Category Archives: Mike Hessman

the race to .500

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

September in tha D! Are you ready for this? Are you ready for the extraordinary excitement that will be The Race to .500?!?!!?

As we finish out the season we will be playing teams who are fighting for their divisions, teams who will be fighting for the wild card, for any playoff berth at all. The Tigers? We’re fighting for the more symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing EVEN SPLIT. We aim for perfection… PERFECT MEDIOCRITY. The mathematical beauty of .500, that is our objective.

We need a minimum of 81 wins to achieve this majestic goal! Right now we have 67! There are 23 games left in the season! We need to win at least 14 of those games to reach .500! This means that we are only allowed 9 more losses for the entire rest of the month. START YOUR COUNTDOWN, FOLKS AND FELINES!

Bits and pieces from the Wednesday night game, ’cause I need to be in bed about two hours ago:

– Lots of ‘USA, USA’ chants for Olympian Mike Hessman. He obliged the crowd with a late-inning home run. Rod and Mario spent quite a while talking about how he didn’t get to see any of the basketball or swimming because even if you’re an Olympic athlete, you need to get tickets to watch other events, and the tickets would get snatched up early in the morning.

– Renteria was tossed in the 6th for arguing about being called out on a checked swing (lots of rumbling about the strikezone tonight too) so the camera focused on Ramon Santiago, who was readying his glove in the dugout. He was talking to Ryan Raburn, and as he got up he appeared to reach out and TWEAK RABURN’S NOSE. It’s kind of hard to see because he’s between the camera and Raburn, but I definitely did a doubletake. A doubletake of POTENTIAL GLEE.

– The crowd kept chanting ‘Gary! Gary! Gary!’ when Sheffield was up, and then booing loudly if he made an out. Rod and Mario were perplexed and amused by this. Obviously they’re not familiar with Sheff’s deep, twisted need to be booed to psych himself up at the plate.

– After the game, Magglio, Joyce, Granderson, and Santiago all met for a GROUP HUG. Like, a big circular hug. I squee’d.

Thursday we’ve got a day game, 1:05 pm EDT. Kenny vs. Ervin Santana. Remember: there’s a maximum of 9 losses allowed for the entire rest of the month. I hope Kenny is bearing that in mind. Go Tigers!

getting the striped bats back on track

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Ah ha! There’s the offense! Now, why should the offense suddenly realize it exists against Mark Buehrle, and not against anyone on the Royals’ staff? This is a mystery that we may all ponder. Perhaps the Wrong Sox are a better-known entity, i.e. when they’re playing tolerably well, we understand and recognize them better than we understand or recognize good-playing Royals.

Then again, it’s possible that the Wrong Sox are just REALLY suffering right now. That’s what their announcers made it sound like as I was watching the game. Now, I know from experience that the Wrong Sox announcers are major, shameless home-team rooters, so they don’t even make a pretense of objectivity, but my goodness, I have never heard them so doggedly dejected before.

And I’ll be honest: if I had to hear the Hawk call a perfectly respectable Tiger hit a “ducksnort” one more time (immediately followed by a thousand statements about luck, but of course the Tigers are “going good” so they’re “making their own luck”, and the Wrong Sox aren’t, and that’s what you can expect, and luck luck, cheap hits, ducksnorts, so on and so on), I was going to find a way to leap through the TV into Chicago so that I could PERSONALLY slap him in the face with an irritable mallard duck.

This was mostly infuriating because the Hawk, and whoever the heck it was with him in the booth, admitted that the Tigers are a really good hitting team (apparently when they’re not playing the Royals), and admitted that the Wrong Sox are having trouble, AND they admitted that their so-called “luck” seemed to favor teams that are actually, y’know, GOOD AT BASEBALL RIGHT NOW, they STILL persisted in ducksnorting and luck-talking their way through the Tigers’ offensive attack.

Let the record state that just because a baseball falls onto the field in a way perceived by Hawk Harrelson to be “gentle”, that does not make said hit “cheap”, or “ducksnorty”, or in any way unearned by the hitting team.

Anyways. Aside from that annoyance, the Tigers did get their claws into the Wrong Sox, and they did rend. Granderson was a triple away from the cycle (dude hits more triples than anyone in the universe, and the one time he NEEDS a triple, he can’t get one. sigh), including a leadoff home run, and had 4 RBI. Every time you think that Curtis Granderson has reached a pinnacle of awesome, he goes right ahead and gets more awesome.

A great big WELCOME to Mike Hessman, who burst onto the scene as a Tiger with a 2-for-4 day and 2 RBI. This is a guy who’s been slogging along in the minors since 2004, that being the last time he was up with a major league team (and that was the Braves, and only for 29 games).

He’s 29 years old and had basically had the career minor leaguer tag stuck on him… and of course he was only playing today because Sean Casey + lefty pitcher = quiet sobbing, but it’s still an accomplishment, and he sure did his best to make the Tigers feel like they made the right choice in promoting him, even if it only ends up being temporary.

Maybe this disheartened Wrong Sox squad is exactly what we need to get our tigerliciousness back after being so cruelly mishandled by the Royals. It would certainly help everyone get their dignity back if they were winning, and if they could feel like they were beating a real team in the process. Double-header tomorrow, with games at 2 and 8. Go get ’em, Tigers.