Monday, August 20, 2007

The Detroit Tigers pitching staff as seen thru the music of...Huey Lewis & The News

Sad to say, my comparing the Tigers' pitching problems to iconic rock bands has become a recurring feature on TWFE. With another ugly weekend is in the books, and the Tigers getting their asses handed to them in losing 3 out of 4 to the Yankees, I felt it was time to add another chapter.

The bullpen is still a large thorn in the Tigers' side. Unfortunately, the starting rotation is now competing with the bullpen in the race to see who can give away a game first. So in this edition, the starters have been added to set list.

Considering the Tiger pitching came out of nowhere last season to dominate the AL, and just as quickly, only 1 season later, has come crashing back to earth, I wanted to find a comparable band. Riffing through my large collection of MP3's, one came quickly to mind.

Everyone owned the album, "Sports." Even your grandmother.

Think of a seminal 80's band, a band that was much like that decade, not very deep and quite disposable. A band that was monstrously and immensely popular, if only for a couple of years. Think of a band called, "Huey Lewis & The News."

They were a band, for a short time in the mid 80's, that was literally everywhere you turned. HL&TN were in constant rotation on MTV. Remember "I Want a New Drug" and Huey Lewis running around San Francisco in his bright red suit? How could you not!? I swear that video was played by MTV every hour, on the hour, for 6 months straight.

Turn on the radio, and you'd almost immediately hear one of HL&TN's damn catchy hits. Their music turned up in damn near every movie soundtrack in 84-85, "Back to the Future" being the most prominent example.

Huey Lewis & The News were ubiquitous in American culture.

Then almost as quickly, they were gone. Their albums were relegated to the cut out bin at your local record store. HL&TN joined the likes of Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon and Eddie Money, all who had their moment in the limelight, and now only come to mind when they pop up at your local open air amphitheater to play a summer concert of their hits, and nothing but the hits.

The once solid Tigers pitching staff is now giving up hits to the opposition in much the same way Huey Lewis & The News used to produce hits. Quickly, and in bunches...

Nate Robertson - "Bad Is Bad" - And since May, Robertson has been BAAAAD. Really bad. Shockingly bad. Damn bad. Not good, but BAD.

Jason Grilli - "100 Years from Now" - Grilli sucked last season, he sucks now, he'll suck next season, he'll suck the rest of his life, and he'll suck from the grave. Grilli's immense suckitude will be talked about by Tigers fans today, tomorrow, next week, next year, even 100 years from now...

Zach Miner - "I Want a New Drug" - Because the drugs I currently take to numb the pain caused by Miner's inconsistent pitching are no longer strong enough...

Jeremy Bonderman - "Walking on a Thin Line" - Bonderman walks a thin line between being outright dominant, and being utterly awful. The problem is the line was once walked from game to game. Then inning to inning. Then batter to batter. At this point of the season though, Bonderman's walking on a thin line from pitch to pitch.

Tim Byrdak - "I Never Walk Alone" - No, you walk batters till the bases are full. No one's ever alone on the basepaths. Actually, the same can be said about the entire Tigers bullpen...

Todd Jones - "Stuck with You" - We fans would rather have Joel Zumaya as the closer. Unfortunately, we're suck with you, The Rollercoaster, Mr. Pitch To Contact, the smoke and mirrors closer known as Todd Jones.

Fernando Rodney - "Couple Days Off" - Fans hoped against hope that just a little bit of rest would cure Rodney's season long struggles. As we found out, he need much more that just a couple of days off, but several weeks on the DL.

Jair Jurrjens - "Now Here's You" - Thanks to injuries and general ineffectiveness, we've seen Yorman Bazardo, José Capellán, Wilfredo Ledezma, Mike Maroth, Macay McBride, Eulogio De La Cruz, Jordan Tata, Virgil Vásquez, and Joe Table, all come, and then go, from the Tigers' pitching staff. Now here's you, up from Double A. I sure hope you're better than the rest of that motley crew.

Chad Durbin - "Workin' for a Livin'" - Durbin should be workin' for a livin' like the rest of the world, as he sure as Hell isn't a major league pitcher.

Bobby Seay - "I Know What I Like" - And I don't like you on the Tigers roster! How many LOOGY's does a team need?

Andrew Miller - "Heart and Soul" - If I honestly looked deep down in my heart and soul, I'd have realized that the Tigers quickly promoting Miller from double A, and directly into the Tigers starting rotation, was the first sign of desperation from the Tigers' brain trust.

Kenny Rogers - "Some of My Lies are True" - You said it was just dirt on your hand in the World Series. Now he's lying to himself when The Gambler says he's coming back in September from his painful elbow issues, even though every report in the media says he's not even healthy enough to throw off a mound. Keep on lying Kenny, and some may come true.

Justin Verlander - "Give Me the Keys" - Is what you'd like to hear Verlander say about taking over from Kenny Rogers as the ace of the Tigers pitching staff. But as good as Verlander has been, is he capable of doing so at 24 years of age? I doubt it.

Joel Zumaya - "Perfect World" - In a perfect world, Zumaya would have been healthy all season, made Todd Jones irrelevant, have kept the bullpen from it's season long, never ending, self inflicted implosion, and be the most dominant relief pitcher in all of baseball. Sad to say, it's not a perfect world...

Jim Leyland - "Back in Time" - When it comes to the pitching staff, the Marlboro Man wishes he could go back in time. and bring back the 2006 pitching staff. Scratch that...Actually, Leyland would go back to a time when you didn't have to hide your nicotine habit from the prying eyes of MLB, and puff happily away upon pack after pack of unfiltered Marlboro reds from the dugout steps.

Big Al - "Do You Believe In Love" - Now that I'm older, and have gone through my share of heartache caused by both the female persuasion and the Tigers, I'm not sure I want to believe in love anymore. It can be a mirage. Much like I'm afraid that the Tigers just might just have been a mirage. I so WANT to believe, but I've been burned too many times in the past to get my hopes up that they can pull out of their tailspin.

But I'm going to try and believe. Try hard...


  1. HL&TN joined the likes of Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon and Eddie Money

    I used to like you Big Al. How dare you compare Huey Lewis and The News to those schmucks.

  2. 'eff, are you calling Mr. Eddie "Two Tickets to Paradise" Money a schumck? Blasphemy!

  3. Very well done. Huey Lewis, like "the dude" in the Big Lebowski, was the man for his time and place.