the Detroit way: long AND hard!

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Be the game 13 innings (long) or a one-run squeaker in the 9th with a man at third base (hard), the Tigers seem to be able to find ways to win. And Tigers bloggers find excuses for shameless use of cheap innuendo.

long cat is long! by Samara Pearlstein

If you don’t quite understand what’s going on with the longPaws image up there, you may need to be educated about the legend of the longcat. Beyond that, it’s a longPaws for a longGame, you see.

What a crazy series. I don’t think I even knew where my own head was by the end of that Saturday night marathon. How amazing was that game? Bondo had his usual little bit of first inning trouble, and then settled down into proper Bondonian pitching form. Kason Gabbard (Kason FREAKIN’ Gabbard!!) went 6.1 while giving up only 3 hits. Who would have predicted that a matchup of Jeremy Bonderman and Kason Gabbard would turn into a pitching duel? If you say you were predicting that, you are a filthy liar and we are going to have to poke you with sticks.

You have to understand, I was watching this game with a large number of older, bitterly sarcastic Red Sox fans (“If Manny swings at the first pitch again, I sweah to Gawd, I’m gonna lose it”), which meant that I had to keep somewhat quiet. My internal dialogue, therefore, was something like this:

Red Sox Fan Brain: Julio Lugo is a piece of dirt. Why is he here? Why is he making money?
Tigers Fan Brain: Thank cats Lugo is in the lineup here. It’s such a nice break for our bullpen. Like being in the NL and throwing to the pitcher.
RSFB: What is he doing? Is he striking out? I think I just vomited inside my own mouth.
TFB: Yay! Tigers pitching!
RSFB: Walking Big Papi? Talk about disrespect to Manny!
TFB: This is 100% the right move. Ortiz will kill you in a pressure situation 8 times of 10. I just made that stat up.
RSFB: I like that stat, even if it is only a product of our fevered imagination.


TFB: Bondo! Bondo! Bondo! Bondo!
RSFB: Kason Gabbard! C’mon! It’s like watching a man with no hands successfully throwing the ball! He’s holding his own! It’s IMPRESSIVE!
TFB: Bondo! Bondo! Bondo! Bondo!
TFB: What’s a Kason?
RSFB: What’s a Bondo?
TFB: What’s your mom?
RSFB: The same as your mom.
TFB: Oh, snap.

A glorious example of Tigers/Red Sox brain explodey. Because that game. That GAME.

I will say two things.

One: the bullpen acquitted themselves very well in this one. We’ve been hard on the lads, and in truth they’ve richly deserved it, but everyone did what we asked of them. Some even did rather more than we would like to ask of them. I’m talking in particular about everyone’s favorite mustachioed, much-mocked and much-Photoshopped Todd Jones. Not only did he pitch TWO scoreless innings in that game, he then came out TODAY and pitched another scoreless inning. How was his arm not falling off? How did he not manage to float something in there that would destroy the game? How?

Two: when Gary Sheffield came across homeplate to score the winning, walk-off run, he kicked it. Like he kicked his foot across it, towards Varitek’s retreating back. Was it just excitement? A big “screw you guys” to Papelbon (and ‘Tek?) for the fact that he had been hit by a pitch? Whatever it was, I didn’t like it. It seemed bush league. The HBP wasn’t intentional and if he’s just excited there’s still no reason to show up the other team like that, especially when the opposing pitcher is still basically just a kid. Ugh. Wanker.

As for Sunday’s game, eh, it was messy and I was equally upset with Matsuzaka (where is the DOMINANCE, kid?!) and with Leyland for leaving Nate in as long as he did (dude is CLEARLY throwing on fumes, get him OUT OF THE GAME before the game gets so close that we all have to get cardiac-ed by Jonesy), and with some of the seemingly sloppy play in the field (maybe a result of the heat, though).

What sticks out, about Sunday’s game, is that catch Curtis Granderson made.

If you didn’t see it, someone (I think Wily Mo Pena) hit a ball that seemed destined for homerunhood. Granderson leapt at the wall, caught the ball OVER the wall, and fell to the ground, sno-coning the thing but somehow still holding onto it. It was unreal. You don’t see that stuff outside of video games, usually.

There’s almost nothing I can say about the catch, it was so good, so I had to ‘shop some wings onto Granderson and leave it at that. If you didn’t see it, find out some way to do so. It is a thousand times worth it.


23 responses to “the Detroit way: long AND hard!

  1. “2/3 of the earth is covered by water. The rest is covered by Curtis Granderson.” -random sign I saw at a Tigers game.
    So true!

  2. One of the very best catches I have ever seen. Curtis is outstanding!

  3. Hooray for cheap innuendo, the Tiger bullpen and split personalities.
    Just don’t let that Angels in the Outfield kid do his “I see angels” dance … just can’t take that.

  4. And hooray for YouTube too:

    Amazing grab!

  5. Ah-MAZing grab. I think Curtis Granderson is my tiger! No, Marcus Thames! No, Todd Jones! Aw, they are all my tigers.
    Uh, Samara, I don’t mean to upset you, but I kinda love crazy ol’ Sheff now. I mean, he was so freakin’ clutch this weekend! It seemed he was always at bat with 2 outs, and always got on base!!! It was ridiculous.

  6. Sheff came off as a total dick, but he has always been a dick. This year he is our laser hitting smack talking plate kicking complete terror of a total dick.
    If he was a Latino player, that would have never happened.
    I kid.
    but that Grandy catch was absolutely undunkulous.
    And you internal fan bickering is golden.
    I love this blog.

  7. Curtis Granderson is everyone’s Tiger. We have to share him, because the awesome is too great for one person to claim it. It’d be like trying to hold the sun. :P
    //If he was a Latino player, that would have never happened.//
    Ha ha, OF COURSE! Because if he was a Latino player, he wouldn’t be feeling the need to act like a ween towards the team, he would be all BEATEN DOWN BY THE MAN and totally CONTROLLED. But you CAN’T CONTROL GARY SHEFFIELD! Gary Sheffield doesn’t need to win with CLASS! Classiness is for those under the thumb of oppression!

  8. You can’t do that to home plate where Sheff comes from, cuz home plate just wouldn’t take it! How you gonna oppress home plate like that, Sheff?
    Curtis is indeed Everyone’s Tiger, and I’m now pretty sure that he’ll one day be governor of Michigan. At least. Nice catch. (The Endy Chavez/Scott Rolen robbage from last Oct was maybe better, but this is Curtis.)

  9. “Home Plate doesn’t care about black people”
    – Kanye West… err Gary Sheffield
    that is all. I am done.

  10. Dave B Wagner

    The infamous Sheffield quote this year wasn’t the most tactful display in the world, but it was also taken completely out of context. His point was simply that Major League Baseball exploits any player they can find a way to exploit. His standard silly hyperbole and digressions didn’t help, but his argument was actually fairly sound, if utterly simplistic.
    Anyway, I can’t remember which pitch it was, but Sheff was hit about a zillion times this series and the one that happened at the game I was at (Friday) was almost certainly intentional (it was a fastball that he was barely able to turn his back to in time). I imagine that sort of thing becomes tiresome to him after awhile, and I can see why he might hold a bit of a grudge toward the Sox pitching staff.
    And now I am through with my Gary Sheffield Apologist Rhetoric for today. You’ve been great.

  11. Whit, I love that sign! It needs to be a t-shirt.
    I just keep wondering what kind of wondersome wonder must Cameron Maybin be if they are going to move Curtis out of CF for him??
    Also, I’m with Dave. I was reading more about that interview, and I think it was taken out of context. Also, I would kick the plate, were I a former Yankee who had to play the Sox twenty times every year. He probably had is fair share of fights with that team.
    Okay okay, I’ll keep my defense of the Arrogant Sheff to myself from now on.

  12. I understand the context in which Sheff made those comments. I even explained that I understood that when they first came out. There is a point to be made about baseball’s exploitative habits with regards to Latin players. However, that point cannot be made with ridiculous blanket statements about race (“this is what my race demands”, “you’re going to see more black faces, but there ain’t no English going to be coming out”, etc.).
    And however much he may protest the point, or cry “context!”, I DO think Sheffield was on some level saying that Latin players will behave in a way that is very different from how African American players behave. When he starts out by saying “Where I’m from, you can’t control us,” you could make the argument that he’s talking about American vs. foreign-born players, and how MLB has more of a hold over foreign-born players… which I think is true and could/should warrant discussion. But he goes on to say “These are the things my race demands.” He’s not talking about Americans vs. non-Americans. “American” is a nationality, not a race. He’s talking about black players vs. Latin players. I absolutely do not see anything else he could have said surrounding those quotes (contexxxxt) that would change the meaning there.
    Now, maybe Gary Sheffield is too goddamn dumb to know the difference between race and nationality. That would be a whole other argument. However much I generally dislike him, I don’t think Gary Sheffield is that dumb.

  13. Dave B Wagner

    Both sides in this argument have to make assumptions, because, frankly, making coherent points isn’t Sheffield’s strong suit (nor should it be expected to be). I have no background with Sheffield, and thus find it more sensible to credit him with positive intentions than negative ones.
    Indeed, he was clearly talking about black players vs. latin players, but how does that change the message at all? He’s claiming that Latin players would be, in general, more susceptible to equivocating claims by MLB than would black players – i.e., players that, logically, would most likely be more aware of how the system works simply due to the absence of a cultural and linguistic barrier. I don’t know or much care if that’s the case, but I certainly don’t find the assertion terribly offensive. Maybe I’m missing what you specifically have objection with.
    As for “these are the things my race demands”, well, I’ve got nothing.
    You don’t like Sheffield due to some apparently doubtlessly traumatic episode(s) from the Sox/Yankee rivalry that I’m not aware of. That’s cool. I don’t, however, think that bias (however justified) makes it fair to interpret his welter of poor word choices and hyperbole as racism. Again, it’s possible I’m missing something here, but I think it’s more likely we’re just elucidating his statement in ways reflecting our own specific preconceptions (or lack thereof).
    All that aside, I think it’s a whole lot more fun to think of Sheffield as a jackass than as misunderstood . His statements aren’t exactly groundbreaking however you interpret them, so really, who should give a shit about what he meant?

  14. Well, I suppose my first problem would be that not all Latin players are foreign-born. Zoom is Latino, yes? and is Californian. ARod is a freakin’ Floridian. Manny Delcarmen is a Bostonian born and bred. I know some people who are A’s fans and who love Eric Chavez as a Latino icon… I think I remember reading somewhere that he doesn’t even speak Spanish. Doesn’t mean he’s not Latino.
    You see? I don’t think Sheffield is or was particularly TRYING to be racist, or hateful, or anything like that. Buuuut he’s makin’ a boatload of blanket statements that are by their very nature racist, and expecting no one to call him on it.
    And of course he’s hypersensitive to any statement or behavior that he perceives as racist… towards black players. I guess everyone else is fair game for him?
    It’s true that I’m biased against him from a Red Soxian standpoint. Maybe I would let it slide from someone else (and probably would if there was something like a language barrier, or rookie factor to consider, OR if it wasn’t someone who themselves called RACIST as often as the boy cried wolf). But I’d like to think that, all other things being equal, I wouldn’t.
    And yeah, I’m gonna keep bringing it up in the blog because any way you slice it it’s pretty much hilarious. Of course. What sort of blog would this be if I didn’t? :P But I’m kind of serious in this case, anyhow.

  15. Dave B Wagner

    re: All-Star Game coverage:
    did anyone else think that Eric Byrnes’ dog was trying to escape from him forever?

  16. Um. Yes. That poor dog – I actually muted the damn TV until I saw that something exciting was happening and it was an Ichiro Inside-the-freaking-park-homerun! WOO!
    I totally get the split fan brain because I’ll have it going this weekend at the Tigers/Mariners games. I both love and hate them… I get to see the boys here in Seattle, but I have to endure the stony silence of my son and husband when the Tigers win (thank cats my daughter has decided her primary loyalty is with the Tigers when there’s a conflict).

  17. Eric Byrnes’ dog was my favorite part of the whole thing. I’m workin’ on a ‘shop, ‘tho it probably won’t end up over here.
    Kristina, I wish you luck. It ended up being OK for the Sox, because even though they got swept, they’re plenty far up in their division, while the Tigers really needed those wins to stay up in the Central. So it worked out tolerably for most everyone.

  18. Dave B Wagner

    my family and I were cheering that dog on (can you even imagine being the property of Eric freakin’ Byrnes?). I think he was headed for Alcatraz.

  19. I’m with Samara regarding Eric Brynes dog. I was beginning to feel embarressed because I found it hilarious (I felt so alone in my humor). This morning, article after article spouted about how much they hated the whole Brynes/dog episode. Everyone belly aching that it had nothing to do with baseball. For cryin’ out loud….

  20. I have to say my favorite part was the Simpsons version of Maggs…you know you’ve made it big when the Simpsons makes fun of you! :)

  21. Samara, I just discovered this site and read your rant on Sheff. Why is it that I can understand him perfectly? Now, I don’t think he’s perfect, but he’s so refreshingly honest. I’ve been around guys like him for 30 years of working in an inner city school district. I absolutely believe him when he says Joe Torre treated him differently. And I certanily understand his Latino comments which were right on spot. Unbelievable, we see and hear things so differently. Oh, and I’m the mother of a “not all the way black” child, too. So, I completely understand where he’s coming from on that comment.

  22. Kathryn, while I understand that a) racism as a matter of unfortunate course still exists, that b) Sheffield may very well be coming it at this thing with a basis for complaint, and that c) Sheffield is indeed honest, if nothing else, I have to say this.
    You saying that you absolutely believe Sheffield when he says Torre treated him differently is based in nothing except for your gut feeling about Gary Sheffield. I understand that it is a strong and potentially valid gut feeling. But I have said that I don’t know Torre or the Yankee clubhouse, and thus don’t know if Torre is racist or not– all my comments about it have simply presented a few logical POSSIBLE refutations to Sheff’s statements. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you also don’t know Torre, or the Yankee clubhouse. Feel free to correct me if this is not the case.
    You are choosing to take Sheffield’s comments at face value. I am choosing to say that I would like to see some evidence other than the word of a man who had a number of personal disputes with the Yankees and Joe Torre himself during his time there, and who has displayed every evidence of a grudge-holding character.
    The Latino comments are a typical Sheff-ism: a nugget of truth surrounded by a boatload of crazy and overgeneralization. As above, I invite you to consider the fact that not every Latino baseball player is foreign-born, and work from there.
    Almost all of this, up to and including the “not all the way black” stuff, would be acceptable coming from another person. Even another ballplayer. This is a matter of CONTEXT. These statements are worthy of scrutiny when they come from Sheff because HE HIMSELF accuses everyone and their kittens of racism.
    If Gary Sheffield wants to set himself up as a hyper-sensitive racism detector, that’s fine. He has every right to do that. However, he can’t do that and turn it around and spout essentially racist stuff back at everyone else.
    I can’t speak for others. But there are two reasons why I happily and repeatedly scrutinize and debate Sheffield’s statements.
    The first reason is because they are freakin’ hilarious, and it is often freakin’ hilarious to dissect them and look at each individual freakin’ hilarious piece by itself. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we’ve failed as human beings. I firmly believe that. :)
    The second reason is the fact that they are coming from Gary Sheffield, man who cried racism, is hypocritical to the max. Which does he want? He can accept casual statements and go after only the big institutionalized stuff, but then he himself can’t get upset over nitpicky things. Or he can nitpick everything, but then he himself has to think more carefully about what he says. You see what I mean? In essence, he’s not treating others as he would like to be treated.
    I’m also curious as to why you commented on this entry and not one of the more current Gary Sheffield-themed ones…. if only so everyone can read more of the debate, because I think open discussion of this stuff is maybe one of the best things to come out of Gary Sheffield’s craziness. Other than the “steroids is something you stick in your butt” comment, of course. :)

  23. A Curtis Granderson, he’s not, but I still love his old school attitude. BTW, I was at the game July 9th and loved when he kicked up dirt at the plate towards the Red Sox dugout. Who else but Sheff would have the balls to do that? Now, that’s old school and maybe not polite and stuff but sooooooo Sheff!

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