Thursday, August 16, 2007

Random thoughts after a Tigers split

1. The Tigers leave Cleveland with a split, losing 5-2 tonight. I'm perfectly fine with that result. Sometimes the other guy pitches his ass off, and Fausto Carmona did so tonight. It happens. Move on, be happy with a split, and get ready for the Evil Empire.

On the bright side, Jair Jurrjens pitched pretty damn well for a rookie making his 1st big league start, let alone in on the road in the middle of a pennant race. He was composed, and pitching well, even in giving up 4 runs. I'll take 5 hits in 7 full innings from your starter every day of the week. I expect we'll see JJ again next week when those damn Indians come to Comerica.

2. Considering all the gloom and doom over the past few weeks, the Tigers are still in 1st place. Tied with the Tribe, but in 1st place all the same. And I'm sure Indians fans are saying the exact same thing.

We have a couple of very similar, and very flawed, teams tied for the central lead. I'm warning you now, this divisional race is going down to the wire. The way it's currently shaking out, I think we can say the same goes for the wild card.

For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to have lived through an honest to God, down to the final weekend pennant race (We haven''t had one in the D since 1987. I'm not counting last season, as the Tigers clinched a playoff spot with a little more than a week to go), you are in for some big scary excitement.

I never had more fun as a fan than during those final weeks of the 1987 season. Every game, every at bat, every pitch will have you literally on the edge of your seat. Be prepared for emotional swings that would knock Sybil for a loop.

3. I'm losing valuable brain cells listening to the stupidity on the Tigers radio postgame. Caller 1 says the Tigers swung "At too many outside pitches." Caller 2 says Jim Leyland doesn't have the Tigers "Mentally prepared," and aren't "Playing hard enough." Some deep ass analysis from Tigers fans, eh?

That's one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate it when fans say a player or team isn't trying, doesn't have heart, or doesn't care, in any sport. You honestly think Jason Grilli isn't trying, and likes being raked over the coals? You don't get to the major leagues, let alone stay there, without busting ass. Players that don't give a shit aren't around very long.

You can say that they aren't talented enough, or aren't playing well. But to claim you can see inside a player, and thusly claim they don't have "Heart?' That's absolutelyand utterly, idiotic.

No one likes to lose, so I think it's safe to say the players on the Tigers roster do care, are trying, and do have whatever the unmeasurable that "Heart" is...


  1. The first baseball season I remember was 1984 when the pennant race was over by May, so 1987 scared the holy shit out of me. I'll never forget Larry Herndon hitting the home run and Frank Tanana pitching a shutout to beat Toronto in game #162 to win the division.

    And for the record, someonme ought to pull Doyle Alexander's stats from that pennant race to end the John Smoltz argument once and for all.

  2. Ah, the '87 pennant race--The Tigers started that season 11-19 in the first 30 games and went on the greatest tear of sustained excellence until the Mariners a few years ago. Every morning you could turn to the standings and in the last ten games column the Tigers would be 7-3, or 8-2, or in a bad stretch, 6-4. In addition to Tanana's final game performance, I think that was the year that he struck out Tony Fernandez on a couple of 84 mph fast balls and a 65 mph slurve and as Tony walked back to the dugout he yelled at Frank "Pitch like a man." You could read his lips on TV. Frank just laughed at him.

    That was also the year that George "Don't Call Me Jorge" Bell won the MVP by campaigning for it rather than playing for it. He hit about .125 in the final week as Tram hit about .375 and led the Tigers to the playoffs. Unfortunately, they ran out of gas as just the wrong moment.

  3. I remember in May when the Tigers had a losing record Sparky went on the pre-game show on WDIV and predicted they'd win the division. My dad turned off the TV and refusd to allow any of us to watch the game. Five months later he was telling me how I was going to go to Detroit Catholic Central high school because Tanana went there.

  4. Ah, memories of 1987. Much of that season is burned into my memory too. And don't get me going about Bell winning the MVP. 20 years later, I still get furious thinking how Trammell was jobbed out of his rightful MVP award. Sometimes I wonder if Tram had won MVP, if that would had helped his HOF chances. And the asinine HOF voting when it comes to Trammell gets me furious as well...