Feeling of Doom

RSBS Podcast regular and Second City performer, Mark “Pie” Piebenga shares with us his thoughts:

Brennan Boesch made his major league debut last season at the Ballpark at Arlington on April 23, 2010.  On my sketchy MLB.TV feed I heard Rod Allen’s sing-song voiceover on a shot of him sticking his head out of the visitor dugout, for the first time examining an empty big league park in all it’s vastness, no doubt dumbstruck by the thought, “I’m going to be playing in this joint tonight.”  That night Boesch went 2 for 4 with a double (albeit in a Tigers loss), a prescient harbinger for his strong season and 5th place in rookie of the year voting (which honestly I remembered as better than his .256/.320/.416, 14 HR, 67 RBI line).  Early days though it may be, he’s putting up even better numbers offensively (.300/.359/.485, 10 HR, 38 RBI) and similarly adequate defensive ones (RF 1.91 in ’10, 2.00) this year.

This improvement was epitomized in his return to Arlington with the Tigers on June 6 this year, a game in which he went 5-5 with 2 HR and 5 RBI.  Clearly the 97° degree weather made for a lively ball, belied by the 13-7 Tiger win.  You can’t expect that kind of an outing every time from the young man, but there’s something so exciting about production out of young players.

Last Tuesday afternoon (6/21) Tiger Don Kelly knocked in his second home run of the year, off Matt Guerrier, at Chavez Ravine against the Dodgers.  (Until this week Guerrier owned a sub-3.00 lifetime ERA against the Tigers, owing to seven years tendered with the Twinkies.)   At 31, Kelly is five years older than Boesch, and lacks his pedigree (not to his body type – Kelly has a thin-necked way about him.  And at what point can any of us say that the name “Don” has inspired much in the way of terror in the hearts of men?  “Save us! The heathen hordes are approach the city gates, at the helm of their curs-ed onslaught is the much-feared chief and leader, Don!  AHHHH! Flee for the caves!”).

Kelly’s season home run total is now two, a bit behind last year’s mark of nine (incidentally the number Ty Cobb hit in 1909).  Don Kelly is my age, and it pains me to think that he has passed the years by which baseball players tend to have proved themselves.  Can I equate any meaningful life lessons based on Don Kelly’s baseball career?  It’s a lifetime, to this point, where four of the last five years have seen him make it to baseball’s biggest stage.  Among minor league players he would be considered a flying success. He’s earned the major league minimum wage in four of the last five seasons.  That’s many hundreds of thousands of dollars more than his minor league contemporaries will ever make.

But when you put him in the context of a rookie like Brennan Boesch, whose success this year and last year, while perhaps not wildly unbelievable, dwarfs kelly’s achievements.  His thin neck and his name of Don combine to make me feel an amiability towards him, a sadness, and a certain feeling of doom.

Don Kelly hit .244 last year.  That’s not great.  This year he’s up to .260, which is sure as hell a lot better than Ryan Raburn (or Brandon Inge, who he recently covered for at 3B).  Why am I so transfixed by this guy?  Is it because he is achieving his dream, and yet is markedly below the figures who capture our imaginations, even in the fairly low-stratosphere Detroit Tigers?

My fascination with the poor bastard seems to come from the fact that I identify with him.  I believe I could achieve nominally in a given field, and even surpass a number of my contemporaries.  But deep down I feel that I hold a limited ceiling on my potential, that I am, within myself, capable of only so much achievement – good, but not great.  Don Kelly is the mediocre but by all accounts successful prototype which I fear myself to be.  And it is only human to know that sometimes you are going to have people surpass your accomplishment if you hang around long enough to get shown up.  Kurt Vonnegut offers us this advice in Timequake: “If you do something long enough, even if you’re really good at it, eventually you’re going to come across someone who is going to cut you a new a**hole.  What I tell young people is: stay home, stay home stay home.”

Eventually you’re going to find someone who’s going to be so much better at what you do, you’re going to “feel like something the cat dragged in,” to borrow another quip Vonnegut loves. Does this mean that we should perhaps not try at all?  Of course not.  Don Kelly has done nothing but try.  He’s displayed a level of commitment that I in my personal life would very much aspire to, and to which I honestly must conclude I have come up short.

I dated a girl once whose parents never told her that she could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up. But she’s the only person who I’ve ever met like that.  Everyone else I know had parents who said, “you can be anything you put your mind to.” I was raised in a best-of-all-possible-worlds-Candide-type home. Unfortunately, much like Candide, I have grown up to find that it’s not entirely true.  I can be pretty good, but I don’t think I can be anything.

So here we are, back at Don Kelly.  As I said, I feel an ambivalence for him, animosity at watching him flair in failure at so many pitches, and affection when he cranks a triple like he did the other week, or a long fly like he did the other day.  Perhaps I can’t achieve even to the level he has.  But I take some solace in that even if I can’t be the best, maybe I can still be pretty good.  Hell, somebody’s got to back up Brandon Inge* when he’s got mono.

On an unrelated note, Jose Valverde’s homepage, un-updated from his days as an Astro, is a must-see.  I mean, the URL is www.josevalverde47.com for chrissakes.  Courtesy to my roommate Thomas on that one.

–Mark Piebenga

*My old roommate Ben insists that from a distance (ie., in most shots on TV), Inge’s forearm tattoos look like they say “Coca-Cola” (rather than the names of his sons, which is the truth).  I would have to say I agree with him.

The Rules: Michigan Edition

I come from Michigan and there are a few things we take deadly seriously back home.

Number One:

The inalienable right to drive a car whether you’re traveling 100 feet or 100 miles.  You can pry the steering wheel from my cold, dead hands.

Number Two:

Deer hunting season begins November 15.  You can pry the hunting rifle from my cold, dead hands.

Number Three:

All recreational sports deserve to have leagues–and rules–associated with them.  You can pry the wiffleball bat from my cold, dead hands.

Please keep these rules in mind as you plan your trip to the Great Lakes state.

-A

A Reformulation and New Application of the Krause Doctrine

tigers_win.jpgTurns out I was wrong the other day.  Sure, invading the field and trying to win the World Series through people-powered revolution seems like a good idea.  It might even work.  However, it’s just too unwieldy and unsure a mechanism.  Actually, I should have been paying more attention while responding to the filibuster question because that shows the easiest, most direct route to victory.

See, if you just declare yourself the winner in the face of all facts and evidence to the contrary, who can dispute you?  You’ve already shown that you don’t care about “facts” or other peoples’ so-called “reality.”  No, real reality is whatever you decide it is.  In the case of Gbagbo, reality is that he won the election and the other candidate should pack it in and go home.  In the case of the Tigers, they need to stop paying attention to other teams’ and the league’s definition of “victory” and decide for themselves what it means.

Once you’ve created your own rules and then pick and choose which ones you choose to follow and when you choose to follow them, you can’t help but win!  Here’s an example.

I have now decided that that Tigers actually won the World Series in 2006.  Although the Cardinals may have scored more runs, several of those runs were due to pitcher errors that I don’t accept.  This in turn nullifies those runs making the final tally in the series 4 games to 1 in favor of the Tigers.  And yes, I think it’s appropriate to go ahead and have a victory parade now.  We can decide that it’s November of 2006 for a couple hours which will also help.

I plan to apply this to all Tigers games going forward and also to Michigan football.  I thought about using it for the Lions as well but I’m pretty sure that even this system couldn’t overcome the incredible assclownishness left behind by Matt Millen.

-A

P.S. Yes, I’m aware that Gbagbo was captured.  Doesn’t change the fact that his plan worked for several months.

Double Talkin’ Double Dream Hands

Jeff & Allen 2.2009 010.jpg“It would be nice if my coauthor had similar intestinal fortitude when considering baseball orthodoxy.”
Mr. Allen Krause, March 9, 2011

In the above quote my gruff and oft extraneous colleague, Mr. Krause (also pictured above), says a bunch of stuff without really saying a bunch of stuff.  Like a politician jockeying for the attention of the masses, he assumes that by stuffing some multisyllabic extra-credit words in your face, that you will just trust he knows what he’s talking about, that you will quietly nod and accept his worldview even though it has no basis in reality (ironically, this is exactly what evangelicals are famous for, the very people Mr. Krause was thwarting all along).

POPPYCOCK!

For ye are the dear readers of RSBS – a vast realm of learned baseball folks who can’t be hoodwinked by a mere impostor of authority!  We demand truth!  We demand beauty!  We demand beer!

In fact, you know what Mr. Krause does when he’s not writing about baseball, solving the world’s socio-political problems or pipedreaming about a World Series trophy among the rubble also known as the Motor City?

He’s busy bein’ a YouTube sensation, that’s what.  Maybe you’ve seen this special performance of his…

Take it away, Al!

Yeah, it would be nice if my coauthor had the intestinal fortitude to eschew cliche bubble-gum lyrics and an equally horrifying jazz-hand infested dance routine, but hey, I’m not the boss of him.

So hate me.  It’s cool.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*Detroit Tigers Spring Training Watch*
Miguel Cabrera has been in camp almost a week now without slurring his words or asking anyone “Do you know who I am!?!?!?!”  Hot dog!!!

On Common Ground

pujols_smith.JPGPeople on the same side often find they disagree on the specifics.  Let’s take Jeff and his love of the Cardinals.  There are plenty of other St. Louis fans out there who will immediately agree with Jeff that the Cardinals are the best and most wonderful team in the history of baseball.  However, when Jeff then confesses his undying love for Albert Pujols, one of these guys might tell him to hold up a second because obviously Ozzie Smith is much more loveable than Prince Albert.  This will then devolve into a heated discussion on how facial hair should be worn and that will quickly be followed by a fistfight.  But they both still love the Cardinals.

What matters is that both sides ultimately coalesce around a common enemy.  Although both Jeff and this other Cardinals’ fan truly believe that they are right, and although they may believe that the other person is an idiot for even voicing another opinion out loud, the argument gets easily forgotten when faced with the scourge that is the Chicago Cubs.  If there’s one thing they can agree on, despite their insistence on the correct style of facial hair for a true Cardinal, it’s the fact that the Cardinals are much, much, much better than the Cubs.  Everything else pales in comparison.

For this same simple reason, I don’t take all that much joy in the current imbroglio within the GOP.  Sure, there may be a significant difference in ideology that leads Glenn Beck to think that the US should stand by Mubarak to the bitter end while Bill Kristol believes in supporting democracy even when it turns messy.  I’m sure if you sat the two of them down at a table they would argue all day long about who’s right.  (On a side note I’m also pretty sure that Kristol would end up punching Beck in the nose because Beck’s absolute inability to apply simple logic in an argument would eventually push Kristol over the edge.)

However, the reason why I take no joy in any of this is because it doesn’t matter.  Sure, the two men may fundamentally disagree on a subject that one could claim is the heart and soul of their party’s current identity but ultimately, just like Jeff and the other Cardinals’ fan, they share a more important common enemy.  Even if the argument about the fate of Egypt continues indefinitely, both Beck and Kristol will be voting for whoever runs against Obama in 2012.

In some ways, this is the beauty of politics and sports.  Despite our disagreements, we can find common ground.  In the days following the 2000 election, both sides accused each other of bad faith and cheating.  But a year later, the entire country immediately coalesced around President Bush when faced with a much greater common enemy. 

Like Jeff or Bill Kristol, I may not agree with many things that my fellow Michiganders believe.  But we can still watch the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings together and share a common ground for a short little while.  Well, until someone tries to tell me that Billy Sims was better than Barry Sanders, at least.  Then it all goes out the window.

-A

RSBS Presents: Truly Terrible Management

Alan Trammell takes a lot of heat for the Tigers’ 119-loss season in 2003.  Since then, he has coached in the Majors but no one seems willing to give him a second shot at managing.  And that’s probably not completely unfair.  Sure, the teams he managed in 2004 and ’05 may have rebounded from the record in ’03 but they were still 20 or so games under .500.  That doesn’t exactly get you very far in baseball.

However, as bad of a manager as Trammell may have been with the Tigers and no matter how much blame he deserves for that horrible 2003 season, Tram barely even rates a mention when it comes to the truly bad managers.  More than that, in order to truly put his record into context, RSBS takes you on a trip through truly terribly management.

Zine El Abdine Ben Ali
ben_ali.jpgOur journey begins with the recent events in Tunisia.  Now, although the other half of RSBS only knows Tunisia as Tatooine in Star Wars, the country is a real place and it really did just drive out its leader of 30 years.  Mr. Ben Ali took an interesting approach to his position as a footnote in history.  Instead of contenting himself with just looting the riches of his country, he also referred to his fellow Tunisians as “terrorists” for daring to denounce him and then decided to shoot up some of them just to prove his point.  In the end, it didn’t turn out so well and Mr. Ben Ali is now cooling his heels (although probably not literally) in the wonderfully tolerant Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Bud Selig
bud selig picking nose.jpgCome on, did you think I could make it through a post on bad management without mentioning Selig?  The guy’s record speaks for itself.  From the lameass decision to have the All-Star game count for home-field advantage in the World Series to his incredibly arrogant approach to and mismanagement of the steroids era, Selig stands for everything that is wrong with baseball today.  I wish I had something nice to say about the guy just so I could change things up a bit but I’d only be lying to our readers and to myself.  I’m not willing to do either and so Mr. Selig once again finds himself on an RSBS list.

Mobutu Sese Seko
mobutu.jpgGoing back to Africa but a little ways south of Tunisia, we find the monstrous and monstrously mismanaged country of the Belgian Congo…I mean Zaire…I mean the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  From the escapades of the Belgians to a never-ending civil war, the Congo has much to offer in the way of mismanagement.  However, if you want to single out just one person, you’d have to go with Mobutu.  And if there’s one small little tidbit that encapsulates his mismanagement of the country and its enormous wealth of natural resources, it would have to be this: Mobutu built a landing strip at his personal home near the tiny town of Gbadolite and made sure it was long enough to accommodate a Concorde.  He then proceeded to charter the Concorde on a regular basis to ferry he and his family around the world.

Matt Millen  
millen.jpgAlthough Matt Millen never killed anyone directly, he was a terrible general manager.  In fact, he may be the worst manager ever.  Since the inception of the Superbowl the Lions have
never been a great franchise, but he still managed to take them to new lows. 
And, although he was no longer around when it happened, that 0-16 season
was the real fruit of his handiwork.  Sure, when compared to guys like Mobutu and Ben Ali, Millen may not seem so bad.  Even in comparison to Selig and his giant ears Millen may seem tame in comparison.  But it’s just a ruse.  Bad management aside, the man is evil incarnate and the fact that he still has a job anywhere just proves that the greatest lie the devil ever told was convincing the major networks to put him on the air.

And there you have it.  I’m not saying this list is by any means exhaustive but it has been pretty exhaustively researched and vetted, just like everything else I post here.  And all that aside, you know it must be true because it’s on the internet.

-A

Super and Superer

With tomorrow being the Superbowl and all, not many people care to focus on the happenings of the baseball world.  Well, when in Rome….

I think the best place to begin is with an idea that seems antiquated in and of itself: white running backs.  Trust me, I’m just as shocked as you are.

But, as good as those guys may have been, they can’t hold a candle to this:

We miss you, Barry.  Detroit isn’t the same without you, even though you definitely deserved better.

Happy Superbowl Weekend!

-A

The RSBS Podcast, Episode 17: The Lifestyles Hall of Fame Hot Tub Special… and Other Stuff

rsbs podcast photo 5.jpg

Click ME to Listen!!!

And so in this Podcast brought to you by Lifestyles

The Hall of Fame, PEDs and the suggested fondness of Phil Rogers is all it takes to get Jeff and Johanna attempting to kill each other.  Allen probably wished at least one of them would have succeeded… but you’ll have to decide for yourself as the fellas discuss all things controversial and racy (almost like ‘sexy’ but less sexual).  Keith Hernandez gets a mention.  And the Kirk Gibson story… well ya need to just hear it… all to make you Sir or Madame Smilesalot!

Holla!

- – -

Subscribe to the RSBS Podcast by clicking *HERE*

Subscribe via iTunes by clicking *HERE*

*Special thanks to our PodMaster Keith Carmack.  You can experience Keith’s wicked podcast and subsequent film projects at  Undercard Films.  Keith is a hot topic right now!  Not only is he filming that cool baseball doc, but now he’s got some commercial gigs from the Undercast, so go check it out!

- – -

Recorded Saturday, January 8, 2011

 

Taking it on the Chin

Jim_Joyce_and_Armando_Galarraga.JPGAs a Detroit sports fan, I have a better than average reason to detest the people who officiate our matches.  The Lions, woebegone team that they may be, have lost to the Chicago Bears twice this season, both times due in part to questionable calls.  Tigers’ fans will never forget the perfect game that should have been nor the umpire, Jim Joyce, who made the fateful call.

For other teams, the solution is to strike back and do something.  White Sox fans like to charge the field and pummel the ump.  Phillies fans….ok, well, Phillies fans don’t really count since they like to beat up little girls.  Or at least vomit on them.

Detroit fans, though?  We just continue to take it on the chin from the refs.  How about we go to the video for a graphical representation:

You stay classy, Detroit.

-A

You Can’t Take That Away From Me

The other day my good friend Mr. Lung pointed out the greatest tragedy facing those of us born in the mitten.  Do we choose to root for our Lions or do we turn our back on the state and find a team that occasionally, uh, wins?  For most of us, the obvious answer is the former and the results are inevitable.  Each year we face new lows in terms of records set and experience new embarrassments in terms of ways of losing.

But, there is one reason we can all be proud to be Lions’ fans.  His name is Barry Sanders and, as The Onion pointed out, although he will always be associated with the awfulness that is the Lions, that perhaps makes his accomplishments shine even more brightly.  Observe:

We may have nothing to show for it but you can never take the Barry away from us

-A

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 66 other followers