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January 14, 2010 2:23 AM

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September 11, 2009 9:37 AM

Another Opinion On the Rodney Saga

By: MELISSA HEYBOER

Forgive me for the delay, but let's just say I needed a few days to cool off.

 

After all, watching Fernando Rodney pitch from anywhere other than the bullpen can take a lot out of a girl. So I'm glad to say Thursday's game, albeit a loss, was Rod­neyless and for that, I'm happy.

 

You can forget all this nonsense Sean writes about how he's "proud" of him. Bologna. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about passion and drive and yadda, yadda, yadda, but unfortunately passion and drive aren't all you need to throw strikes. Otherwise, Todd Jones would've been a force to be reckoned with in his last years as a Tiger.

 

But I digress.

 

I was going to write about how Rodney's three-game suspension, following last Friday night's momentary lapse of common sense, was, well, a bit harsh. Now, I'm not so sure I still feel that same way.

 

Let's pause for a brief venture into fantasyland...

 

In my fantasyland, Fernando all-I-do-is-blow-games-Rodney, would get suspended and the entire Tiger's nation would spend three blissful days without worrying about whether "F-Rod" is going to "F-up" and give up two, three, or 15 runs in a game.

 

I like fantasyland.

 

Unfortunately, I have to be realistic about this. And Rodney's three-game suspension was nothing short of unfair. All joking aside, he didn't warrant it and doesn't deserve it. And as much as I hate to say it, with October closing in, the Tigers can't afford to lose its closer, Rodney or not. We're in a pennant race, folks. You want your best, and worst, players along for the ride.

 

I'm definitely not condoning Rodney's behavior Friday night, but let's be honest, he didn't do anything that nine out of 10 baseball players don't do on a daily basis.

 

Was it inappropriate? Yes. Did it warrant a fine? Maybe. Does he deserve to miss games for it? Absolutely not.

 

Does anyone actually believe he was trying to hurt anyone when he threw a ball into the stands? I can't see how they would. Just take it for it was. It was Rodney pissed off at himself for his own lack of, well, awesomeness on the mound.

 

Yes, I said awesomeness. And, yes, I meant it.

 

What really grinds my gears, however, is that now there's talk about a letter written by the Rays beat writer for the St. Petersburg Times, Marc Topkin. According to Tiger's president and general manager Dave Dombrowski this letter had more pull in the suspension than Rodney's actual actions.

 

Yeah, that makes sense. Maybe if our friends over at the Detroit Free Press whine enough, we can get other players suspended too when they slide into second to forcefully. 


Seriously?

 

The point is, with no Tiger's bullpen pitcher being a stable Tiger's bullpen pitcher, losing Rodney for even three games could be bad for a team who's merely 5.5 games ahead of Minnesota and a scary six games behind the wild card leading Red Sox.

 

So, as much as I'd love to take a ride on the fantasyland train, I think I'll stick with the Rodneyville clunker.


September 10, 2009 11:18 AM

Tigers - Blue Jays Press Release

THE PENNANT RACE IS ON AS THE TIGERS HOST THE BLUE JAYS 
WEEKEND FEATURES FIRST-EVER PAWS BOBBLEHEAD GIVEAWAY AND TWO FIREWORKS SHOWS


DETROIT - The chase for the pennant continues for the Detroit Tigers as they open a seven-game homestand on Friday, September 11 when they host the Toronto Blue Jays for a four-game series. Friday, Saturday and Monday's games are at 7:05 p.m. while Sunday's game starts at 1:05 p.m. The Tigers then begin a stretch during which they face divisional opponents in their final 19 games of the season when they host the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 15 and 16 at 7:05 p.m. and Thursday, September 17 at 1:05 p.m. 

Friday and Saturday night fireworks, Sunday Kids Day, and two giveaways - a PAWS bobblehead and a Tigers camouflage hunting hat, highlight the homestand. 

Available for Monday-Thursday home games through September 17, fans can purchase two Outfield Box tickets for $49 - a savings of $15. 

Tickets are available for all games at the Comerica Park Box Office, online at www.tigers.com, by phone at (866) 66-TIGER (84437), at Detroit-area Meijer stores and at Hockeytown Authentics, located at 1845 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy. 

Get playoff ticket priority by placing a deposit on a 2010 full season ticket package and receive the opportunity to purchase tickets to all 2009 home playoff games. Call 313-471-2255 or visit tigers.com for more information. 

A limited number of American League Division Series postseason suites are now available. Reserve suites for potential first-round ALDS games at Comerica Park by calling 313-471-2222. 

Friday, September 11 - Fireworks Show - Blue Jays @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        The Tigers, and every Major League Baseball team, will wear 'stars and stripes' baseball hats in recognition of Sept. 11. 
·        Specialist Justin Ross of the United States Army and a native of Taylor, Mich. will deliver the game ball. Ross recently returned from his first deployment in Iraq at Camp Liberty. 
·        Friday Night Fireworks, presented by Pepsi, are free with game ticket and will immediately follow the game, weather permitting. 
·        One lucky fan will receive an opportunity to win $1,000 in the Pepsi Close for Cash contest between the conclusion of the game and the Friday Night Fireworks by throwing three strikes from various distances. Fans can enter for a chance to be selected at a participating Sam's Club. 

The Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, has partnered with American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that provide relief to disaster victims, support to active and veteran military personnel and their families, the knowledge and skills to help our community prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, for Friday and Saturday's 50-50 Charity raffle. The Foundation holds a 50-50 Charity raffle every Friday and Saturday game throughout the season. Tickets are sold when the gates open until the end of the second inning throughout the concourse, at entry gates and at the 50-50 raffle table near Gate A. Tickets are three-for-$5 with the winning ticket announced after the sixth inning. To date, the 50-50 Charity raffle has raised more than $80,000 for charities, with the single largest 50-50 winner taking home more than $5,800.


Friday, September 11 - Continued 

To honor the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty during Sept. 11, the Tigers will celebrate the men and women of local fire and police forces and their dedication to the community through public service during an on-field, pregame recognition. The Tigers donated 500 tickets to local firefighters and police officers along with their families to go to the game. The attending firefighters will be from the Detroit Fire Department, while the attending police officers will represent police departments from Detroit, Rochester, Wayne County, Brownstown, Roseville, Buena Vista Township, Saginaw and Wayne State.   

Saturday, September 12 - Fireworks Show - Blue Jays @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.)


·        Saturday Night Fireworks, presented by Verizon Wireless, are free with game ticket and will immediately follow the game, weather permitting. 

Sunday, September 13 - Kids Day - Blue Jays @ 1:05 p.m. (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.) 

·        All Kids 14-and-younger will receive an "Every Kid, Every Sunday" PAWS bobblehead compliments of Comcast. 
·        Dana Jacobson, television personality and a graduate of the University of Michigan and a Rochester, Mich. native, will throw the ceremonial first pitch. 

All Sunday home games are Kids Days at Comerica Park, sponsored by Pepsi. In addition to every child receiving a PAWS Bobblehead, children can enjoy free rides on the Comerica Bank Carousel or the Fly Ball Ferris Wheelcourtesy of Red Robinfree face painting at Gates A and B, and Pack Attack near Gate B at 11:45 a.m. Tigers Kids Club Members have the exclusive chance to take the field prior to the start of the game, deliver the lineup card to homeplate or announce the first Tigers batter over the public address as one of the Big Boy Kids Take the Field. Additionally, there is a chance for all kids to win one of four kids' bicycles, compliments of Meijer. After the game all children are invited down to the field for Kids Run the Bases, courtesy of Pepsi and Upper Deck Trading Cards. 

Monday, September 14 - Blue Jays @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        Sergeant Adam Rogers of the United States Army and a native of Quincy, Mich. will deliver the game ball. Rogers is home for two weeks of leave from Iraq where he is serving his second tour of duty. 
·        Tigers catcher Alex Avila will chat live with fans from 2-3 p.m. at tigers.com. Fans can log on to www.tigers.com/chat starting at 1 p.m. to begin submitting questions. 

Daryl Horton, son of Tigers great Willie Horton, will present awards to the top performers of the batting, throwing and base running portions of Willie Horton's "Batting For Kids" competition during an on-field, pregame ceremony. On July 13, over 350 children ages 7-16 competed in running, hitting and throwing contests at Comerica Park. Since 2002, Willie Horton's "Batting for Kids," a youth baseball clinic and fundraiser for Don Bosco Hall, has been promoting the development and enrichment of Detroit Public School students. 

Tuesday, September 15 - Royals @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        Miss Michigan Nicole Blaszczyk will throw the ceremonial first pitch. 

Gloves For Kids, a program designed to provide Detroit's youth the proper sporting equipment to participate in organized baseball and softball, will be recognized during an on-field, pregame ceremony. Gloves For Kids collected more than 2,700 pieces of equipment in 2009, including 575 gloves and 239 bats. Rosedale Grandmont Little League will receive more than $3,000 collected during Glove For Kids and an additional $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. Tigers players Adam Everett, Gerald Laird, Jeff Larish, Brandon Lyon, Zach Miner, Ryan Raburn and Clete Thomas all appeared at local ABC Warehouse locations throughout the season to sign autographs in exchange for equipment or monetary donations. On August 29 a collection was held at Comerica Park where more than 600 pieces of equipment were donated. Gloves For Kids is supported by 97.1 The TicketWWJ 950 AMFOX Sports Detroit, ABC Warehouse and The Baseball Tomorrow Fund.


Wednesday, September 16 - Tigers Camouflage Hat - Royals @ 7:05 p.m. 
(Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        Harold Lanning, WWII veteran, will perform the national anthem. 
·        The first 10,000 adults (21-and-older) will receive a Detroit Tigers Camouflage Hunting Hat compliments of Bud Light. 

As part of Carlos' Compañeros, Tigers outfielder Carlos Guillen will provide complimentary game tickets, T-shirts and the opportunity to watch batting practice from the field for members of SER (Service, Employment and Redevelopment), a multi-service Michigan corporation committed to the development and utilization of the nation's workforce. 

Hundreds of World War II veterans will attend the game as part of filming for Keith Famie's "Detroit: Our Greatest Generation," an hour-long documentary about World War II veterans who live in the metro Detroit area. WWII veteran Harold Lanning will perform the national anthem, complete with a B-17 aircraft flyover. A WWII veteran will also throw the ceremonial first pitch. For more information, log onto www.detroitgreatestgeneration.comwww.v-prod.comand/or www.tigers.com/dogg. 

The Tigers will host a "My Favorite Things" broadcast auction with Fox Sports Detroit during the Tigers telecast. Beginning with the opening of the FSD broadcast and through the eighth inning, the auction will feature baskets hand picked by Tigers wives and will be filled with their husband's favorite things and also unique baseball memorabilia. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, to supportTiny Tigers, a Tee Ball and junior baseball program funded by the Foundation as part of Play Baseball Detroit and in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club. 

Thursday, September 17 - Royals @ 1:05 p.m. (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.) 

A family will be presented a surprise check from the Sabrina Black Foundation in a Tigers suite. Sabrina Black, a former disc jockey and WDFN AM sports reporter, passed away on March 20, 2006 at the age of 35. Her husband, Steve Black, founded the Sabrina Black Foundation to assist families with medical bills. 
September 9, 2009 2:03 PM

Why I Am Proud Of Fernando Rodney.

I am finally proud of Fernando Rodney.

You heard me right. Fernando Rodney is awesome.

Before you begin your tirade, let me explain me explain something; I have never, ever, ever, ever , EVER been a fan of Rodney. Ever. The proof is here. I have been so overcritical of him that I cannot even claim to not have a bias.

So why I have a made a sudden turnaround in my opinion of him, especially in the midst of such a boneheaded move that he has cost the Tigers three games worth of crooked hat saves?

The reason is simple; passion.

Fernando Rodney came very, very close to blowing a three-run lead that had only occurred an inning early due to some late heroics. What did he do next? He grabbed the ball he had used to almost blow the game and fired it into the stands. Fernando was pissed, and rightfully so.

Was it a good idea to throw a 97 mph fastball into the Tropicana Field bleachers? No. Could he have seriously hurt someone? Of course. Did he act without thinking of the outcome? Yupp. Is acting on emotion and putting it all on the line with basically no time to think about the consequences exactly what a closer should do? Damn right.

For the first time in the history of me watching Fernando Rodney, I felt like he was genuinely consumed with anger. He couldn't believe he had almost cost the Tigers a game. He acted without concern - without consternation. Dare I say, I am proud of him?

Had he hurt someone, it would have been terribly unfortunate. He would have paid severely. But the ball missed everyone. It rattled around the press box and came to rest without injuring a soul. It landed exactly where it should have, which may have been the only time Fernando threw a ball  in the right spot all night. 

-s

September 1, 2009 2:24 PM

It Is Time to Give Serious Cy Young Consideration to Justin Verlander

Just a few weeks ago I would have told you that Josh Beckett was the Cy Young front-runner for the 2009 season. A few weeks before that, Roy Halladay would have been my pick. Prior to that, you couldn't have convinced me that anyone was more qualified that Zack Greinke to take home the award.

Now, with the season winding down I have finally allowed Justin Verlander to enter into the finalist category for me.

It's not that I didn't think he was having an outstanding season before this, but I tend to be tougher on Tiger's players. It's as if I hold them to a higher standard simply because they play for my favorite team. I don't ever want to be accused of holding a "fandom" bias when looking objectively at performance. But the numbers don't lie, he is as deserving as any other pitcher. 

In my mind, the race has come down to this small group of pitchers: Verlander, CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke, Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez. That's all. An argument could be made for Jeff Niemann, Scott Feldman, Edwin Jackson or Jered Weaver, but they honestly have no shot.

Currently, J.V. is first in wins, first in strikeouts, fourth in ERA, complete games and innings pitched and has been dominant of late. He shut down the Red Sox in a game that could have turned the entire season in the wrong direction had he not been. Without him, the Tigers are looking up at the Twins hoping to catch them.

I cannot stress enough how deserving of the award I believe Zack Greinke is. He leads the league in ERA and is second in strikeouts, while still managing to put up 13 wins for a last-place team. He has been the most impressive pitcher in the American League for much of the year, but he plays for the Royals. As much as this should not be a factor in the voting process, I will more than likely hurt his chances. Taking him out of equation, this leaves us with five pitchers.

Felix Hernandez suffers from lack of exposure. He will get his fair share of votes, but ultimately will be overshadowed by pitchers throwing for larger market teams. He too had been nothing less than spectacular. He will win one someday, just not this year.

Josh Beckett and Roy Halladay have been mysteries to me. At times they have been untouchable, and at times they have looked very pedestrian. Beckett seems to be tiring a bit. The lack of dependability in Boston has probably started to get to him, but his ERA has taken a huge hit, inflating all the way to 3.80. A strong September push could put him back in the conversation, but for now he has fallen to the level of "also-ran."

Halladay has JP Riccardi to thank for his struggles. How could he pitch in such a hostile and uncertain environment? Hell, how could Walter Johnson have pitched in such an environment. He was poised to make a run for his second trophy; sadly his time has passed.

This may be two-horse race down the stretch; Sabathia and Verlander. Isn't it fitting that it is between these two aces? They know a thing or two about battling down the stretch, being former rivals in the AL Central. Now they are going head to head for the most coveted trophy in pitching. CC throws tomorrow and Justin throws Friday.

I'll tell you one thing, I am sure either of them would give up their eligibility in order to guarantee a few more games in October.

-s

August 29, 2009 11:50 AM

Rick Porcello Celebrates by Not Drinking a Beer

Just in case you hadn't heard, Rick Porcello did something special in his young career last night.

Sure, he picked up the win, pushing his record to 11-8 on the season. It is also true the he held the big guns in the Tampa Bay lineup - Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, and Carlos Pena - to a combined 1-15. He even notched five strikeouts, which for him is a pretty decent number.

But the truly remarkable thing that the kid did in the Motor City last night was hit the 100 pitch count mark for the first time this season, and the first time in his career.

He did so by consistently throwing strikes and challenging a lethal Tampa Bay Rays lineup. It was an impressive win in what has been an overall outstanding rookie campaign. 

What did Porcello do to celebrate his dominance? Well, I don't know, I wasn't there. But I can tell you what he didn't do. Rick Porcello did not take part in the consumption of an alcoholic beverage, at least not in the clubhouse. And do you want to know why he did not do anything of the sort?

Because Rick Porcello is only 20 years old!

Yes, this is true. You can expect this from him for as long as he wants to put on a Tigers uniform, and as long as the front office wants to keep him around. 

Wrap your mind around the fact that Rick Porcello could potentially be pitching in Detroit for 10-15 years to come. Boom goes the mind dynamite.

Congratulations on a gutsy performance young lad.  Let's hope we see this for many years to come.

And while I am (not) on the subject; thank you for making Kevin Youkilis look like a little girl.

-s

August 28, 2009 4:54 PM

Tigers-Rays Press Release.

TIGERS HOST RAYS AS PENNANT CHASE RETURNS TO COMERICA PARK 
HOMESTAND FEATURES GLOVE, BACKPACK & LUNCHBOX GIVEAWAYS, FRIDAY FIREWORKS 


DETROIT - The Detroit Tigers begin a seven-game homestand on Friday, August 28 when they host the Tampa Bay Rays for a four-game series. Friday's game is at 7:05 p.m., Saturday's game begins at 4:10 p.m. and Sunday and Monday's games start at 1:05 p.m. The Tigers then host the Cleveland Indians for a three-game series, which begins a stretch during which the Tigers face divisional opponents in 25 of their final 33 games. Tuesday and Wednesday's games begin at 7:05 p.m. while Thursday's matinee is at 1:05. 

Friday night fireworks, Sunday Kids Day, and three giveaways - a Curtis Granderson replica glove, a Brandon Inge backpack and a PAWS aluminum lunchbox, highlight the homestand. 

Available for the Cleveland series and all Monday-Thursday home games through September 17, fans can purchase two Outfield Box tickets for $49 - a savings of $15. 

Tickets are available for all games at the Comerica Park Box Office, online at www.tigers.com, by phone at (866) 66-TIGER (84437), at Detroit-area Meijer stores and at Hockeytown Authentics, located at 1845 E. Big Beaver Road in Troy. 


Friday, August 28 - Fireworks Show - Rays @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        Special Agent Benjamin Hadden of the United States Air Force and a native of Ortonville, Mich. will deliver the game ball. Hadden recently returned from a tour in Iraq. 
·        Friday Night Fireworks, presented by Pepsi, are free with game ticket and will immediately follow the game, weather permitting. 
·        One lucky fan will receive an opportunity to win $1,000 in the Pepsi Close for Cash contest between the conclusion of the game and the Friday Night Fireworks by throwing three strikes from various distances. Fans can enter for a chance to be selected at a participating Sam's Club. 

Tigers All-Star third baseman Brandon Inge will be presented with The Heart and Hustle Award by former Tigers great Willie Horton during an on-field, pregame ceremony. The annual award recognizes one player on each major league team who demonstrates a passion for baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game. Of the 30 winners, one player will be chosen as the final Heart and Hustle Award recipient, as voted on by more than 3,000 members of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. 

The Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, has partnered with Special Olympics Michigan, who seek to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, for Friday and Saturday's 50-50 Charity raffle. The Foundation holds a 50-50 Charity raffle every Friday and Saturday game throughout the season. Tickets are sold when the gates open until the end of the second inning throughout the concourse, at entry gates and at the 50-50 raffle table near Gate A. Tickets are three-for-$5 with the winning ticket announced after the sixth inning. To date, the 50-50 Charity raffle has raised more than $65,000 for charities, with the single largest 50-50 winner taking home more than $5,800. 

Saturday, August 29 - Granderson Replica Glove - Rays @ 4:10 p.m. (Gates open at 2:30 p.m.)


·        Parking Advisory: Tigers fans are advised to arrive early to Comerica Park (before 3:00 p.m.) to avoid the exiting of fans from Ford Field. Comerica Park's Gates open at 2:30 p.m. 
·        Major Rick Baker of the United States Army National Guard and a native of Paw Paw, Mich. will deliver the game ball. Baker recently returned from his second deployment, including a tour in Bosnia and Iraq. 
·        The first 7,500 kids (14-and-younger) will receive a Curtis Granderson replica glove compliments of Ball Park Brands and Spartan Stores. 
·        Former Tigers great Willie Horton will sign copies of his book, "The People's Champion," from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at Gate A. 

The Gloves For Kids program culminates with an equipment collection at Comerica Park. Fans wishing to donate can bring new or gently used baseball and softball equipment to the game, with donations being accepted at Gate A, the Luxury Suite entrance and Guest Services from 
2 p.m. through the second inning. The Tigers are setting out to collect 200 gloves - enough to outfit more than 10 youth teams. To date, Gloves For Kids has collected more than 2,000 pieces of equipment in 2009 and is supported by 97.1 The TicketWWJ 950 AMFOX Sports Detroit and The Baseball Tomorrow Fund. 

Going to Bat for Literacy: Tigers shortstop Adam Everett will read "The ABC's of Detroit Tigers Baseball," a children's book that covers the game of baseball from A-to-Z, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. at Gardner White, 39453 Ford Rd., in Canton. The Tigers, Gardner White and FOX 2 have partnered to promote the importance of literacy among metro Detroit youth. Those attending are encouraged to donate new or gently used books during the event to benefit theSalvation Army. 

BLUE for Kids: Four children will attend the Tigers game, receive a souvenir baseball and take an on-field photo with the umpiring crew, compliments of BLUE for Kids. Founded by Major League Baseball Umpires in 2006, the program enriches the lives of at-risk youth and children coping with serious illness by providing memorable sports experiences, supporting pediatric medical care, and raising awareness of foster children waiting to be adopted. 

Sunday, August 30 - Kids Day - Rays @ 1:05 p.m. (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.) 

·        All Kids 14-and-younger will receive an "Every Kid, Every Sunday" Back to School Brandon Inge backpack compliments of DMC. 

All Sunday home games are Kids Days at Comerica Park, sponsored by Pepsi. In addition to every child receiving a Brandon Inge backpack, children can enjoy free rides on the Comerica Bank Carousel or the Fly Ball Ferris Wheel courtesy of Red Robinfree face painting at Gates A and B, and Pack Attack near Gate B at 11:45 a.m. Tigers Kids Club Members have the exclusive chance to take the field prior to the start of the game, deliver the lineup card to homeplate or announce the first Tigers batter over the public address as one of the Big Boy Kids Take the Field. Additionally, there is a chance for all kids to win one of four kids' bicycles, compliments of Meijer. After the game all children are invited down to the field for Kids Run the Bases, courtesy of Pepsi and Upper Deck Trading Cards. 

Monday, August 31 - Rays @ 1:05 p.m. (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.) 

The Tigers will recognize 18 members of the Detroit Edison Post 187 baseball team, the 1959 American Legion National Champions, during an on-field, pregame ceremony celebrating the 50th anniversary of their championship title. Detroit Edison Post 187 is the only team from Michigan to win an American Legion Baseball National Championship.


Tuesday, September 1 - Tigers Lunchbox - Indians @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        Second Lieutenant Kelly Clore of the United States Army and a native of Brighton, Mich. will deliver the game ball. Clore is home on leave from Iraq while serving her first tour of duty. 
·        Diamond White, 10, will perform the national anthem. White is the 2009 Detroit Stars singing competition winner. 
·        The first 7,500 kids (14-and-younger) will receive a Back to School Aluminum PAWS Lunchbox compliments of Meijer. 

Wednesday, September 2 - H.O.G./Bike Night - Indians @ 7:05 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.) 

·        Karen Newman, singing voice of the Detroit Red Wings, will perform the national anthem. 
·        Free motorcycle parking will be provided on Brush Street, the I-75 service drive and at Hockeytown Café. Bike parking is available first come, first served. 

As part of Carlos' Compañeros, Tigers outfielder Carlos Guillen will provide complimentary game tickets, T-shirts and the opportunity to watch batting practice from the field for members of the Western International High School softball team. 

Roberto Clemente Day: Tigers All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson will be recognized during an on-field, pregame ceremony as the Tigers nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to a player who demonstrates the values Clemente displayed in his commitment to community and understanding the value of helping others. For his nomination, Granderson will receive a $7,500 check from Chevy for the Grand Kids Foundation. Selected from the 30 MLB club nominees, an on-field announcement of the national Roberto Clemente Award winner will be made during the World Series. 

Thursday, September 3 - Indians @ 1:05 p.m. (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.) 

·        Airman Chris Connell of the United States Navy and a native of Owosso, Mich. will deliver the game ball. Airman Connell is home on leave while serving on the USS Iwo Jima during his first tour of duty. 
·        Tia Fuller, who will be performing at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, will perform the national anthem. 

TIGERS VALUE OFFERS AT COMERICA PARK


·        Tigers Fashion Jerseys are 20 percent off in all Tigers retail shops. 
·        September Ticket Special - Two Outfield Box tickets for $49 are available for Monday-Thursday Tigers home games through September 17. 
·        Buy One Party Suite, Get One Free - Purchase a 20-person suite for any remaining regular season game (excluding September 12) and receive a $300 food credit on the night of your purchase and a free 20-person suite for use on a select night. For tickets call 313-471-BALL. 
·        College Night - Every Wednesday, college students can enjoy $15 Pavilion tickets that include an "Always A Tiger" College Night T-Shirt. 
·        $5 Single-game tickets available for every Tigers home game. 
·        $5 Kids Value Meals every game - includes a hot dog, chips, juice box and a PAWS finger puppet. 
·        $5 Adult Value Meals every game - includes a hot dog, chips and a soda. 
·        $5 Parking available in Lots M, R, P and Q between Cass and Grand River along Columbia. 

--TIGERS--
August 27, 2009 11:24 AM

Nate Robertson Already Rewarded The Loss For Saturday.

Time play the "which would you rather have?" game.

In a the bottom of the ninth with the winning run on second, would you rather have Placido Polanco or Miguel Cabrera at the plate? Would you prefer to be really good looking with no money, or very wealthy and quite ugly? Would you rather have syphilis or herpes? Would you rather get hit by a bus or a train?

Would you rather Armando Galarraga or Nate Robertson start for the Tigers on Saturday?

If you haven't already heard, I apologize for being the one to give you such terrible nightmares, but Nate Robertson will toe the rubber for the playoff contending Detroit Tigers on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Let me repeat that. Nate Robertson and his 7.71 ERA will throw against a highly energized, youthful and powerful Tampa Bay Rays team, that is also searching for a playoff spot. 

This is the same Nate Robertson who was demoted from the rotation earlier this year at a time when Dontrelle Willis was still being considered a viable option.

So let me figure this out. Dontrelle Willis is a better option than Nate Robertson, but Nate Robertson is a beter option that Armando Galarraga? Is this a "which would you rather have?" question with no answer? Is it like choosing chicken or fish on an international flight? Are the Tigers doomed either way?

A better and more interesting question may be, however, if Nate gets lit up like one of Jim Leyland's marlboros, could this be the end of the line? Is this the final test? Will Nate Robertson suffer the same fate as Gary Sheffield and be given his release someday soon? Am I rambling and asking a lot of questions out of sheer confusedness at the unfathomable situation I see approaching? You bet.

Stay tuned. You might get to see a free fireworks show at Comerica on Saturday.


-s

Read more at TrumbullandMichigan.com.

August 26, 2009 4:37 PM

What Has Aubrey Huff Brought to The Table?

Let's face it, since joining the Tigers Aubrey Huff has been a bit of a bust. He was supposed to add a big bat in the middle of the lineup, and thus far he has looked like he has never faced American League pitching before. He hasn't played the field at all, so he hasn't been able to spell anyone a day off defensively, and truth be told he really hasn't hit the ball with any sort of authority, save for one or two at bats. 

In eight game he is hitting .083, with one RBI, two walks and no extra base hits. But if you look beyond the boxscore, there is one intangible that Huff has brought to the Tigers. 

Yesterday the Tigers exploited John Lackey who seemed to slow down throughout the game. He exited after throwing 117 pitches, 26 of which were seen by Aubrey Huff. The night before, 17 of Jered Weaver's 109 pitches were thrown to Huff. Since coming to the Tigers, Huff has seen an average of 4.46 pitches per at-bat. This seems minor, but it can add a huge burden to a pitcher's workload. Think about every time Justin Verlander is on the mound. When he faces a batter who works the count and fouls off pitches I cringe knowing that every pitch he throws is one closer to taking him out of the game. In his career, Huff is not nearly as selective, averaging only 3.27 pitches per appearance, so this stat is somewhat of an anomaly for now.

To show you an example of just how much working the count can change the dynamic of a team, here are some examples of how the free-swinging Tigers hate to work the count. The numbers below are through August 25.

Gerald Laird: 3.74 pitches per at-bat.
Miguel Cabrera: 3.62 pitches per at-bat.
Adam Everett: 3.63 pitches per at-bat.
Placido Polanco: 3.45 pitches per at-bat.
Marcus Thames: 3.90 pitches per at-bat.
Carlos Guillen: 3.64 pitches per at-bat.
Ramon Santiago: 3.47 pitches per at-bat.
Ryan Raburn: 3.95 pitches per at-bat.
Clete Thomas: 3.90 pitches per at-bat.
Magglio Ordonez: 3.67 pitches per at-bat.

In fact, the only two Tigers who have seen more than 4 pitches per at-bat on average this year are Curtis Granderson at 4.00 and Brandon Inge at 4.09. This is more than likely because they are strikeout machines too.

The only argument I am trying to make is that although Huff hasn't been what we were looking for yet, he is up there fighting and trying to contribute any way he can. It is possible, or even likely, that the Tigers ability to finally score some runs lately could be nothing more than a coincidence, but it is encouraging to see someone battle. Give him time, soon some of the pitches he has been fouling off will start turning into hits.

-s




August 6, 2009 12:05 AM

One thing that has always bothered me.

Mario Impemba noted in Luke Scott's first at bat tonight that he was riding a five-game hitting streak. That is a fairly pedestrian stat, especially considering what Luke Scott has done against the Tigers this year. So, a five game hitting streak would mean that Luke Scott has gotten a hit in five consecutive games, right? The problem is, Scott didn't play last night. 


This is something that has always bothered me. A hitting streak should be just that - a streak. When it is said that someone has hit safely in ten straight games, it should actually mean ten games. It shouldn't mean three games, then a day off, then four more, than a few days off, then three more. Earlier this year Ramon Santiago was riding a hitting streak and every time it was talked about I wanted to scream. The dude only plays every third day if he is lucky. Imagine what Joe Dimaggio could have done had he sat a few games every now and then to stay sharp. Where would his streak be at? Seventy games? Eighty games?


I just think it is such an asinine stat when given leeway. 


When a player has a hitting streak going into the end of the year and it carries over the following year, I can see the merit in that. The player has no control over the end of the year, and thus should not be penalized.


But what if Joe Mauer hit in forty straight, and then went on the DL? If he comes back and breaks the record, should that count? What if Luke Scott only played against the Tigers? He would most surely have surpassed Joe D. by now. 


Baseball is game that relies so much on statistics and records and such that I feel that if anyone where to break the record without being an everyday player, we may have a controversy on our hands. I know I would most certainly lead the charge. 


-s

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