Category Archives: World Series

the awful demise of bats


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Great timing, kittens. Nothing quite like the death of the entire offensive output during the freaking World Series. Great great great great timing. My favorite timing. Most enjoyable indeed. So happy with everyone involved in holding a bat for the Tigers right now.

I can understand something like the catcher position failing to produce when, say, Gerald Laird is getting a start. I can kind of understand Delmon Young regressing to the Delmon mean. And I am sure some of this is down to the pitching of the Giants, if I’m going to be reasonable/charitable. But for the entire offense to behave this anemically… in the World Series… it’s just not acceptable, or something that will result in good things for Detroit, or anything useful, at all, in any way, within the realm of baseball. If the Tigers want to win some freaking games here, they need to revive the bats. Zombie bats. Whatever, I don’t care, so long as they’re upright and able to shamble zombi-ly into some hits and runs.

There was also that wee bit of unwelcome excitement with Doug Fister.

He reacted so little that upon initial viewing I wasn’t sure the ball had made contact with him at all. I thought it had maybe hit his glove as he raised it up; surely that had to be the case, given the location of the ricochet and Fister’s non-reaction. But replay showed that not only had the ball hit him and not his glove, it had actually hit him squarely on the side of the head. Great great great. Again, not what we want to see at any time, but most especially right now, where every game counts for ever so much and the pitchers have to be on the absolute uppermost top of their game(s), especially if the offense is going to continue to be dead and the bullpen has some tolerably good parts but is riven throughout with lines of instability and Papa Grande has forgotten how to get outs and argh argh argh.

The fact that Fister could shake that off like it was nothing says much about his mental fortitude, his pure Fisterian badassery, and maybe a little about the thick plate-like construction protecting the soft tissues in his head.

Anyways, as I said, Fister barely reacted to the baseball hit directly at his skull, stood up immediately, was able to continue pitching, etc. Initial tests were fine. He seems like he should be ok (although who ever knows with a head injury, my worry is always that there’s, I don’t even know, blood pooling silent and undetected on his brain right now or something horrific of that nature). Jim Leyland takes a deep breath.

There were a great many other things that happened in this game (like Prince being sent home and getting thrown out at the plate), but let us not speak of them. I’m already having a hard time with these games. To wit:

For games 3 and 4 (weather permitting), I will be IN ATTENDANCE, so obviously both these game-watching strategies will need some adjustment. I am open to suggestions.

Pandas are bad and should be avoided.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Nasty brutish dangerous creatures. Can’t be trusted with tourists or food-sized children or fastballs or sliders. Terrible animals that lull you into a false sense of security with their kindly faces and adorably roly-poly bodies only to MAUL THE LIFE OUT OF YOU and also to HIT THREE HOME RUNS IN ONE GAME.

Pandas: they are just no good.

For the well-being of the planet, I believe we must make them even more endangered. It is the only logical solution to the problem. The panda problem.

the glory of Tigers past


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Roar of the Tigers went a-field-trippin’ yesterday, as you can probably tell from these shots, to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Dork that I am, I have a ton of photos of Red Sox things, Tigers things, and Sandy Koufax things. But I especially wanted to talk about these two particular items.

The shiny blue deal up top is the 1984 World Series ring. It’s a pretty simple design: just a little diamond representation of the infield set in blue….something, enamel I guess. Compared to some of the later rings it’s downright sedate (especially the ’03 Marlins ring, which is about the size of my entire fist). Mostly it’s notable because it’s the last one we’ve got, of course. When we win our next one, I hope the designers go this route instead of in the garish use-as-many-rocks-as-is-humanly-or-inhumanly-possible direction. Take note for next season, greater Detroit-area jewelers.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

What I really want to mention is this cover for a program from the 1945 World Series, because it is the height of awesome. I am now going to geek out as only an art student can, so feel free to zone and just gaze upon the pretty.

First off, ILLUSTRATION. YES. YESSSSSSSSSSS. Baseball programs these days, 99% of the time, have either a photo or a stark logo that’s been vectored all to bloody heck and back on the cover. There is nothing wrong with photography and there is nothing wrong with a sharp logo, but this puppy is ILLUSTRATED and this makes me HAPPY. I love the style. That scratchy pen work is calmed down, visually, by the fact that there are only three colors on the whole thing, and really? If you’re going for punchy contrast, you would be hard-pressed to do better than black, white, and safety-cone orange.

Second. The fonts. There are three different fonts on this cover, and while I think it ends up being a little unnecessary (surely the stadium name could’ve been written in the same font as “World Series”, yes?), I do like them all. They are not ‘timeless’ fonts, but they set this little publication in a very definite era, and if you’re designing a World Series program, where the year very much matters, I think that’s a good thing. There is a lot of variation; they vary in letter spacing, height, line weight, overall letter shape, and so on. But since they’re all sans-serif fonts, it’s still not as messy as it could have been.

The heavy block letters used inside the baseball are necessary to visually hold the letters together along the curve they’ve been set on. More slender typefaces often look kind of cruddy on curved lines, because at some point the individual letters either have to give up their hopes of cohesiveness, or they have to deform themselves like mad to get wide enough to still hang together. NOBODY BUT ME CARES ABOUT THIS so I’m gonna stop now and save you all the trouble of reading it, if you’re still reading.

Third, the damn thing was only 25¢. I yearn for such times. Nowadays the only way to get a 25¢ program would be to buy a pen that costs a quarter and draw one up yourself.

Fourth, the artist who drew this paid such good attention to what (s)he was doing that (s)he drew an ACTUAL ADULT TIGER facing off against what is clearly an ACTUAL BABY BEAR. Seriously! Look at how small that bear is! He’s TINY! Looks a little underfed too. Whereas that tiger is enormous, bristling, stalking, roaring. Was there any doubt about who was gonna win this World Series? I think not.

(By that same token, you might expect a tiger to tear a cardinal to pieces, and thus would be confused about this past season. Let your mind rest easy, for it is simply explained. TONY THE RUSSA HAD THE BIRD FLU. He totally infected all the ferocious tigers and so it is that the small, feathery menaces won. Biochemical warfare. FOR SHAME, St. Louis, FOR SHAME.)

Fifth: Briggs Stadium! Hee. How’s THAT for a timewarp?

There were some other very stylish program covers as well, but I especially wanted to call attention to this one, because I thought it was especially elegant and, well…. awesome.

In completely unrelated news, tropical cyclone Bondo cracks me right the heck up.

World freakin’ Series Game 5: hollow cats

So that’s it.

I’m sure that in, I dunno, a week or so I’ll be able to think about how great this season was, how utterly unexpected. How amazing it was to see Detroit actually excited about baseball again.

How this weird cast of characters came together in front of us: Bondo and Verlander and Zoom all starting to come into their own, Curtis Granderson making everyone forget the name of Nook, the return of Todd Jones, the genius of Jim Leyland, the rise and subsequent rapid fall of the AROUS, the totally unlikely pitchers who stepped up when Maroth went down, the breath of fresh air that is Sean Casey. How we gave hope to every cruddy team out there, now that they can see what can happen to even the very worst of them, in only 3 years.

Yeah. I’ll be able to reflect on that, maybe, in about a week or so.

Right now, though. It’s… it’s just sad. The season was so crazy, so exciting, it felt like the season HAD to end, one way or another, excitingly. Either the Tigers would shut it out, like they did the ALCS, or they would come from behind to win it, or even if they lost, it would go to 7 games and be a slugfest ’til the very end. The only appropriate end to this season would have been a bang, really, not this quiet little whimper.

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Look, it’s the Tigers pitchers. Headpieces filled with straw, that would account for all the errors, I expect.

Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar.

Yeah, all those mound meetings poor Pudge and the coaches kept calling did a whole lot of good, didn’t they?

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors errors

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom

Death’s other Kingdom being Detroit, of course.

Remember us — if at all — not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

That’s how it feels right now. Hollow. There was no grandiose ending, no “violent souls” fighting to keep the series alive. Just a string of spirit-breaking errors that destroyed any momentum the Tigers tried to get going.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

The Cardinals had no trouble taking idea and making it reality, taking motion and completing the act. Aside from Chris Duncan, they just played good solid baseball. The Tigers didn’t. They had the idea of how to play, they made the motions, and there was that bloody old Shadow of inexperience or nervousness or just plain old bad luck, whatever it was, keeping them from crossing that bridge.

Congrats to the Cards and their fans. They earned it. We materially helped them along, but they earned it. And that’s as gracious as I’m capable of being right now. It was a great season for the Tigers, a riotous rollercoaster of a season, loud and brash and so far over everyone’s head that we all got cricks in our necks from staring at it. You can’t deny how awesome that was. You can’t deny how good it felt to care about the Tigers this late into the season again (or, if you’re around my age, for the first time).

But, man. What a gut-punching way to end the season. Or not even a gut punch, that’s not right. More like letting the air out of a balloon, watching it phththththlllbthbthing all around the room until it falls in a little lifeless dessicated wrinkly heap on the floor.

I don’t know if he knew anything about basebll, but TS Eliot knew his stuff.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

World freakin’ Series Game 4: EEEEEEEEEk.

Well, that was fairly HORRIBLE.

I almost would’ve rather seen the Tigers get blown out. At least then you could shake your head sadly and think to yourself that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. The pitchers aren’t used to throwing this late into the season; the hitters are overwhelmed by what is, by all accounts, a very good Cardinals staff.

But that DIDN’T HAPPEN. And what DID happen was infinitely, infinitely worse. Because Bondo pitched well. Yes, it would’ve been nice to see him go deeper into the game, but he left with a lead and, judging from his reaction in the dugout, a lot of energy left over. The bats finally came alive in a lot of places where they’d been quiet, making Leyland’s lineup-juggling look genius once again. If the game was counted on earned runs, we would have won this one.

The game is not counted on earned runs, however, and that 7th inning was ONE OF THE WORST THINGS I’VE HAD TO WATCH in AGES. Granderson’s error can be chalked up to the wet outfield, I guess, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. You HATE to see a game determined, basically, by something like field conditions. And I don’t know what the official scoring on that play was, but I scored the game and didn’t give Eckstein a hit on it, because if Curtis doesn’t fall down, he HAS that ball, and that’s a straight-up out.

Then So Taguchi tries to sac bunt Sir Scrapsalot over to third, and Fernando, instead of tossing easily to Polanco covering at first, somehow manages to send the ball sailing way up into the air and nowhere near first base. That is a freakin’ UGLY way to score a run and you can put that all on Fernando. I don’t know what is the matter with our pitchers. Verlander and Zumaya’s errors you can say are because they’re young, it’s their first postseason, they’re nervous, etc. Todd Jones… well, that was just Jonesy being a cloaca like he sometimes is, when he tries to make the 9th inning as exciting as possible. We can laugh about it because we won that game. This one, I don’t know. It’s possible that Fernando was rattled by Curtis’ error, I GUESS, or maybe the ball was wet and slipped out of his hand, but ugh. UGH.

When you had to watch the second run in the inning scoring like it did, with Pujols hanging up just long enough between second and third to let Taguchi come home… triple ugh. I freakin’ HATE plays where it’s the last out of the inning and a run STILL manages to score.

Bondo looked pretty good. The offense looked pretty good. The bullpen got hit a little, but nothing catastrophic. And we still lost, in the most agonizing way possible, because it felt like we COULD win for so much of it.

ARRRRRGGGHH.

OK, and did this HAVE to be the game where Scooter made his triumphant return to television? Isn’t that just adding insult to injury? And can someone explain to me why Jeannie Zelasko, in the process of ‘introducing’ Scooter, said both that he was “back by popular demand” and that he had been “you know, in the pineapple under the sea.” First off, what FREAK OF NATURE was demanding that Scooter be brought back? Secondly, WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO MAKE OF THIS HINT THAT SCOOTER HAD BEEN HANGING OUT WITH SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS IN HIS FREE TIME??? Was anyone else as completely blown away by that offhand remark as I was? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN!

And as if Scooter by himself isn’t bad enough, we also had to deal with JEFF SUPPAN’S FLOATING HEAD NARRATING SCOOTER. This was completely and utterly terrifying and I cannot have been the only one screaming in terror when this happened.

So many “did that just happen?” moments in a FOX broadcast. I really want to know how they come up with this stuff. Seriously. For instance, did they really lead into the bottom of the 4th inning with a video montage set to “Sexy Back”? Because I’m pretty sure that they did, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not OK with that.

McCarver did not help, saying things like, “That’s where the Cardinals have tried to pitch him… breaking balls.” Tim, kiddo, “breaking balls” is (are?) not a location. A McCarver-aided broadcast is just one long puzzling head scratching moment. Oh, and he’s not allowed to praise Pudge’s defense ever, ever again, because as soon as he does, Pudge immediately bollockses up in some sort of twisted anti-McCarverish karma.

Really the only great things to come out of this game were a couple shots of Bondo in the dugout, one right after Fernando had gotten out of the 6th and finished up Bondo’s night for him. I suppose he knew that Leyland wouldn’t be too thrilled with the little hissy fit he’d thrown when he got taken out of the game, so Bondo went up to Leyland and sort of cuddled him around the shoulders while, presumably, apologizing for flipping out about Leyland’s decision. Very cute.

The other ‘moment’ was shortly after, when FOX cut to Pudge sitting on the bench right in front of the rail or something, with Bondo standing right behind him. Pudge reached up and back and wrapped his hands around the sides of Bondo’s head, pulling him forward for a second before they both looked over and were sort of like, “Oops, cameras.” The thing about this gesture is that it’s something I see around my apartment all the time… it’s something that my roommate and her boyfriend do immediately prior to an affectionate peck on the cheek or something. So when I saw Pudge do it with Bondo here my brain kind of went, “Awww, that’s sweet…. woah woah woah, wait a second.”

Game 5 tonight, assuming it doesn’t get rained out, which I guess is a pretty big assumption. Everyone’s been saying such-and-such a game is a ‘must-win’ for the Tigers, but this one actually IS, finally, a must-win game. Lose this, and that’s it. End of the season. I really, really don’t want that happen, and I don’t think you do either. Verlander/Weaver. Death and destruction. Go Tigers.

World freakin’ Series Game 3: Cut up

That’s what Chris Carpenter did. He just absolutely chopped up and cut through our lineup. Nate didn’t pitch all that poorly, but we were just flat out dominated today. There’s little more that you can say.

Chris freakin’ Carpenter.

(anyone check him for pine tar?)
(kidding, kidding)

Zoom looked rusty but hey, when was the last time he worked in a game proper, right? I don’t know what he was thinking tonight, throwing to third like that, but whatever. I do feel pretty certain that no matter how “100%” they claim his wrist is, there’s no way in kitten hell that he’d be pitching if these were just regular season games.

Now I feel a little bad about laughing at Molina the other night, because when Pudge took a ball off the “inner thigh” tonight, he looked like he was in an AWFUL lot of pain.

Oh, and David Eckstein? It’s a walk. WALK. W-A-L-K. Not a run. Not a free jogging pass. A walk. So why don’t you WALK instead of racing down to first like the scrappy little tool that you are? I expect that kind of behavior out of a little leaguer playing for the first time in front of national TV cameras, not from a veteran MLB shortstop.

But, basically, Chris freakin’ Carpenter. Says it all, right there.

World freakin’ Series Game 2: addendum

OK. Between football, baseball, and the art school, I’ve had about 8 hours of sleep over the last 3 nights combined. Hence that last post. I’ll let its incoherence stand.

Photos from the game are up and you can find them all right here. Best I could manage from way up in the 300 level but man, a World Series game! I was gonna take the photos whether they were at all likely to come out or not.

You can see the problem here. This wass the view from our seats with no zoom whatsoever:


Pretty far off, ya?

So it’s to be expected that something like this shot of Sparky on the mound didn’t come out too splendidly.

Ah well.

Here’s the thing about that game.

I know for some people, going to a World Series game is not that big of a deal. I assume everyone gets at least a little psyched up by it, but some people go to a bunch of divisional games, and a couple World Series games, and it’s just another really exciting game to attend. I had never been to a postseason game of any description– I was, of course, stuck out in Michigan during the World Series in 2004.

I had never sat as high up in a ballpark as I did for Game 2. I’ve sat in the proverbial boonies at Fenway, but the proverbial boonies at Fenway are just not as high up or as far away as you can get at Comerica. We weren’t in the outfield or anything, and we actually had a pretty good view of the plate, but man, the upper bits of the 300s are waaaay up there. And when everyone’s on their feet jumping around, the floor shakes like the entire stadium is going to come crashing down, which is HIGHLY disconcerting.

The good bit is that, if you’re sufficiently high up, you’re actually under cover. That’s not to say we stayed dry, of course, because rain blows in, but at least we weren’t sitting right at the edge of the little roof where all the water came pouring down in sheets onto the unfortunate fans in those seats. If they stayed put, those people must have had incredible dedication, because that looked like about the most miserable thing imaginable.

So we were sitting all the way up there next to, I might add, a woman who had gone beyond drunk and into some mystical realm of inebriation. Friendly, but still. She kept calling Sean Casey “Shelton”, and, when corrected, announced that he was a jerk and took first base away from Big Red. Kenny Rogers was “the broaster” (?), and the first time Inge came up to bat she nudged me and said, “He’s got a tickler, huh?”, which caused me no end of horror.

I was so chilled that by the end of the game I couldn’t feel my feet anymore. I’ve had a cold for a week that I think I probably recaught. I was frustrated all game by trying to handle a camera and a scorecard and a pencil with frozen fingers made clumsy by gloves. I had beer spilled on my feet. I had to crane to see home plate around the people sitting in front of us sometimes. We lost our parking lot after the game and had to wander around searching aimlessly for it. And it was the best time I’ve had at a baseball game all year.

Throughout the entire game I just kept sitting there saying, “I can’t believe I’m at a World Series game. I can’t believe I’m at a World Series game. I have a huge critique tomorrow morning and I can’t believe I’m at a World Series game.” It’s been two days and I have the scorecard and the photos and the scratchy throat to prove it, and I STILL can’t believe I was at a World Series game. I know it’s not such a huge deal for some people, but for me, man.

Basically my dad is a hero for getting the tickets.

Anyways.

Jeff Weaver and Juan Encarnacion were both booed heartily by the crowd. Weaver got the worst of it, I think because the crowd remembered his rattle-ability from his Tiger days. I’d only ever heard ARod get that kind of long, drawn-out, Darryl-Strawberry-taunting call from a ballpark before. “Weeeeeaaaaaaavvvveeeeerrrrrrrrrr.” Molina’s repeated trips to the mound only encouraged the crowd to believe that they were having an effect. “WEEEEEEAAAAAVVVVVEEEERRRRR.” Encarnacion just got straight-up booed. Both were ridden much harder than Pujols was, for whatever that’s worth.

And I really have to say that the Kenny Rogers “incident” was a total non-issue at the time. I realize that it’s all that anyone’s been talking about since, but during the actual game there was no announcement, no indication that anything at all was amiss. I’ve seen the closeup photos, and I guess it could be pine tar, but it was also REALLY wet out there and, you know, the rosin bag gets tossed into the dirt; I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kenny picked up some mud that way.

In any event, two things here strike me as important. One, whatever it was on his hand, it couldn’t have been all that vital, because Kenny masterfully shut down the Cards AFTER he had cleaned it off. Two, if it WAS pine tar… well, you can be bloody well sure that he wouldn’t be the only one in baseball doing that. I suppose it’s possible that The Russa didn’t make a stink about it because some of HIS pitchers are doing the same things. I don’t know. I just have a hard time believing that the Cardinals would let Kenny Rogers off the hook on this if they sincerely believed he was doctoring the ball and/or knew that their own pitchers weren’t.

Oh, and Todd Jones? That needs to never, ever happen again. The whole stadium was on its collective feet, screaming, towels a-waving for those final outs. And then… Todd Jones happened. I know that this is what Jonesy does, I know that we should be used to it by now, but SWEET FANCY KITTENS that was NOT something that I needed to ever experience. Can you even imagine if Kenny had pitched that amazing game and then Jones pissed it away in the 9th like he so very nearly did? I can’t even. Oh man. The attitude in the ballpark was one of shock; it was happening before our eyes but no one really believed what they were seeing. If they HAD lost, I don’t even know what would have happened. Death and destruction, probably.

But he held on. I am calm. I am over it. Whatever. What a win. What a win.

Game 3 tonight. Time to laugh hysterically at Nate batting and hope against logic that we can pull this one off.

World freakin’ Series Game 2: Kenny Rogers Owns My Soul

was at this game. tired and incoherent. better post tomorrow (later today) probably.

kenny rogers was sick. SICK. had no idea what the deal with the umps coming out to talk to him was until the car ride home; no telling what’s going on from up in the 300 level. sure some cards fans will whine it was pine tar. he pitched great after he cleaned his hand off. no doubt. kenny rogers owns my soul. and yours.

never been to a world series game before. insane. INSANE. mostly: SO FREAKIN’ COLD. also, packed. also, towel waving looks much cooler in person than it does on tv.

brandon inge’s first postseason hit, and me there to see it in person. obviously it’s because he loves me.

sat next to a very loud, very friendly, very very drunk woman. craig monroe was her tiger.

players made a point of coming over and individually hugging alan trammell before the pregame ceremonies, don’t know if they showed that on tv or not. so cute. tram’s bald spot: ginormous when viewed from the 300 level. bondo came over to say hi to sparky anderson and shook his hand in a weird half-bow like he was in awe.

juan encarnacion got hella booed. also, many ‘weeeeeeaaaaavvvveeeerrrrr’ chants.

the sound in the ballpark when they replayed the pitch that bounced up and hit molina in the gonads was great. a kind of collective male squeal.

spotted jeannie zelasko wandering around the sideline before the game, was wondering who the dude with awful hair with her was. then i realized. ha ha, oh eric byrnes, the long black jacket is incapable of classing up that dead echidna on your noggin.

took photos, of course. 300 level, so they’re not great, but i took them anyways. in southfield for the night, can’t get the photos on the internet until probably much later monday. will post a link when they’re up.

so, so very tired. world series baseball in person. i still can’t quite believe it.

better post, and photos, eventually. caps, even, if you’re good.

World freakin’ Series Game 1: Reyes the Roof

I’m almost, almost ashamed of that pun. But not really. Because the Tigers should be more ashamed.

Not to take anything away from Anthony Reyes, of course, not a bit of it. The kid pitched his little red feathery tail off out there, and after a dicey first inning he just was never in trouble. That’s crazy. You’ve gotta just nod in respect. And his socks were fantastic. Not so keen on the flat hat brim, but one can’t have everything.

But what I saw, what a Tigers fan would have seen (and again, taking nothing away from the Cards, who played good baseball) was some striped sloppiness. I’m not even talking about Inge’s two errors, I’ll get to those in a minute. I mean the Tigers took one walk, ONE, a SINGULAR WALK, all game long. Part of that was Anthony Reyes pitching the game of his life, but part of that was Tigers batters NOT TAKING WALKS, something that we who have followed the Tigers for a while now (heck, even people who just started following them this season) are all too familiar with. This is not a patient team. I guess we’ve all made our peace with it in one way or another, and it worked out OK this season, but. But but but.

You remember how startled the A’s pitchers were by the fact that the Tigers were taking a lot of pitches and not taking a lot of reckless cuts? Some of them were miked up and were even caught marveling over it with their teammates. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Tigers showed some patience and the Tigers blew away the A’s. Just because hacking away more or less worked all regular season doesn’t mean we should stick with it, boys.

Anthony Reyes, as good as he was pitching, did not manage one walk over 8 innings all by his lonesome. I’m looking at YOU, bottom 4 batters in the order.

And Verlander, oy, poor kid. He was throwing hard all game (as the many strikeouts, and in a way the two home runs as well, show), but he was in trouble a lot, and you just can’t be in trouble a lot against a lineup that has Albert Pujols in it. If there was any doubt that he was letting his head get in his way, the throwing error in the 6th should have dispelled it. Justin Verlander, possessor of one of the best right-handed pick-off moves in baseball, throwing the ball wildly away at first? I don’t know if it was nerves or frustration or what, but there was something going on in his head that was affecting his play, and that error was a glaring symptom of it.

Alright, alright. Speaking of errors…

Two errors on the same play? Ouch, Brandon, ouch. You wound us. That whole play (and indeed that whole inning) was as hideous as a closeup of Jason Giambi’s face. That said… the initial error on Inge, yes, he failed to field the ball. But in his defense (unintentional pun ahoy!), the ball took a MIGHTY STRANGE hop there before it got to him. So he didn’t make the play, but it wasn’t going to be an easy play to make in the first place.

The second error, the obstruction call… um, what? I would probably benefit from seeing the play a few more times, and my understanding of the obstruction rule and its application is sketchy at best (and, nearing 3 am, I am not inclined to go digging for the precise wording of it), but, seriously, what? From what I saw (which, again, disclaimer, was only the play, a couple of times, while also keeping at least one eye on everyone else in the room at the time to make sure no one ate my Chinese leftovers or anything) it looked like Rolen had a much better chance of seeing Inge than Inge had of seeing Rolen.

I can’t remember if Inge glanced back over his shoulder or not, but nothing about that play looked like he meant to get in Rolen’s way. He just staggered off to the side, bent with the horror of the error he had already made, and Scott Rolen came charging wide off of third base, huffing and puffing like a man who knows that if he doesn’t hustle his skipper will finally have a solid excuse to cane him in front of his teammates. With Inge facing, as near as I could tell, down the basepath towards the plate, Rolen ran into the back of him and did a little Captain Kirk shoulder roll onto the grass before getting up and hurtling messily home, where he was out, but later called safe on this mysterious “obstruction” business.

Now, this was the difference between 6 and 7 runs, so it wouldn’t have mattered in the end anyways, except for Brandon Inge’s bruised pride and confidence. But it really didn’t look intentional on Inge’s part, and it seemed like if Rolen had been running with his head up, or hadn’t turned quite so wide and had stuck more closely to the line, he could have pretty easily avoided a collision. If someone feels like enlightening me, please do. I just find it a little puzzling.

A bad loss, because it was frustrating to see Verlander show such vulnerability, and it was frustrating and a little scary to see the bats revert to that end of the regular season form. No. We went through that once already, we DON’T WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN. About the only good thing you can point to is the bullpen, which managed to flip through almost everybody, but almost everybody was perfect.

I’ll be at the potential rainout that is tomorrow’s game, so there should be some cruddy, too-grainy, dark, far-away photos you can look forward to eventually. Hopefully Kenny can set his foot down sternly and slap some sense into his teammates; I’d feel a lot better if we could actually, y’know, win some games at home.