Tuesday Night Therapy Session: Game 163 A Week Later

therapist.jpgIf someone with a stopwatch had timed my lightning-quick zap of the TV last Tuesday evening after Game 163, my guess is that the stopwatch would’ve read less than three seconds.

I couldn’t watch the Twins celebrate, again, on their turf. (Still can’t.)

Think about it: the last time the Tigers were a division champion, they (and we) had to watch Dan Gladden and the suddenly despicable Twins celebrate on Tiger Stadium’s infield.

And the time the last two times the Tigers got close (2006 and ’09), we had to watch Joe Nathan and Co. dance a jig on the Metrodome concrete.

Sickening, really. This time I showed a rare combination of maturity and resignation all at once. Sort of.

So anyway, after a week of stewing and fretting, devouring three servings of sour grapes, followed by a weekend of Schadenfreude, I’m almost ready to move on. More or less.

Three things are still rattling around in my head a week later:

Continue reading “Tuesday Night Therapy Session: Game 163 A Week Later”

Two for Tuesday

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  1. Somewhere on the vast Internet I saw a reader comment that the Tigers should fire hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. The thinking was that outside of Brandon Inge, Lloyd the Legend hasn’t developed anyone for Detroit. I’m always hesitant to fire coaches because so little is in their control. (Besides, remember how Chuck Hernandez was the Second Coming in 2006 and today he’s the Indians’ bullpen coach?)

    Anyway, how can McClendon be blamed for an offense that manages to get runners in scoring position but fail (and fail and fail) to drive them home? Take, for example, this instance in last night’s dreadful game: Miguel Cabrera up with the bases loaded and a 3-0 count…and he ends up striking out to end the inning. Is that Lloyd’s fault?

    Discuss.

  2. On this date in 1993, Travis Fryman smacks five hits on his way to the cycle in the Tigers’ 12-7 loss to the Yankees. He is the first Tiger to hit for the cycle in 43 years.

Give Leyland His Extension

I know I’m in the extreme minority on this one but I think the Tigers should extend Jim Leyland‘s contract to 2010 or ’11.

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In the most recent Fungo Pulse Check poll, 67 percent of respondents said Leyland should not get an extension to ’01 and beyond. Thirty-three percent said he should. Why do I think he should get a few more years? Three reasons.

1. Leyland isn’t suddenly Luis Pujols. This past season was awful on every level but after one stinker of a year you leave a guy like Leyland hanging? The guy can manage like nobody’s business and is the victim of his own success. His problem is, his three seasons in Detroit produced won-loss records that no one expected — particularly in the order they occurred. The Tigers went from unwatchable in 2005 to a World Series in ’06 to a disappointing-but-solid ’07 to a last-place finish in ’08. The real Tigers are somewhere between the 2006 and 2007 teams — and probably better. If that’s the case, as I believe it is, I definitely want Jim Leyland managing that group of guys.

2. The Tigers don’t want to be the Rangers. Perhaps it was an aberration for Detroit to have one manager from 1979 to 1995; I’ll grant you that. But do the Tigers want to get back into the managerial-revolving-door thing again? Do they want a new manager every three or four years? I’d be surprised if the club’s answer is yes. Think about the teams that’ve experienced sustained excellence — the Angels, Yankees (until this year), Cardinals, Red Sox, Braves — they’ve all had one manager locked in and establishing his methodology for winning baseball. On the other hand you have the Rangers, Orioles, et al. The Tigers aren’t going to achieve sustained winning with another merry-go-round approach to the manager’s slot.

3. Who else is going to manage this team effectively? Seriously. Who? Lloyd McClendon? Matt Walbeck? Truth is, I’d take either one of those guys in a perfect scenario: the Tigers win a World Series and Leyland retires. Handing over the reins of a high-powered club to someone like McClendon or Walbeck makes sense. But if the Tigers think either of those two guys (whose names I pulled out of the air) can get this club over the hump, I’m not sure I want to watch what happens next.

Leyland was dealt a 2008 hand loaded with fragile pitchers and a half-dozen designated hitters. He did what he could with what Dave Dombrowski provided.

It’s up to Double D to fix the roster and let Jim Leyland do what he does best: manage the Detroit Tigers.

The Monday Report: Non Sequiturs to Start Your Week

  • How time flies. It was 18 years ago Saturday (Jan. 12) that the Tigers traded right-handed starter Jeff Robinson to the Orioles for catcher Mickey Tettleton. (Somewhere I have Robinson’s autograph on a bleacher-seat ticket stub.) 
  • No one really knows how long Joel Zumaya will be out — perhaps all season. If that’s the case, and he’s able to come back next year in 2006 form, could this injury actually prolong his career? I’m just sayin’… 
  • If you, like me, have wondered why the Tigers of the 1980s don’t get more love from Hall of Fame voters, be sure to read John Brattain‘s piece on The Hardball Times. 
  • If you want your retinas scarred forever, visit the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Web site. If you don’t, don’t. 
  • One more thing on Brandon Inge. I realize his world’s been rocked since the trade for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, but I’m still a little surprised that he’s been so quiet this offseason. He could have pulled an Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh and talked with reporters using nothing but clichés. Instead, he’s said nothing and now must face the questions over and over again in Spring Training. Think that won’t be a bit distracting to him and the team? 
  • Did you know that Dontrelle Willis will be only the second “Willis” to play for the Tigers in their history? He’s the first since current Indians’ pitching coach Carl Willis. You can look it up. 
  • Finally, Tigers birthdays galore over the past few days, starting with Dave “Soup” Campbell of ESPN Radio’s MLB coverage. He played for the Tigers from 1967-69; he turns 66 today. On Sunday several former Tigers celebrate their big day. From oldest to youngest:

    And on Friday Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon turned 49.

Super Sunday Breakfast Buffet

Have you noticed that a lot of ads that refer to the Super Bowl don’t use the words “Super Bowl”? Instead it’s “the big game.” I noticed the same thing for the BCS Championship game. Are we to infer that the NFL doesn’t allow Super Bowl non-sponsors (nonsors?) or advertisers to actually use the words? Pathetic!Let the record show that The Daily Fungo is not an official sponsor or advertiser of the Super Bowl but is not afraid to write it in this space.Now, on to baseball.I’m not a numbers guy. And even though I’d like to be when it comes to Sabermetrics, the reality is I know my strengths and messing with the numbers isn’t mine. Instead, I leave it in the capable hands of Lee and Bill.But I know that I should know at least some of the popular Baseball Prospectus-type accounting terms and what they mean. Take for example, Value Over Replacement Player or VORP. Just when I think I understand it, I don’t. Here’s a great piece by ESPN’s Rob Neyer about VORP and how it’s becoming the new OPS.My subscription to The Sporting News will, mercifully, expire next month and try as I might they won’t cancel it. So, I try to find at least one piece of interesting information in each issue (which is becoming increasingly difficult if not downright impossible).In this week’s issue they’re reporting that Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon is working with Curtis Granderson to cut down on his Ks. Apparently McClendon is having Grandy move up in the box when he’s deep in the count.In a lame attempt to be cute, TSN asks some rhetorical “what will be greater?” questions. Here’s one: Which will be greater, the number of errors Tigers pitchers will make in 2007 or errors Tigers pitchers made in the 2006 World Series.Ha ha.Hey, how do you like the new Daily Fungo logo? Thanks to Bret Ward for doing a bang-up job on it and the other versions of the brand. Yes, I said brand.I’ll be chatting with Ian Casselberry for the next episode of the podcast. And, if that weren’t enough, I have two more Baseball Insider shows in the works for this week. So watch for new episodes soon.Enjoy your Sunday.

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