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?
God hates Detroit. As if there were any doubts about this fact after watching last year’s Detroit Lions, Michigan Wolverines and Detroit Tigers, all you have to do is check the Detroit skyline every October 30 or read the newspapers today. Yes, god hates Detroit but it appears there is a good reason. Detroit hates god right back
And now it also appears that god has decided to flex those omnipotent muscles a little more in smiting Detroit. In the past five days, not only did Dontrelle Willis and Joel Zumaya land on the injured reserve, Gary Sheffield is also looking for a new home. Granted, Sheff has often been a cancer in the clubhouse and both Willis and Zumaya had less than impressive stuff last season. But these are not the kinds of things that Detroit and the state of Michigan need right now
However, I have a couple solutions. Perhaps we just need to butter the big guy up a little. How about a little of this to help out:
Or maybe we just have to really hope that Nietzsche had it right. What I do know is that things can always be worse. At least I’m not a homeless guy in Detroit.
On Thursday, the initial sale of the San Diego Padres to new owner Jeff
Moorad was completed. Knowing that it only took Sandy Alderson and his
equally ignorant chum, Kevin Towers, a few years to extensively
decimate the Padres franchise like Chris Brown did Rihanna’s face, how
long will it take Moorad to get the Padres competitive again?
Have you already forgotten about that epic tie-breaker two short seasons ago when the Rockies edged the Padres on their way to a World Series appearance? The fact that San Diego was so close to the playoffs kind of puts the lie to your question and its entire premise. Yes, the Padres should have been more competitive recently and poor decisions were made (which are explained much more eloquently by the Prince of New York over at PaulLebowitz.com) but we’re not talking about the Knicks under Isiah Thomas here. This is not a team that’s lost for a generation.
It does kind of make you wonder what baseball executives get paid to do, though. Prince’s hatred of Alderson and Towers and your open contempt for Mozeliak in St. Louis remind me of some of Bill Simmons’ old columns where he rants about the management of the Celtics. However, once they won a championship the volume became a little muted. So, are sports executives really that incompetent or are other forces at work here?
I suppose that like any story, there are two sides to this one. I’m sure most GMs would argue that it’s tough to judge their success on winning alone since a large part of that depends on the human element, the players. And meanwhile the fans wonder why their team is going out and signing a guy like Dontrelle Willis to an extension while letting Cameron Maybin get away. And both sides are probably right. For all the statistics and sabrmetrics that exist today, this, like economics, is not an exact science:
But, to get back to your question, I don’t know when the Padres will be competitive again. It depends on a lot of factors in addition to just the current management team. It depends on resolving the Peavy situation and like a lot of things nowadays, it probably depends in part on the economy. What I do know, though, is that at least the Padres haven’t yet p!ssed off god. Seriously, what is the deal in Detroit?
How very un-American our mothers are!
Indeed, freedom of speech — speaking one’s mind — venereal verbosity — is just but one of the many great attributes of being an US American. Believe me, after living in China for four years, it is both comforting and refreshing to know that I can publicly endorse the extreme social and mental benefits of playing the Harold Reynolds drinking game on a semi-regular basis. (*In China, drinking games are not allowed unless they are a) a way to dupe silly Americans into sending jobs overseas b) a way to dupe silly Americans into eating Fido and liking it or c) a means to getting drunk.)
Yet sometimes, our mothers seem to actually know what they are talking about. And such advice would really come in handy if your name was Alex Rodriguez or Ann Coulter or any one of these individuals:
He says publicly that he would like to make a comeback and play for either the Chicago Cubs or the Tampa Bay Rays. Okay. Fair enough, Curt. You are a gamer. You probably still have it in you to pitch at the Major League level. Yet, considering your less-than-admirable reputation among others in the league, would it not be more beneficial to just go about your business and get in the game rather than release a statement of who you would like to pitch for? And why the ultimatum for those two teams? Could you not pitch for the Pirates just as easily as you could the Cubs? This ploy is eerily similar to me drunk texting women from my past at three in the morning when I would be much better off going to bed or more successful by getting in a cab and just showing up at someone’s doorstep.
As an US American, it is one thing to say “I hope my party [the Republican Party] gains momentum and succeeds in the next presidential race.” I do not think anyone would have a problem with that. The problem is, the GOP’s own Jabba the Hutt did not say that. He said: “I hope he [President Obama] fails.”
Go eat yourself to death, Rush.
Personally, I like Steve Phillips and the general manager perspective he brings to ESPN’s broadcasts. In general, I find Phillips to be a decent guy who always calculates what he is going to say before he says it. But to publicly lambast Lou Piniella on his handling of Japanese imports (Kosuke Fukudome) is something even I find astonishing. He said:
“My view is Lou doesn’t have a great deal of patience of assimilation
into culture, assimilation in the team. He is just not the most patient
guy around and he tends to verbalize his frustrations in an angry way.
I think that may have affected Fukudome a little bit.”
Hmm. Well, Steve-O, I think you may have ticked Lou off just a tiny bit with that one. Ordinarily, I would attempt to defend you in some way, but then I saw how crazy you really are when you said: Dontrelle Willis will be the comeback player of the year in 2009.
Yes, the democrat who just won’t go away is still… around… and this time he is writing a book! Don’t feel bad, folks; I didn’t think he could read either, but apparently he can (or someone can for him) and when it is all said and done there will be a big, fat, juicy tell-all telling all about… er… eh… what we already know. Blago’s foray into Jose Canseco-ism may be a success only if he can convince anyone to care about what he has to say. From my vantage point, that ain’t happening. We are talking about corrupt politicians here, not homerun happy ‘roiders. Big difference.
I know, I know. Dempster has not said anything extraordinarily stupid… yet. But he will. That is what he does.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
**In lieu of THIS BREAKING NEWS, we at RSBS would like to congratulate Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras on successfully hijacking the Dodgers for the entire off-season. That is classy. No, that is Roberto Alomar I’ll-spit-AIDS-in-your-eye kind of classy. Believe that.