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?
**Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Want to know what Mr. Lung was doing the day the east coast started shaking? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing email@example.com or by commenting below.
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.
Last year I made the mistake of placing my faith in the savior apparent of the Detroit Tigers, a man I lovingly referred to as my big, black baby Jesus. He rewarded my faith by issuing more free passes than a scalper outside a Washington Nationals game. But after some time in the minors and a stint on the DL for an “anxiety disorder,” Dontrelle Willis finally made it back to the big leagues last night. And didn’t do a whole lot to allay our fears.
It’s rare that we see our heroes crumble into dust and then reemerge as a better version of themselves. Al Gore and Andre Agassi are good examples of how that works out at it’s best but, unfortunately, the Dontrelle Willis route is much more common. Something happens, something disappears and suddenly the person is a shell of their former self. It’s like the final episode of Seinfeld. We recognize it as being Seinfeld but its essential Seinfeldness wasn’t there.
That’s why I especially appreciate it, though, when heroes of my childhood reemerge in a better if not stronger form. Sergei Fedorov leads the Red Wings for years and then plays his heart out for the Washington Capitals. Kirk Gibson lays it on the line for the ’84 Tigers and then comes back and provides the spark for the ’88 Dodgers as well. But if I have to choose only one hero who has come back better, stronger and faster, well, I think this video will explain:
Willie Tanner: a poor man’s Eraserhead.
Maybe Dick Cheney is right. We’re all gonna die. And soon.
That’s right, folks. D-Train (or “Big Black Baby Jesus” as my Tiger-lovin’ colleague, Mr. Krause, likes to call him) has crawled his way back into Detroit’s starting rotation. And on Wednesday, we will all get the chance to see (and perhaps mock) the pitcher he has become after his long soul searching journey to recapture the glory days of 2003 and 2005.
In other words: we are all going to die.
Because, in my humble yet accurate opinion, Willis lost it a long time ago.
Okay, so he’s gone 25 2/3 innings with a 3.85 ERA in the minors this year. Well, lahdy frickin’ dah. If Willis really has rediscovered himself, he should be putting up lights out numbers against the young’ins down on the farm. Instead, Tigers’ skipper Jim Leyland is calling him up because:
“He’s throwing pretty much around the plate all the time…”
(MLB Story Link)
Pretty much around the plate. Hm. Okay. Well, that sounds like a perfectly good reason to throw him back into the lions den and, you know, hope for the best. I mean, Rick Ankiel threw “pretty much around the plate” during the 2000 playoffs. So did I during my legion ball days of the mid 90s. Hell, my little sister could throw “pretty much around the plate” if it had a picture of Zac Efron on it.
At least D-Train has the right lackadaisical attitude going into his first start of the year:
“There are worse things than playing baseball, you know?”
(Morning Call Story Link)
Yes, you are correct, Dontrelle. There are worse things than playing baseball… like not being able to find the strike zone while playing baseball or doing shots with Amy Winehouse at an open bar or admitting that Dick Cheney may have a point.
In this case, I’m going to hope that I’m wrong… just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
On Thursday, former New York Yankee disaster, Carl Pavano, made his
Cleveland Indians debut. In just one inning plus of work he allowed 9
runs on 6 hits (including 2 homers) and three walks. Cleveland was not
happy. But Pavano is just one of many pitching phenoms gone sour. If
you had to put together a pitching staff of current players designed,
destined and determined to fail, who would you choose and why?
The problem with this question is that it’s punditry in it’s most basic form. No matter what pitchers I name, you already have your mind made up and you’ve already decided that I’m wrong. It feels like I’m being forced to play Colmes to your Hannity. But, because I’m a good sport, I’ll do it. I will become Alan Colmes.
Any baseball team needs a quality starter, decent middle relief and a closer who can get the job done. So, it makes sense that our bizarro all-star team would want just the opposite: a starter who never fail to implode, a middle reliever with whom no lead is safe and a ninth inning finisher who puts the “lose” in closer.
It would be relatively easy to staff the entire squad with last year’s Tigers but at this point, only one of them truly deserves that roster spot. Last season Dontrelle Willis managed to single-handedly redefine the concept of crashing and burning and this year seems to be more of the same. How bad is it? Well, D-train is currently cooling his heels on the 15-day DL with the frighteningly worded injury, “Anxiety disorder.” For those escapades, Dontrelle, we make you our ace.
But every starter needs a stopper. Although, in our case I guess what we’re looking for is more of a porous sieve. And there are plenty of them out there. Just today C.J. Wilson of the Rangers gave up four quick runs in relief of Kevin Millwood and managed to throw away what had been a shutout up til that point. But has anyone fallen as far or as fast as Eric Gagne? I mean this guy was lights out a couple years ago but now just mentioning his name around Red Sox or Brewers fans might get you punched out.
However, and I think it’s probably no surprise to anyone, the dirty lump of coal in in this torn stocking of a rotation has to be old friend of RSBS, Kyle Farnsworth. And he really deserves this honor on so many levels. Don’t just think of it as a reward for his incredible meltdown against the White Sox this past week. No, this is truly a lifetime achievement award. Farnsworth is the Mariano Rivera of blown opportunities and for that we salute him.
When it comes right down to it, though, I don’t know if anyone can really out-Pavano Carl Pavano himself. Seriously, how is this guy still pitching? When will GMs learn that he truly is kryptonite, anathema to the very idea of pitching. On the bright side, he is playing for the Indians and that makes me a little more optimistic for the Tigers chances this season. Hey, it’s Easter, a time of resurrection and rebirth. We all gotta’ hope, right?