Category Archives: FSND

Tigers things that have been happening, in Terrible Cartoons.

illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Was anyone in the world surprised by the ‘news’ that Joel Zumaya and Carlos Guillen will not be with the team come Opening Day? Of course not. The only way this would have been surprising is if both of them were bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and sound in every limb. That would have been truly shocking.

Zoom has soreness in his elbow (the one that shattered so horri-memorably last season), Guillen has some sort of shenanigans surrounding his knee. They will rest, and maybe the inflammation will go down. At that point they will come off the DL, play a few games, and promptly get injured again. So It Is Written.

Let us remember that I already have an entire cat-egory for Carlos Guillen’s surgically repaired knee, and the only reason I don’t have one for Zoom is because there are too many body parts involved.

Will Rhymes has (at least temporarily) beaten out Danny Worth and Scott Sizemore for the starting job at second base.

This is a positive decision from a Roar of the Tigers viewpoint, so I can only hope the Tigers stick with it, and that Will Rhymes continues to wear his hair long. If he decided to start wearing his socks up too, that would pretty much make things perfect. Oh, also he should continue to hit the baseball in a useful manner. Really, though, this is a good thing. Danny Worth is freaking difficult to render in Terrible Cartoon form, and Scott Sizemore just always looks worried. Not when he’s wearing baseball jerseys that defy the mind and eyeballs, but at most other times: worried. WHAT DOES HE KNOW THAT WE DON’T?

Anyways, I feel safer with Will Rhymes. How can you mistrust the second base-defending skills of someone capable of remaining so calm when he’s about to get his face ripped off by a werewolf?

He is also obsessed with Chipotle burritos. OBSESSED. He can talk about them for a disturbingly long time.

Phil Coke is going to be the fifth starter whether we like it or not, but the Tigers don’t actually need five starters to begin the season. The way the schedule is staggered will let them get away with just four until they get to the weekend of the first home series. So that’s an extra 8 games where Coke gets to hang out in the bullpen with all the other relievers who thought they had gotten rid of him. NOPE.

I watched the Mets game that was on FSND the other day, and Phil Coke said some things during his interview.

–“I felt like I was throwing like a little girl there for a while.”

–On how he knew things were going well in some sort of simulated game situation thing: “[It was just] about hearing a lot of foul language from the guys, ’cause I was throwing a lot of heaters down the middle.”

–On starting the season in the bullpen: “I get to hang out with my boys, man!”

–On not being able to run in from the bullpen to psyche himself up for an appearance: “Coming in like a bull from a china shop.”

–On whether he considers himself a ‘personality’ in the bullpen: “Ah, you guys say that. People are gonna believe what y’all tell ’em.”
Rod Allen: “That’s right!”

–On what he’s going to do now that he’s out of the game for the day: “I’m gonna go kick up my feet, put my hands behind my head (demonstrating), put my feet up on the coffee table and go watch some boob tube.”
Rod Allen: “You got a real nice lifestyle!”

He also recently said the following, after a bad outing:

“It was weird,” Coke said. “It was one of those days. Very rarely does this ever happen to me: I could hear everything today.”

After the bat slipped out of the hands of Lance Berkman and into the Tigers’ dugout twice — once in the first inning and again in the fourth, when it struck infield coach Rafael Belliard in the arm — Coke admitted his concentration was affected.

“Once my focus was interrupted, I was garbage,” Coke said.
George Sipple/Detroit Free Press

Fifth starter, ladies and gentlecats: psyched out by crowd noise. I’m not saying this is necessarily going to be an issue during the season, but it is a thing that happened in real actual life. Panic at the level you deem appropriate.

You know how sometimes during a broadcast Rod will just start to lose it, and Mario will continue to doggedly attempt to call the game, but you can totally tell that he’s one wrong word away from cracking up himself, and also he knows Rod is being distracting and incredibly unhelpful but he can’t get mad because Mario just can’t stay mad at Rod? You know what I mean. Anyways, I always imagine it like this. Noogies.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA GRANDE! Jose Valverde turns 33 on March 24. Put on a pair of glasses, squat down, bug your eyes out as far as they will go, and scream at the top of your lungs to properly celebrate.

The end.

Tigers on the defensive (but that's a good thing)

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I am not going to talk about the two interleague games the Tigers lost. I did not see them, therefore they did not exist. You may believe otherwise, but we are not here to cater to your personal belief system. Instead we will talk about stuff from the rest of the Texas series and that first (only) game of interleague and a little bit about the Memorial Day KC game, but before we get into all that we must discuss the game announced by Mario Impemba and John Keating.

The game where the fans could Facebook or Tweet in, and get their questions answered on the air. In the middle of the game.

Look, you insufferable goatlickers, I get it. I know what Twitter is. I know how it works. I am not confused by the phenomenon; I grok the Tweeting concept. I am a part of the demographic that is supposed to be all about the Tweeting. I. Just. Don’t. Care. I don’t want 5,000 inane updates on the bland minutiae of someone else’s life, I don’t want to see you stop in the middle of living life like a normal person so you can text a frelling tweet to your account from your catdamned iPhone, I don’t give an aphid’s sphincter who you’re ‘following’ these days, and I most especially


I don’t want the space usually occupied by announcer banter (something that flies naturally between Rod and Mario, and drops like a crow stricken with bird flu when Mario has Keating in the booth) filled instead with the announcers’ infuriatingly mild reaction to a viewer asking a vacuous question like, “Why does pitch count matter?” via tweet. This doesn’t make me think FSN is cool and hip and down with technology, it makes me HATE EVERYTHING, AS HARD AS POSSIBLE. It is difficult for me to type these words because I keep balling my hands up into little fists of rage just remembering this game. Aaaahhhuurrrrgggh.

So, yeah. I just wanted to get that out of the way. Let us move on to happier things, mainly, as the image up top may suggest, the fact that the Tigers can play defense now. Seriously! I know there are many jokes on this website, but this is not a joke, it is a thing that has actually been happening, in real life.

The Tigers had some amazing defense over the course of this latest little winning streak. Some of it was more or less expected: it’s fun to see Curtis Granderson make a crazy leaping circus catch, of course, but it isn’t surprising, because Curtis Granderson is perfect. Excellent Brandon Inge plays are in the same family, because we are all very familiar with his athleticism/scrappiness/range/sure-handedness/third-baseyness/etc by now, and while we (I) will still make happy dolphin noises when he pulls off a particularly spectacular play, it is what we on some level already expect of him.

But some of this is still new. For example, shortstop. Adam Everett is small and kind of awkward-looking, yes, but we used to spend our Shortstop Contemplation Time worrying about which of Carlos Guillen’s bodyparts would implode next, or if this would finally be the day where Edgar Renteria burst into hysterical tears in the middle of a game. Not that long ago we were cringing in horror whenever we realized Neifi!!! was on the field. Now we watch Adam Everett play competent baseball! Times have changed, and we have found that it is good, or at least markedly less horrific.

Miguel Cabrera is also more fun to watch nowadays, and I’m not (just) talking about his plate appearances. Putting Inge back at third full-time was a good move for the Tigers’ defense, obviously, but putting Cabrera at first full-time has turned out to be almost as smart. I mean, we are talking about a metamorphosis that we have been able to see happen right in front of our fannish little faces. Gross squidgy caterpillar to delicate-winged butterfly! Ugly duckling to graceful if invasive swan! Miggy went from someone who was always unintentionally stepping into the paths of oncoming runners to someone who can do a near-full split to keep a toe on the base, who can lunge surprisingly fast in any direction, who turns difficult plays with confidence.

His instincts are quite good now (for example, he can now tag the bag and throw home to get a lead runner without blinking). When you stop to think about it, it is remarkable, not that his instincts are good, but that he has managed to develop Real Actual First Baseman Instincts at all. A stirring testimony to the powers of dedication, hard work, and classical behavioral conditioning in professional athletes indeed.

Add to all this the guys that Gerald Laird has thrown out lately; the balls that Josh Anderson has run down and caught; the way that Polanco, though struggling offensively, can still make a difficult play look easy; and Verlander’s still-startlingly-sharp pick-off throws…. you know what that amounts to?

It amounts to a team that is wicked freakin’ fun to watch.

I suppose that it may on some level seem a little obvious, fundamentals, blah blah, but when you compare the way the team is playing the field right now with the way they were playing the field, say, at this time last season, I think it should be obvious how much good defense impacts my ability to watch a baseball game without making me want to throw forks at the TV. And that doesn’t even get into how much it helps the Tigers, y’know, actually win games

Rays beat Tigers in degrading animal kingdom battle

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

I don’t particularly want to spend yet another post saying Ugh, that game stunk like a wet week-old skunk carcass, I don’t want to talk about it, but… that game was messy, it was slow, it featured the EXTRAORDINARILY frustrating ‘leaving men on base’ school of baseball, it showcased the knack the Tigers have for putting pitchers on the ropes and then NOT DOING ANYTHING TO THEM, it stunk like a wet week-old skunk carcass, and I don’t really want to talk about it.

I will say that Carlos Pena looked good out there, and because I have long been a Carlos Pena fan, that was awfully nice to see. You still have to wonder what might have happened if we’d held onto him just a liiiiiiittle bit longer…. alas. (And I suppose you also have to entertain the possibility that it was the move to a new home park/new team that helped him finally get over the Hump of Unrealized Ballplayer Potential.)

At one point late in the game Mario accidentally called Carlos Guillen ‘Pena’. He did, to his credit, pretty immediately correct himself and laugh about it. C’mon now, though! I know it’s tough what with ALL THOSE CARLOSES out there, but you gotta keep your former Tigers and your current Tigers straight!

Miguel Cabrera hit a triple, a long ball that appeared to confuse the outfielder: he slowed and looked around like he either thought it was gone or like he lost it in the ceiling. It bounced off the base of the wall, which gave Miggy enough time to flop gracelessly into third. Leyland came out to argue that it had hit off one of the catwalks (in which case it would be a home run), but the umps didn’t seem to have seen it much more clearly than the outfielder did. For whatever it’s worth, the ball didn’t really look like it changed directions, so I’m tending towards ‘legit call’, but who knows. The cameras couldn’t even pick it up until it was back on the field.

Everything else sucked. Kazmir was wild, we put loads of guys on, most of them never came around to score. It would be funny except that it’s been going on all season long and it actually has no humorous value whatsoever. Men left on base haunt my dreams. They just stand there, on every base except homeplate. Staring, staring, always staring. And not moving, that’s the main bit. Like statues. On base. Not scoring.

It’s not a fun dream.

Todd Jones, by the by, has tendonitis in his shoulder. The only two injuries the Tigers are capable of getting are busted obliques and tendonitis. The good news is that our trainers are going to become veritable experts on oblique injuries and tendonitis management. The bad news is that seriously everyone is getting these same stupid injuries. The BAD bad news is that both these classes of injuries tend to be recurrent. Splendid.

Satuday’s game is Kenny vs. Andy Sonnanstine. It starts at 6:10 pm EDT. I’m not sure why, but it does. Since it’s on a Saturday, and FOX is the jerkweed dictator of Saturday baseball, the game is actually blacked out until 7ish, at which point FSN will join the game ALREADY IN PROGRESS. This is one of the most moronic broadcasting shenanigans I’ve encountered recently. Seriously, we can’t see the first hour of the game. The cameras are there, the crews are there, everything is there, ready and able to broadcast, but nope, we don’t get to see it until the game has already been going on for an hour.

Why? Because FOX is an unreasonable goatbag, that’s why. They’re filthy scrofulous stoat-loving cretins on a huge collective wet dream of a powertrip.

Go Tigers!

Tigers win with the new cat in town

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Who in the world is Armando Galarraga? I know that he’s 26 years old and from Venezuela. I know that he had pitched in exactly 3 big league games before tonight, with only one of those being a start. I know that he spent his first professional years bouncing around the Expos (and later Nationals) organization, which must have been all kinds of depressing. I know that he was traded to the Rangers as part of a package deal for Alfonso Soriano, and that he was then traded to Detroit for Michael Hernandez.

But who is Armando Galarraga tonight?

Tonight, Armando Galarraga is THE MAN.

Brought up as a replacement for an injured Dontrelle Willis, he went up against the 2007 Cy Young Award winner, and he outpitched him like crazy. Yeah, OK, Sabathia’s not exactly having a Cy Young kind of start to his season, but still. STILL. Galarraga’s a 26 year old kid with negligible experience at the major league level, and look at what he did tonight:

6.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB (2 HBP), 6 SO, 1 HR

One hit over 6.2 innings. Two runs, one of which was an inherited runner that Grilli let score. So basically Galarraga gave up a singleshot home run and he hit two batters in his final inning. That’s IT. That… that is a serious big league outing, kids and kittens. NO WALKS (other than the guys he plunked). SIX Ks. Imagine my hands flailing with an inability to properly express how impressed I am by this!

Of course I’m sure part of his success came from the fact that he had never faced any of the current Racist Logos on a big league squad. This may have hampered him a bit, but the disadvantage definitely lies with the hitters here, especially since Galarraga was pitching to billion-year veteran Pudge, who DOES know the Indians hitters perfectly well.

Galarraga’s awesomeness even rubbed off on Jason Grilli, who was the only reliever we had to see tonight, which is amazing and kind of unbelievable in and of itself. Grilli went 2.1 innings without giving up any runs of his own (letting in one of Galarraga’s). Has he finally been able to find his posterior with both of his hands? We’ll see how he holds up.

The bats went out of their minds again tonight. Well, duh, thirteen runs and all that. Again, this was partly because Sabathia is having a cruddy start to his season, kind of like the Tigers in a microcosm, but the hitters did look pretty good on their own. Everyone except for Pudge had at least one hit (Pudge went 0-for-6, didn’t even have a walk. Sigh) and some, like Miguel Cabrera and Edgar Renteria, went completely bat-bonkers. In Cabrera’s case, that worked out to 4-for-6 with 2 runs scored, 5 RBI. In Edgah’s’ case, that was 3-for-4 with 1 run scored and 5 RBI, 4 of those coming on a 5th inning grand slam. After having to watch Tigers pitching give up something like 50 grand slams last weekend to the Wrong Sox, it was REALLY nice to finally see one hit for the side of Righteous Felinity.

Three in a row. Mmm, tasty.

Oh, and please tell me that I’m not the only one who wants to DESTROY those FSN ‘April in the D’ ads? APRIL! IN! THA! DEEEEEEE! What band is that? I need to know so that I can NEVER PURCHASE ANYTHING OF THEIRS EVER. I am so heartily sick of that bloody song that I’ve started hearing it as ‘RAYPRIL in the D’ every time it comes on, which results in a moment of irritation that they’re playing the catdamned ad again followed by a good solid minute of me giggling my fool head off. It’s the only way I’ve managed to avoid throwing something at my TV thus far. Nothing in the WORLD is making me wish for May to hurry up and get here more than the freaking ‘April in the D’ campaign.

If we get ‘May in the D’ or a comparably heinous monthly jingle, I think we’re going to have to picket Comerica or something.

apparently the bats were all left in Detroit

Cardinals get pwned, photo by Samara Pearlstein

Good of the lads to pick them up again when they got home. It would’ve been nice if they had decided to take them along to Boston, but I guess we should be happy that they’ve got them at all.

Maybe the most heartening thing about this game was how well Andrew Miller was doing even before the offensive onslaught. It would be one thing to see a guy calm down and get into a groove after his team scores 14 runs, but Miller was going strong even before that.

His outing reminded me a LOT of Verlander when he first came up. Riding the fastball because none of his offspeed stuff was working, working with men on base and getting out of jams and generally displaying mental toughness (INTANGIBLE ALERT!!), looking all of 12 years old out there (did you SEE how fluffed-up the front of his hair got? Oh jeez, he looked like a wee baby). It’s a formula that worked out pretty well for Verlander…

Of course, FSN had to run a trivia question asking who the last Tiger to win his rookie debut was… and the answer is Andy Van Hekken, in 2002. Thanks bunches, FSN. That’s exactly what I want to be thinking of while watching Miller, possibly a Tiger Leader of the Future. I mean, where’s Andy Van Hekken now? I think he’s in the Independent Leagues. Last I saw he was with the Somerset Patriots. He was…. the Royals had him briefly, but he’s somehow back in Somerset now.

This is the Andy Van Hekken whom the Somerset Patriots thought they were signing last season. This is the Andy Van Hekken whose career minor-league statistics suggest he should be pitching in affiliated baseball. This is the Andy Van Hekken who made it to the major leagues in 2002 and can be an ace.
Courier News

So why isn’t he an ace in the major leagues? Or even tearing up the minor leagues? I haven’t a bloody clue, but whatever is afflicting him, I don’t want it getting smeared all over Andrew Miller. Thanks bunches, FSN, for putting that in my mind.

But the hitting, o! the hitting! Polanco, 3 for 4! Maggs, 3 for 4! The Mayor, 4 for 5! INSANITY!! I mean, it’s bad when a team manages to get 7 runs off of your starter. But when they proceed to then get 7 MORE runs off of the reliever immediately following the starter… you know that, in the parlance of Rod Allen, someone’s put on their hittin’ shoes today.

Now we just have to avoid the post-huge-game hangover that seems to mythically afflict bats. Break the stereotype, guys, and BREAK SOME CARDINAL SPIRIT!

(not that I’m bitter or anything)

Oh, and by the way, photos from the second Sox/Tigs game (Wakefield/Verlander) are now up for your perusal. Again, there will be a proper photo blog after I get ALL of the shots from that series up, but if you just can’t wait to experience photographic glee, dive right in.

On a side note, the photo used for this post gives you a little glimpse of how I spend my time over the summer when I’m not watching baseball: banding birds and doing illustration and graphic design work for the Massachusetts Audubon Society. We get cardinals in the banding station nets occasionally, and those buggers are MEAN, and those big beaks HURT when they get hold of you. So we have to hold onto them pretty tightly. I figure an irritable cardinal that clearly wants us all dead because it’s being restrained is appropriate for this game and this post.

looking back before we look forward

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

FSN is replaying the Tigers’ postseason victories on Mondays, and of course I watched it tonight. Game 2 of the ALDS, which, as we all know, the Tigers won in New York, 4-3.

I totally had forgotten some of this stuff, like when Morgan was insisting to Jon Miller that the Yankees didn’t count their season successful unless they won the World Series, while every other team just wanted to get there. Holy freakin’ cats Morgan, NO, I am pretty sure that most teams do not dearly wish to get to the World Series only to lose in some horrible embarrassing fashion once there. Pretty sure everyone wants to win the World Series. Small children and Tampa Bay Devil Rays do not dream of the bright lights and crushing shame of crumbling before the Yankees in October.

It is nice to know that my disgust for Joe Morgan remains as gloriously intact as ever even in the middle of the most barren stretch of the offseason.

After seeing this game, let me reiterate how much I do not want to see Gary Sheffield at first base. Granted, most of the plays he missed were either not REALLY his fault (error on the Jete) or else plays that, say, Shelton or Casey wouldn’t make anyways, BUT! totally plays that Carlos Pena would make. And I KNOW WE DON’T HAVE CARLOS PENA ANYMORE I KNOW THAT OK, but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the thing. If I am going to have to deal with a defensively inept player at first, I at least want it to be someone I like (Casey) or someone I am amused by in an “aww, lookit you, also please don’t procreate, ever” kind of way (Shelton). Not someone whose spleen I would like to see bloodily removed at midfield by Kyle Farnsworth in a bout of righteous anger.

Also I hate Johnny Damon so hard.

How hot was that play where Inge didn’t even see the ball until it was practically on top of him, and he still made a great play on it? Super freakin’ hot. I know I actually blathered about this at the time (‘tho you can’t see it because the archives are still in transit– soon, my patient little readerlings, soon), but it’s still SUCH a wonderfully understated play, the kind of quietly amazing thing that us mere mortals cannot do, and Brandon Inge CAN do.

Of course, this time around, it also set me and semi-roommate Derek off, attempting perhaps to recreate the heady feeling of being Joe Morgan and Jon Miller in the booth.

“He’s actually blind, he had no idea what was coming at him.”
“Right, but he knew it was SOMEthing! He was ready to field it.”
“It could’ve been anything.”
“Could’ve been Johnny Damon’s head, bouncing down the line.”
“But he was there, he was ready for it.”
“Actually, he plays by sense of smell.”
“Deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean baseball.”

The moral of the story is, NEVER WATCH A BASEBALL GAME WITH US.

Oh, and I just wanted to mention this. Posada ran into the railing and the Morgan/Miller genuismachine went on and on about how he maybe got a bruise from it or something. This is especially ridiculous to me because a) Posada showed no particular signs of being hurt, there was no need to talk about it for a good solid 5 minutes, and b) I just got through watching the Winter X Games (I know, I know, shut up), where people are HURLED THROUGH THE AIR, sometimes while attempting to ride 400 LB MACHINES, and sometimes they come CRASHING DOWN WITH THOSE MACHINES ON TOP OF SOME PART OF THEM, and these people more often than not GET UP AND WALK IT OFF. I love baseball, and I accept that it stops for rain and that hangnails are the end of the world sometimes, but really, come on now.

After the game: “How hard is it to do special things, when you are trying very hard to do special things?” That was our very own John Keating, to Marcus Thames. Because we are all 5 years old.

From this game we learned:

-The Moose, his bowels be loose.
-Brandon Inge is a superhuman.
-The people love Joel Zumaya.
-It is fun beating the Yankees in New York.

This game to be broadcast in your lively imagination

The Tigers have released their TV schedule for the upcoming season, and let the disbelieving complaints begin.

They’re going to show 112 games, a network record, you guys, so GET PSYCHED. There’s what, 162 games in the major league season? That leaves 50 games to be broadcast only on the radio, or only on, or only to be seen with your own little yellow Tiger eyes with your little stripey Tiger bum parked firmly in a vastly uncomfortable hard plastic ballpark seat for 9 innings.

Now, maybe this only sends me into foaming-at-the-mouth, that-kid’s-got-rabies convulsions because I’m used to Boston, where every game is televised, and on the radio, and has pre- and postgame shows that can add up to longer than the actual game sometimes, and radio shows dissecting that day’s game long into the night, and vast newspaper coverage the next day, not to mention the internet: on the official site (which puts up way more content, especially photo-wise, than the Tigers’ site) and on the online sites of newspapers (which put up way more content, especially photo-wise, than the Detroit papers), and on the blogs (which are, while not necessarily better than the Tigers blogs, undeniably more numerous).

But I tend to think even people used to a less COMPLETELY INSANE media market get upset about the fact that 50 games, 50 bloody frigging Tigers games, are not going to be broadcast on local TV this season. And this is an improvement from past years.

Would people seriously rather watch televised poker than baseball games? I can’t believe they’d get better ratings with poker or cheesy, shoddily-produced FSN cannon fodder shows than they would with live Tigers games, and THAT IS WHAT IS SEEMINGLY ALWAYS ON in lieu of Tigers games.

Let us look at this objectively. Let us see what FSN would gain or lose from just showing us the rest of those games.

Let us take poker. People in big hats and bad sunglasses sitting at a green felt table with little card graphics all over the screen that make it look like I’m playing solitaire on the computer when I’m supposed to be doing work. You are watching people playing a card game on TV.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would rather watch Wil Ledezma get his rear soundly whalloped by a teamful of double-A Royals players than poker on TV. No matter how bad the game was, it would still be a fact that you were watching baseball, an actual sport, where actual things happen, and not poorly-dressed people fingering little pieces of cardboard.

Advantage: Tigers

Fishing. I see that they broadcast that, too. I can’t honestly say that I’ve seen much televised fishing, except for ESPN’s broadcast of that shark fishing tournament when it was on at like 3 am and I had massive work-induced insomnia once and was at that point where my mind was saying things like, “cartilage…. big…. teeth… big.” And I know that some people argue that fishing is just as much a sport as baseball, at least pacing-wise. These people are clearly insane and we should make fun of them.

But in any event, I imagine a fishing event on TV would go something like this: “Well we’ve got a nice day here for fishing.” “A-yup.” “Here we go let’s turn on the boat.” “VrrrOOOooom.” “Cast out the lines! Choose bait or something!” “Oh look my pole is dancing about I must have a fish on the end of it.” *reel reel reel* *grab fish by its gasping, suffocating mouth* “Crikey, look at the size of this ICHTHYOLOGICAL MONSTAH.” *weigh the fish* *people cheer* *Charlie Moore verbally abuses the fish and sleeps with its sister*

Whereas even a relatively awful Tigers game would go something like this: “Aaand here’s the pitch… struck him out! Pudge Rodriguez swings at a ball 100,000 feet outside of the strike zone and he is out.” “Mario, I think that ball was so far out of the strike zone it was actually in the strike zone at the Lugnuts’ park in Lansing.” “Pudge is stomping back to the dugout. I don’t think he’s too happy with himself, Rod.” “No, I expect not, Mario. He’ll probably try to comfort himself next inning by going up to the mound when Verlander is struggling to throw anything that’s not a fastball and vigorously groping the young pitcher.” “That’s the Pudge way, Rod. That’s why he’s a Gold Glove All Star veteran.” “Groping pitchers is a really underrated intangible that Pudge brings to the field, Mario.” *Charlie Moore verbally abuses Pudge and sleeps with his sister*

Advantage: Tigers

What the heck else does FSN show when they’re not showing Tigers games? Oh yes, those FSN ‘shows’, the most famous (notorious?) of which is the Best Damn Sports Show (Period), a show so awkward that I have actually found myself getting tearily embarrassed for the people on it on occasion. I have seriously never seen such uncomfortable interaction with guests on a nominal sports show before. They manage to sometimes even make Kevin Millar interviews seem canned and nervous, and if you can do that to Kevin Millar, then you’ve pretty much failed at life.

The BDSS(.) has Chris Rose introducing athletes with ridiculous over-the-top blurbs while said athletes gaze around the studio (or, more likely, recline in some remote, video-connected location) with a vast air of discomfort, Rodney Peete chuckling loudly and at vaguely inappropriate times, Ron Dibble pretending he is still in baseball, and whatever random girl with badly highlighted hair they happen to have hanging around the studio that week strutting up onto the set to be sassy and basically just exist as a loud female (or someone they can use to entice Barry Zito into the occasional interview). The only redeeming quality of that cast is John Salley, simply because he at least has the good grace to occasionally seem mildly ashamed of what he’s doing there.

The Tigers have Dmitri Young insulting his teammates’ choices of hair style, Inge and Shelton running over inanimate objects in golf carts together, Magglio Ordonez financing the entire Venezuelan national little league team, Carlos Pena mackin’ on the goth chicks (unsubstantiated yet persistent internet rumor alert!), Jamie Walker smacking shaving cream pies into the faces of rookies, and Jeremy Bonderman saying “um” a lot. They have the TV team of Rod Allen and Mario Impemba speculating about the hottness of Omar Infante.

Advantage: Tigers

There may be politicking going on behind the scenes that would explain this reluctance or inability to broadcast every single frigging Tigers game, and I’m sure at least some of it is to encourage attendance at the ballpark (not an issue, as one might imagine, in Boston). But the fact remains that, at least ratings-wise, FSN has precious little to lose by showing Tigers games. If you would rather watch poker, fishing, or some cruddy show rating the top 10 fattest offensive linemen in history than live baseball, you are a Bloody Idiot.

Or, I guess, a NASCAR fan.

Get striped up!

One more Jewish Tiger to note (you know who it is anyhow), but I have to mention that tonight on FSN they had a bunch of snippets of interviews with Tigers. They asked them about Leyland and next season and whatnot.

I realized, though, that I haven’t seen recent interviews with Tigers players in forever. It’s been a long, dark offseason. And suddenly, HERE IS BRANDON INGE ON MY TEEVEE, sporting a subdued chin triangle and hamming it up for the media, as ever. Here is Craig Monroe saying Leyland will give it to them straight! Here is Nate Robertson looking… um. Nate? Whatever you’re doing with the hair and the scruff? Keep it. Boy done got hot over the winter, kids. Maybe his ERA will behave similarly.

Now, I don’t buy what FSN is selling with the “Pitching wins! We got Todd Jones and Kenny Rogers! They are pitchers! Therefore we win!” schtick, but my goodness is this refreshing to watch. It doesn’t even matter what they’re saying, or that the parched gray manager looks slightly different this time around. It’s BASEBALL PLAYERS and it’s NOT ALEX RODRIGUEZ and they’re TALKING ABOUT BASEBALL and holy cats. Is it baseball season yet?

A tiny shard of happiness.

Miserable game. It’s getting almost comical, how the pitching steps up only when the bats are completely silent, and vice versa. I mean, is this someone’s idea of a joke? Because that’s how it seems right now. I can’t even think about it anymore without wanting to cry, or break things, or go sit in the corner and stare at the wall and just hijack my brain and think about quarks for a while or something. Maybe all at once. It is just sick that this is happening with any kind of consistency.

But! (you knew that was a but in there, and not Brandon Inge’s either, although that is a very nice but[t])

FSN just had this program on. Where they compiled all these clips from the baseball players they had mic’ed up all year so far, and they played them. And. It was. Amazing. Amazing! It was fascinating and enlightening and dead hilarious and nothing I say will do it justice, really.

At the end they chose 4 guys they had wired who had gone ‘above and beyond’ the call of mic’ed up duty. One was Kevin Millar, which should surprise exactly no one. One was Jimmy Rollins, who was very chatty, very enthusiastic, spoke very clearly, and was very, very funny. One was Ozzie Guillen, which, again, no surprises there (they had Jon Garland on saying, “You could understand him? That’s the big thing, usually no one can understand him”).

The fourth? Dmitri Young.

To say that he was funny would not really do justice to his little winks, and side comments, and his enormous smile, which is so magnificent that it is enough to make me happy at the end of a very, very long day, baseball-wise.