photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Sigh. I don’t even have the heart to crack a properly uncomfortable joke about this one.
I hate errors, I really do. Not that I think Chris Lambert would have been A-OK without the errors in this one; he was falling apart pretty hard in the third, and back-to-back homers to start the inning had nothing to do with the fielding behind him. But giving up six runs in your first big league start is rough enough without only two of them being earned. That’s rough on a whole other level, because now the poor guy is feeling cruddy about his pitching ability AND will be spending a while wondering, ‘Aw, but… what if?…’
It’s also not that I think we would have won this game if it wasn’t for the errors. I mean: Cliff Lee, you guys, seriously, I feel like we should be saying THE Cliff Lee. Versus Chris Lambert, who was so nervous that his legs were shaking on the bench between innings when FSN zoomed in on him. Poor kid. You kinda just wanted to go up there and give him a great big hug and tell him it would all be OK, the season was over long before today anyways.
I’m actually not sure that a blogger hugging him would have been much comfort (probably more like, ‘Auugh!! Blogger! It touches me with fingers it uses to MAKE WORDS ON THE INTERNET!’), but still, y’know, he inspired those kinds of feelings. In short, this was not a game that was leaning in our favor anyways.
The errors just made it so much worse. They added untold amounts of anguish to poor Lambert’s sufferings on the mound, and they made it hard for a fan to watch the game. It’s one thing to watch Cliff Lee strike your guys out; it’s another thing entirely to watch a two-out ball squirt past your outfielder, thus prolonging an inning that should have been over AND bringing in another run that never should have scored. The former is merely par for the course when it comes to annoying baseball. The latter is the kind of thing that makes you really understand the need for those foam bricks they sell specifically for throwing at your TV.
The four runs scored off of Aquilino Lopez were also not too much fun, but he was in there after only 2.2 innings, and it’s hard to blame the bullpen when excessive demands are placed upon it.
The best moment of the game, by FAR, was a simple foul ball that popped up and back, towards the Racist Logo dugout. Inge tossed aside his mask and chased after it, leaning over the rail hopefully. The ball bounced harmlessly on the dugout floor and I think back into the crowd. Inge kind of looked around for a second, saw a spare ball sitting on the back side of the dugout wall, scooped it up with his glove and held it aloft, pretty much completely deadpan.
The umpires, of course, did not buy it for a second, but it was a hilarious attempt. Eric Wedge in particular seemed to be beside himself with mirth.
So that was the highlight: our catcher being his usual ridiculous self on a pointless foul ball. Hooray team. I’ll also note that Inge’s hair looks like it’s growing back in nicely, and I hope he learned his lesson and NEVER LETS FREDDY DOLSI ‘CUT’ HIS HAIR AGAIN.
Oh, and you guys know that instant replay is coming, right? Blah blah blah, Tigers have things to say about that, blah blah.
…[Kenny Rogers said,] “It’s part of the game. It’s the beauty of the game. I mean, mistakes are made. It’s not like anybody wants to make mistakes, especially the umpire. They’re doing the best they can, and that’s always enough. The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”
“I’m against it for a lot of different reasons,” [Kenny] Rogers said, “but mainly because I think it’s just a slap in the face of umpires that have been around a long time. And they’ve done a very good job with difficult situations in all aspects. So they get calls wrong once in a while. We’ve all done things wrong once in a while. I wish we could take them back. It’s not part of the game. It’s not part of life.”
“I don’t think we have to follow the direction of other sports,” Rogers said. “I think our game is beautiful the way it is. Subtle changes here and there are OK to a degree, but I think they’ve made quite a few changes over the last 50 years.”
[Brandon Inge’s take on it:] “Me personally, I don’t like it, because I’m also about the tradition of a game. I would think that Babe Ruth and Teddy Ballgame might be rolling in their graves about stuff like this. This is why people come to the games, to see the human interaction. You have the umpire calling the game, when it’s his call, he’s doing his best.”
Jason Beck/MLB.com article
Baseball players hate change. SHOCKING, I know. But I also entreat you to examine the first paragraph I’ve pulled here, where Kenny says, “The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”
First sentence: no. This is not kindergarten, Kenny. Your best effort is not always enough, especially if your best effort is, say, terrible, or demonstrably WRONG. I know that a lot of people in baseball really really REALLY want to believe in the Gold Star for Effort Theory of Baseball Management, but many very smart people have proven that this is usually a bad way to run things. Nobody is denying that a professional baseball player has a tough job, or that a professional MLB umpire has a tough job, but in this day and age you (should) no longer get a gold star for effort. You (should) get a gold star for ACTUALLY DOING WELL. This is true for players and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be true for umpires.
Second sentence: what? Seriously, what is he talking about there? A certain hierarchy? I don’t even know. I mean, is he pointing fingers at… I can’t even begin to guess. Owners? Managers? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? The military hierarchy? The patriarchy? What?
Next please examine the Brandon Inge quote that says, “This is why people come to the games, to see the human interaction.”
Do you guys really go to baseball games to see the human interaction? I mean, I can see human interaction at my local Dunkin Donuts, I don’t really need to shell out for baseball tickets to get my human interaction fix. I usually go to professional baseball games to see baseball played by people who are good at baseball. But maybe there are people out there who go specifically to see the delicate human interaction between the umpire and… the strikezone? The poignantly evocative human interaction between the umpire and the manager when the manager comes out onto the field to scream at the umpire that he’s a blind idiot who isn’t fit to hold the manager’s jockstrap?
I dunno, guys. You tell me.
Mr. Leyland, give us some sanity.
“I like it for home runs,” Leyland said on Sunday. “I think a home run should be a home run. It’s tough to see in some of these places.”
When told that the system would go into place this weekend, Leyland said, “Fine with me.”
Jason Beck/MLB.com article
Wednesday. There is a game. 7:05 pm EDT. Tigers vs. Racist Logos. Justin Verlander The Inefficient vs. Dr. Fausto Carmona. We’re looking to avoid the sweep. Maybe we’re also looking to see some incredible human interaction. Maybe SOME OF THE BASEBALL PLAYERS WILL TALK TO SOME OF THE OTHER BASEBALL PLAYERS. I don’t know about you guys, but gosh, I can’t wait! Go Tigers!