As the Tigers’ slide (and the Indians’ surge) gathered velocity over the past week or so, I realized how it pushed me farther away from the baseball/information complex.

I’ve stopped watching Baseball Tonight, skipped over the Baseball Today podcast each morning, and avoided the various Power Rankings. It ain’t been easy.

Rogers’ Roost

Even though the Tigers, mathematically at least, remain in the Wild Card hunt, I’m having a hard time letting them back in. It’s like the high school girlfriend that calls shortly after breaking up with you. You’re hoping she wants to reconcile but all she wants to know is when she should drop off your jacket.

Complicating matters for Tigers fans is the performance by Kenny Rogers on Wednesday night. Was this a sign of better things to come (presumably in the 2007 season yet) or just the odds playing out? Regardless of how those questions get answered, I’ll say this: No Tigers player has risen in stature for me like Rogers.

What about Gary Sheffield, you ask? Different story. We knew Sheff was Hall of Fame caliber. Rogers was solid in Texas, a washout in pinstripes, and then he became a serviceable, briefly hot-headed vagabond. At best I expected a Frank Tanana clone.

Who expected the lefty to sparkle the way he did in the 2006 postseason? Anyone? The man secured his place in Tigers lore with those three playoff victories.

Clearly the Tigers’ brass knew what he brought to the team when he signed in December 2005.

That’s why they do what they do, and I do this.

Playing Pepper

  • I’m glad to see the Cameron Maybin Experiment come to a close. It became clear that he wasn’t going to help the team — offensively or defensively — this year. With an expanded roster you can afford to keep a 20-year-old pinch runner.
  • The designated hitter can be used for any player in the lineup. Wonder if Jim Leyland has considered DHing Pudge or Brandon Inge.
  • How about Ramon Santiago stinging the ball more often this year? If he could hit .240 he might be the Tigers’ 2008 shortstop.
  • Jeremy “Nuke” Bonderman? It’s becoming more apparent that Bondo is closer in makeup to Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh of Bull Durham fame (i.e., million-dollar arm, five-cent head) than to the second coming of Jack Morris. I said it in the offseason and I’ll say it again: the Tigers should have dealt Bonderman this past winter when his value was high.
  • Even before the White Sox began to tank, I looked ahead at the last weekend of the season and saw them on the Tigers schedule. If Detroit’s Wild Card hopes depend on a strong finish at U.S. Cellular Field, I’m afraid we won’t be watching the Tigers play in October.

Finally, I mentioned to Ian Casselberry in an instant message that the contrived nickname thing in sports has gotten out of hand. Need proof? The nickname for former Tigers catcher and current Diamondbacks skipper Bob Melvin: BoMel.

Ian called it the worst first name/last name combo he’s ever seen.

Indeed.