That was bad for our health, man. That was one awful, no good, TERRIBLE World Series… unless you’re a Giants fan, of course. No lead changes til boring Game 4. Hitting juggernauts (one wearing three crowns) silenced throughout by the likes of Zito and Vogelsong. Justin Verlander s*%@ing the bed.
We just got a good dose of why football rules ‘Merica.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(Image courtesy of B3TA)
Does Justin Verlander ever sweat? Seriously, does he? Not only does his velocity rise late in the game, but he also does it with an air of easiness that makes us mortals hate ourselves as we pile on another helping of chips and salsa.
I don’t doubt he’s one of the hardest workers in baseball. Like Chuck Norris, Justin Verlander’s off days are probably harder than any busy day at the office I’ve ever had to endure. In fact, I bet Verlander could kick Norris’ butt, especially since Chuck is currently distracted by the unfounded promises of his invisible friend.
Chris Sale has a Verlanderish look in his eye. It says: I’m here to kick some ass and I’m gonna keep a straight, determined growly face just to show you that I really am an animal inside. Except once the lid comes off that attitude and runners start spilling onto the basepaths, Sale loses his game face.
Maybe he just needs time to work on it.
It took Verlander some time too. This whole ‘getting stronger as the game goes on’ phenomenon wasn’t something that Verlander started his Big League career with. He learned it. He perfected it. And now he’s cutting through a hot knife with butter and swimming through land and threatening death with a near-Verlander experience.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m rallying around Mr. Krause’s hero today, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Happy Labor Day!
Seriously. There is no guarantee. There is NEVER a guarantee (right, Red Sox?).
Whether you’re listening to the Worldwide Leader of Dopes or MLBN or that fat guy at the end of the bar who just won’t shut up, you’ve probably heard some variation of the following phrase regarding the AL Central:
Yeah, but the Tigers are the better team and they’re going to win the division.
Oh really? Then what are they been waiting for? Hockey season?!? It’s coming!!!
Sure the Tigers have been playing better baseball the second half, but the truth is, the White Sox have been playing championship-caliber baseball. And what is championship-caliber baseball? It’s winning in walk-off fashion even though you allowed the Mariners to come back from 5-run deficit in the top of the 9th. It’s getting gutsy performances out of nobodies like DeWayne Wise. It’s having your MVP catcher thrown out of the game only to have his backup, Tyler Flowers, be the hero. TWICE.
Verlander, Cabrera, Prince. Indeed, these are mighty names with infinite possibility.
But possibility is no match for performance. And as long as long as the White Sox keep getting more than the Tigers, then all those analysts and “experts” would do well to right their wordy ships and recognize the truth from potential.
Also, there is a White Sox fan holding a gun to my head as I write this.
And he asks that you don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Sports Illustrated‘s annual Fortune 50 list of the 50 highest-earning American athletes list is out and Major League Baseball is heavily represented. In fact, 36% of the athletes are baseballers — some better than others (looking at you, Barry Zito). And while I’m sad to see an star like Floyd Mayweather, Jr at the top, one who eschews real glory at the highest level for a comfortable place atop boxing mediocrity, I am glad that baseball players are makin’ that pay-puh. It makes me feel less suicidal when I pay $8 for a 16 oz beer.
Here’s a quick rundown of the highest paid American baseball players and their overall ranking among American athletes in parenthesis.
1. Alex Rodriguez (6)
Too bad for the Yankees A-Rod can’t be young and steroided like the good old days. His health is just going downhill from here.
2. Derek Jeter (9)
He can do no wrong. I would pay this man a bazillion dollars a year if I could. And since Albert left me, I have no problems admitting my 17-year Jeet man-crush.
3. Joe Mauer (12)
Really? 12th highest paid American athlete overall and third highest Major Leaguer? I would feel better about this if he could hit it over the Target Field fence once in a while.
4. Vernon Wells (17)
PSSSHH!!!! I just ruined my keyboard with a mouthful of coffee.
5. C.C. Sabathia (20)
Mo’ money, mo’ foooooooooooooooooood!
6. Mark Teixeira (21)
Nothing says $23 million a year like a YEEE-HAW JAW!
7. Prince Fielder (22)
I have a feeling if I make one more Prince Fielder fat joke then I’m going to be… eaten…
8. Adrian Gonzalez (25)
He may have lost his power stroke, but with $21 million a year I’m sure he’s strokin’ plenty of power.
9. Justin Verlander (28)
A man’s man, I would prefer to see Verlander at the very top of this list, or at the very least, have the opportunity to rifle a fastball at Mayweather’s head.
10. Cliff Lee (29)
Way to go, Phillies. You’re making Clifton Phifer look bad.
11. Ryan Howard (32)
While many of my Cardinal fan brethren choose to hate on Albert, I prefer to hate on Howard, the man who made signing Albert impossible.
12. Roy Halladay (35)
Way to go, Phillies. You bring in the best pitcher in baseball to get you over the hump then s*** the bed three years in a row.
13, 14, 15. Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols (Tied for 36 overall)
One of these things is not like the other…
16. Josh Beckett (44)
Is it me or has he gained like 40 pounds since he was traded to the Red Sox?
17. Jake Peavy (45)
Up until this year, I thought dude was done. Yes, the crow I’ve been eating tastes bad.
18. A.J. Burnett (49)
Huh? How did A.J. get on this list? I’d like to know the same. He should’ve signed two contracts, one for each of his personalities. At least he’s been living up to it ever since his worst day ever.
Hate me ‘cuz I didn’t make the list, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
First off, I’d like to point out that I was pretty much dead on with my predictions in this past Sunday’s filibuster. Verlander started the game. Prince won the derby. Cabrera won the MVP (Melky, not Miguel but still…). And Mr. Lung, although he may not have done so in public, disagreed with me and was soundly spanked (much like a typical Saturday night in Mr. Lung’s love life).
Despite all the brilliance flowing from the pages of RSBS I’m sure that some people out there are trying to find fault with this performance, especially as a result of Verlander’s performance. Number one, shut up. Number two, this is exactly why the All-Star Game shouldn’t count towards anything of importance.
That being said, I’d like to go back to Verlander’s “debacle” and take a new look at it in light of recent scientific input. Yes, it’s probably fair to say that Verlander melted down but as the article points out, when the speed of the ball is approaching the ridiculous speeds at which Verlander throws, well, friction leads to uncontrollable fusion which leads to nuclear mayhem. We’re just lucky that only Verlander imploded and didn’t take the rest of the stadium with him.
Any predictions for the All-Star Game?
That’s right. Davey Johnson speaks for me.
In this case, we (Davey and I) are talkin’ about my surly and oft dour colleague, Mr. Allen Krause. Surely these words sting, almost as much as watching Mr. Krause’s beloved Tigers defeat my WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS in their recent 3-game series.
Indeed, Verlander is a beast. But the following inequality is true:
Westbrook + Lohse > Verlander
Unfortunately, the following is also true:
Santiago + Peralta + Jackson + Berry > Marte
I’m sending my representation to handle the press conference:
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
RSBS Special Correspondent and Wikipiebenga Creator, Mark “Pie” Piebenga reports:
As soon as Victor Martinez went down, I thought, “well, season’s over.”  But then the Tigers won the Fielder sweepstakes (at a cost that boggles the mind: apparently Little Caesar’s is a pretty lucrative organization. Everybody reading this please buy a five dollar Hot N Ready so they can pay the Prince. And here is my obligatory admission that the back end of that contract is going to be a total nightmare). A season that looked suddenly suspect just as suddenly became the most exciting spring I can remember.
If they can keep healthy, and get production anywhere close to last year from Delmon Young, Alex Avila, and Brennan Boesch’s first half, and get consistent quality from Messrs. Verlander, Fister, Scherzer, and Porcello (not to mention the newly Dotel-ified bullpen), it augers Another Very Interesting Year To Be A Tigers Fan.
There are still some big question marks. It’s looking like a platoon of Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago at second, which doesn’t do us a ton of favors at the plate. With the diminished defensive range and crInge worthy batting of the once-exceptional Brandon Inge, the Miguel Cabrera return-to-third experiment will be interesting and hopefully not embarrassing. Danny Worth and Don Kelly will probably spot start there as well. Finally, can Austin Jackson achieve leadoff effectiveness even approaching two years ago?
For the last seven years or so I’ve approached the start of the season with same kind of a nervous ambivalence. The most positive outlook I’ve had could be described as ‘cautious optimism,’ which I feel now. It’s a very strange feeling to see the Tigers as the projected favorite to win the A.L. Central (hell, until last year, we hadn’t done it since 1987. Didn’t even do it in ’84.) The Tigers have been good lately, but as a typically suspicious and superstitious fan, I’m always nervous. In ’06 they got in the playoffs as a wildcard. When they forced the 163rd game with the Twinkies in ’09, I never had the feeling that we were a legit contending team. Last year they didn’t really seem to have any implicit dominance until rifling off that twelve game winning streak in September. (My father and I credit ourselves for that, having seen live their last loss before the streak started at a blinding hot day game Sept 1st, when the Royals came to Detroit.)
Speaking of which, I am very nervous about the Kansas City Royals. They were rated the 11th best team in the league in the ESPN prospects power rankings (I don’t know if this is a remotely useful metric, but Buster Olney seems like a smart guy). At the game with my dad September First we were sitting along the third base line, and during a lull in the game Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was shooting the bull with the umpire and throwing the ball around. He was basically standing in the coache’s box, well behind third and in foul territory, and dude scooped up lazy grounder that came his way. Barely breaking eye-contact with the ump, he made a throw off his back foot that looked casual as hell, but judging by the angry snap of the leather Eric Hosmer’s glove at first, it could’ve been shot from a rifle. The lineup is getting spooky over there.
It’s foolish to make predictions about what’s going to happen, and we’re still forty four days till opening. Naturally when things don’t go your way for a couple of decades, you begin to doubt that anything good is going to happen. But the Tigs lately have provided all one can demand of any team, and that’s meaningful baseball in August and September. It will be really interesting to see what this team does in the face of injuries, statistical regression, and the rigors of the season.
 I can be a little dramatic.
 Verlander’s remarkable season was well documented. While he was hardly under the radar, I think a brief digression on Alex Avila is in order here. He had a .389 OBP (10th highest in baseball), an .895 OPS (8th in the AL), and hit .295. All while catching 133 games, and ranking top five among AL catchers in most defensive categories (e.g., tied for 1st with 40 runners caught stealing). And one of my least/most favorite things was the sheer number of times he got hit by deflections. I know catchers get hit all the time, but honestly I can’t remember seeing anything like his 2011 season behind the plate. (for example, check out sparks flying off his mask, and him getting hit in the neck.)
As a Tigers’ fan, I’m proud of Justin Verlander. Not only did he carry his team into the playoffs, he also brought home the Cy Young and the MVP. That’s a lot of hardware for one season and like him or not, the guy deserved it.
However, for all that he is (human cannon; Detroit’s great white hope; tiger-striped aphrodisiac) there are also things he is not. For instance, he is not a comedian as we found out on Conan O’Brien the other evening.
Look, I love the guy and I’m glad he plays for us. But, let’s face it. He’s no Brian Wilson.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5609xjVLvM8]
Of course, unlike Wilson, he’s also sane…..so there’s that.
During the playoffs and the brief period between the end of the baseball season and the handing out of the postseason awards, the debate raged about whether or not Verlander would or indeed should win both the Cy Young and the MVP. There are those who I’m sure continue to claim that since the pitchers have their own award, they should not be considered for the MVP award. I have only one thing to say to that:
Happy Friday! The weekend starts now.