The Non Sequiturs Return: “Play Ball!” Edition

trash bin.jpgIf you’ve been a long-time Daily Fungo reader, you know that I’ve posted a semi-regular series called The Non Sequiturs. More recently I’ve posted similar items under the Wednesday Walewanders banner (or Friday Fungoes, Three for Thursday, etc.). You may ask: What’s the difference? Truth is, there isn’t any. Just thought I’d come clean on that.

Without further ado, here are the first Non Sequiturs of the 2009 season powered, as usual, by a fresh pot of Peet’s Coffee:

  • We have our first box score of 2009 for the Tigers. Enjoy it in all its linear glory.

  • Did you catch the MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” program focused on the Tigers on Monday? (If you missed, catch it here.) I caught the West Coast replay and, like so many things related to the fledgling network, I was underwhelmed. I enjoyed the interviews, seeing Gary Sheffield‘s beard, watching Al Kaline say absolutely nothing interesting, etc., but if you’ve followed the Tigers even in the most casual way this offseason, chances are you learned nothing new.

    Continue reading “The Non Sequiturs Return: “Play Ball!” Edition”

Friday Fungoes: New Year’s Style

imageswoodbats.jpgIt’s not often I go a full week without posting something here at the The Daily Fungo but there were circumstances beyond my control, namely my computer. It went kaput in December and only after the most drastic of all measures — erasing the hard drive and starting over — was I able to resuscitate it…until Monday. I knew that a grinding sound coming from a car was bad, but from a MacBook Pro? That’s even worse.

So, here I am working on a — gasp! — PC trying to get some stuff done. (There’s more on my Windows Vista experience here.) I offer this not as a self-handicapping thing, but as a legit reason. Honest.

On with the Fungoes:

  • There’s been much to talk about in recent weeks and it centers on an infuriating lack of activity by the Tigers. Kerry Wood? Gone — to the Indians. Carl Pavano? Gone…to the Indians. Jason Giambi? Gone. Brian Fuentes? John Smoltz? Trevor Hoffman? Gone. Gone. Gone. What’s worse is that these guys, for the most part, were considered low-cost, low-risk investments for the teams they joined. Are the Tigers suddenly so cash poor/talent rich that they can’t take a flyer on the likes of Giambi — a solid lefty bat — or Pavano who could actually be an upgrade over Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis? I would love to know what the master plan is down on Witherell.
  • The Padres pick Virgil Vasquez off waivers today from the Red Sox. Let’s hope Double-V gets some appearances in San Diego who will definitely need help when Jake Peavy gets dealt.
  • There’s nothing like some distance from the past baseball season to provide some perspective on how good or bad a player was. Two examples in each category from the 2008 Tigers:
    • The Good: Magglio Ordonez – .317, 21 HR, 103 RBI for the season but he hit .330 in the second half.
    • The Bad: Gary Sheffield – .225, 19 HR, 57 RBI. He hit a meager .217 in the first half and .232 in the second. Yeah, I know, he wasn’t completely healthy but still, if it weren’t for his 500th homer chase, Sheff would’ve been persona non grata at Comerica Park in 2008.
  • Perhaps you heard that former Tigers pitcher Dave Roberts passed away today at 64. He was acquired by the Tigers on Dec. 6, 1975 when the Astros traded him along with Jim Crawford and Milt May to Detroit for Leon Roberts, Terry Humphrey, Gene Pentz, and Mark Lemongello. Roberts appeared in 48 games for the Tigers in 1976 and ’77 — all of them starts. In 1976, he posted a record of 16-17 and a 4.00 ERA with 18 complete games. The following year he made 22 starts for the Tigers going 4-10, 5.15, before his contract was purchased by the Cubs on July 30. According to the MLB.com story, Roberts died from lung cancer.

    Roberts’ death came after a struggle with lung cancer that had developed from exposure to asbestos — a mineral with toxic fibers — earlier in his life, according to a report by the Associated Press. He had worked as a boilermaker years ago, which likely exposed him to the toxic substance.

    How things have changed. You certainly don’t hear of any journeyman lefty relievers working as boilermakers in the off season anymore just to make ends meet. Today Roberts would be making $4 million a year.

Finally, Happy Birthday today to Freddy Dolsi, 26; Ivan DeJesus – what? You didn’t know he played for the Tigers? He did: 1988 – and Phil Mankowski, both 56.

Catching Up on a Week of News

Catcher.jpgEvery time I sat down to write about a bit of Tigers news in the past five days, another shoe would drop and I’d think “I’ll write about both of those items.” Then another and another, etc.

So, as I wait out this Tigers/White Sox rain delay from bright, sunny Phoenix, it’s time to weigh in on:

  • Todd Jones’s Retirement. The decades-old joke in Detroit is that the most popular person in the city is the Lions’ backup QB and/or the Red Wings’ backup netminder. I think we can now add the Tigers’ setup man to that punch line. Detroit is unusually cruel to its closers. Less than a year after Willie Hernandez won the 1984 Cy Young and MVP awards, he started getting booed and it’s never stopped. Mike Henneman did too, but to a much smaller degree. The Tigers were so unwatchable during Todd Jones‘s first tour of duty in Detroit, that often he was the only bright spot. Come to think of it, he was a welcome sight then because it mean the Tigers were in line for a rare win.

    But what was it about Jones in his second stint as a Tiger? What made it so infuriating? Sure, he got 93 saves in just under three seasons but his ERA was always around four and … ah, what’s the use? Jones is a good guy and I’m sure he’ll be missed by his teammates. I guess. For me, though, I’ll never be able to forgive him for not being Joe Nathan.

    Continue reading “Catching Up on a Week of News”

Game 125: Rogers Enjoys the Home Cooking

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The Score: Tigers 8 – Rangers 7

The Gist: Gary Sheffield hit his 493rd career jack and went 3 for 5, and Curtis Granderson drove in four as the Tigers escaped with an 8-7 win in Arlington. Kenny Rogers eeked out a win thanks to two four-run outbursts by his teammates in the seventh and eighth. (And Rogers struck out seven in his six innings…usually a sign of impending doom. But not on Monday.) Kyle Farnsworth, a model of consistently sub-optimal pitching since his return to Detroit, made it too interesting in the eighth but Fernando Rodney pitched not awfully and sealed the deal.

The Quote: “[I]t would be the biggest mistake of his life if he goes on the mound hoping to show the Rangers something. That’s high school [stuff].” — Jim Leyland on Tuesday’s starter and former Rangers farmhand Armando Galarraga.

The Stat: 12. The number of errors by Edgar Renteria so far this season. He leads all A.L. Central shortstops in flubs — but not by much. Orlando Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta each have 11. The Twins’ trio of Adam Everett, Nick Punto and Brendan Harris average about six. KC’s Tony Pena (8) and Mike Aviles (6) roundout the Central.

Up Next: Tigers @ Rangers

Armando Galarraga (11-4, 3.11) vs. Vincente Padilla (12-6, 4.85)