illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Chad Durbin is retiring. One last pimpin’ outfit for the road.
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Chad Durbin is retiring. One last pimpin’ outfit for the road.
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
I admit that I have been putting this off. As a Tigers fan it is, in general, no big tragedy, but as a blogger, O! The sadness!
The Tigers decided to non-tender Chad Durbin rather than deal with the amount of money he was likely to command in arbitration. Durbin made $385,000 last season, which is eminently reasonable for the type of all-around gofer pitching he did (in relation to the rest of the league; let’s not even get into whether baseball salaries are reasonable or not in relation to the rest of the job market as a whole, ’cause, oy), but if the Tigers had gone to arbitration with him it’s likely that they would have had to pay him in excess of $1 million, which the Tigers obviously thought was too high for a pitcher who wasn’t going to be a permanent starter or a closer. Nothing personal to Chad, of course– the Tigs would have done the same for any pitcher in the same situation.
As a 30-year-old right-handed middle reliever whose 4.72 ERA last season was his best ever in a year where he threw 100+ innings, Durbin is probably not going to make a million bucks, even in the absurdly surreal unpredictable landscape that is this winter’s free agent market. It would not have made sense for the Tigers to sign him for that amount of money. There are spots on the roster where it’s OK for a big-market team to overpay, but middle relief isn’t generally considered one of them. Still, he should be able to glom on with some team or other; hopefully no one in the AL Central or AL East (unless it’s Boston) so that I don’t have to end up rooting against him.
The only reason the Tigers might have wanted to hang on to him would have been to use him as trade bait. His name had been batted around in the Pittsburgh rumors, but evidently that all came to naught.
So this is all very expected, very easy to agree with, very humdrum so far as baseball moves go. Ah, but it is not so simple as that. Why should anyone, aside from family and friends of Mr. Durbin, care much about any of this? Here at Roar of the Tigers, our love for Chad Durbin transcended stats, and game results, and sanity. Why? I reckon it will be worthwhile to examine the (small yet dogged) phenomenon.
If you go back to the very first “Chad Durbin is a pimp” entry, you can see where the phenomenon began. We all fully expected Durbin to be a throw-away pitcher, the kind of guy you put in the game to eat innings because you have nothing better available. In this particular game, the one that started Durbin off on the long sordid road to pimpness, he disabused us of this notion. I quote:
A Chad Durbin who could HOLD THE CHICAGO WHITE SOX SCORELESS FOR 8 INNINGS HOLY FREAKING CATS WHAT.
Eloquence has always been our strong suit here at RotT.
When the guy you’ve been alternately referring to as “cannon fodder” or “the sacrificial ram” comes up and has a game like that, why not imagine him as a pimp, with his moneymakers either strikeouts or opposing players, depending on which direction you prefer for the, uh, metaphor. I wish I could tell you the exact thought process that led to that first pimp post, but that’s not how it works ’round these parts. Why is Neifi!!! a sea slug? Why was Gary Sheffield a giant squid that one time? Why the Spazzosaurus? Why this? All this stuff just seems like a series of natural conclusions and comparisons when I write it. Chad Durbin as a pimp was much the same.
As Chad Durbin continued to occasionally pitch games above and beyond his expected ‘uninspired innings-eater’ role, it became easier to extend the metaphor. Lots of pimp outfits involve tiger stripe fabric, it turns out, and a marvelous world of color changes (to orange, natch) and head swappery and number-as-bling ‘shopping was born.
I had fun with it. Probably more fun than it actually warranted. I looked forward to games where Durbin did well, because I knew that afterwards I could go and pimp him out, and that was fun (and, compared to some other images that end up here, fairly easy) to do in Photoshop. This is, for Roar of the Tigers, the joy of blogging: if I was writing from some mainstream media ‘site, could I be having that much fun with a mediocre replacement starter/middle reliever? Probably not.
And I think that some of you guys (the adored readers, of course) had fun with it too. Maybe one or two of you watched a game where Durbin pitched, and it made you smile to think of the pimp outfit you knew he was going to end up wearing on the filthy degenerate Internets. Thus we were joined together in Fun, and our Fun was facilitated by Chad Durbin.
There was no good reason for this– it was just something that grew up randomly around a few startling outings from this pitcher whom many would call wholly unremarkable. Once we got that pimped-out ball rolling, though, he was no longer unremarkable. I don’t want to get maudlin about this or anything, but I like to think that I was able to enjoy baseball more, even just a tiny bit more, because Chad Durbin was a pimp*. And maybe that’s true for some of you cats too.
That’s part of the joy of being a dedicated, crazy, hardcore baseball fan. It’s not just about cheering for the Verlanders and the Magglios and the Pudges (and the Miguel Cabreras!) of the team. It’s about being able to, as a fan, for basically no good reason, get psyched about the little guys. There are devoted Vance Wilson fans out there, people. Nook Logan had (a small but steady number of) groupies. Actual human females have smiled approvingly at the thought of Fernando Rodney. There were people who were deeply invested in the fate of Omar Infante.
So, yes, there are people out there who will miss having Chad Durbin on the Tigers. We know that his non-tendering is logical and we would probably question Dombrowski’s sanity if he was willing to shell out that much money for a middle reliever. We know all that and agree with it. But still.
Fare thee well, Mr. Durbin, wherever you may end up. Provided it’s not on a team where we have to regularly root against you and hope you fail against our lineup.
* The best kind of pimp, of course: a harmless, goofy parody with ridiculous outfits, no weaponry aside from his cleats or his baseball, and no actual hos. Real pimps aren’t funny. Chad Durbin would spit upon real pimps.
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
I know, I know, Durbin only went 5 innings. But they were 5 PIMP innings, and it has been far too long since we properly acknowledged Chad Durbin’s pimpness around here. Sure, he gave up a pair of doubles and a couple singles, but no runs! And that’s the important bit.
Seventy-eight pitches for someone who’s been tugged between starting and relieving all year is pretty darn good. The poor guy’s been getting mixed messages: we want him to throw short and hard! no, long and steady! no, some weird combination of both! Given all that, he’s remained relatively pimp– which, if you’ve forgotten, means that he’s been startlingly competent for a guy who was supposed to be nothing more than a doorstop of a pitcher in the rotation.
Also pimp today (but not pimp enough to have their own tags): Jason Grilli, Brandon Inge, Sean Casey, Placido Polanco.
OK, OK, maybe Grilli isn’t exactly what anyone would call ‘pimp’, but 2 scoreless innings is all we could ever ask from him. Brandon Inge, continuing to suddenly be able to connect with the baseball, had a bunch of glorious hits, including a home run and a key non-hit that moved the winning run over to third in the bottom of the 9th inning. Sean Casey hit the RBI single that tied the game up. Polanco won it. All of this against the cane toad.
Not AT ALL pimp today: Fernando Rodney. You all know my feelings on all things Fernando, so no explanations needed, but jeez, if we had lost that game…..
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Nate Robertson pitched his little goggles off tonight. With Fernando not available we really reeeeeaaallly needed Nate to go deep, and deep he went. He went 7.2 innings, the most a Tigers starter had gone since Bondo pitched 8 back on July 7 (sad). He had a season-high 9 strikeouts, to which he said, after the game, in gently dismissive tones, “I knew I was striking some guys out… I mean, I don’t have a little ticker in my pocket out there.” Oh, Nate.
He deserved the win. I mean, we’re definitely all fired up to get any kind of win at all, but by the time the 8th rolled around I think we all ESPECIALLY wanted to see Nate get himself that W. The score was 6-2, there was a man on base, and there was only one out left in the inning when Jason Grilli took over from Nate. Easy enough, right?
Ha HA. No. Never with this bullpen.
Grilli gave up some singles to load the bases, and then floated an absolute meatball down the middle of the plate. This meatball ended up a soul-crushing grand slam hit by Jonny freakin’ Gomes. I don’t say “Jonny freakin’ Gomes” because it’s strange that he hit a ball out of the park- it’s not, he’s got 13 home runs on the year. I just say it because ARGH! Seriously! Jonny freakin’ Gomes and the Devil freakin’ Rays!
You could almost feel the air just get completely sucked out of the stadium. Schooom. Grand slam. Tie game. All that glorious Nate pitching gone to waste. So on and so forth.
Then Ryan Raburn, awesome tiger cub that he is, led off the next inning with a double. Suddenly everyone remembered that they had actually WON the night before. All was not dark! All was not lost! All was not tainted with Grilli-ism!
Nate Robertson is not a vengeful man. He’s too nice for that. Instead of griping about being absolutely ROBBED of a win by Grilli, he was propping up Grilli after the game. He’s looking at the big picture. In his postgame chat with FSN he said, “Evaluation of the game? We won.” And that was that.
Random bits from tonight:
–Hey, congrats to Chad Durbin! He’ll be starting tomorrow but, more pimptastically, his wife just gave birth to their first kid, I think this past Friday. Cade Griffin Durbin: that’s a pretty pimp name.
–Ryan Raburn made his first start this year at second base, and was using Brandon Inge’s glove. When asked after the game if he was going to give it back now that he’d had such a good game with it, he said (with some kind of hilarious hick Floridian accent), “Prolly not. An’ y’know, he can pick it pretty good over there wit’ that glove, so hopefully it’ll brang me some luck.”
–Rod Allen, urging Curtis Granderson on while he was up to bat with some men on base: “Curtis needs to spread out, choke up, do whatever you need to do, baby boy, to get that run in…” Baby boy? Eek.
–Tonight we learned that Justin Verlander played golf in high school. He looks like that type.
–At one point the FSN camera focused on Kenny Rogers in the dugout. He was doing something with his hands. Mario wondered if he might be whittling, because that’s what it looked like. Verlander was sitting right up next to Kenny, intently watching whatever it was. FSN got a couple different camera angles on it and finally found one that showed what was in Kenny’s hands clearly.
He had eviscerated a baseball, taken out the core, and was whittling it down with a small knife until he finally cracked it in half and got a look at the black rubber ball at the very center.
My first thought: WHO ALLOWS KNIVES IN THE DUGOUT?! Have we learned nothing from the Emil Brown pellet gun incident? Baseball players are not to be trusted with projectiles other than baseballs or pointy sharp things other than cleats!
Second thought: wow, Kenny must be bored out of his MIND.
Third thought: awww, Justin has such a hero-crush.
–Rod Allen, talking about someone’s timing on the field: “He knew because of the biological clock in his head.” No further comment needed.
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Sorry, Andrew Miller. I know you pitched 6 scoreless innings and managed to get yourself another win despite the fact that you’re so young you’re still wearing Spiderman underwear unironically, but Chad Durbin gets the headline and the leader image, because
a) most everyone else is going to have some kind of awful “Miller time!!!!111!!1eleventy-one LOL!” headline, and I see no need to subject people to more of that sort of thing, and
b) Chad Durbin was in fact pimp.
Instead of being discouraged by his unmerited banishment to the ‘pen, Durbin remained cool, calm, collected, pimptacular. He came in today to pitch 3 scoreless innings with only two hits and one walk. He looked reliable and in charge on the mound.
He ALSO (and this is the good bit) hit a sacrifice fly that went for an RBI! So although he did not manage a hit in his at-bat, he did manage to contribute offensively, and this is A VERY BIG DEAL for a pitcher, especially a newly-minted relief pitcher who, and I cannot stress this enough, was not supposed to be anything at all beyond cannon fodder this season. RBI!! That is DELIVERING THE GOODS. That is PIMP behavior.
Plus he got his very first ever save so, you know, congrats to him for that as well.
We had to face Ledezma again today, which is still weird. THE WOUND IS TOO RAW. Brandon Inge, bless his little high socks, doubled off of him, and then stole third so beautifully that Saltalamacchia (I spelled that without even checking, snap snap etc.) didn’t even attempt a throw. It was as though Inge had timed and anticipated Ledezma’s move perfectly… which is, no doubt, exactly what he did do. Inge may not be the crunchiest kibble in the cat food, but he’s fairly observant when it comes to baseball stuff, and I reckon being Ledezma’s teammate for ages made that steal a whole lot easier.
As for Miller, yeah, perfectly solid start. I would still like to see him working out his offspeed stuff more, and obviously everyone agrees on that… Miller himself said that he wanted/needed to develop his offspeed stuff during a little in-game interview with Peter Gammons. And there was this quote from Pudge after the game:
“He’s going to be a great pitcher,” Rodriguez said. “When he starts to work the slider and the changeup, combined with the sinker and the four-seam fastball, he’s going to be tremendous. He’s doing a good job with basically two pitches. When he becomes a four-pitch starter, he’s going to be very, very tough to hit.”
I would trust Pudge to know.
With all that said, I think it’s clearer than ever where I stand on the issue of the rotation. I want Miller back in Toledo until September. I don’t care if he’s so far above AAA hitters that he’s blowing the snot out of their noses on a regular basis down there. He needs to work on his offspeed pitches, and he’s going to be more free to do so with the Mud Hens than he is as a starter with the big cats.
I know it worked out OK for Verlander (and I was grumbling that we should keep Verlander in the minors longer too, so possibly I have a brain full of kitty litter), but is Miller’s fastball as good as Verlander’s, when Verlander was at the same point in his tender fledgling development? I say that it is not. And it was Verlander’s fastball that had/has to carry him along until everything else comes. Major League hitters haven’t worked out how to get around on Verlander’s fastball yet, because it’s nasty. Miller’s is, I think, more generally hittable, so when hitters start getting used to him, he’s not going to be able to fight back, because he has no other pitches to really fall back on.
*SENSELESS PANIC-MONGERING AND FLAILING*
Oh, and it turns out that Mike Maroth has himself a little blog over on his own website. Here’s what he thinks of the trade. I have inserted paragraph breaks myself to make it… less a giant block of text.
The hardest part of the day came after I threw a bullpen at the stadium. It was time to tell my teammates good bye. I had been on the other side many times with guys getting traded or released but this was different. This team is special. I had been through a lot with the Tigers and grown up in the Big Leagues with a lot of these players.
Some of the guys I have played with for many years and had been through a lot with them. I played with Brandon Inge the longest starting back in AA in 1999 shortly after I was brought over to the Tigers from the Red Sox. My closest relationship is with Nate Robertson and we spent quite a bit of time talking and encouraging each other to press on. I have been used to spending almost everyday during the season with these guys and now that was going to end.
The relationships you build in baseball are special. You spend as much or more time with guys than you do most of your family. Essentially, they become your family. So, to say good bye to them was hard knowing that I was leaving the Tigers as well as the AL so there was a good chance I wouldn’t see a lot of them for awhile. But, It is time to start new relationships in a new organization and for that, I am excited. See you in St Louis!!!
Mike Maroth’s blog
So, OK, we could critique his writing style… oh, how we could critique his writing style… but I expect most of us are going to be too busy sniffling (Colt might actually be sobbing) over the content of that little gem to worry much about the fact that he writes like a middle schooler trying to bang out a book report.
I just want to remind you all that All Star voting ends at midnight of the 28th (that is, when the 28th turns into the 29th), and you NEED TO GET OFF YOUR RUMPS AND VOTE FOR MAGGLIO ORDONEZ. He is VERY DESERVING of an All Star trip, and he NEEDS VOTES, and ZOMG DO IT. Make multiple Yahoo email accounts just for the purpose of voting! You can vote 25 times per email account! MAKE IT HAPPEN, PEOPLE!
Magglio Ordonez needs my help, your help, the help of all of us! MAKE IT HAPPEN, TIGERS FANS. VOTE!
Oh, and did the “argument/discussion” tonight between Jon Miller and Joe Morgan about the definition of a slugger vs. a hitter and how that pertained to Magglio make anyone else want to stab their ears out? Or was that just me?
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
What, all of a sudden we’re offensed out? Or is Jorge Sosa really THAT good? I guess he’s really that good, because the bats sure seemed like they were on a roll coming out of Texas. Tonight they were kept runless and helpless like teeny tiny little kittens whose fuzzy little kitten paws are far too small and weak to pick up a real baseball bat. Feel that tug at your heartstrings, dontcha?
It’s especially sad because Chad Durbin was back to his pimping ways again. If you’re new to Roar of the Tigers you might not be aware of it, but Chad Durbin is a pimp, and has pitched pimptacularly several times already this season, despite all expectations to the contrary.
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
So far this season it seems that Durbin has three pitching modes:
1. Terrible. This is what everyone expects (expected?) him to be. He was supposed to just be rotation-filler until Kenny Rogers recovered from his vascular explosion.
2. Serviceable. This is what everyone hoped he would be, at the absolute best. Nothing spectacular, but just good enough to give the Tigers a fighting chance during his starts.
3. Pimp. This is what he’s been… I think this is the 5th time this season. A pimp start is when Chad Durbin absolutely dominates the snot out of the opposition in a way that is completely shocking when you consider his past baseball history.
Five pimp starts out of 12 so far, that’s pretty bloody good for someone who was supposed to be the pitching version of feeder crickets.
This particular start was an example of Chad Durbin’s pimpin’ ways because he only gave up 6 hits and 3 runs over 8 innings. Two of the runs were single-shot homers to David Wright and Carlos Delgado, and I think it’s only fair to forgive any pitcher who gives up home runs to David Wright and Carlos Delgado. The other run was a guy he put on base who was inherited and dumped in by Byrdak.
He threw 84 pitches over 8 innings (and he pitched to 2 guys in the 9th). Of the 8 innings he pitched, FIVE of them were 1-2-3 innings. Except for the home runs, and when he lost it a little bit at the very end, Durbin was DEALING and ROLLING. Very pimp, yes? I think we can all agree on that.
The bats today, not so pimp. Like I said, tiny little kittens in thrall to the giant baseball head of Mr. Met up top there.
Also not pimp is the news that Vance Wilson, who’s been DLed for a while now with a nonspecific wonky forearm (I guess they’re calling it a torn muscle now, but I don’t remember when they started calling it that… weren’t we not sure if it was a pinched nerve or what?), says that he’s reaggravated the injury and could miss the rest of the year.
Now, Rabelo hasn’t been hitting too badly of late (.286!), and Vance fresh off an injury wouldn’t be likely to hit his own weight even if he WAS coming back soon, but this still doesn’t make me happy. I suppose it’s because that flimsy illusion of depth at the catcher position is getting even flimsier. What if, cats forbid, Pudge gets hurt? A catching tandem of Vance and Rabelo would not equal Pudge, of course, but it might get us through the season. Rabelo by himself could not. What if Rabelo gets hurt? What do we do, run a 35-year-old Pudge into the ground and call up Dane Sardinha? Oy.
Tomorrow is Oliver Perez/Bondo, although I will be watching Michigan struggle against Oregon State. The exciting matchup anyways is Sunday, where we get Tom Glavine/Andrew Miller in the great battle of the ages.
I honestly could not think of which Tiger to use for the graphics in this post.
Chad Durbin pimps again, by Samara Pearlstein
Obviously, for the Wednesday game, I needed to put Chad Durbin in another pimp outfit, because when Chad Durbin outduels Bartolo Colon, I think that’s more than enough to put Chad Durbin into another pimp outfit. Durbin dumps Colon. Durbin blows Colon away. Colon busted by Tiger bats. So many terrible, terrible headlines that can be generated. But mostly we just need to put Chad Durbin in a tigerlicious pimp uniform and people will understand that he’s exceeded expectations once again, right? Right.
I mean, OK, 3 runs and 8 hits over 5 innings isn’t exactly the stuff of aces, but when the opposing starter gives up 6 runs on 10 hits over 4.1 innings, it sure looks like it. I also still maintain that ANY quality or semi-quality start out of Chad Durbin can be considered pimp-worthy. It wouldn’t for Bonderman, if we were doing Bondo up as a pimp ’round these bloggin’ parts, but it is enough for Durbin. It’s all relative in the land of pitchers and bad pimp suits.
I also had to briefly consider Granderson for a photoshop, though. Curtis Granderson homered off of a lefty. That’s pretty ridiculous, especially since Granderson has such trouble against lefties that he usually doesn’t even get a crack against them… he’s hitting .071 versus lefties this year, as opposed to .324 versus righties. Granted, he has a much smaller sample size against lefties, but still.
(As a side note, I’m not really sure this is the best policy, pretty much always sitting him against lefties. I understand, of course, that he drags down the team a lot when he’s a guaranteed hole in the lineup if the other team is throwing a left-hander at us, but on the other hand, he has to learn SOMEhow, and he isn’t going to learn it sitting on the bench. Bleh.)
The point is that his home run, against a left-hander, is quite remarkable and would be worthy of some deranged photoshopped image or other, if only it had come in a game that did not also include Chad Durbin pimpage.
Now for today (Thursday’s) game, it was even harder. So many people to consider! So much unrelenting Tiger awesome! Placido Polanco had a triple! Jeremy Bonderman showed that bleeping blister who the bleeping boss is! Jose Mesa didn’t get into the game and therefore improved it simply through his absence!
Carlos and Maggs are too awesome for mere mortals, yo. photos by Samara Pearlstein
In the end I settled on Guillen and Maggs, because they have both been consistently awesome this season, and both were even more awesome in this particular game. Carlos hit TWO home runs (one each off of Ervin Santana and Chris Bootcheck), going 2-for-3 with 5 RBI. Magglio hit TWO doubles (both off of Santana), going 4-for-4 (!!!) with 3 RBI.
The problem with their awesome is that the combined awesome mass of it was too much for my small blogger’s brain to comprehend. My cortex bends before the might of their awesome. I could not even think of a good photoshop. (That could also be the big special feature I just finished today, which I will of course point you folks to when it goes up.)
In the end I just found two of my own shots of them, where they’re both wearing “I’m a ballplayer, I’m hot stuff” sunglasses, extended Carlos’ background so I could stick Maggs in there with him, and announced that they are way cooler than any of us, in baseball and in life. Can’t touch this, my friends.
Anyways. Talk about making a guy feel welcome back. If Bondo was nervous about coming back off the DL, the offense sure helped to soothe his fears soon enough. Bondo mostly helped his own cause, though. Bondo loading the bases with no outs in the first inning was a TERRIFYING thing to watch him do, especially because we are all so used to his first inning struggles. At that point it seemed almost inevitable that disaster would strike.
A sexy 1-2-3 double play and a fly out later, and Bondo had gotten himself out of a drunk-bases-empty-Ks mess more swiftly than I’d ever seen. Either the kid had luck with him today that would make a pair of dice wee themselves in delight, or he was making absolutely perfect pitches, but only when he absolutely needed them most. He probably should’ve gone to rob a bank after the game; he was on that kind of stressfully perfect roll.
Even more awesome: Todd Jones on the fan who ran onto the field and towards the mound during Wednesday’s game.
“He was heading toward the infield, and you never know, so I dropped my glove and tried to get him to just stop. Let me get this last out and let’s get out of here,” Jones said. “I was waiting for a Kyle Farnsworth moment because that would have gotten me on SportsCenter and helped my macho points, for sure.”
official MLB game recap
Sometimes Todd Jones is amazing.
Even more amazing than that: Ernie Harwell was in the booth for the entire game!
Apparently Rod Allen’s kid, or one of his kids, if he has more than one, I do not know, regardless, AN OFFSPRING BELONGING TO ROD ALLEN was graduating high school (congrats to Rod Allen and his offspring!), so he wasn’t in the booth today. I know there are some people out there who are not Rod Allen fans. I am not one of those people. I like Rod Allen; I like the inane things he says, I find them amusing more often than not, and he does actually have useful insight about the game, more often than you would perhaps expect after hearing him refer to ‘feet’ as ‘puppies’ for the 1000th time.
I am a Rod Allen fan, but nothing really compares to getting to listen to Ernie Harwell for an entire game. It doesn’t matter if he’s rambling on about the DH, the weather, the state of catchers today, or the umpires… that last being what he did for a good chunk of this game. Ernie Harwell makes you DEEPLY CARE ABOUT THE UMPIRES. Ernie Harwell makes you realize that there are stories, GOOD stories about the umpires, and that these stories are an integral part of the game. Once Ernie Harwell makes you realize that, Ernie Harwell tells you those stories.
Ernie Harwell also has a sense of humor.
Mario tells Ernie that the fact that he remembers all these stories, about everyone and everything, is absolutely amazing, and he’s got to teach Mario some of those memory skills. Ernie replies, “Well, they just happen to you, and they gather in your so-called brain, I guess.”
Ernie Harwell on the statue of him at Comerica:
“I weigh 350 pounds, did you know that? And I’m hollow. But they got the creases in my pants real good.”
Mario, laughing: “Better in your pants than in your forehead.”
Ernie Harwell: “Oh I got ’em in my forehead. I got ’em everywhere.”
Ernie Harwell on something that Norm Cash had signed specially for him:
“It said on it, ‘To Ernie Harwell, the second-best announcer in the league…. all the other 26 [or whatever number it was] tied for first.'”
Ernie Harwell about his name on the wall with the other Tiger greats, as seen here:
“Oh yes, they got my back up against the wall.”
And finally, Ernie Harwell as the game ends:
“I just wanted to say thank you, Mario, for saying all those nice things about me today. The entire crew was so nice and friendly. It got so sweet in here I thought I had diabetes.”
(And somewhere out in the wide, wide world, Jason Johnson shakes a rageful fist.)
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Who in the universe would have thought that by mid-May there would already be cause to have written three, count ’em, THREE separate Chad Durbin pimp posts? If you thought this was going to happen, raise your hand. Good.
Now put your hand down and go get your tail tanned by the principal, because you are a filthy liar. Nobody could have predicted pimp pitching from Chad Durbin. Heck, most people were only barely aware of who Chad Durbin WAS at the end of the spring.
I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. I mean, he had that one really bad outing, yeah, but this is his third out of four starts that’s gone ridiculously well (for someone who is Chad Durbin). I’m waiting for that falling sneaker.
Not objecting, mind you. If Chad Durbin wants to keep pimpin’ above his usual pre-pimp (un-pimp?) levels, it’s just better (and more hilarious– CHAD FREAKIN’ DURBIN, YOU GUYS) for the rest of us.
It’s getting to the point where it’s unsafe for his hos to even question his massive pimpitude. Behold the following (imaginary, but POSSIBLE, totally) conversation between pimp Chad Durbin and his ho Justin Morneau.
Justin Morneau: You ain’t no pimp.
Chad Durbin: Scuse me? You did NOT just question the pimptacular pitchin’ of Chad Durbin.
Justin Morneau: You did NOT just refer to yourself in the third person. Oh nuh uh, ain’t no kinda pimp.
Chad Durbin: Ho, go earn me some Benjamins… by STRIKING OUT.
Justin Morneau: I don’t need you! I wanna keep the money I earn! I’m gonna go out and work on my own!
Chad Durbin: You just a ho. You think you can make it on the streets of Minnesota but baby, truth is, you need a big strong Chad Durbin to protect you. You deny the protection of the pimp, the pimp gonna see to it that you get BUSTED.
Justin Morneau: *flounces away defiantly*
*Shortly thereafter, Brandon Inge hits a line drive to Nick Punto at third. Punto throws to Morneau at first. The ball skips in the dirt before Morneau can field it cleanly. Morneau fields the ball… WITH HIS NOSE.*
Justin Morneau: aahhhhhhAAAAHHHHHHaaaaahhhhh!
Chad Durbin: Pimp done warned you. I gots people, they do what I say.
Justin Morneau: Ahhhhh oh god the agony my faaaaaaaace
Chad Durbin: Respect to the mighty pimp hand, ho.
Let that be a lesson to you all.
Durbin pimps his Mike Sweeney ho by Samara Pearlstein
This is getting WACKY.
Chad Durbin had that first pimptacular outing against the White Sox, where he made it through 8 innings with 9 Ks, and basically it was ridiculous and impossible and CHAD DURBIN. WHAT.
Then he had a bad outing, and we all nodded to ourselves, yes yes, this is the way the world works. Everything is comforting and familiar and it is good to be back in the universe we know. Chad Durbin was only trying that pimp hat on; he can’t REALLY pimp out the hos for some cold cash. Don’t be silly, kids: Chad Durbin can’t get no hos.
Today Chad Durbin said, “You don’t know, I got all the honies givin’ me money,” and Chad Durbin donned his pimp hat once more. “Put on them royal blue stockings, baby,” Chad Durbin purred to his Royals, “and go out there and win that Hot Dog Race.*”
The Royal Hos went out, tottering on their high heels, and made some big whiffs, all for Chad Durbin. Chad Durbin was perfectly in control. Chad Durbin was running the whole show with his heavy hand and his steely gaze. All the Royal Hos were cringing and deferential before his might. You don’t mess with the big pimp in town.
Now, 7.2 innings isn’t quite as awesome as 8, and 3 Ks isn’t quite as awesome as 9, but it’s all awfully good, doubley and tripley so when you consider the fact that it’s CHAD DURBIN.
I still can’t get over the fact that he’s had two good outings, and not even just good outings, we are talking seriously good, PIMPTACULARLY GOOD outings. Where is this coming from? Surely the league’s not still adjusting? I mean, OK, OK, I know today was against the Royals, but Durbin’s last great start was against the White Sox, no slouch of a team themselves. This is all very strange, very strange indeed.
Not quite as strange, maybe, as Mike Sweeney with his face Photoshopped onto a special KC Royalsized bunny, but pretty strange by itself.
I’m not really expecting it to continue; I guess on some level I do believe that maybe the league’s still adjusting; he’s from a while back and people might not have any good conception of how he works on the mound. Once they get more used to him, he should become as eminently hittable as we known in our hearts he is.
But man is it ever fun to watch it now. Pimpin’!
*Look, they actually HAVE a Hot Dog Race in KC, and it’s kind of a big deal. I’m not being a filth-mongerer, honest. Or at least, not any more so than usual.
photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Our sacrificial ram, our bloody offering to the bats of the American League until something better came along, our aggressively mediocre junky rotation filler of a pitcher: that was Chad Durbin. But no longer! For tonight we saw on the mound a different Chad Durbin. A Chad Durbin filled with guts! and fire! and pimpitude! A Chad Durbin who could HOLD THE CHICAGO WHITE SOX SCORELESS FOR 8 INNINGS HOLY FREAKING CATS WHAT.
It was like watching a five year old bang out Beethoven’s Fifth on his little PlaySkool piano. Technically possible perhaps, but completely unexpected and flabbergasting.
Chad Durbin had not recorded a Major League win since 2004.
Chad Durbin had 9 strikeouts tonight. That is more strikeouts than he has ever had in his professional career.
All this against the White Sox.
Tonight Chad Durbin took the ball and said to it, “Alright hon, we’re here in Chicago, and I’m gonna need you to go out there and work it, you hear me honey? Strut your stuff and bring home some cash, ’cause papa needs a new feather for his pimp hat.”
“I saw that he had good stuff early,” Ivan Rodriguez said after the Tigers’ 6-2 win earned Durbin his first Major League victory since 2004. “He started with a lot of first-pitch strikes, and I knew after the first couple innings he was going to have a great game.”
“He was a completely different pitcher today,” Rodriguez said. “He didn’t get behind too much. He just threw a lot of strike ones. His curveball was much better. I thought he pitched a quicker game — catch the ball, pitch the ball. He just pitched a great game.”
Chad Durbin, pimp, was not messing around behind today. Oh no. He was going right for that first strike, and he was workin’ nice and quick. He pimped out his baseball and used it to make even more…. lady canines…. out of the White Sox. By the end of the 8th inning, Durbin had half the ballpark meekly offering him wadded up dollar bills in the form of STRIKEOUTS. I never would have thought that the White Sox, of all teams, would be swinging inadvisedly over and over again, but I never would have thought that Durbin was a strikeout pitcher either, so someone was doing something wildly uncharacteristic tonight.
After Chad Durbin took his pimp hand off to the dugout, Zumaya came on to pitch the 9th and proceeded to throw 8,902,234,565,123 balls in a row, loading the bases and walking in a couple of runs. If we hadn’t been up 6-0 I am sure he would’ve been gone much quicker. It ought to have been a good opportunity for him to get some low-stress work in, but it turned into a disaster and I fear that his youthfully fiery mind will dwell on it for a while yet.
Jonesy proved that he is in fact a closer by completely forgetting about yesterday and coming in today to clean up Zoom’s mess without further damage.
Difference between Todd Jones and Joel Zumaya, independent from Pure Pitching Stuff: Jonesy has the memory of a goldfish, and like the goldfish’s three second memory allows it to live happily in a tiny glass sphere, Jonesy’s short memory allows him to live happily in the closer’s role. Zoom I do not believe has this memory-type yet. I know people have been agitating to move Zoom into the closer slot, but this is something to chew over.
Tomorrow (er, later today), Nate goes. It’ll be curious to see if he gets some run support here. History and natural inclination say no, but the beauty of baseball is that anything can happen; even something completely crazy like Nate Robertson not getting bumdogged by his own offense.