It being Friday, it's once again time to see what bon mots and uninformed opinion the supposed best and brightest in the newspaper world, our local sports columnists, spew in print and on their websites. Buckle up, as it's usually a bumpy ride.
At the Detroit News, lead columnist Bob Wojnowski writes about the Tigers, and wonder of wonders, his column is NOT about Brandon Inge! (Though he can't help himself, and does mention the pouty super-sub) Instead, Wojo puts together a list for us, the 5 Tigers who must, in his mind, be at their best for the Tigers to win in 2008.
No. 5: Kenny Rogers
No. 4: Pudge Rodriguez
No. 3: Gary Sheffield
No. 2: Jeremy Bonderman
A drum roll please....THE MOST IMPORTANT TIGER IS...
No. 1: Todd Jones
Why does Wojo believe the smoke and mirrors closer from Hell, the batting practice fastball throwing Roller Coaster, Todd Jones, has to the "Most Important Tiger?"
Dave Dombrowski surely will make a move to restock the bullpen because there's no way he can let another promising season get wrecked by relievers. Jones is the only reliable guy, which makes him the one the Tigers need most. He had 38 saves last season (six blown chances), understands the pressure and almost always works his way out of mini-slumps.
Is he dominant? Nope. Is he far more effective than many acknowledge? Yep.
Is he important? Yep. The MOST important? Nope. Not even close.
I think Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman are an interchangeable 1 and 2. For that matter, the most important reliever isn't even Jones. It's Fernando Rodney. Let's make him number 3.
Closers are overrated. Saves are even more overrated. Closers normally enter with a lead, often with a multi-run cushion, with no one on base, and only need to pitch one inning. Set up men, on the other hand, more often than not, enter with runners on base, pitch more than one inning, have to quell rallies when often a stikeout is needed, and the game is still in the balance.
Ask yourself this...Could you ever see Jones pitching in the high leverage situations Rodney (or Joel Zumaya, when healthy) finds himself in. If you thought his closing was scary... But Jones as a set up man? I wouldn't last the season. I'd blow a mental gasket after his first few appearances.
When analysts talk about the Tigers' possible Achilles heel, they don't bring up Jones. It's the starting pitching. The lack of quality pitching depth in the organization means the Tigers absolutely need The Gambler and Bonderman to pitch to expectations. For that matter, let's make 4 and 5 Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson. The starting pitching is that important.
To put it bluntly, Wojo is full of shit.
For another, better, take on who are the "Most Important Tigers," check out Kurt's list at Mack Avenue Tigers. He doesn't agree with Wojo, either.
In the Friday catch all column "Behind the Scenes," Mike O'Hara brings up the former Lion, the round mound of Cleveland town (I know, that rhyme sucked), Biggest Baby Shaun Rogers. O'Hara compares chub's weight to the price of gold...
Rogers' new deal pays him $42 million over six years.
At the time of the deal, gold was selling for $991.50 an ounce. A 370-pound slab of gold is worth $5,869,680.
In my mind, over the last 8 games of the Lions' 2007 season, Rogers wasn't worth the price of the paper used to print a counterfeit $1 bill. He was more invisible than Jeremy Bonderman's change up. To think the Browns signed him to such a monster contract extension is the definition of insanity.
Is Rogers a good player? Yes, when he wants to be. Believe me, Rogers won't want to be, $42 million contract or not. Now if Bigger Baby was being paid in candy bars, pies, cakes and donuts? Well, that's different. Rogers would be a All-Pro...
At the Freep, Michael Rosenberg wrote about Kenyan distance runners who have taken refuge from persecution in Ann Arbor. It was a good, well written column covering an important subject we truly needed to learn more about. In fact, it was quite disturbing reading about the Hell those runners go through back home.
Well, then. I can't make fun of that, wouldn't be right. I'd be a bigger ass than I already am.
Let's move on...
The closest thing to a column at the Freep touching on Detroit sports was WDFN's Jamie Samuelson's blog post. It's about...Brandon Inge! Yes! That's something I can pick apart!
Jamie asks himself the following question..,
Jim Leyland recently said that he knows Brandon Inge doesn’t want to catch. Does any part of the Inge situation seem weird?
The answer? Yes.
Well, there was more to it...
Is this Inge’s fault or the fault of an overzealous media who seem to genuinely like him? I’m not sure. Inge would be well advised to either keep his mouth shut or just say the right thing. He’s not helping himself out. And the media would be well served by just moving on to the next story. I’d much rather read daily updates on the health of Joel Zumaya or Fernando Rodney than anything else on Inge. When he’s traded, call me. Other than that, please, can we stop obsessing about a role player?
I have to say I agree. In fact, the entire Tigers blogosphere agrees. Actually, damn near every Tigers fan agrees. Everyone who gives a shit about the Tigers agrees!
The only people who don't agree are the Tiger beat writers. They apparently find Inge fascinating beyond belief, hang on his every word, then print every pouty word in the next day's fishwrap. Enough already. Please?
I'd be just fine if we didn't hear anything more from "Mr. I Didn't Mean What I Said, It Was Taken Out Of Context" till opening day, or when he's traded, whatever comes first.
That's "Above the Fold" for Friday, 3-7-08!