insert bad joke about sloppy baseball here

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/ 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/ article

Thank you.

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!

16 responses to “insert bad joke about sloppy baseball here

  1. In these slow horrifying torture-like days, I appreciate that you can find something to say. Go Tigers! Exciting Human Interaction!

  2. Your citing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the most exciting human interaction of the week so far for our none-too-excited (or exciting) Tigers…

  3. Love the photo!!!

  4. I think I’m with Brandon. And you said it too, it’s all about watching “people who are good at baseball.” The key word being people. Human interaction not as in interpersonal psychodramas, but as in humans interacting with the rules of the game, the ballpark features, the other players on the field. If the game were played by robots, it would not be interesting and we would not bother with watching it (at least not for the same reasons).

  5. I’ve always been in the “it all balances out” school of baseball umpiring.
    If the ump calls out your runner for “interference” when clearly he was just trying to run to second base and wasn’t interfering with anyone – then maybe later in the game one of your guys will be “hit by a pitch” and get a free pass to first base. (Yes, I’m using blatant examples from last night’s game.)
    I’m really not excited about instant replay, but I guess I’m willing to give it a try. I do wonder what the rush is, though. The original plan was to test it out in the Arizona League this fall. Why try and rush it in at the end of a season? Isn’t there something inherently unfair about having different rules at the end of a season than you do at the beginning? It doesn’t make much sense to me. Bug Selig has no backbone. He got freaked out by all those bad calls at the beginning of the season and now we’ll have to pay for it.
    By the way, I was flipping channels during commercials last night (as a defense mechanism for dealing with bad baseball. I also ate an entire Hershey bar while Lambert was pitching his marathon 3rd) And I came in on the tail end of the whole Brandon-being-Brandon dugout ball fun. Man. Something fun actually happens and I miss it.

  6. In what inning did “Brandon Inge Theatre” occur? I must go back and watch this.

  7. k, I actually started the post assuming it would be short. Turned out I had more to say than I thought. :P
    Yosparky, credit to Kenny! He (possibly?) brought it up first, after all.
    Lisa, thanks! The butter on the baseball turned out better than I thought it would, ha ha.
    Less, the thing is, we’re not trying to replace the umps with robots. We’re not even trying to make instant replay something that’s used all that often. They’re going to use it for the relatively rare disputable homerun. It’s not going to take much of ANYTHING away from the ‘human interaction’ aspects of the game. It’s not like instant replay is going to create homeruns where none were before; it’s just going to clarify what really IS a homerun and what isn’t. I do enjoy that good ol’ human interaction but I also enjoy seeing a homerun awarded when a homerun is actually hit, and I don’t think that’s asking a lot.
    heitk1le, the HBP was indeed lolarious. I don’t think it even caught his jersey… ah well. That’s not an instant replay reviewable play anyways, so that much certainly wouldn’t change. :P
    I think the rush to get instant replay in place was helped along by the blown call against ARod back in May. Actually I guess there were three badly missed calls within four days of each other– so saith this article.
    Ah, Phil, I’m not sure. I think it was while Aquilino was in but that doesn’t really narrow it down. :/

  8. In the back of my head a little voice keeps asking: ‘are we there yet?’ because the 2008 season has becoming one of those bad jokes you laugh at in hopes to lessen the sting.
    Human interaction is overrated anyhow. I prefer watching cars in the parking lot and trying to decipher their language.

  9. David, don’t say that… when baseball is over, there will be little to distract us from the Lions…

  10. Top ‘o the 4th 2 out. That was awesome.

  11. Samara – I’m a Dolphins fan, which is bad but not as bad as being a Lions fan. Fall/Winter is hockey/basketball time. Football has become the punchline to a mean spirited joke.

  12. Phil, excellent! Now all may know and seek out the glory.
    David, the Dolphins are also followed closely in my family, because my mother is from Miami and apparently we’re gluttons for punishment or something. When the Wolverines don’t do well, football season is a very, very bad time of the year for Pearlsteins (except for the small Spartan branch of the family. But those people are freaks, obviously).

  13. ivantopumpyouup

    My family is made up almost entirely of Wolverines and Spartans. I wear a Notre Dame sweatshirt to family functions just to rile them. :D
    Also, thank goodness for Leyland being a beacon of light in all this darkness.

  14. A Notre Dame shirt would not be gladly tolerated in my family. You would probably have to flee for your life.

  15. it seems like there is a promotion every other night — sort of like bobble head night

  16. I kind of dig that, lib, so long as they aren’t soul-suckingly awful promotions. We don’t get any of that in Fenway, so I’m sometimes jealous of other people’s ability to get free swag with their overpriced tickets. :)

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