An Ides of March Sunday Buffet

Sometimes there’s so much to talk about that it’s better to throw it all out there in no particular order…

  • Yeah, yeah. Pudge Rodriguez dipped himself in the Fountain of Youth in the offseason and is showing some zest in the World Baseball Classic. Any team that thinks he’ll perform at this level for a full season — at least as a number-one catcher — is fooling their bad selves. It was interesting, though, to see the number of teams (beyond the Marlins) reportedly interested in signing Señor Ivan. Among them, the Astros (where he’d replace, sorta, another former Tigers catcher, Brad Ausmus), the Twins (?!) and the Giants. Apparently the Marlins are waiting for him to come to grips with not being a full-time player in 2009.

    Then again, if Pudge withers at the end of the WBC, he could be looking at a longer wait.

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  • First it was Kerry Wood. Then Carl Pavano. Now it looks like the Indians are among the clubs eyeing Pedro Martinez. Given fifth-starter issues the Tigers are facing (we’re talking about you, Nate and Dontrelle), wouldn’t you think the Tigers would at least place a call? Who knows, maybe they already have. But if by some bizarre twist of fate, Pavano and Martinez are part of a Cleveland post-season rotation, it’s going to make one Tigers-blog-writin’ guy mighty unhappy.

  • Last week I attended three Cactus League games (of varying quality) with my pals Steve and John, who flew in from Detroit. The first game (Indians/Brewers) was about as ugly a contest as you can imagine — even by Spring Training standards. Final: Brewers 17 – Indians 7.

    The only notable thing to come out of it was that the Tribe rolls out 90-year-old Bob Feller (pictured) to sign autographs at every home Cactus League game. I didn’t get an autograph nor did I overhear Feller rail on how Jackie Robinson couldn’t/wouldn’t make it in the big leagues, as Feller did back in the day.

    Bob Feller
    The second game, Dodgers versus Mariners at the beauteous new Camelback Ranch facility in Glendale, featured two former Tigers sightings. The first was a silver-haired Jim Slaton, now pitching coach for the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, and as you might have read this week in the News, Mariners’ non-roster invitee Chris Shelton. It was nice to see him still in the mix somewhere.

    The final game was no-thrills tilt between the Rockies and Padres in Tucson. Todd Helton homered in his first at bat and that was enough for me. Oh, and a big thumbs-down to Hi Corbett Field for not accepting credit cards for concessions. I had to pay the $2.25 ATM charge instead. Bush league.

Finally, today’s the birthday of bad seed/jackass and former Tiger Robert Fick. He’s 35 today.

Happy Birthday, Benji & Tommy V

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Happy 60th to Ben Oglivie who, after the Tigers inexplicably traded him for Jim Slaton and Rich Folkers, went on to hit 176 home runs for the Brewers over nine years. He retired after the 1986 season with a lifetime average of .273 and 235 career homers.

Tom Veryzer turns 56 today. He played five years in Detroit (1973-77) before being dealt to Cleveland for Charlie Spikes. His last year in the bigs was 1984 when he was a bench rider for the Cubs. Had Leon Durham fielded a grounder more cleanly in the NLCS that year, perhaps Veryzer could’ve ended his career where it started, at Tiger Stadium. His final career numbers: .241 average, 14 homers, 231 RBI, .966 fielding percentage.

Happy Birthday, gentlemen.

Friday Fungoes

I’m all over the board this morning:

  • Remember Macay McBride? He spent this season on Toledo’s DL and is a long, long shot to make the 2009 Tigers. Nevertheless, today’s his 26th birthday. (Happy Birthday to infield coach Rafael Belliard, too. He’s but a pup at 47.)

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  • According to Baseball Reference, 100 years ago today “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was introduced by singer Billy Murray. The song writing team of Albert Von Tilzer (music) and Jack Norworth (lyrics) created the song having never seen a game.
  • Thirty-five years ago this week the Tigers acquired Ben Oglivie from the Red Sox for Dick McAuliffe. If the Tigers had held on to Benjie instead of dishing him off to the Brewers for Jim Slaton a few years later, Oglivie-for-McAuliffe could’ve been the steal of the decade.
  • For some reason this year’s postseason seems to be painfully long. I’m already tired of Tropicana Field, Fox’s closeups and, of course, Tim McCarver. And who thought cowbells in a domed stadium was a good idea?
  • In one week, the World Series will be over and teams can start making trades. I’m eager to see if the Tigers are trigger happy again this year. Somehow I doubt they’ll jump into any moves before the Winter Meetings. You?

Finally, while the Rays are the fashionable pick in the Series, find it in your heart to root for former Tigers Chad Durbin and Matt Stairs.

Go Blue. Go Green.