Results tagged ‘ Tigers ’

Brendan Ryan Finds His Ironic Legacy: Keeping His Mouth Shut

We learned many things from Jim Joyce, Armando Galarraga and the infamous Imperfect Game of June 2, 2010.  We learned that throwing beer bottles at the wall may cause significant DAMAGE (to the beer bottle, possibly the wall too).  We learned that styling one’s facial hair after the Pringles man cannot disguise MISTAKES.  And we also learned that the best way to avoid controversy, is to AVOID controversy.

So when Philip Humber threw that wild 3-2 breaking ball two feet off the plate on Saturday and Brendan Ryan checked his swing, I felt all of the fury, all of the tension, all of the RAGE from the Imperfect Game ALL over again.  Except homeplate umpire Brian Runge called it a swing, AJ Pierzynski threw the ball to first and the celebration began.

OH BUT THE CONTROVERSY!!!

In my house, I had a hard time celebrating Humber’s gem because I was already seeing the asterisk-calling headlines, I could already hear Mariners fans (all three of them) flooding the sports talk shows with vitriol.  And as Brendan Ryan argued with Runge about the call, I knew it was time for me to go outside to get some fresh air before my phone started to blow up with imperfect texts.

Except… none of the above actually happened.  Brendan Ryan dropped the subject.  He tipped his cap and moved on.  The networks — as if taken over by an Orwellian machine of greater good (a fantasy in itself) — didn’t even show the replays of Ryan’s checked swing.  The Wizard said “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” and I — WE ALL — gleefully obliged, even though it sorta felt dirty doing so.

We owe that guilt-stained dirty feeling to Brendan Ryan.  In fact, whether it is a good thing or not, Philip Humber’s perfect game will live on unscathed by controversy because Brendan Ryan simply let it go.  He shut his mouth.  He went about his business.  And now we are to forget.

For a guy who was labeled as “a distraction” and a “clubhouse cancer” during his St. Louis Cardinal tenure, it’s nice to see Brendan being recognized for something else.  Admittedly, I never would have bet it’d be for saying… nothing.

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

A Prince and his Palace

I loved Cecil Fielder.  He may have been a crappy father but during a period when the “Bless You Boys” had become more of a curse than a prayer, he was a bright spot in an otherwise dull lineup.  When his boy came up and then became a star with the Brewers, it was fun to watch but I had a hard time really getting into it because, well, he was a Brewer, not a Tiger.  But that has all changed.

I don’t know what Prince will do in a Tigers’ uniform.  I hope he’s going to be a monster in the tradition of his father but after the watching the White Sox live the Adam Dunn experience, it’s obvious that these things are far from certain.  What I do know, though, is having a Fielder in Detroit just feels right.  Welcome back, Prince.  I hope that Comerica is a palace to you like Tigers’ Stadium was to your father.

-A

Pink on Pink on Repeat

If you follow this blog, you know that I am not a fan of pink baseball caps.  I pretty much feel the same way about them that Rick Santorum feels about anything that smacks of fun: it’s a sin.  I can get behind pink bats for breast cancer awareness and maybe even pink bases for one day.  But people who show up to baseball games wearing pink hats?  Nope.  That just isn’t appropriate.

I’m not sure what it is about pink hats that annoys me so much.  Almost every club has alternate caps that they wear from time to time to switch things up.  However, the alternates tend to reflect the official colors of the team.  In reality, alternate caps and jerseys are just a way for teams to generate revenue and that’s a brand of capitalism I can get behind.  With the pink hats, though, I honestly don’t see how they can be making enough money to make it worthwhile.  I’m sorry but a pink Detroit Tigers’ hat is just wrong.  Despite my feelings toward the New York Yankees, I still don’t feel right seeing one of their caps in pink either.

But as much as I dislike the unholy spectre of pink baseball hats, it pales in comparison to my feelings for the no-talent asshattery of Brittany Smooch:

Seriously, if I was forced to choose between watching either this video or Two Girls, One Cup on a loop for 24 hours, there’s a good chance I’d ask for rat poison instead.

Happy Saturday!

-A

Kenny Rogers: Not Just a Dirty Left Hand

I love it when the old timers show up at spring training.  Decked out in jerseys that don’t fit and pants that would be better off… well, off (and hopefully replaced by something baggy), seeing them throwing BP and shagging flies always gets me to smile.

So when I heard Kenny Rogers was in Tigers camp I quickly browsed the internets for proof.  Though I was surprised to see Kenny has taken on the Prince Fielder diet (good grief, don’t ex-baseballers know about portion control???), I was pleased to see that he still has that gruff go-EFF-yerself demeanor.

Too bad I couldn’t find any recent pictures of his left hand.  The last time I saw it, it was pissing me off.

I even searched the YouTubes to see if said hand was still up to its dirty tricks and this is what I found:

Bummer.  Couldn’t get a good look.  Still, the Jack Daniels is a nice touch, especially for a spring training camp that includes Miguel Cabrera.

*BUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRN*

Hate me.  It’s all good.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

(Image courtesy of Brad Galli)

2012′s Mouthwatering Prospects

The run up to summer blockbuster season is a lot like baseball’s offseason.  Lots of rumors, lots of movement and everyone talking about who’s going to do what and who will be the winners and losers.  Expectations mount as we get closer to the start of the season, as we start seeing all the previews that look great.  With both baseball and movies, though, it’s hard to tell what you’re really going to get until opening day.

Not that this will stop me from drooling in anticipation.  I mean, come on.  The Tigers have Cabrera and Prince at the corners!  Sure, that’s an exponentially compounded defensive liability but the prospects at the plate are simply mouthwatering.  Kind of like the Alien prequel, Prometheus:

And if that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, how about a little brilliance in advertising:

Summer 2012.  Was there a better time to be alive?

-A

A Post of Laughter and Forgetting

This has been a traumatic offseason for my good friend Mr. Lung.  Not only did Tony LaRussa follow his World Series victory with the news that he was retiring from the team, this same TLR has now shown up in the Detroit Tigers’ camp to assist during spring training.  But of course that all pales in comparison to Pujols’ treason.  Not to mix too many metaphors but Pujols’ betrayal for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver has left Jeff muttering “Et tu, Albert?”

But there’s good news!  It turns out that scientists may soon be able to help Jeff erase those memories (It’s a long article but worth reading) and return to the halcyon days of his 2011 post-Series ecstasy.  If that doesn’t work, we can always hope that maybe Albert pulled a Fausto Carmona and won’t be able to perform in an Angels’ jersey.  I mean, it could be worse.  He could have gone to the Cubs, right?  I don’t know if there’s any pill that could have helped with that.

-A

Tiger Spring!

RSBS Special Correspondent and Wikipiebenga Creator, Mark “Pie” Piebenga reports:

As soon as Victor Martinez went down, I thought, “well, season’s over.” [1] But then the Tigers won the Fielder sweepstakes (at a cost that boggles the mind: apparently Little Caesar’s is a pretty lucrative organization. Everybody reading this please buy a five dollar Hot N Ready so they can pay the Prince. And here is my obligatory admission that the back end of that contract is going to be a total nightmare). A season that looked suddenly suspect just as suddenly became the most exciting spring I can remember.

If they can keep healthy, and get production anywhere close to last year from Delmon Young, Alex Avila[2], and Brennan Boesch’s first half, and get consistent quality from Messrs. Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello (not to mention the newly Dotel-ified bullpen), it augers Another Very Interesting Year To Be A Tigers Fan.

There are still some big question marks. It’s looking like a platoon of Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago at second, which doesn’t do us a ton of favors at the plate. With the diminished defensive range and crInge worthy batting of the once-exceptional Brandon Inge,[3] the Miguel Cabrera return-to-third experiment will be interesting and hopefully not embarrassing. Danny Worth and Don Kelly[4] will probably spot start there as well. Finally, can Austin Jackson achieve leadoff effectiveness even approaching two years ago?

For the last seven years or so I’ve approached the start of the season with same kind of a nervous ambivalence. The most positive outlook I’ve had could be described as ‘cautious optimism,’ which I feel now. It’s a very strange feeling to see the Tigers as the projected favorite to win the A.L. Central (hell, until last year, we hadn’t done it since 1987. Didn’t even do it in ’84.) The Tigers have been good lately, but as a typically suspicious and superstitious fan, I’m always nervous. In ’06 they got in the playoffs as a wildcard. When they forced the 163rd game with the Twinkies in ’09, I never had the feeling that we were a legit contending team. Last year they didn’t really seem to have any implicit dominance until rifling off that twelve game winning streak in September. (My father and I credit ourselves for that, having seen live their last loss before the streak started at a blinding hot day game Sept 1st, when the Royals came to Detroit.)

Speaking of which, I am very nervous about the Kansas City Royals. They were rated the 11th best team in the league in the ESPN prospects power rankings (I don’t know if this is a remotely useful metric, but Buster Olney seems like a smart guy). At the game with my dad September First we were sitting along the third base line, and during a lull in the game Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was shooting the bull with the umpire and throwing the ball around. He was basically standing in the coache’s box, well behind third and in foul territory, and dude scooped up lazy grounder that came his way. Barely breaking eye-contact with the ump, he made a throw off his back foot that looked casual as hell, but judging by the angry snap of the leather Eric Hosmer’s glove at first, it could’ve been shot from a rifle. The lineup is getting spooky over there.

It’s foolish to make predictions about what’s going to happen, and we’re still forty four days till opening. Naturally when things don’t go your way for a couple of decades, you begin to doubt that anything good is going to happen. But the Tigs lately have provided all one can demand of any team, and that’s meaningful baseball in August and September. It will be really interesting to see what this team does in the face of injuries, statistical regression, and the rigors of the season.


[1] I can be a little dramatic.

[2] Verlander’s remarkable season was well documented. While he was hardly under the radar, I think a brief digression on Alex Avila is in order here. He had a .389 OBP (10th highest in baseball), an .895 OPS (8th in the AL), and hit .295. All while catching 133 games, and ranking top five among AL catchers in most defensive categories (e.g., tied for 1st with 40 runners caught stealing). And one of my least/most favorite things was the sheer number of times he got hit by deflections. I know catchers get hit all the time, but honestly I can’t remember seeing anything like his 2011 season behind the plate. (for example, check out sparks flying off his mask, and him getting hit in the neck.)

[3] He seems ever so far removed now from his ridiculous first half in 2009 that made him an All-Star (21 HR before the break!).

[4] Don Kelly fielded eight positions in 2011, everything except 2B. It’s well documented that I am transfixed by this guy, and his huge ALDS Game 5 dinger versus the Wankees made me so happy for him.

What Detroit Can Teach Us

“Ideology is just a pejorative word for principles in which you happen not to believe.”

-The Economist, 11 February 2012

Ideology colors everything.  For the dyed-in-the-wool conservative, Obama’s healthcare plan is a socialist plot that threatens the very foundation of the United States.  For the liberal, it’s a half-assed compromise that sells out to big business and especially insurance companies.  In reality, it’s the first step toward reining in out of control healthcare spending that simultaneously provides a laughable level of actual service.

And ideology goes further than that, filtering everything through a lens of principles and beliefs.  This is fine to a certain extent when the debate is constructive and leads to better proposals and more responsive policies.  But when ideology goes too far, it leads to a total lack of common sense.

For instance, take the uproar over Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad.  Setting aside the fact that Clint Eastwood is apolitical at best, it’s hard to see how this car ad could be taken as anything but a commentary on the tough economic conditions Americans have faced over the past few years and how Chrysler wants them to know that they went through the same thing.  Look at it again:

Me, I see a pretty darn effective car commercial.  But conservatives see a hidden campaign for Obama’s re-election while liberals interpret it as anti-union.  It makes me wonder what they’d see in last year’s Chrysler Super Bowl commercial:

Xenophobia?  Racism?  Socialism?

Here’s what I think.  Detroit is a metaphor for America.  And Detroit has had a rough decade.  But Detroit hasn’t given up.  Look at the Tigers and Lions.  Look at the new line of Fords.  Hell, look at what Chrysler is turning out.  That, my friends, has nothing to do with ideology.  It has everything to do with inspiration.

-A

RSBS Turns Four!

Four years ago today, I wrote the first post in RSBS history.  It was terrifyingly awful.  What terrifies me even more is that at that time in 2008, I had incredibly high hopes for the Tigers’ upcoming season based on some high-profile acquisitions they had made.  Four years later, I’m still haunted by that 2008 season and experiencing no small amount of deja vu (all over again).

If there’s one thing that gives me hope, though, it’s the fact that sometimes triumph is born from the ashes of despair and failure.  That first post was awful but the throw-away line at the end ended up becoming Mr. Lung’s regular sign-off.  And even though Dontrelle Willis didn’t work out for the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera has been a godsend.  Paired with Prince Fielder, I can’t say as though there has been a more feared power duo in the AL since the days of the Bash Brothers.

Sometimes you have to let go of the past and just realize that it’s over.  So, with that in mind, happy fourth birthday Mr. Lung.  And a special thank you from both of us to the interns for their years of unpaid but essential work.  But most of all, thank you to our loyal readers who keep coming back, in spite of RSBS‘ inauspicious beginnings.  Hopefully in 366 days we’ll be blowing out another candle together.

-A

All Too Easy

In the Twittersphere, we at RSBS have a reputation for taking cheap shots at Prince Fielder’s… er… um… corpulence (good word, interns!).  While we do a good job of avoiding the F-word (no, the OTHER F-word, silly), we cannot help but point out the absurdity that is Prince Fielder’s physique.

Dude is big, as in I’s hongry big.  He does not have an athletic body.  Yet he’s just as athletic an athlete as you’re apt to find these days when it comes to production.

Prince is an anomaly though.  An anachronism, even.  He’s the digital watch in Glory in that HE SHOULDN’T BE WHERE HE IS.

Except he is.

How did he get here?


I call McDonald’s’ bluff.  If it were really that easy — to just stuff one’s face full of awful simulated food product — then nearly all of US America would be getting paid by a Big League club right now.

In Prince’s case, I gotta think it’s the genes that make it all too easy.

Don’t hate me.  ‘Cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

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