cartoon by Samara Pearlstein
The gates have opened, the hot dogs are roasting (or whatever it is they do to make those things nominally cooked). The lights are on, the grass, despite the temperature, is green. Rod and Mario have returned to their accustomed booth. Paws has swept the dust from home plate. It’s the home opener!
And the Tigers won. Which is great, because I had scrawled spring cleaning Paws up there before the game, and his smugly pleased expression would have looked awkward if we’d lost. Thanks for that, Cats.
FredFred gets the win, and although he only went five innings (87 pitches), he looked sharp. He gave up two runs: a singleshot homer from Travis Hafner, and an RBI single from Mike Redmond, who stayed with the ball way deep into the strikezone and just poked it through the defense. Porcello didn’t look that bad in either at-bat. And did I mention how cold it was during the game? Because it was apparently cold. Miserably, Detroit-ly cold. Not-great-for-pitchers-ly cold. FredFred handled it well. It could have been more efficient, it could have been a little cleaner, but I am content.
Inge on Porcello’s lack of big game jitters, after the game: “He’s a better guy than I am, I dunno. He’s toeing the mound with 50,000 people out there and it doesn’t look like it bothers him at all.”
Scott Sizemore got his very first big league hit! A single with one out and a man on in the fifth. He eventually came around to score on a hilarious series of bad defensive events on the part of the Racist Logos. I’m just glad he got it out of the way before the season wore on much longer; if he started pressing to get that first hit, it probably would not have ended happily. (As an aside: in this game, there were two Sizemores [Scott and Grady] and two Cabreras [Miguel and Asdrubal].)
A note on how cold it was: the loudest cheers of the day were on the few occasions when the sun came out. The first time it happened, Rod and Mario had just mentioned Ernie Harwell. Suddenly the sun comes out and the crowd roars. They couldn’t have planned it better, unless Rod Allen can control the clouds with his mind, which I guess is a possibility that must be considered.
Jim Leyland, after the game:
–Porcello wasn’t sharp by his own admission, couldn’t get strike one, had a little trouble with his control, but it was a good sign he could come out when he wasn’t on top of his game and still get the win.
–Agrees that we need to start doing better against starting pitchers.
–He’s “never one to look for excuses”, won’t blame FredFred’s lack of ‘feel’ on the weather. Claims he thought it was going to be brutal, but wasn’t as bad as he expected. “Fans got excited when the sun came out a few times, and so did I. I mean, I’m old. It felt good, believe me.”
FredFred, after the game:
— “In regard to some of the other guys in this clubhouse, I haven’t done much. It’s a good start and I’m happy with what I’ve done so far, but it’s a long season ahead of us…”
–Struggled with his command early in the counts, rest of the team backed him up.
–Agrees with Leyland that the weather was not much of a factor, says he was just a little erratic.
–He was pretty amped up, especially for the first inning. “I was prepared for it, but at the same time, you can’t help being a little excited out there.”
–Calls Joel ‘Zoomy’.
Damon, after the game:
— “We are definitely going to count on all 25 guys here, and also some guys we had to send out at the end of the spring…. you need everybody, guys you can count on, guys like Raburn, guys like Santiago, Kelly. You need those types of players and these guys, they fit well into the system. I think that’s why we’re going to be a very good team.”
–On the burgeoning beard: “It feels a little messy [reporters laugh]. I would shave it, but we’ve been playing good baseball. Who cares what I do? I’ll sacrifice a few o-fers for team victory.”
— “I promise you there’ll be some hits in my future, and some contribution.” Said this with a grin, the reporters laughed.
Phil Coke, after the game:
— “It was a hairy situation, felt like I went out there and handled the hairy situation… Everybody’s got to do something, I might as well make it interesting once or twice.” Stands up, goes on to say that he can’t stand doing that really, felt like he let down his teammates a little bit.
— “It’ll get better from here, I promise.”
–He has freckles! Thank you, HD.
–Asked about how the bullpen feeds off of each other, he starts talking about how they do, and they rally ’round when you might have a guy who struggles. Then he takes himself and his performance today as an example. Holy cats, someone needs to go in there and give the man a hug.
Seriously, Coke faced five batters. He gave up no hits and no runs. He inherited one baserunner, who did not come around to score. He walked two guys and had to leave them for Zoom to deal with, which must be what has got him so down, but Zoom didn’t let either one of them score. It’s not that bad, Phil Coke! Please cheer up!
Tim Allen, Detroit area native, in the booth in the second inning:
–Sadly admits that he is a Lions fan.
–Hates on the FSND headset, says it’s like something “from the ’30s”, asks why they don’t have Bluetooth yet.
–Expresses surprise that Dave Dombrowski went to Western Michigan and got a good job (Allen himself went to Western).
–Big fan of Dave Bing, thinks he respects the city and knows what needs to happen.
–People ask him to do the Buzz Lightyear voice all the time, but it’s disturbing for small children, because he doesn’t look like Buzz Lightyear. Says it’s like a kid seeing a guy in a Mickey Mouse suit with the head off.
Mario, asking about Tim Allen’s comedy start in Detroit: “Were you funny back then?”
Tim Allen: “I’m gonna knock you out. If I can get this headset off, I’m gonna knock you out.”
things Rod Allen said:
— “You know what they say, there ain’t no party like a Detroit party, and that’s absolutely a known fact.”
— “This much I do know, he’s got a big league name! AUStin JACKson!”
Magglio had another good day, Inge had a good day. Adam Everett had yet another hit. The Tigers turned three double plays once again. It would be nice if all of this could have resulted in runs WITHOUT the necessity of a Racist Logo screw-up, but I guess a win is a win. Happy Home Opener to us all.