Four years ago today, I wrote the first post in RSBS history. It was terrifyingly awful. What terrifies me even more is that at that time in 2008, I had incredibly high hopes for the Tigers’ upcoming season based on some high-profile acquisitions they had made. Four years later, I’m still haunted by that 2008 season and experiencing no small amount of deja vu (all over again).
If there’s one thing that gives me hope, though, it’s the fact that sometimes triumph is born from the ashes of despair and failure. That first post was awful but the throw-away line at the end ended up becoming Mr. Lung’s regular sign-off. And even though Dontrelle Willis didn’t work out for the Tigers, Miguel Cabrera has been a godsend. Paired with Prince Fielder, I can’t say as though there has been a more feared power duo in the AL since the days of the Bash Brothers.
Sometimes you have to let go of the past and just realize that it’s over. So, with that in mind, happy fourth birthday Mr. Lung. And a special thank you from both of us to the interns for their years of unpaid but essential work. But most of all, thank you to our loyal readers who keep coming back, in spite of RSBS‘ inauspicious beginnings. Hopefully in 366 days we’ll be blowing out another candle together.
Dontrelle Willis AND Chien-Ming Wang pitching this weekend? Why not Mark Prior and Pedro Martinez too?
This has been a strange week, Jake. After six months of slugging it out in Libya, Tripoli fell within just a couple days. Presidential candidates continue to eat corndogs apparently not realizing how that picture is going to turn out later. Even the earth experienced a state of upheaval as the east coast barely made it through the great quake of 2011. So why not Dontrelle Willis and Chien-Ming Wang? Why not Prior and Wood dosey-doeing at Wrigley? Heck, why not zombie Mark Fidrych going pitch-for-pitch with bionic Jim Bunning newly hyped up on dead baby power shakes?
I know what you’re thinking right now. And no, I don’t have any “proof” that a zombie can get past his love of brains in order to pitch a baseball. But I do know that a week that sees Washington DC get hit by both an earthquake and a hurricane is a week in which anything is possible.
My suggestion is that instead of focusing on zombies, baby shakes and improbable pitching returns, we turn our attention to the more important things in life. Like, what’s up with the human-kangaroo hybrids currently drenching unsuspecting pedestrians?
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But aren’t we going to miss D-train? Haha.
I think every Tigers’ fan was stoked when Dontrelle and Cabrera came over. Sure, we were giving up a potential phenomenon in Maybin but Miggy? The guy just hits. And even though Dontrelle had some issues, he was young enough that it made sense to think he could rediscover his form and again be a dominating pitcher.
A couple years later it hasn’t turned out to be the steal it seemed at the time but, despite wasting all that money on the D-Train, the fact of the matter is that we still have Cabrera and he’s on pace for an MVP season. Look further south and you’ll also notice that Maybin has been a huge bust so far.
Hope springs eternal when you’re a fan and when you look at who Willis’ replacement is, you can’t help but think that maybe we’ll be all right. Sure, Galarraga hasn’t been dominating in every start and has even been roughed up at times. But a guy who has the stuff to throw a perfect game also has the stuff to be a solid addition to the rotation.
Honestly, I’m a little sad to see Willis go. He didn’t pitch great for the Tigers but I always wanted to see the guy do well. Maybe it was his goofy windup or maybe it was his promise as a pitcher but I couldn’t help but like the guy.
So, yes. The D-Train has left D-Town. And even though I won’t miss his abundance of walks and botched starts, I am going to miss the guy himself.
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On this team, there is no Al Kaline. There is no Kirk Gibson. No Jack Morris, no Trammell, no Whitaker.
Heck, this ain’t even the ultimately disappointing club that was supposed to win the 2006 World Series. No, sir. That squad is now but a bitter memory… and after a series of motor city slips and gaffes including but not limited to Jurrens for Renteria, the brutal rape of their farm system by the merciless Florida Marlins, and a handful of awful contracts best represented by Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis, the 2010 Detroit Tigers seem to be more of the weak, purring variety than anything else.
And now that fan favorite Curtis Granderson has been kicked out of the cage, finding fault with this Dave Dombrowski mess is a lot easier than it used to be.
You have Jim Leyland? Yes, and you also have Jim Leyland cut off from nicotine.
You have athlete extraordinaire, Brandon Inge? Yes, and you also have his strikeouts.
You have Johnny Damon? Yes, but you overpaid… and did he come with his wheelchair?
I dunno. It’s not like I hate the Tigers or anything. I mean, I have nothing personal against Detroit save hearing about them ad nauseum via my cantankerous and oft negligent colleague Mr. Allen Krause; but that doesn’t affect my judgment. I simply report the facts, interpreted in my own special way.
And that special way offers this declaration: the Tigers are in for a world of hurt in 2010.
But shhhh. Don’t tell Al. Or Johnny Damon. Or Detroiters, all three or four of them.
And whatever you do, please don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
PS. If you think I offer something like this just to p!ss off RSBS‘ other half, then you are absolutely correct… and almost as diabolically undercutting as I.
For today is January 15! And that means today is Mr. Allen Krause’s 31st birthday!
And since it is my jaded pal’s special day, I thought it best not to rip on how he looks like like a young (albeit more intelligent) Joe Maddon; so instead I am going to go against the RSBS norm and actually do something nice for him!
That’s right, folks. Y’all know that Al is a huge (sometimes annoying) Detroit Tigers fan… so today, to help Mr. Krause celebrate his very own life, I would like to present three awesome Detroit Tigers facts that I researched all by myself (with the help of the RSBS interns).
Happy Birthday, Al old buddy!
Awesome Tigers Fact #1:
Since the birth of Allen Krause, the Detroit Tigers have lost 2,546 games! And that fancy schmancy fact includes four whole seasons with 103 or more losses, like that stellar 2003 season when the Tiggers lost a mind-blowing 119 games!
Awesome Tigers Fact #2:
Despite being Mr. Krause’s boyhood hero while boasting impressive numbers over 20 Major League seasons, good old Alan Trammell is NOT in the Hall of Fame! For real! I’m serious!
Awesome Tigers Fact #3:
This fella made $10 million in 2009 while putting up these gaudy numbers: 1 W, 7.49 ERA, 7.5 BB/9
I have known Mr. Krause for over twelve and a half years now and I can honestly say — without even a smidgen of doubt — that one couldn’t ask for a better friend than Allen.
And I mean the hell out of that.
Happy Birthday, brother!
Last year was the year of Josh Hamilton. By the time the All-Star game rolled around, you couldn’t turn on ESPN or hit the internet without running face-first into one of the ubiquitous pieces on Hamilton and his recovery from depression and drug addiction. In fact, I think that my colleague, Mr. Lung, may have actually written the best piece I read on the subject.
However, it seems that our esteemed sportswriters may have missed Jeff’s column because the same thing is happening again. This year’s poster-boy is Zack Greinke and even places like Deadspin have begun to focus on his issues along with those of guys like Dontrelle Willis and define them accordingly.
Now, I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, it is important to destigmatize issues like depression and drug abuse by talking about them. And when athletes come forward and admit even off-handedly that they, too, face these kinds of demons, it’s good for our awareness of the issue. But, when their whole story then becomes boiled down to a point where we see them only as the guy who fought depression or the guy who overcame his drug dependency, we eliminate all the gains and just create a new stigma. They are no longer people. Instead, they become the disease they defeated.
This issue is all the more important because it affects more than just athletes. Thousands of our friends and family members are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan having seen and experienced things that are truly beyond human comprehension. But when the inevitable depression and its symptoms like PTSD and drug abuse start to rear their heads, the stigma keeps them from being able to seek help. This isn’t a new problem. The same thing happened to veterans of Vietnam, the two world wars and as far back as Ajax in Greek mythology.
I admit that I don’t have an answer to this stigmatization problem. If Sophocles couldn’t answer it and the best minds in psychology today can’t figure it out, it’s probably a little out of my range as well. But, it might be nice if from time to time we stopped referring to Greinke’s “amazing comeback” or Hamilton’s “heart-rending journey” and just appreciated them for who they are. A couple of guys who have overcome the same kind of problems that a lot of us face day in and day out and also happen to be able to do amazing things with a baseball.
Celebrity fans are an important part of sporting life. The Knicks have Spike Lee, Jack Nicholson is a courtside fixture for the Lakers and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles are lucky enough to have Alyssa Milano. Who shows up at your games and who roots for you tells you something about a team’s psyche. So, what am I to take from the fact that MC Hammer was not only present at last night’s Tigers game but was also supposed to throw out the first pitch?
In case you need a refresher, MC Hammer was the chocolate cookie to Vanilla Ice’s white cream in the Oreo that was the early 90’s radio-friendly rap scene. However, while Vanilla decided to try and remake his image and attempt a more hard-core sound, Hammer got busy throwing his money away on amenities like a dishwasher in his bedroom and soon found himself bankrupt and careerless.
Why does this story sound familiar? Oh, right. Because it kind of sounds like the ’08 and ’09 Tigers. $12 million on a broken down Dontrelle Willis? Why not. Similar money for Edgar Renteria? Sure thing.
Unfortunately, I guess it’s fitting that Hammer was supposed to be on hand to witness this team in all it’s glory. It’s probably even more fitting that he didn’t get to throw the first pitch because of a rain delay. But maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe the Tigers’ pitching staff will look past the bankruptcy and personal failing and reach for something deeper, an anthem to prop up their recently inflated ERA. Three words: Can’t touch this.