Thursday, April 29, 2010

For the Love of Magglio...

Oh how wonderful he is... My boy Magglio Ordonez got his career 2,000 hit today. That makes him the 260th major league player to do so and the 6th Venezuelan player to hit that mark - Congrats to him - I hope he stays a Tiger for years to come so I can see career hit 2,500 (I was at the game in Sept '08 when he had his 1,000 RBI). I would also like to mention that my boy Magglio only need 19 more home runs to hit the 300 plateau - another highly regarded milestone for a major league player. I'm taking bets that it happens in the 2010 season.

OK, so this will lead nicely into my rant of the moment. To all you nay sayers and Magglio haters who felt the need to overly express your dislike of the man last season, to those of you who called for his head on a platter at the all star break, and those who cursed his name when he hit the benchmark to extend his contract for this season - Shame on you! Granted when you are making $18 million a season there is not a lot of room for error and judgements fly quickly from the mouths of those who view. It's only human nature to be more critical of others than we are of ourselves.. He heard these criticisms, he heard these doubts. He knew what was wrong and he worked harder than ever in the off season to correct these things. Ah, dedication and love of the game at it's finest.

To all you naysayers and bashers who had the gall to snicker behind me at the park while I was proudly wearing the jersey of my favorite player (#30). Shame on you too. To all the friends, acquaintances, coworkers and family members who told me to give up on him - move on and find yourself a new favorite player - never. Sorry, not gonna happen. I kept the faith in my boy and look how he's repaying me now.

So Maggs, you keep bashing that ball around the field and I will be there to watch you and cheer you on - hitting or not, night after night till you decide to retire (hopefully as a Tiger).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Seriously? So this is the way you are going to be?

Ok, game #1 against the Mariners isn't over yet and I'm already starting to rethink this "strong starting pitching"opinion that I had during Grapefruit League play. Bonderman got LIT UP for 9 hits, 10 runs and only 4 innings pitched... yes, I said 4! Than this Thomas pitcher guy (yeah, I can see the look on your face... its the "Who?" look...) comes in and just blows goats for a few more innings... its the top of the 6th and the mariners are up 11 - 2... Lord, help us all...

But let me backtrack a bit... This was not a good week in Tigerland - First home series vs the Indians ROCKED - action, drama, great fielding, bats were burning, come from behind victories, pitching was good (not great but good) and we swept them right back to the mistake on the lake known as Cleveland. Then the Royals roll into town and then our pitching goes from good to, um, not so good - not terrible but definitely not so good. Royals managed to hit a fat ton of balls and get a slew of walks in 3 games and took 2 of 3 from us at home (yes, the Royals... the stinky nasty Royals).

That brings us to tonight - after a get away day on the real Jackie Robinson day, one would think that they boys would be rested and ready to play - oh no, this apparently is not the case. They are out there on the field looking like there are cement slabs tied to their feet, sticks of butter in their slippery hands and their eyes are crossed. The batters look like they are running scared from King Felix and our pitchers - well, they look the worst - I've seen sleeping dogs that are more entertaining and productive. In short, while in the field - they are just a bunch of sluggish error making machines (top of the 7th, the Tigs already have 3, yes I said 3 errors).

All this is compounded by the fact that Rod Allen and Mario Impemba started the show on a rant about how the Mariners aren't hitting for squat and they were averaging only 2.8 runs thru their first 10 games, they were the worst in the AL for run production, all their batters had dismal batting averages, Ken Griffey Jr is old and in the "Twilight" of his career, etc... etc... etc... Basically, not a nice word said about the Mariners offense. How quickly things change in 2 hours of really crappy play. Rod and Mario dining on a big dinner of crow tonight.

Bold prediction for this west coast road trip is this : the Tiger's catch phrase heard over and over again will be "Tiger's threaten, do not score" We will hear that at least 35 times or more out of Mario Impemba's mouth.

Oh woah, bottom of the 7th and the Tigers are down by 11, Skip Leyland decides to pull Inge, Laird, and my love Magglio and put in Raburn, Avila and Kelly - yeah, he's waving the white surrender flag. I don't say this very often, but I really see no need to finish watching this game...

On a happy note - It has started to rain Octopus and hats in Phoenix - it's weird seeing them on ice other than the Joe... Wings won 7-4 and my boy Zetterberg had himself his second hat trick of the season... all tied up 1-1 and the boys are coming home to the Joe...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Screams and Heart Attacks abound on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon...

I was looking forward to doing nothing today, a great way to cap off my 3 day weekend. I had planned on watching some TV (aka baseball or MLB Network), reading a little bit of my book and just lounging on my couch. To keep from getting too lazy I would get up occasionally to go to the bathroom, yell at the cat or look out the window. I was planning on sipping iced tea and eating Klondike bars while watching the afternoon matinee Tigers game vs the Indians - a sweep was on the line. A nice lazy Sunday in my world

What I didn't plan on was Justin Verlander giving up 5 runs (and a grand salami courtesy of Valbuena) in the first inning and sending my afternoon into utter turmoil. WHAAAAATTT just happened here? Is this our ace? Is this what aces do? WHAAAATTT is going on??? OK, so much for lounging on the couch and watching a lazy Sunday game. This had quickly turned into a "screw it, they already lost so I think I'm gonna take a nap instead" afternoon.

But my conscience got the better of me. Besides, my boy Magglio had a 5 game hit streak going on and I just couldn't turn the channel till I knew he kept the streak alive to see the next game. I know it's shallow and not a good reason for continuing to watch the game but, hair or no hair (and I do miss the hair dearly), that boy can swing a bat like no other... anyway, by the middle of the 6th with the Tigers down 7-1 I had all but given up hope - Verlander was out, Bonine was in and nothing was going on offensively so... again, I contemplated putting in a movie.

But again, the conscience got the better of me so I just laid back down on the couch and continued to watch my Tigers get pounded into submission by a team that for all intensive purposes, had no reason to win this game... they are the Indians for crying out loud!!!

By the bottom of the 7th the boys had somehow managed to battle back with the Indians still leading 8-4. At least if they were going to loose it wouldn't be a blowout. At this point, the remote was placed upon the coffee table - I had made it this far into the game I might as well watch it out now... I had gone from laying on the couch to at least sitting upright.

By the bottom of the 8th things had gotten way interesting... Indians were still on top 8-6 but my blood was starting to circulate. No longer sitting on the couch, I had now positioned myself to the attentive position of sitting on the coffee table (yes I know you aren't supposed to sit on coffee tables but it's mine dammit and I'll sit on it if I want to!) in front of the TV. They were only down by 2 - they have come back to win games like this before - they have also blown bigger games by smaller margins before... my head was trying to be honest by my heart, which was starting to work a little faster than "laying on couch mode" was telling me that they could do it - they would win it.

Middle of the 9th, Tigers held the Indians to 8 runs - no more for them. we had the heart of our lineup due in the bottom of the 9th. Kelly grounds out, Maggs (Oh Venezuelan God of Baseball you are) crushes another single to get on base (FIRE, the man is on FIRE - don't you dare put him out - .462 BA) Miggy walks, Guillen doubles in Maggs to bring the score to 8-7. Inge hits a broken bat infield grounder for the 2nd out. Leyland decides to bring in Johnny Damon to pinch hit for Laird and he walks on 4 straight balls - bringing in the tying run. By this time - I am pacing in circles in front of my TV, fists clenches and I have started to yell at my TV (don't worry, this is normal) Scott Sizemore comes up to the plate and a wild pitch/passed ball gets away from Marson, the Indians catcher and rolls to the backstop, allowing Guillen to score the winning run.

HOOORRRRAAAAYYYYY!!!! My cat is in full on "hide from screaming mommy" mode, neighbors are starting to stir outside my door and I am thankful no one lives below me as I was jumping up and down cheering and screaming - Holy Crap Batman! They actually pulled it off, they won the game!!!

If this is any precursor to how the season is going to go, than I am psyched. For all intensive purposes, they should have lost this game - they left 18 men on base throughout the game - a record that has not been seen by the Tigers since 1920. Fortunately for the Tigers, they took advantage of the like 200 walks the Indians pitchers issued us...

So much for my lazy Sunday - I avoided the coronary, but that is a baseball game that Detroit Tigers fans wont soon forget.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

MotorCityKitty does Opening Day 2010

Woo hoo hoo! My first opening day ever! I work in the green industry, so spring is crazy busy and no one gets time off ever. But this year, I managed to use a vacation day so I could partake in the local holiday in Detroit known as Opening Day. I must say, from here on out, I'm never working another Opening Day as long as I live - my boss can pencil it in now. I wont be at my desk.

The camaraderie and love fest for my Kitties in Detroit was breathtaking. Everyone was in good spirits and the party was rockin'. Pregame festivities were based in Grand Circus Park and there was food, food, food, live bands, vendors and just cool people to talk to. It was great! Everyone was social, helpful and all talk was baseball - my own personal heaven. Ain't no party like a Detroit party...

The Tigers didn't disappoint either, due to a wonderful throwing error by Jhonny Peralta at 3rd the tigers went on to beat the Tribe 5-2. My seats were fabulous (ah extra foot room and little table go a long way to helping you manage your items while keeping score on a scorecard - its the little luxuries I guess). Porcello was OK, not stellar, Zumaya was good, Maggs was FABULOUS! 2-4 with an RBI but it was his hit that caused the error so I think he should have gotten a hit for it and be 3-5 with 4 RBI but I digress... It was the largest Tigers home opener ever and second largest attendance record to date.

There was one thing that I couldn't help but notice, and I know many others did too. The party atmosphere was warm (despite the freezing windchill) before and during the game. But after the game it was a whole different story. Alcohol seemed to be the name of the game post game. Now I'm all for drinking and having a good time (yes I went to MSU - I know how to party) and I have done some pretty stupid things when being intoxicated, but post game the town went from happy buzzed social drunk to crazy stupid dangerous drunk. I'm not a fan of dangerous drunk. I actually saw a man running across the street in front of the stadium at full speed, he missed the curb and slid across the sidewalk on his face - skin on cement road rash grossness... it sounded like he broke his arm. He just laid there for a sec and got up and hobbled away... that was my cue to go home. I, as many others, love to laugh and point at the drunk people doing funny things. But when funny turns into possible bodily harm to themselves and others - I'm not laughing anymore.

Which leads me to the question - is opening day about baseball or is it about drinking? I don't want to turn this into a PSA statement but as I walked back to my car (which had acquired $40 worth of parking tickets during the game) I saw more than 5 fights, 3 people puking in trash cans, multiple bush wizzers, 3 people almost hit by cars and more people being propped up by friends than I can remember. I only parked 2 blocks from the stadium! It's not like I hiked out to Highland Park to get my car!

Somehow I managed to go down to Opening Day and have a good time without getting myself totally obliterated (yes I did have a beer at the game = 1 beer, at $8 that was more than enough thank you). How many others did -I think I was in the minority. I'm all for having a few beers, BBQ, chatting with fans and having a good time... but when has the party gone too far and who's responsibility is it to stop it when it turns dangerous?

My only regret to Opening Day is that I didn't get down town earlier in the morning when the party was fun. I only had about an hour and a half to take it all in before I went into the park. Mental note for next season - go down early, and leave right after the game before the fun drunks turn into dangerous drunks.

So, party on Detroit - I'll continue to make a grand appearance and rock the pre-party but don't expect me to stay for the after party... I'm out...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rod and Mario Teach us how to hit a Zumaya fastball...and other insights from game #2

~Mario Impemba: how do you hit a Joel Zumaya fastball?
~Rod Allen: you swing as soon as you see the pitcher let go of the ball and pray the bat and ball are in the same spot at the same time.
~Mario: I 'spose that's about all you can do

I found this announcer banter cute and entertaining; however, I don't think I have to remind anyone who is slightly familiar with baseball that in general, the whole offensive aspect of the game is to put bat on ball. Pitcher throws ball, batter hits ball... Lather, rinse, repeat for 9+ innings...

Zzzzzzzz, Zzzzzzzzzz.... I understand that it's only the second game of the season, but what a borring game. Being that FSN didn't cover it till the 8th inning due to the Wings game (yeay Wings victory!) it still was a snooze fest till the 9th inning. Call it a pitchers duel, call it an offensive slumpfest on both teams but the bulk of that game was boring as hell...

I'm also questioning the home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth's strike zone of choice... apparently high and inside is now the new strike zone... Doesn't matter who's batting, if it breezes your cheek it's a strike. Take note of this Tigers, I'm sure you will see him again soon.

It appears as if we almost had a Kenny Rogers smudge mark rehashing tonight when the umpires called out Mr. Zumaya's band-aid on his throwing hand. For a moment my heart raced and I had flashbacks of ripped and torn finger tendons. I'm happy it's just a band-aid - but when did it become a crime to wear a skin tone bandage? It's not like it was neon green or anything...

Miggy, you rock! 10 pitch at bat for a squeaker homer to right with two outs in the 9th... nice! Thanks for killing the looming shutout. And that attempt at the splits you did while turning the double play in the bottom of the 9th was nothing to scoff at... ah, please keep up the greatness for the WHOLE season please :-) and please, just crush the ball... no more of this attempting to steal bases stuff... leave that to Jackson and Sizemore and Santiago. That was one of the worst attempts at stealing 3rd I have ever seen.

10,574 in attendance at Kauffman Park - way to go Royals fans... a nice multi-million dollar, multi year renovation to your park and you cant even fill it 1/4 full? Look at all those empty blue seats! Win or loose, I know Detroit can definitely fill a stadium better than Kansas City can!

Kyle Farnsworth = still sucks. Not sucks like Jason Grilli sucks but he has his own level of suck. Can't say I'm sad that he's gone.

Good Job Valverde... give up 2 runs in the bottom of the 11th to blow the game 2-3

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Press is good!

Ah it's that time of year again... season predictions!

This year I was asked to give my opinion to Real Detroit Weekly for their annual Tiger's edition... you can check it out at :

yahoo!!! My words in places other than blogs... feels good, real good...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yahoooo - It's Finally Here!!!

Opening Day 2010 is finally here, the game has been played and we were victorious! Then again, it was the Royals so... but then again it was the Royals with Zack Greinke so... it was more of a challenge than normal.

Some highlights...

- My boy Magglio Ordonez had the first hit, first double and first run of the season (a good sign!) I bout jumped out of my skin at my desk listening to to my radio ipod...

- Austin Jackson flashed some leather (along with some lumber) with a throw from the outfield to Laird at the plate to prevent a run - Nice! Double that with his first Major League hit, run and RBI - I have high hopes for this guy.

-Johnny Damon came through going 2-5 with 2 rbi's, Brandon Inge joined in the party with 2 rbi's of his own.

Grienke was wonderful, giving up only one run in 6 innings but his efforts all fell to the wayside when the Tigers posted a 6 run 7th blowing up the Royals bullpen. Former Tiger Roman Colon gave up 2 runs without posting an out in the 7th. Verlander was decent in his first outing of the season giving up 6 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings. His pitch count wasn't exactly economical and he struggled to finish the fifth inning. If you had to pick a winner in the pitching duel of the year (09' strike out leader vs Cy Young winner) the obvious winner was Greinke.

Jose Valverde proved to be a bit of a roller coaster ride - it looked as if he forgot how many outs there were in the inning (after flashing the 2-2 sign to the umpire previously) and he half ran, half lobbed a ball at Cabrera on 1st to get the second out - sad thing is it was a tailor made, game ending double play if he would have just thrown the ball to Cabrera when he caught it instead of adding his dramatic trot half way to the bag.

Let's hope the Tigers keep it up - bats were a little quiet today but when the pressure was on they came up with the hits they needed.

On a side note, one more reason for me to miss my Polly Polanco - he hit a grand salami for the Phillies today... apparently he adapted well to his new/old team... we miss you Polly!!!