digillustration by Samara Pearlstein
We’ll get to that image shortly. Bear with me.
Ernie Harwell came out in the middle of the third, because with the news of his diagnosis, he had decided that he would like to say a few words to the fans. The Tigers, knowing what’s what, were not about to stand in the way of that.
They appear to have basically said, “OK Mr. Harwell, here’s a mic. You’ve got the TV audience and the radio audience and a stadium full of fans. Say whatever you want.” This is, of course, the best way to let Mr. Harwell talk. Just let him do his thing however he wants, you know it’s going to come out sounding good.
There was a little video montage (young Ernie Harwell looks so different from current-day Ernie Harwell!), and then his speech on the field, which was closely watched by everyone in the park, including both teams. The Tigers lined up outside of the dugout. I wasn’t paying attention to what the Royals did, but FSND showed a close-up of one of their coaches taking pictures with his little camera. Many of the fans had signs, including one guy with a sign that read “HOW A PERSON SHOULD BE”. There was no name on the sign, but it’s not like people were going to think it was referring to David DeJesus (although a Granderson confusion would have been understandable).
Of course Mr. Harwell had only nice things to say about the state of Michigan, the Tigers, and Tigers fans. When he said, “You Tiger fans are the greatest fans of all, no question about that,” you felt like he honestly meant it. Which, OK, sounds fairly cheesy and stupid, in a way, but how often do you hear statements like that made by rote, or because someone thinks it’s the appropriate thing to be obediently mumbled at the appropriate moment? Often. But that’s not how Mr. Harwell says it; he really, truly MEANS it. You can see it in his face, you can hear it in his voice, and that’s no small part of why Tigers fans have embraced him just as much and for just as long as he’s embraced us.
At the end of his Hall of Fame induction speech (they showed a small clip during the video montage), Mr. Harwell said, “Baseball is a tongue tied kid from Georgia growing up to be an announcer and praising the Lord for showing him the way to Cooperstown. This is a game for America. Still a game for America, this baseball! Thank you.”
But he’s got it turned around, you know. Because it can never be said too many times: Mr. Harwell, thank you.
So, yeah, the rest of the game.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Bovine Bonine got the job done. Three runs in five innings is not exactly 110% awesomesauce, but it was enough to keep the Tigers in the game, especially as Lenny DiNardo was just a hair worse (four runs in 5.1 innings). Since the Tigers are basically working with a three-man rotation at the moment, a solid, non-hysterical start from the Bovine Bonine feels almost luxurious. What wonders! What riches!
The bats still seem to be having problems with extra base hits, but the bullpen did not mangle this one (perhaps amazingly). Granderson looked pretty good against lefties today, that counts for something, right? I am trying to come to terms with the fact that wins vs. KC are all I can ask for, that to ask for a clean or emphatic or easy win is TOO MUCH. I still don’t quite understand WHY this should be so, but there you have it. I am but a blogger: like a planarian given a small electric shock, I can only react simply, to the limited stimuli given to me. To hope for understanding is to have far too lofty a goal. Apparently.
Fernando made his first appearance since The Suspension and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save. He looked fine. Well-rested. Maybe the Tigers could consider have him looking well-rested more often, instead of pitching him three or four days in a row all the time. I’m just sayin’.
You know what is sad? How excited I was to see the Tigers beat the Royals, because I was so dead convinced that they were going to screw it up and lose again. SAD.
ALSO going on in this game: some sort of weird charity auction thing, organized by the Tigers wives and girlfriends. The items being auctioned off were, and I am not kidding here, baskets of the “favorite things” of various Tigers.
Rod and Mario had Shani Inge in the booth with them for a little bit, and she admitted that she had made up the basket basically without input from Brandon, until the very end when he had seen it and tried to say that this or that item was not “his favorite” (it was implied that Brandon is a stupid manchild who doesn’t even know what he likes best, and that Shani knows with far greater clarity, something that I do not doubt for a single millisecond). So these baskets may not be the most accurate indicators of their favorite things, but if they can be trusted at all, we have learned that
Brandon Inge likes
–Xbox war games
–Velveeta mac and cheese (not surprised)
–chewy chocolate chip cookies
Fu-Te Ni likes
–something called “Capsule Fighter Online”
–something that the Mothership says is “Wodz” but I think is actually Woodz
Aubrey Huff likes
–orange Tic Tacs
–Transformers (remember that he’s friends with Inge)
Marcus Thames likes
–Law and Order SVU
–washing his car
–Now and Laters
Jarrod Washburn likes
–terrible chain restaurants
–Blokus, which is some board game thing I haven’t even heard of
–Harry & David chocolate
Jeremy Bonderman likes
–Sons of Anarchy
–a serious lot of wine
–Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses (I have never even seen these, but I am intrigued)
–disgusting Full Throttle energy drink splod
Justin Verlander likes
–the DVD of his own no-hitter
Alex Avila likes
–Cheez-Its (reduced fat, though!)
Adam Everett likes
–Lays Stax (Pringles for people who think they’re too cool for Pringles)
–Ironman (good taste)
–Yes Man (bad taste)
I don’t really know what to do with this information, except cherish it.