illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Another series barely salvaged. Fine. Whatever. We’re done with interleague. I AM DONE WITH YOU, NATIONAL LEAGUE, YOU HEAR?
Sure, the Tigers did win three of their interleague series… but those were against the Pirates, Nationals (without facing Strasburg), and Diamondbacks, all of whom are dead last in their respective divisions. They
split with dropped a serires to the Dodgers and dropped series to the Mets and Braves. The Braves are leading the NL East, with the Mets right behind them. The Dodgers are in third place in the West. So the Tigers played two pretty good NL teams, three wretched NL teams, and one mediocre NL team. They were generally smacked around by the good teams, they beat up on the bad teams, and they split with lost two of three to the mediocre team.
I guess it’s nice that… they did exactly what anyone on the planet could have predicted they would do? It’s just kind of disappointing. It was like settling for the baseline of performance mediocrity, when the Tigers should have been aiming higher. AIM FOR INTERLEAGUE DOMINANCE AT ALL TIMES. They will exit interleague play with a 11-7 record, so it could be worse, but it could have been a lot better. We should have hammered the DH-free snot out of them. AT ALL TIMES.
And now as a result of this last series, we are in a war with Gary Cederstrom. Jim Joyce blows a perfect game for Armando Galarraga and we give him hugs, Gary Cederstrom umpires a series against the Braves and we send him hate-rays with our mind. I don’t really understand how that works, but it is official, Jim Leyland has spoken:
Tigers manager Jim Leyland heard the answer from home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom on the third strike he called on Johnny Damon to turn a potential game-tying walk into a game-ending strikeout Saturday. It didn’t make Leyland feel any better about it.
“I called him after the game,” Leyland said. “I just said, ‘I hope you take a look at the pitch.’ He said, ‘Well, I kicked it.’ I knew that right away, but it was brutal on TV.'”
Cederstrom told reporters after the game Saturday that he watched the replay and “it didn’t look good.”
“He’s right,” Leyland said. “It wasn’t good.”
“That’s just not acceptable in those situations,” Leyland said. “It’s just not acceptable. That’s just the way it is.”
Then today, Sunday, Leyland was ejected after running out to argue when Verlander was thrown out at first on the back end of a maybe-double-play. The umpire there was Fieldin Culbreth, and initially Leyland was beefing at him, but Cederstrom was still the crew chief and when he came over from third base, Leyland abandoned Culbreth and got into it with him. So clearly it is war.
When you compare all this to Leyland’s reactions after the whole Joyce/Armando incident (“It’s a crying shame. After looking at the play, and Jim’s a class guy, this is gonna sound crazy, but after looking at the play, he’s gonna look at the play, and nobody’s gonna feel worse than he does”), it is a little curious. I won’t pretend to fully understand the ways of war, though.
PS: It is estimated that Justin Verlander has thrown 2.7 million pitches on the season thus far.
PPS: Hey, happy Pride Month to those of you who’ve been celebrating!