Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Can we all breathe just a little easier?

The Tigers we have grown to know and love as much as Hugo the Abominable Snowman loves and squeezes his little friend called George, finally reappeared last night. You know the team, the one with strong starting pitching, good defense, timely hitting, and strong bullpen work. Makes me all warm and fuzzy, and not just due to the vicodin and Old Grandad ingested due to the Tigers recent slump. So I just wanted to throw a few thoughts out there, now that the mad rush to push the panic button has been averted, for at least for one night.

Thank you Manny Ramirez, for just being Manny. And for pulling a Manny, by trying to score on a base hit that Justin Gatlin wouldn't have been able to beat out at home. Secondary thanks go to BoSox 3rd base coach Dale Sveum DeMarlo Hale for thinking Manny could run like Gatlin.

Every time David Ortiz, and crazy ass Manny for that manner, come the the plate, they scare the Jebus out of me. When it comes to Big Papi, I'd tempted to employ Sparky Anderson's old George Brett strategy. That being intentionally walking him every trip to the plate. I do not want to see him up at the plate late in games, as Ortiz is almost Craig Monroe like in the clutch...

Has there been a better backup catcher in baseball this season that Vance Wilson? Well...Probably, but I'm not complaining. His single in the 8th with the bases juiced was huge. Just shows what I know when compared to the genius that is the Cigarette Smoking Man. I was yelling at the TV wanting to see Polanco or Pudge come up to pinch hit. After 2 swinging strikes, I was prepared to do my best Comic Book Guy impression and say, "Worst Decision EVER." Leyland, on the other hand, just fired up another Marlboro and let Wilson swing away. I'm thrilled that the Marlboro Man doesn't to listen to nitwits like myself.

We now take a break from my normal snarkiness. Seeing someone last night has given me the need to reminisce, if only for a few paragraphs.

Seeing Mark Fidrych is always, always, always a good thing. I was thrilled that Mario and Rod allowed the Bird to hang around for a few innings, and talk about life and baseball. This normally agitated and cynical fan will always have a HUGE soft spot for Fidrych. He was one of the first players I could claim as my own, as the the 1968 group belonged to the previous generation. I was lucky enough to see him pitch at the Corner a couple of times in that wild 1976 season.

I remember the Bird's first start against the Tribe in May, the Monday night game against the Yankees, the curtain calls, personal catcher Bruce Kimm, the All-Star game with Rusty Staub and Ron LeFlore, being glued to the radio or TV whenever he pitched. Hell, that whole crazy year is impossible to forget. Just thinking about it all turns me into that kid that lived and breathed baseball again.

Then to hear Fidrych say last night (Paraphrasing, as I've heard him say the same in the past) that every time he comes back to Michigan, the fans shower him with love and respect, and that he couldn't have asked to have made a bigger impact on people lives, well, I actually think that there may be some hope for humanity. Then I have another lame ass Dick DeVos commercial thrust upon me, and reality slaps me in the face... Damn reality.

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