Friday Freehans: Mile High Edition

RockiesLong-time readers of The Daily Fungo have likely grown weary of my professed love of the Rockies and Coors Field.

So I’ll spare them the details and provide new readers with the gist: I attended the Rockies’ first-ever home game at Mile High Stadium against the Expos in April 1993 (thanks to a grueling roadtrip with Fungo contributor Doug Hill). I attended the first-ever game at Coors Field in April 1995 – Rockies versus Mets. And, I was there for the Rockies’ first-ever postseason game in 1995 against the Braves.

What’s more, I’ve always considered Coors Field to be my favorite big-league park, though last summer the San Diego’s Petco Park might – might – have caught up to it.

With that background, please understand this: I never root for the Rockies over the Tigers.

And now this:

  • The Tigers’ All-Time Record against the Rockies is 7-11. All-time at Comerica Park: 5-4; at Coors Field: 2-7.
  • On this date in 1958 Ozzie Virgil, who became the first black man to play for the Tigers 11 days earlier, went 5 for 5 in his first home game at Briggs Stadium.
  • According to this story over at MLB Trade Rumors, there’s a lot of interest in former Tigers number-one pick and current Red Sox reclamation project Andrew Miller. How much interest? Enough, apparently, that the word “tampering” was used to describe it. Would it surprise you that according to Peter Gammons the Yankees were involved?
  • Remember this? Three years ago today Marcus Thames homered for the fifth game in a row. His last eight hits had all been home runs.

Finally, Happy 48th Birthday to Matt Kinzer, who pitched 1.2 innings for the 1990 Tigers. He gave up three walks, three hits, three earned runs in that outing – but he didn’t take the loss.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday Tananas: Fred Lynn, Ted Power and Don Draper

bananas.jpgIs it just me or were there a lot of Aug. 31 trades made back in the day? Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s it seemed that Oakland was always adding a big name at the deadline — Willie McGee, Ruben Sierra, Harold Baines. Just asking.

Tigers Today: May 21, 2010

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Tigers’ Record: 23-17, 1st Place; Tied with Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers at Dodgers | 10:10 p.m. ET – Dodger Stadium | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 4.68 ERA) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (4-2, 4.03 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 5 – A’s 2

Tigers History Lesson

Today’s Birthdays

Nate Odds and Ends

In case you were wondering, here’s what Nate Robertson looks like in a Photoshop-driven Marlins get-up. NateMarlins.jpg

Here’s what Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez had to say about his new starter:

“I know that he’s a pretty good pitcher. … “There were a couple of years that he threw right around 200 innings. He’s a workhorse. Coming to the National League, where teams haven’t had a chance to see him much, maybe he can help us out.”

Nate will join former Tigers Cameron Maybin, Burke Badenhop and Cody Ross on Florida’s Opening Day roster. Andrew Miller was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans last week.

Wednesday Walewanders: Fisticuffs Edition

spaghetti.jpgSo where does last night’s dust-up rank in the annals of Tigers bench clearers?

Hmm.

Well, it wasn’t as interesting as the 1980 Tigers/White Sox brawl (a.k.a. Cowens v. Farmer Grudge Match), nor as violent as Tigers/White Sox circa 2000. Here’s a refresher on that one:

Sixteen players, coaches and managers suspended. Nine others fined. It was, MLB said, “the biggest mass suspension ever.”

That was the end result of two brawls that erupted at Comiskey Park, one in the seventh inning, the other in the ninth. In the sixth, the Tigers Jeff Weaver hit Carlos Lee with a pitch. In retaliation, Chicago’s starter, Jim Parque, plunked Detroit’s Dean Palmer in the top of the seventh. Palmer charged the mound, throwing his helmet at Parque before the real action started.

…And it wasn’t as wild as Tigers/Twins in 1982, which featured Dave Rozema‘s flying-kung-fu acrobatics on Twins’ John Castino.

What do you think? Take this week’s Pulse Check –>

Continue reading Wednesday Walewanders: Fisticuffs Edition

Wednesday Walewanders

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  • Dontrelle Willis returns to the D as a reliever. If he continues to pitch the way he has in Spring Training and early in the regular season, his name might very well end up ahead of Damion Easley as the Tigers most expensive contract-as-main-course ever. Rob Neyer‘s already weighed in on the move.

  • Speaking of Mr. Neyer, in case you haven’t listened, today I posted an interview with him on the podcast. He thinks the Tigers are still very much alive in the A.L. Central; it’s Kenny Rogers and Willis, Neyer’s all but certain, who’re finished.

  • In case you need one more article on the effect of Jim Leyland‘s verbal fireworks, check out Mike Bauman‘s column on MLB.com.

  • Baseball and poetry? Why not? In college I penned a poem about my first game at Tiger Stadium. At BardBall.com, Tigers fan Jim Garner publishes baseball poetry — doggerel to be exact (I had to look it up). He’s featuring a poem on Freddy Dolsi’s first major league pitch. You remember it, the one to Manny Ramirez that might still be sailing. Here’s a sampling:

    Freddy went down the middle

    To show off his heat.

    Manny clobbered that apple

    Five hundred feet.

  • Remember Andrew Miller? (Ahem.) He has a birthday today — his 23rd. Other former Tigers celebrating include: Bryce Florie, Bob Molinaro and Earl Averill.

  • Wondering how some former Tigers are faring with their new clubs? Me too:
    • Chris Shelton, Rangers: .179, 2 HR, 3 RBI
    • Wil Ledezma, Padres: 0-1, 3.54 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
    • Tony Clark, Padres: .238, 0 HR, 1 RBI
    • Mike Rabelo, Marlins: .219, 1 HR, 7 RBI

    And here comes the Omaha Royals Trio:

    • Mike Maroth: 0-2, 12.91 ERA in three starts (7.2 IP)
    • Roman Colon: 0-0, 6.30 ERA in 10 IP
    • Jason Smith: .253, 10 HR, 27 RBI (His 10 homers lead the team.)

Finally, from Baseball-Reference.com, on this date in 1967, Earl Wilson gives Detroit its third straight win over the Yankees, 9-4. Mickey Mantle hits his fifth homer in six games but it’s not enough for Whitey Ford, who appears in his last ML game.

Tigers Feeling Buyer's Remorse?

CarSalesman.jpgThe other day I sent an instant message to Ian Casselberry asking if, perchance, the Tigers may be feeling some buyer’s remorse regarding the Miguel Cabrera trade.

I admitted to Ian that it’s way early but that doesn’t mean that panic is not setting in everywhere around Comerica Park — but never at Fungo HQ!

So, I’m lobbing it out there: Are the Tigers wondering what they signed themselves up for over the next seven years?

Maybe.

Fast-forward to this afternoon and the latest installment of Jayson Stark‘s Rumblings and Grumblings on ESPN.com. This time he reviews the off-season trades and the Tigers’ deals are getting anything but passing grades.

6. Braves-Tigers (RHP Jair Jurrjens and OF Gorkys Hernandez for Edgar Renteria): “At this point, Atlanta has won that deal,” said one scout. “Jurrjens [4-2, 2.84] has been their most consistent starter.”

Ouch.

And if you think that’s a harsh assessment, get a load of this:

Continue reading Tigers Feeling Buyer's Remorse?

Vance Wilson's St. Patrick's (Birth)Day Celebration

Catcher.jpgThree quick hits:

  1. This past weekend my wife and I traveled to Indian Wells, Calif., to watch the second round of the Pacific Life Open tennis tournament.

    When you take away the two-hour line to park and the gale-force winds, we had a great time watching some big-name players including Lindsay Davenport, Ana Ivanovic, Carlos Moya and defending champ Rafael Nadal.

    Between matches I pulled out my recent issue of Sports Illustrated and read about youngsters and teams making noise in big-league camps. The first snippet was on Tigers phenom Rick Porcello:

    Already Porcello, who has a repertoire of a mid-90s fastball, curve, slider and changeup is drawing comparisons to Josh Beckett (and even Jim Palmer) and stirring talk of a possible late-summer debut.

    Jim Palmer? No pressure there. Though, with all the young talent the Tigers have brought along — or traded — in the past few years, I find myself longing for the days of Sparky Anderson‘s predictions. Can you imagine what Sparky would have said about Justin Verlander, Curtis Granderson, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Porcello?

    And while I’m glad the Tigers are high on Porcello, why even toy with a post-Sept. 1 callup? What’s the rush?

  2. With a name like Michael Patrick McClary you can imagine that St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in my family. Yet, March 17 is probably a much bigger day for Tigers catcher Vance Wilson who happens to have the good fortune of a St. Patrick’s Day birthday. He’s 35 today.
  3. Did you happen to catch the Dontrelle Willis topic on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters on Sunday? It appeared that they needed a hook to talk about the Tigers and asked the panel if the D-Train would be running on time this year now that he’s with a better team. The consensus? A resounding “yeah, probably.”

Prior Considerations

As the Cubs mull over the notion of dealing Mark Prior, here’s a question: Should the Detroit Tigers make a play for the right-hander?Why not, I say.

[S]ince he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA in 2003, Prior has had repeated physical problems, and has pitched in just 57 games over the last four seasons — and none in 2007.

But if you slide him into a low-pressure bullpen role in Detroit, perhaps you give him the opportunity to get well and regain his strength and sharpness. Assuming all that happens, all of a sudden you have a gem to slide into the rotation when Kenny Rogers departs for good. (Assuming, again, that he hasn’t already.)I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of a rotation featuring Verlander, Bonderman, Miller, Robertson and Prior.The idea of trading Prior isn’t the gaining headlines in Chicago. Instead, the Cubs want to sign him, or so it appears.

[The Cubs] hope to sign Prior to a two-year deal with incentives rather than let him play out the string with the Cubs and sign elsewhere in 2009. They may decide to trade or non-tender the right-hander if he doesn’t agree to a deal in the next month.

If the Cubs non-tender him I’d think the Tigers make a call.One has to wonder, though, if they go the trade route, what would it take to get Prior?Footnotes

  • If the Twins trade Joe Nathan to the Brewers or the Giants, I’ll be glad he’s out of the Tigers’ division. Oh, how I wish he were the Tigers closer. The guy throws bullets.
  • Good to hear that Gary Sheffield‘s rehab is going well. I’d forgotten all about it.
  • I’ve got no problem with LaTroy Hawkins on a one-year deal. Two? You’re pushing it.