Thursday, April 20, 2006

Introducing "The Marlboro performance index"

I witnessed the best at bat I've seen from a Tiger player in recent memory during today's thrilling win against the A's. Brandon Inge's 15 pitch at bat, resulting in a walk to keep a come from behind rally alive was a thing of beauty. Even more impressive was that Inge was behind 0-2 in the count, then battled for 7 minutes, fouling off 9 pitches. Not nearly as dramatic as Dave Bergman's legendary nationally televised 19 pitch at bat against Toronto in 1984, as that ended with Bergman hitting a 3 run home run, but it had it's similarities.

It was so good, that Jim Leyland had something to say about the length of Inge's plate appearance...

Tigers skipper Jim Leyland joked that Inge stood in there so long he had enough time to smoke more than one cigarette.

“One-and-a-half Marlboros,” Leyland said. “That was a tremendous at-bat. He showed great discipline up there. When people see that, they see the way it can be done.”

A one-and-a-half-marlboro at bat. I don't think Leyland could have given Inge any higher praise that that...

In fact, I just may use Leyland's method of game performance measurement from now on. We can call it "The Marlboro performance index." A Pudge Rodriguez one pitch at bat would be a 2 puff appearance. Taking a pitcher to a 3-2 count would be a 1/2 Marlboro battle. A 1-2-3 inning would be 1 cig at best. Measuring speed from home to first would be measured in puffs. "That Nook Logan is fast, he's got 1 puff speed!" Forget the Jugs gun for measuring pitchers. "Zumaya is a 1/2 puff on the Marlboro index." A fastball would be a "Marlboro Red." A nasty curve would be said to have some "Menthol" on it. A change up would be a "Menthol Light." A hanging curve? A "Menthol Mild." A soft tosser like Mike Maroth would be said to have an "Ultra Lights" type of arm.

You could go in other directions with the Marlboro index. For example, a game would not be measured in hours, but in packs. Such as, "10 innings? That was a 2 pack game." A game under 2 hours? 3/4 pack at best. Series would be measured in cartons, obviously. "The Tigers have a 10 carton west coast trip coming up."

The possibilities are endless. When behind, we should forget about rally caps or rally monkeys. We need rally Marlboros. The coaches don't need hand signals, just use cigarette tricks. I can hear Rod Allen now, "Mario, the hit and run is on, Leyland just cut loose with 3 smoke rings..."

In fact, I'd take the Marlboro imagery one more step. Let's get rid of the lame ass "Who's Your Tiger?" marketing. I'd prefer, "Comerica Park is now Marlboro Country! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em..."


  1. Being a former smoker myself I think this might have been one of the funniest things I ever read! In fact I am still laughing, LOL.

  2. Very good stuff. I am beginning to drink the grape kool-aid as the Tigers continue to play solid fundamental baseball. The first run in the Seattle series was impressive. Inge doubles to left, Monroe grounds to second to advance the runner, then Polanco immediately drives a fly ball to left on the first pitch to give the Tigers the lead. I am impressed with the teams intensity in the late innings. Zumaya is very exciting to watch pitch. In closing, it appears that Leyland was waiting for the first "mail in" game and jumped all over them. It has worked. I doubt they would have come back and beat the A's in the ninth. With Tram managing, it is more likely they would have mailed that one in as well. This is the best Tiger team since Tony Phillips led off with the "Gorillas of the Whiff" (Inky, Deer and Tettleton) with Gullickson winning 14 games.