Results tagged ‘ Joel Zumaya ’

Insult and Injury

You would think that with the Tigers’ recent vault into the top spot in the AL Central I would be happy.  But I’m not.

There’s just too much going wrong for all this to continue.  The Tigers have been winning but it is in spite of, not because of, the baseball gods that they do so.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the list.  Galarraga’s (nearly) perfect game.  Zumaya’s horrific injury.  Damon’s phantom 3rd strike against the Braves.  There’s only one logical conclusion.  Despite the Tigers’ run, the baseball gods have it in for them.  In fact, if you could peer in on those gods right now as they address the Tigers, it would probably sound a little bit like this:

“Wanna make $14 the hard way?”  Well, at least that would buy me a beer and a hotdog at the game, both of which make the gods’ antipathy a little easier to swallow.

-A

A Magical Mystery Tour (Part II)

Magical_Mystery_Tour.jpgAlthough I am now well aware that Jeff has misplaced himself under a bus somewhere, I also realize that part of the reason for him being under that bus was my absence over the past couple weeks. What can I say? Sometimes a man needs a little vacation and sometimes that vacation comes sans wi-fi. However, having acknowledged that, I think I’ll use this opportunity to pile on a little more.

So, without further ado, come along with me on a frightening and bizarre voyage to the fantasy lands that exist only in the mind of one Jeffery Lung.

Pujols-ville:

Only in the dark recesses of the mind of my good friend and colleague could this:

albert pujols.jpg
equate to this:

stokke_cal.jpgApples and oranges, my friend. Seriously, man, what are you thinking? Sure Albert is a great player, possibly the best in the game today. I’m not arguing with that. And I also understand that there are some good looking men out there and more and more often, other men are admitting that they are attracted to them. But this guy? Nope, I just don’t see it.

“The Cardinals Still Would Have Won the 2006 Series Without Tigers’ Pitchers’ Errors”-stan:

zumaya_error.jpgI respect the Cardinals. I really do. As I’ve stated before, they have a great tradition and some of the best players to have ever played the game came out of there. And there have been a couple times where they straight up beat the pants off of the Tigers and I don’t begrudge them that.

But the fact of the matter is that those errors by the Tigers’ pitchers set a tone for the entire Series and the Cardinals were able to turn these miscues into runs that ultimately won them the championship. That’s the long and the short of it.

To steal one of your favorite lines, Mr. Lung:
Don’t hate me because of my inability to fantasize about Albert Pujols in a kiddie pool full of tapioca pudding. Hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

-A

The Filibuster

Looks like the Tigers made a deal.  Will Washburn be our savior now or is Jake Peavy the nail in the coffin for the White Sox?

Mandy
Farmington Hills, MI

__________________________________________

piniella_angry.jpgGreat
question Mandy. And it’s pretty amusing that Peavy ended up on the
White Sox after all those rumors about him going to the Cubs. Man,
Piniella must be spittin’ mad right about now. But I digress. You asked
about Washburn and to Washburn we will go. And the simple answer is, I
don’t know.

See, starting pitching really hasn’t been the
Tigers’ problem this year. They have Verlander and Jackson in the
rotation and both of them are All-Stars.
Washburn does improve the rotation but that isn’t going to matter much
if the Tigers’ hitters continue coming up short and if the bullpen
can’t hold a lead. Zumaya is out for the rest of the season, Lyon has
been a bust and Rodney may be converting most of his save opportunities but
he’s shaky enough that you almost wish Todd Jones was still there.
Almost.

The main problem with your question, Mandy, is that it’s
irrelevant. I don’t say that to be mean, it’s just that the American League central, and, by extension, your question, is
irrelevant. Whether the Twins, Tigers or White Sox take the crown, they
can’t possibly measure up against a loaded Angels club or the Red Sox and
Yankees. The talent, like the rivers, flows from the continental divide to the coasts and,
despite occasional flukes, there’s a reason that the same teams from
the same cities tend to be in the hunt every year.

Does Peavy
make the White Sox better? Sure. Does Washburn make Detroit better? Of course.
But does it matter when the Red Sox already have a stacked pitching
staff and then added Victor Martinez behind the plate? Or how about
the Phillies with the addition of Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez?

Now Mandy, don’t get me wrong. I think the rest of the season in the AL Central should be a dogfight and it will probably go right down to the wire. The couple of wins that a Peavy or a Washburn can get you might make all the difference. But that difference doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you get to the playoffs and face these other teams.

There is good news, though. Although it sometimes seems like everything is going wrong and the Tigers’ chances are as barren as nonagenarian cloistered sister, I always have someplace I can turn. And that, Mandy, is worth it’s weight in gold.

-A

Flexing the Omnipotent Pipes

devils_night_detroit.jpgGod hates Detroit. As if there were any doubts about this fact after watching last year’s Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines and Detroit Tigers, all you have to do is check the Detroit skyline every October 30 or read the newspapers today. Yes, god hates Detroit but it appears there is a good reason. Detroit hates god right back

And now it also appears that god has decided to flex those omnipotent muscles a little more in smiting Detroit. In the past five days, not only did Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya land on the injured reserve, Gary Sheffield is also looking for a new home. Granted, Sheff has often been a cancer in the clubhouse and both Willis and Zumaya had less than impressive stuff last season. But these are not the kinds of things that Detroit and the state of Michigan need right now

However, I have a couple solutions. Perhaps we just need to butter the big guy up a little. How about a little of this to help out:

Or maybe we just have to really hope that Nietzsche had it right. What I do know is that things can always be worse. At least I’m not a homeless guy in Detroit.

detroit_frozen.jpg-A

The Filibuster

Despite the late-inning dramatics and clutch hitting by Team America,
the World Baseball Classic will be especially notable to MLB managers
because of the rash of injuries that has hit the players. With
important team leaders like Chipper Jones, Kevin Youkilis and Ryan
Braun suffering injuries, how do you think this will effect teams’
decisions to let their players participate next time around?

– Allen
__________________________________________

tom cruise oprah.jpgA wise woman (my mother) once said, “Jeff, nobody’s perfect. Tom Cruise comes close but just look at how screwed up he is.  Still, Tom is about as close as you can get.”

The World Baseball Classic, still in its infancy, is similar in that it has yet to find the perfect balance of entertainment and logic.  We, the viewers, cannot expect it to be the perfect international tournament it aims to be — not yet at least.

There are naysayers.  There are those who feel the Classic is a colossal waste of time.  There are general managers and agents and players and pundits who see it as a liability more than an asset.  And I understand their points of view.

theo epstein.jpgIf I were Omar Minaya or Theo Epstein or Frank Wren and I was forced to watch my best players risk injury in the name of a “friendly” tournament with seemingly zero tangible gain, I guess I would be a little ticked off too.  But I believe the World Baseball Classic is more than just a King Bud money machine meant to get more people interested in Major League Baseball around the world.  To me, it is a showcase of the most talented players on the planet: a baseball bravura boasting a playoff-like atmosphere during the most boring weeks of spring training. 

And whether ballplayers are playing in the WBC or in Jupiter, Florida or with their kids at home, guys are going to get hurt.

guitar hero.jpgJust ask Joel Zumaya about his Guitar Hero hangup.

Or just ask Aaron Boone about his penchant for pickup basketball.

Or just ask Ken Griffey, Jr. about wrestling with his children.

And while the easy way out is to say let us put an end to this World Baseball Classic for good and focus on the regular season, players are still going to find ways to injure themselves on and off the field.  Personally, I would rather see a guy get hurt for his country than a video game.

The WBC only happens every few years, folks.  Eventually, the kinks will be worked out.  In the meantime, the foreseen benefits of firing up an entire baseball-following planet are far and beyond more plentiful than the occasional injury risks inherited by players, teams and front offices.

The truth is: baseball (yet again) was light years behind the rest of sports in not having an authentic international forum.  And while the rewards of the Classic won’t be seen for another twenty years or so when little Chen Jianguo and Mario Perugino and Ned van Flanders are all grown up and starting superstars in the Majors, I think we all owe it to the world to give this tournament a chance — and most of all, to enjoy it.

But just to be safe, we should all continue to pray to the baseball gods that our team’s best players escape injury free and refrain from jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeffy

A Little Ash Wednesday Voodoo

Tiger_Stadium_demolition.jpgLast year about this time I was already discussing the Tigers’ World Series victory parade and trying to figure out how I would attend. Turns out I may have been a little premature in my expectations. Luckily, I learned my lesson and will never again have expectations about the Tigers.

Or at least that’s what I thought until this article popped in my Yahoo today. What am I supposed to think when I read this:

Rick Knapp, the new pitching coach in Detroit, held up his hands. “We’re only 10 days into camp,” he protested. But his eyes shone. And the corners of his mouth couldn’t beat back the grin.

The last thing that anyone who roots for Detroit (the city or any of its teams) needs is hope. And that’s exactly what stories like this provide.

I prefer the “What strange disease did Joel Zumaya contract this offseason” type of story. That rings true. Even the “Fernando Rodney wrestled an alligator” story is acceptable because then you just kind of expect the worst. But all of these Miguel Cabrera looking relaxed and Dontrelle Willis actually hitting the strike zone stories have the opposite effect. They make you re-evaluate the lineup and wonder if maybe we do have a chance in an admittedly weak AL Central.  

It’s kind of like the lead up to Obama’s inauguration. You keep telling yourself that he’s just a man and there’s no way he can right all the wrongs of the past eight years overnight. But you can’t help it. You hear the news. You see what’s happening. And you start to think, well, maybe it could happen.

No, not for me that kind of optimism. I’ll take my seat over here, firmly ensconced in the misanthrope camp. Rick Porcello looks good? So did Dontrelle. Cabrera is finally coming into his own? We thought the same of Renteria. With both Rodney and Zumaya healthy, the most heated battle is for the closer position? I’m sure Zumaya has a travel version of Guitar Hero with him.

See, I’ve been a fan of the Lions and Tigers for long enough to know better. So, how about you check in with me at the All-Star break and then we can chat about Porcello, Cabrera and Zumaya, ok? Until then, I’ll just be sitting here with my Ozzie Guillen voodoo doll, trying to figure out what crazy thing I can make him say next.

-A

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