Category Archives: instant replay ate my baby

Tigers enjoy a brew

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Ah, how refreshing it is, going into an offday with an interleague sweep under your belt. It should be a rule of baseball that if you sweep the Brewers, you have to wash down the sweet taste of victory with some sort of beer. Unless you’re Rick Porcello, of course. We don’t want to encourage illegal behavior.

Friday was a mess of rain and delays and instant replay. Arrrrrmando didn’t get the win, as the 2+ hour delay knocked him out after four innings. Play resumed, soggily. The Tigers managed to make it an official game and an official nightmare for Braden Looper with a glorious flurry of homers (Miggy, Granderson, The River Thames [who hit a second homerun off of the poor sod who came in to relieve Looper]).

Instant replay giveth, and instant replay taketh away. The first instant-replay-overturned play in Comerica history was a Miguel Cabrera ‘single’ that was actually a homerun. The ball had bounced back onto the field, which I guess confused the umpires? It seemed pretty obvious to everyone else in the entire world, but to their credit the umps went in to look at it and they got it right in the end.

The second replay was similar– Dusty Ryan hit a ball that bounced back onto the field. This one was originally called a homerun, although again the player at least seemed to feel differently, as Dusty pulled up at second and looked for the call before continuing around to home. Melancholy Ken Macha argued it, the umps had a look, and sure enough the ball had bounced off the fence, not the (out of play) wall, as I guess the umps had first assumed.

So instant replay gave the Tigs a homerun and took a homerun away from the Tigs, and was correct both times. Why were people so deathly afraid of introducing this to the game of baseball? TECHNOLOGY, HELL YEAH.

Also, Brandon Inge had his first triple of the season.

The game ended up getting called in the 7th inning, but by then it was 10-4 Tigers, so it’s not like a near victory was being cruelly snatched away from the Brewers or anysuchthing.

Saturday was the big league debut of Alfredo Figaro, who fanned seven in five innings, gave up two runs, and got his first win out of the way early. Who is Alfredo Figaro? He’s a 24-year-old righty who throws pretty hard, and IS THE COUSIN OF FERNANDO RODNEY. He also says things like this:

“I was a little bit nervous in the third inning,” Figaro said. “But then I thought in my mind, ‘You know what? That’s baseball. Throw your ball how you’ve thrown it for a long time and if he wants to hit, hit. And if he doesn’t, strike out.’ “

Figaro said his teammates poured beer on him in the clubhouse to help him celebrate his first win.

“I’m happy with that,” he said, “because I’m in the big leagues with all the stars, all the big guys. I’m very, very happy for that.

“I know they need a fifth starter. I can be that fifth starter. I believe in me.”

Chris Iott, MLive article

He thought in his mind! He believes in himself! I believe in you too, Alfredo! I believe that you are wee and adorable! I believe that the blood you share with Fernando will not automatically doom you to a career of frustrating, inconsistent, stressful outings. Prove me right.

Fernando actually threw a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the game for his cousin. Could this be the start of something beautiful?!

Sunday was basically the Return of Justin Verlander. He had a crummy outing in his last start, so this was precisely what he needed: nearly 8 innings, five hits, two runs, EIGHT strikeouts. Both the runs came off of singleshot homers.

Yovani Gallardo is nothing to sneeze at, so the fact that the Tigers were able to squeak out a win here (thank you Brandon Inge for your glorious three-run blast!) is legitimately commendable. And, hey, Fernando had another 1-2-3 inning, which I will note for the sake of fairness, given all the piling-on I generally do where Fernando is concerned.

Now! In addition to the mostly quality pitching and the bats that actually did things, the Tigers had 3 errors this entire series, all of which came in the slippery wet rain game, as opposed to the 6 errors they had against the Cardinals. Are the Tigers really getting their act together, or was this little burst of effectiveness just a combination of luck and Brewers? The Cubbies are coming to town, on a win streak of their own, so we shall see what we shall see.

I really hope it wasn’t just luck and Brewers.

ETA: OH, I nearly forgot! Look at who I saw at Fenway on Tuesday! :D

insert bad joke about sloppy baseball here


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Sigh. I don’t even have the heart to crack a properly uncomfortable joke about this one.

I hate errors, I really do. Not that I think Chris Lambert would have been A-OK without the errors in this one; he was falling apart pretty hard in the third, and back-to-back homers to start the inning had nothing to do with the fielding behind him. But giving up six runs in your first big league start is rough enough without only two of them being earned. That’s rough on a whole other level, because now the poor guy is feeling cruddy about his pitching ability AND will be spending a while wondering, ‘Aw, but… what if?…’

It’s also not that I think we would have won this game if it wasn’t for the errors. I mean: Cliff Lee, you guys, seriously, I feel like we should be saying THE Cliff Lee. Versus Chris Lambert, who was so nervous that his legs were shaking on the bench between innings when FSN zoomed in on him. Poor kid. You kinda just wanted to go up there and give him a great big hug and tell him it would all be OK, the season was over long before today anyways.

I’m actually not sure that a blogger hugging him would have been much comfort (probably more like, ‘Auugh!! Blogger! It touches me with fingers it uses to MAKE WORDS ON THE INTERNET!’), but still, y’know, he inspired those kinds of feelings. In short, this was not a game that was leaning in our favor anyways.

The errors just made it so much worse. They added untold amounts of anguish to poor Lambert’s sufferings on the mound, and they made it hard for a fan to watch the game. It’s one thing to watch Cliff Lee strike your guys out; it’s another thing entirely to watch a two-out ball squirt past your outfielder, thus prolonging an inning that should have been over AND bringing in another run that never should have scored. The former is merely par for the course when it comes to annoying baseball. The latter is the kind of thing that makes you really understand the need for those foam bricks they sell specifically for throwing at your TV.

The four runs scored off of Aquilino Lopez were also not too much fun, but he was in there after only 2.2 innings, and it’s hard to blame the bullpen when excessive demands are placed upon it.

The best moment of the game, by FAR, was a simple foul ball that popped up and back, towards the Racist Logo dugout. Inge tossed aside his mask and chased after it, leaning over the rail hopefully. The ball bounced harmlessly on the dugout floor and I think back into the crowd. Inge kind of looked around for a second, saw a spare ball sitting on the back side of the dugout wall, scooped it up with his glove and held it aloft, pretty much completely deadpan.

The umpires, of course, did not buy it for a second, but it was a hilarious attempt. Eric Wedge in particular seemed to be beside himself with mirth.

So that was the highlight: our catcher being his usual ridiculous self on a pointless foul ball. Hooray team. I’ll also note that Inge’s hair looks like it’s growing back in nicely, and I hope he learned his lesson and NEVER LETS FREDDY DOLSI ‘CUT’ HIS HAIR AGAIN.

Oh, and you guys know that instant replay is coming, right? Blah blah blah, Tigers have things to say about that, blah blah.

…[Kenny Rogers said,] “It’s part of the game. It’s the beauty of the game. I mean, mistakes are made. It’s not like anybody wants to make mistakes, especially the umpire. They’re doing the best they can, and that’s always enough. The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”

“I’m against it for a lot of different reasons,” [Kenny] Rogers said, “but mainly because I think it’s just a slap in the face of umpires that have been around a long time. And they’ve done a very good job with difficult situations in all aspects. So they get calls wrong once in a while. We’ve all done things wrong once in a while. I wish we could take them back. It’s not part of the game. It’s not part of life.”

“I don’t think we have to follow the direction of other sports,” Rogers said. “I think our game is beautiful the way it is. Subtle changes here and there are OK to a degree, but I think they’ve made quite a few changes over the last 50 years.”

[Brandon Inge’s take on it:] “Me personally, I don’t like it, because I’m also about the tradition of a game. I would think that Babe Ruth and Teddy Ballgame might be rolling in their graves about stuff like this. This is why people come to the games, to see the human interaction. You have the umpire calling the game, when it’s his call, he’s doing his best.”
Jason Beck/MLB.com article

Baseball players hate change. SHOCKING, I know. But I also entreat you to examine the first paragraph I’ve pulled here, where Kenny says, “The best that they can do in the end is always enough. If it’s not [enough] for certain hierarchy or whatever, I think that’s a shame.”

First sentence: no. This is not kindergarten, Kenny. Your best effort is not always enough, especially if your best effort is, say, terrible, or demonstrably WRONG. I know that a lot of people in baseball really really REALLY want to believe in the Gold Star for Effort Theory of Baseball Management, but many very smart people have proven that this is usually a bad way to run things. Nobody is denying that a professional baseball player has a tough job, or that a professional MLB umpire has a tough job, but in this day and age you (should) no longer get a gold star for effort. You (should) get a gold star for ACTUALLY DOING WELL. This is true for players and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be true for umpires.

Second sentence: what? Seriously, what is he talking about there? A certain hierarchy? I don’t even know. I mean, is he pointing fingers at… I can’t even begin to guess. Owners? Managers? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? The military hierarchy? The patriarchy? What?

Next please examine the Brandon Inge quote that says, “This is why people come to the games, to see the human interaction.”

Do you guys really go to baseball games to see the human interaction? I mean, I can see human interaction at my local Dunkin Donuts, I don’t really need to shell out for baseball tickets to get my human interaction fix. I usually go to professional baseball games to see baseball played by people who are good at baseball. But maybe there are people out there who go specifically to see the delicate human interaction between the umpire and… the strikezone? The poignantly evocative human interaction between the umpire and the manager when the manager comes out onto the field to scream at the umpire that he’s a blind idiot who isn’t fit to hold the manager’s jockstrap?

I dunno, guys. You tell me.

Mr. Leyland, give us some sanity.

“I like it for home runs,” Leyland said on Sunday. “I think a home run should be a home run. It’s tough to see in some of these places.”

When told that the system would go into place this weekend, Leyland said, “Fine with me.”
Jason Beck/MLB.com article

Thank you.

Wednesday. There is a game. 7:05 pm EDT. Tigers vs. Racist Logos. Justin Verlander The Inefficient vs. Dr. Fausto Carmona. We’re looking to avoid the sweep. Maybe we’re also looking to see some incredible human interaction. Maybe SOME OF THE BASEBALL PLAYERS WILL TALK TO SOME OF THE OTHER BASEBALL PLAYERS. I don’t know about you guys, but gosh, I can’t wait! Go Tigers!