April 29, 2008

The Night of Too Many Games

Alright, this will probably go down as my laziest post ever, but I've got one more exam and other shit going on so this will have to do.....I just wanted to have some semblance of an acknowledgment for a night that saw the Wings, Pistons, and Tigers win games -- something that I doubt has happened yet this year but I'm too lazy to actually look up. Anyway, here's some fly-by notes from two games, a beatdown from the 'Stones and a great hockey game out west. (AND OH MY GOD JASON GRILLI GOT TRADED I'M NOT IN A STABLE ENOUGH CONDITION TO ASSESS THIS PROPERLY IT DESERVES ITS OWN POST I NEED TO CALM DOWN AND CONSIDER INCLUDING MORE PUNCTUATION IN MY LIFE!!!)

Pistons 98-81 Sixers

1st quarter was awesome: hounded andre miller: 2 pts and 1-6 shooting, no assists....Sheed helped out with that a lot and all around good quarter defensively. Always a good sign for a team that you perpetually worry about whether they'll show up or not.

- Sharp shooting all around: 58% shooting

- Chauncey flexing his knee during the first quarter but I didn't hear anything about it so I'll back off the ledge for now. Finished out the first frame with 14 pts, 5 ast...clearly being more assertive. For god sake just do this every game.

- Sheed set a lot of screens to free Chauncey...on the whole these two appeared to actually wanted to win this one, which is nice.

- It seems so simple -- when they don't play one-on-one on the offensive end and move the ball around....they win.

- Jason Maxiell is amazing. On a transition play with just over a minute to go in a 20 POINT GAME he busted his as to squeeze between the basket and whomever it was that he shat on and swatted the shot away with a frightening level of intensity. On the following possession, he commits a foul to prevent an easy bucket, as if the thought of letting this secure lead slip by even two points was too much to stomach. Then they show Sheed and Theo on the bench with that half smile look, as if they couldn't fathom how he could summon up such energy when the game has been decided for the last ten minutes. Max should be starting every game, and he should start every position 1 through 5. This isn't a joke.

- Lindsay Hunter: no minutes. Thank god. Aaron Afflalo: 19 minutes. Why Hunter (a guy who's lone skill is his pressure defense in half court settings) was getting huge minutes against Philly (a team that thrives when they're running and gunning i.e: not in fucking half court mode) is beyond me. Now we just need to get Amir more than 2 minutes a game and I might start liking Flip a bit more.

- You know, Dice can sometimes look like a total corpse out there, but you've got to admire a dude who breaks his face and doesn't miss a game.

Red Wings 4-3 Avalanche

- Phenomenal action in the first period...furious pace.....iffy goal given up by Ozzie but Datsyuk and Franzen (who is likely to explode into a ball of fire at any moment now) made up for it.

- Lebda got murdered on boards (Lapierriere is a douche) no call, but other less scary incidents result in penalties. I guess if you hit with the intent to kill it's okay, but if you breathe on somebody wrong it's 2 minutes. Whatever.

- Dallas up 3-0 on the Sharks....wow. I'm thinking about putting in my 1998 Red Wings season review DVD in just to prepare for Modano and co. (how fitting that Ozzie would be put back in net in time to face the same team in the same round exactly ten years later. If only the Caps were still alive...)

- Something looked different with Larry Murphy's hair. Less bulky, slicked back on the sides, all-in-all less entertainingly bad. This upsets me.

- Colorado players have been dropping like flies, and I for one do not feel even one bit of sorrow.

- This series as on the whole has been wildly entertaining as a hockey fan (it helps being up 3-0)...wide open play, end to end, and plenty of goals. Oh yeah, and it involves the Avs losing.

- Mickey Redmond, following Forsberg's double-minor penalty in which he tried to decapitate Samuelsson: "Forsberg on Samuelsson...and here comes Franzen to say 'What are you doin' do our countryman, you idiot?'" Speaking of Sammy, if he doesn't score in THIS series he may never score again.

- I continue to believe that "Red Wings suck" is the most flattering chant in hockey. What better way to show your respect than by chanting that instead of cheering on your own team. Fucking clowns.

- the fourth goal was a remarkable display of passing on the power play. It's goals like this that make me dangerously gay for this team.

- I gotta be fair I guess. The interference penalty called on Forsberg in the 2nd period was the worst penalty I have ever seen. Ever. I don't want that to come of as a joke. It's as if they literally made up a fable of an infraction just for the fuck of it. (And then 10 seconds later, an only slightly less egregious call was made the other way on Zetterberg. I hate the NHL sometimes.)

- While I'd most obviously prefer him to Lilja, Brad Stuart's blue line give-aways are far too frequent. I did enjoy his big hit on Forsberg though.

- I don't think I've ever seen back-to-back "too many men" penalties. Incredible. The second one resulted in a power play goal for the Avs.

- 3:27 3rd period: Save of the playoffs so far as Osgood kept the Wings up by one, and 3 minutes later we have a big 3-0 lead. Sweet.

Programing note: I'll be leaving for Florida for 10 days this weekend and won't be back til a week from Monday, so until then, well, kiss my ass Michigan. It's been real.

NFL Draft

Due to my commitment to writing a 2500-word research paper over the weekend, I summoned up an unprecedented level of self discipline (for me) and resisted the urge to watch nearly all of Game 2 of the Wings/Avs series, Game 4 of the Pistons/Sixers series, and one of my absolute favorite events of the year, the NFL draft. My fascination with the draft stems from my younger days, most notably right after my dad finally broke down and got cable TV for the family, when I was first exposed to the wondrous and borderline ludicrous day-long festival starring the always annoying Chris Berman, half man/half falcon Mel Kiper Jr., and whoever I could recognize from the world of college football. That last one was the real kicker for me, though. Being the stupid child that I was, there was a nebulous joy that came from spotting the likes of Kordell Stewart and Rick Mirer, which for whatever reason, has stuck with me to this day. So because I missed the entire draft, and because I have a particular rooting interest in the circus act that is the Detroit Lions, and because I'm FINALLY fucking done with writing bullshit papers for this semester -- I'm going to take time now to review the Lions draft and educate myself on a few of these soon-to-be hopelessly depressed individuals.

Round 1, pick 17: Gosder Cherilus
College: Boston College
Position: Offensive Tackle
Have I ever heard of him: No

The word: I've bitched and bemoaned about the Lions lack of a suitable offensive line for years, just like anybody else who follows this team. It always seems to be the most glaring weakness on a team that usually outfits 4 to 5 glaring weaknesses throughout the course of an NFL season. In the last two years, the Lions have been 30th, 31st respectively in sacks allowed, and have finished last or 2nd to last in rushing attempts and yards. Hopefully this oddly-named fellow can develop into a viable lineman (i.e. not Jeff Backus), and with the exit of Madden play-creator Mike Martz (I refuse to give in to the main stream media and call him an "offensive genius" when red zone plays are designed for no-name tight ends instead of the 6'5" Calvin Johnson.) Seeing as how I haven't ever heard of Mr. Cherilus, I read up on his abilities and apparently he isn't entirely bad, although Detroit seems to have reached with this pick by taking him at 17 (they did trade down, however). He's sort of a "project" pick and won't be a bust....I mean....a star overnight. Among the good things about him is that he will be an effective run blocker and possibly an "excellent starter" (from ESPN's draft recap) on the right side of the line, so that's cool I guess. So just to review, if you've lasted this far into my post, you just read something that somebody else read and made what can only be described as a marginally relevant comment at best. This might be a sign that I need to find a better hobby.

Round 2, pick 45: Jordon Dizon
College: Colorado
Position: Outside Linebacker
Have I ever heard of him: No

My first impression of Dizon isn't that great, as the first thing I see is that he's 5'11" and 223 pounds, not exactly ideal size for a linebacker. I also see that he is white, and being a white guy myself I am not afraid to say that this already qualifies him as being at least 35% overrated. On scout.com, Nate Camineta describes Dizon as "an aggressive, speedy linebacker that can play inside or outside, making him the perfect fit in Detroit's Tampa 2 system." Well when you put it that way he doesn't seem so bad. But uh-oh -- a red flag: ESPN lables him as a "classic overacheiver". Most would see this as a positve, but when you take into account the enormous hard-on that the media gets for scrappy white guys, you have to factor in the likelihood that his underratedness is, in a way, overrated. Okay even I'm lost now. Let's move on.

Round 3, pick 64: Kevin Smith
College: Central Florida
Position: Running Back
Have I ever heard of him: Yes. And I'd say my favorite is "Mallrats".

This dude rushed for almost 2500 yards and 30 touchdowns. Regardless of the conference you play in, that's damn good. His 450 carries last year shattered the old record held by Marcus Allen who had 405, and his average of 32/game signal that he has no problems shouldering a heavy running attack. However, there's conflicting reports as I've read that he is "an excellent reader of blocks," and then on another site that he "needs to show better vision". Uhh.....okay? I've heard of people debate "how good" a player's attributes are, but I think this is the first time where I've seen one side argue that he's "excellent" and another deem him to be less than average on the same topic. Whatever. On an odd sidenote, among the positives on NFL.com regarding Smith is that
"he has the frame to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness." I have to ask -- how the fuck would anybody know that? In conclusion, I'd like to add that, if nothing else, Kevin Smith is a mean looking motherfucker. I think this is a good thing.


As for the rest of the draftees, well, I'm not gonna lie -- I haven't heard of any of them either. This has to be the first year since I can remember where I didn't know a single player in a Lions draft class before they were selected. I guess my time spent watching football has either decreased, or Matt Millen is trying a new strategy where he doesn't take flashy, quick-fix picks that set the team back 5 to 6 years. According to Sports Illustrated's grades -- and really, what's a better way of judging how a team set themselves up for the future by judging their draft hours after it happened -- the Lions got a B-. Hey, we passed!

April 26, 2008

Not again

Pistons 75-95 Sixers

In the time that I've been a host of this blog thing here, I have learned that if I post an entry in response to a game (a loss in particular) right after it happens, it comes out mostly as unreadable gibberish. Normally I remain conscious about this and refrain from spewing out nonsense, waiting until the next day or whenever so that it isn't so babble-y or negative. But I don't really care about that right now.

This is because I am past the point of trying to "get it". I'm past the point of trying to understand just how many fucking wake-up calls this team needs. On this blog, I have said that this has been my favorite Pistons team (because I was like 4 during the Bad Boys era teams...sorry if I've said that more than once but I fear that if I don't explain it every time that some nerdy dick will end up stumbling on this site and go "WHAT ABOUT THE BAD BOYS ARE YOU FUCKING GAY???") But the same old shit is happening this year that I had hoped -- more like assumed -- couldn't possibly happen again, and that's this seemingly ridiculous vibe of entitlement that this team keeps emitting. They feel as though it is already a given that they are in the Conference Finals. Like, they think they've already qualified for the 3rd round and these are like pre-postseason games or something. This complacent attitude bit them in the ass when it took 7 games to beat the Cavs in '06. Then it killed their will to win in conference finals against the Heat. And it definitely played a role in the shameful Cleveland series last year, a series that was so despicable on the level of quitting that I didn't so much as wear blue or red clothing let alone read anything about the team for the weeks that followed the season. I mean, how many fucking times can shitty games like this happen before you're just like "Alright, that crap can't happen again or at least for long enough so that nobody identifies it as a disturbing trend."

Win or lose, I often spend time perusing message boards and stuff regarding the team. Usually after a loss, it serves as some sort of e-support group, where people can get together and share depressing opinions of frustration and outrage. I make fun of people when they do this during meaningless regular season games, or opening day, but this is the playoffs. Griping is more than understandable. It's expected. Especially from fans who dedicate their time and interest for an 82 game season, and then the playoffs start and it feels like all the good you just watched is in the process of being erased. Anyway, I was doing my fair share of reading after the game, and I came across a comment on one of my favorite sites, detroitbadboys.com, and read this from commenter Other Matt:

"I’m gonna throw this out there: are the Pistons shaving points?"

After seeing this, it hit me. The Pistons are cheating. They are fucking shaving points, and since I just popped a Melatonin a half hour ago I'm too drowsy to convince myself of anything otherwise. I'm going to bed with the opinion that the Pistons are involved in a major gambling ring and that's why we've seen these weird playoff games the last couple years. It's the only explanation why a team full of supposedly prideful veterans would allow a team as mediocre as the Philadelphia 76ers to eat them alive in 2 out of the first 3 games of the playoffs. This is crazy...I can't believe I didn't think of it myself.

In any event, I may be joking or I very well might actually think this -- I can't tell right now. All I know is that, even if the Pistons win 3 straight, it's not going to make this start look any less absurd. Just like Cleveland in the semis a couple years ago, it would still feel like a half-loss (whatever the fuck that is) and the undeniable funk will surely linger on to the following rounds. Either way, I'm not feeling too good about this.

April 25, 2008

Wings vs. Avalanche - Game 1

I've been on a brief hiatus with final exams and whatnot, but I'm back with a vengeance after watching the Wings open up against Colorado in their 2nd Round series. First, since I've been away, a quick thought on the Nashville series:

- Game 5....Oh my god. Had we lost that game, it would've been the absolute definition of what it's like to be a Red Wings fan when they lose in the playoffs. That would be THE game (well, aside from last year's CF Game 5) that epitomizes how gut-punchingly awful it feels to dominate an entire game only to fall one goal shy of putting a team away. And let me tell you, there isn't an accurate description for the reactions that I had after both Nashville tied the game and once we won it in OT...seeing as how I was trying to remain as motionless and serene as possible because my girlfriend was asleep on my right arm. I wanted to throw my remote through the bathroom mirror after we lost the lead, and then I wanted to unleash a sonic boom of a "WHOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!" after the overtime winner -- but instead I nearly vomited twice in 20 minutes trying to keep my cool. (By the way, how about Johan Franzen; just as he was about to take the podium and read his acceptance speech for the Robert Lang Memorial Trophy, he puts a sick ass move on Dan Ellis and makes a positive night out of what could've been a shit bomb for the ages. I cringed when he first walked in on goal because I thought he was too close to make that move, but sure as shit he pulled it off.)

Wings 4-3 Avalanche

- Awesome news before the players even hit the ice -- Peter Forsberg was a scratch with a groin injury. Brian Engblom and his mullet then changed his series pick from Colorado to Detroit based on the fact that Petey wasn't starting. I honestly couldn't tell if he was being serious or not. ("Mullet" isn't even the right term for that hideous haircut on Brian's dome. It's fucking insane. Not only that, he's had it forever, so apparently he lost a really, really bad bet in college or something. At least I would HOPE that's his excuse.)

- The first goal was just the thing we want to see, as Hank gave up the puck and made a run to the net; then Pav delivered a beautiful little saucer pass that landed right on the tape and the game was suddenly tied at 1. As long as this kind of stuff keeps happening the Avs will be done in no more than 5 games.

- The Dan Cleary goal may have been a fluke one, but it doesn't happen without the Mule making the nice dish to set him up. Took the puck in neutral ice to start a 2-on-3 with Cleary, but he made the wise move to draw the man covering Cleary toward him so he would drop it to him softly at the last moment, and then Cleary does the smart thing and just fire it on net. The result of the shot turned out to be something straight out of a video game, as the puck shot up 20 feet in the air and had enough topspin once it fell behind Theodore to roll into the net. Actually, had this happened in a video game, I would've hit reset because something that ridiculous never fucking happens.

- Chelios looked way off. Kinda like a Cretaceous-era hockey player should look. He was getting pushed around a little bit, gave the puck away in a pivotal spot, and fell out of position a few times. I don't want to admit I think it's a trend, but it has happened a few times already in the playoffs.

- Franzen added a couple goals of his own; one in the first on a picture perfect tip in on a point shot and another on a slapper. Just a terrific overall game for him. Dare I venture to say he has surpassed Holmstrom as the 3rd best forward? Or since Homer's been injured and shit is that a rather ridiculous question in the first place? And more importantly, can I honestly ask that with a straight face after nominating Franzen for a made up award depicting him as a playoff no-show? Why are you reading this?

- I just wouldn't be me if I didn't pointlessly pick out a penalty call and bitch about it: When Stastny ran into an idly standing Zetterberg and flopped to the ice like he just hit a brick wall at 70 MPH and drew a penalty for it.....unbelievable. Really though, this seems to happen to Zetterberg a lot. He more than anyone gets called for these fake penalties, and somehow, manages to not slice the head of the referee off with his stick. This is reason #146 why I couldn't be a professional athlete.

- Brad Stuart missed the game because his wife was giving birth or some shit like that. I guess it's a good enough excuse. I mean, if he was like trying to time it right and aim for an April birth it would kinda make sense since he was playing on the Kings at the time. I just wish Andreas Lilja wasn't the one there to take his place.

- The Joe really looked alive for this one. It's good hearing the "Ozzie" chants during playoffs games again (man was he huge on that last big save. Humongous. My stomach jumped up into my throat when the puck found it's way into the slot without a Red Wing in sight, but Ozzie saved the day.)

April 21, 2008

Done and Done

Lidstrom told Nashville to SUCK IT!

And I wouldn't have it any other way....

April 19, 2008

Let the season of one-word celebratory posts begin




April 17, 2008

Won't get fooled again

Red Wings 2-3 Predators

One of the first hockey games that I can distinctly remember my heart dropping from my chest to my shoes was Game 6 of the 2nd Round of the 1999 Playoffs. In that game, the Wings were eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche, this coming after winning the first two games of the series in Denver. They got off to a torrid 6-0 start the postseason after steamrolling Anaheim in the opening round, and with the additions of Todd Gill and the immortal Wendel Clark it appeared that a 3-peat was in the near future. But, after this amazing start and after being spoiled with two straight Cups in the previous seasons, the last 4 games of the Colorado series fell out of nowhere and landed square on the collective nut sack of every hockey fan in Michigan. Even in the final game, with the Wings somehow down 4-0 and all but ousted, I thought they were going to win the game. It had been so long since they had been eliminated from the playoffs, and considering they had won 9 consecutive series up to this point, it never really crossed my mind that this was going to be the end of it. And I especially couldn't help but get my hopes up when Detroit battled back to make it 4-2 in Game 6. But when Peter Forsberg got a breakaway chance in the 3rd period and made a devastating move to make it 5-2 and put the game away, I vividly remember plopping down on my couch with my jaw dropped, numb to the fact that this was the end of the Wings magnificent run.

Over the course of my hockey fan career since 1999, there have been a few other moments like this one. Moments where our hopes have been much higher than that of the actual outcome. Like 2003, when the 2-seeded Red Wings went down 0-2 to the then Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and were in a must-win situation entering Game 3 in southern California. There was absolutely no way -- no fucking way -- that the defending Stanley Cup champions would find themselves in an 0-3 hole in the first round of the playoffs; or so I assumed. The Ducks, led by Mike Babcock and J.S. Giguere (and his ginormous shoulder pads) won Game 3 and created a sensation that felt akin to getting punched in the throat. These two things really are similar, because, like getting your throat punched, it's hard to conjure up the words to express your emotions when you are 100% sure that your team is going to win and then they don't.

Game 5 of the 2006 opening round against Edmonton also took on this tone. After winning the President's Trophy and amassing a staggering 58 wins in the regular season, the Wings barely made it through the first 4 games with the series even at 2-2. Even though the Oilers had forced the action and were really making the Wings look human compared to the band of wizards that they were until this point, it still seemed inconceivable that the Wings would lose Game 5 at home, which would force them to have to win two elimination games in order to escape the first round against an 8 seed. But they did. They actually lost Game 5. I listened to the game on the radio and was literally starting to believe that I was being lied to or something. I felt as though I was being duped.

But I won't fall for such trickery this time around. I am fully mentally prepared to hear a number of "We gotta step it up"s and "Play 'our' game"s and "Step on the gas"s from the Wings only to see the same lapses in attention, lack of effort from certain players, and troubling tendencies that may or may not be related to the coaching. I ready, you assholes. If the Wings lose a heart-wrenching Double OT game to be put on the brink of elimination, I will at least be able to say I was prepared for it. I've already seen too much in my day to be surprised by anything that the NHL has to offer. Tampa Bay and Carolina have hosted Stanley Cup champions for fuck's sake -- I'm passed the point of being shocked. Thoughts on Game 4...

- I made a quip during the game that it looks to be more advantageous if you are the least talented of the two teams in a playoff series. I don't honestly believe that, but the same pattern of stuff seems to take place in these Wings' playoff runs when they take on much lower seeded teams: They bring their absolute best because they know that anything less isn't good enough; they have a number of guys who really get under their opposition's skin; they play solid in their own end and wait to take advantage of Red Wing mistakes; and they seem to get 1 or 2 goals that get in the head of our goalie (whichever one we're relying on that year only to be completely let down -- Manny Legacy, Bill Ranford, Curtis Joseph, Dominik Hasek's corpse, etc.)

- Now, even though I just rambled on and on about all that nonsense, I STILL think the Wings will win the series, and I think they will do so in 6 games (but I'm READY for them if they lose -- there's a difference. Somehow.) I can't remember if I said this/thought this or posted it on this very blog, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but going back to 1995 the Wings have been so consistently competitive that they've either A) Won the Cup (1997, 1998, 2002) B) Lost in the Cup Finals (1995) C) Lost to a team that won the Cup (1996, 2007) or D) lost to a team that lost in either the 7th game of the Conference or Stanley Cup Finals (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006), all with the exception of the inexplicable 2001 series against the LA Kings. My point being that it always takes a really good team to beat the Wings.....and I just don't see the fucking Nashville Predators making at least the conference finals. But I won't be surprised if it happens. Still with me? Because I'm not.

- During the 2nd Period, Jordan Tootoo intentionally stepped on Kris Draper's back. With a fucking skate on. He stepped with all of his weight onto the back of a prone hockey player. Did anyone see this bullshit? Like, the league? Did front-office types with the ability to fine players who step on people with sharp objects attached to their feet see what I'm referring to? I don't know if this is directly related (even if it's not it gives me the excuse to bring it up), but after that fucking egg of a coach bitched about the officiating, things have gotten a little screwy. Not a whole lot, not enough to overly affect the game, but somewhat. Holmstrom gets called for crosschecking, yet nothing happens when he gets sent neck-first into the boards; a situation that looks scary enough alone to blow the whistle, regardless if the dude actually gets hurt. Consistency would be nice. It's not the reason the Wings lost, it's just annoying.

- Your nominees for the "Robert Lang Memorial-Best Disappearance in the Playoffs" are: Johan Franzen -- Val Filppula -- and Mikael Samuelsson. My vote goes to Johan. We might only be 4 games in, but that won't stop me from flipping out and start blaming individual players who are noticeably unnoticeable out there. Franzen has a goal and an assist to make himself look a little better than the other two, but unlike those guys Franzen was so hot down the stretch that he was starting to develop his own gravitational pull. And during the last two games I've spent maybe 4 seconds thinking about him.

- Dominik Hasek: Good lord. The best thing that happened last night was Chris Osgood coming in midway through the 2nd period and shutting Nashville down the rest of the way. Now there's no possible way that Babcock can start Dom without putting himself on the chopping block and losing the entire locker room.

- I know the Preds are still two wins away, but even so, there's a possibility that the Wings' season will end on the same night that the Pistons begin the playoffs. God that would suck. Come on Wings.....

April 15, 2008

Wings lose, Tigers win, Petrarch howls over unquenchable thirst for literary antiquity

Francesco Petrarch, of course, being the unofficial father of what is now commonly labeled as "humanism", a movement which helped catapult 14th Century Europe into the Renaissance. Why is this important? It's not. It's fucking stupid. Sorry if I offend any of you history buffs out there (Mom?), but the reason for the sudden increase in Dark Age-era references can be attributed solely to the last five days in which I have dedicated to finishing a paper; a brain-rapingly painful experience surrounding a topic that makes the WNBA Draft sound exciting by comparison. The most important part of this being that it prevented me from casting a keen eye on the Red Wings' Game 3 clash with the Predators last night, and any of the Tigers game while it was airing live (oh wait -- that last one was Comcast's fault. Sorry, Professor Radding.) I had to find it within my pea-sized brain to summon up four pages of bullshit disguised as brilliance to hand in for tomorrow, but thankfully, I am finished. Only problem is that my mind never really turned off last night and I got roughly 4 hours of sleep, so I've made my way over here. I have to say, though, I feel pretty proud of myself for getting any amount of actual work done with a Red Wings playoff game going on at the same time. If this were high school I would've kidnapped my teacher after class while he was walking out to his car, held a knife to his temple, and given him the option to either recite the entire fourth season of Charles In Charge line-for-line (including scene entrances, a brief biography of James T. Callahan, and or course the theme song) or give me a 4.0. This worked every time except for senior year when my Physics teacher not only beat my preposterous sitcom gauntlet, but also performed a improvisational sketch of what Buddy Lembeck would sound like as an auctioneer during the Dutch slave trade. Because I'm a man of my word, I let him off the hook. It's called "honor", assholes.

Red Wings 3-5 Nashville

To expect a sweep out the Wings is always setting your bar too high, as they most usually find at least one game to give away. This, hopefully, will be the only time that this happens during the series. Like I said, I wasn't really paying much attention to this one, but that won't stop me from making snap judgments based pretty much only on the times I heard Ken Daniels' voice shriek which caused my head to momentarily shoot up from my computer.

- I made a little fun of Kris Draper after his "goal" in Game 2, but he deserves mad props or however you say it after his goal last night. If you weren't expecting Drapes to mash a one-timer slapshot as hard as he could into the stomach of Dan Ellis, you haven't been watching him very closely over the years. Astoundingly, he exhibited a Zetterbergian level of patience and glided to the right of Ellis, forced him to go down to his side, and roofed it for a 1-0 lead. Mickey Redmond then shat his pants.

- There was a time during the 3rd Period when the Wings were up 3-2 that it looked completely over. After getting all revved up after yet another 2-goal comeback, Datsyuk shut everyone in the building up with a nice goal on a 2 on 1 to start the period. The place was eerily quiet even for a group of people that need a copy of an NHL rule book in order to make it through an entire game without developing a confusion-induced brain tumor. Then out of nowhere, a "good slapshot" beat Dom and the game was all tied up. I glanced up to witness the replay, and even after hearing some people say it was just a good shot I think it still could've been stopped, and even Dom looked pissed at himself.

- There wasn't much time to think about the 3rd goal because the 4th one came just moments later. What I have now learned via Sportscenter to be a bad line change, I originally only thought of it to be a "WHAT IN THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN OMG!!" It was a sloppy change, yes, but for some dumbfuck reason, Andreas Lilja was lumbering into a bad position in the center of the ice, putting him in a bad spot to mark Arnott before his slapper untied the score. Brain shits like this have been the reason for postseason collapses in Red Wings season's past, and seeing them again only bring up sour memories (Edmonton, anyone?)

- Overall I'm not real worried about the situation. I'd be surprised if we didn't win Game 4 tomorrow night, but that depends on how "into it" the Preds feel. When they get a jump on things, they can make the game really tough. But when they get put back on their heels with a goal or two they seem to really let off and lose it. If they get behind again, they probably should get a sense of urgency about them because a third "2 goals in 10 seconds" is unlikely to happen. But if it does I might pass out.

Tigers 11-9 Twins

Wow, this was the game I wish I could have running diary'd. I didn't see any of it live, but watching the box score refresh over and over was all the excitement a boy like me could ever hope for; "Dammit, it's 2-0 Twins.......okay, now it's 5-0 Twins -- don't tell me another shutout.....oh my god, they scored, it's 5-4.........are you fucking serious?: 9-4 Twins.......Cheese 'n Rice -- it's 9-9!! What the hell happened?!...........ELEVEN TO 9 -- do you believe this?........nooooooo, Todd Jones.............we win!! Yes!!"

- This is oddly similar to '06 when Leyland lit into the team, then they went out to Oakland and had a great come-from-behind win that seemed to spark the next several months. We can only hope this continues to bare similarities in the future.

- Random thoughts on a game that was much easier to watch while already knowing the outcome: Pudge sliding into 3rd and then losing his mind with joy was both hilarious and uplifting....Sheff has hit the ball pretty well to left field in two games now,good to see....Maggs hit one of the wall in straightaway center (I just want to see ONE of those go for a HR one of these days)....Clete gets his first MLB triple (still hoping he doesn't turn out like Brent Clevlen)....Nice to see the crowd (the one's who stayed) get really into it for the first time this season......Surprised to see Carlos in there, but he's a trooper and shit for hobbling around during an April game we need to win (3 hits)....Bonderman looked alright but the defense is frustrating........hope this offense carries over enough to put together the longest winning streak of the season tonight: two games.

April 13, 2008

Tigers vs. White Sox 4/13

Because the Tigers are only 2-9 when I don't do a running diary of their games, I'm trying it out today. Not only that, we here at The Triple Deke have cloaked our headquarters with so much optimistic voodoo that even Richard Simmons couldn't help but puke. I've got my Magglio jersey and engineer-style Tigers cap on, roommate Nick has his '06 AL Champions shirt out of the hamper, and the leather recliner has been turned into a makeshift shrine to all things Tiger-related from flags to lighters to refrigerator magnets. Yes, it's ridiculous, but when you're 2-9, it can't get much worse.

2:04 -- Oh my god the injuries. Sheffield is playing, but during the pregame they said that he tore some tissue in his shoulder stretching yesterday, bringing him to his knees in pain. But he's playing today because, apparently, the tear loosened up his shoulder enough to get around on inside pitches. Whatever; it still sounds bad.

2:09 -- Carlos Guillen is supposedly going to be "out for several days", but "won't be put on the 15-day DL." Oh wait, let me guess: he's going to miss 10-12 games, play a couple, miss another 4 or five, DH for a couple, sit some more.....and on and on. Goody.

2:13 -- On the hill for the Tigers, the Gambler. The Tigers haven't managed to get a single run of support for him yet this season. He starts the bottom of the 1st by giving up a single to Nick Swisher, who officially has the gayest chin beard that I have ever seen in my life.

2:16 -- Kenny nearly picks off Swisher, which would've given him the record for all-time pickoffs, currently held by Mark Langston. I can't wait for Kenny to break the record, followed by Langston being lowered out of the sky by a helicopter to meet him at the mound with a 3-foot tall golden arm trophy, go down to one knee, and pass the award onto Kenny as a teary eyed Jim Leyland stands at the foot of the dugout while applauding in approval. A confused Miguel Cabrera will then look up from his pulled pork sandwich at 3rd base and ask somebody what just happened.

2:21 -- Jim Thome, up with two on and nobody out, just hit a ball 4 miles high that barely went foul, leading inevitably to Rod Allen calling Thome "country strong." We only need a "PARD-NUH" and a mention of pink cotton candy from him to complete the Rod Allen Triple Crown. Thome then bounces into a huge double play.

2:27 -- Paul Konerko singles to put the Sox up 1-0, but Kenny comes back to strike out Jermaine Dye to end the inning. After the way things started, a 1 run deficit doesn't sound that bad, and Kenny seemed to find a bit of rhythm after the double play. He's already thrown 28 pitches though.

2:36 -- Mario Impemba mentions how cold it is for the 96th time this series.

2:38 -- The Tigers leader in homeruns and RBI is at the plate. Oh my god it's Brandon Inge. He strikes out to end the top of the 2nd.

2:44 -- Jaques Jones catches line drive to put away the Sox in the 2nd. Jones wears #19, which, if I were running the state, is a number that would be retired all throughout Michigan sports. No, fuck that. The number would altogether be removed from society as an homage to the greatness that was Steve Yzerman. Little league, license plates, social security numbers -- the numbers 1 and 9 would never be placed side-by-side ever again. People wouldn't even celebrate 19th birthdays on my watch. Shit, the Tigers and Wings are owned by the same dude; can't this actually take place? Maybe I'm overreacting.

2:50 -- We learn that the White Sox starter, Javier Vazquez, is second only to Randy Johnson in K's this decade. I think I speak for every baseball fan in America when I say "you're fucking joking right?"

2:52 -- The Tigers go 1-2-3 in the 3rd. I'm starting to think that Jim Leyland could start managing from under a ladder while breaking mirrors over the head of a black cat and things wouldn't get any worse.

2:59 -- Confusion sets in amongst Chicago fans as Chuck Hernandez makes a mound visit. Booing ensues as 94% of these fans didn't know what baseball was before the Sox won the 2005 World Series.

3:01 -- Thome's up again with two on, 2-0 the count, and Kenny's getting visibly frustrated. What do you want to bet he hits a homerun here? (Bracing for the worst...) The at-bat ends in a walk. Bases loaded for Paul Konerko......and he hits a Grand Fucking Slam. I swear to god, I'm not making this up -- I was in the middle of a sentence describing how Konerko looked like he was primed for a Slam, but trying to remain positive, I hit the backspace key. Then he actually hit one. I give up.

3:08 -- Aflac Trivia Question: other than Magglio Ordonez, name the other 5 players with batting titles whose last name begins with "O". That is a ridiculous question. Why not just ask me the approximate weight of Neptune while you're at it.

3:10 -- Sheff rips a double to left. He's now hit two balls (the first one a long-distance foul ball) really well to "the pull field", as Rod would say. Maybe I should try tearing some tissue in my shoulder and see what kind of awesomeness comes my way. This is then followed by a measly popout by Maggs, an ugly strikeout by Cabrera, and a lineout by Jones. I'm starting to think that doing a running diary as a means of changing our luck is having no affect on this game whatsoever.

3:24 -- They give the answer to the aforementioned trivia question. One of the five batting champs was Lefty O'Doule. Oh, my bad. I didn't know we were counting Dick Tracy villains.

3:35 -- Tigers go quietly again in the 5th, as Clete Thomas strikes out again. He looks like a completely different hitter from yesterday when he patiently drew a couple of walks. They've now given Kenny Rogers a whopping total of zero runs during his 15 innings of work. At this point I just want to have at least one run to comment on......they're heading toward their 4th shutout in 12 games this season. Unbelievable.

3:39 -- An unfathomable set of circumstances occurs that results in a cockamamie infield pop-up single. Thome flies one above 3rd base, Cabrera bumps into the umpire and slips (hurting himself in the process) as Rogers meanders over to foul territory, but both players lose sight of the ball and the ball manages to land in fair territory. Rogers (only 7 out of 21 first-pitch strikes) exits the game to make way for Zack Miner as Mario Impemba reiterates what I mentioned a moment ago: "I mean, this is unbelievable Rod." The White Sox could find a way to somehow hit a 6-run homer and I wouldn't be surprised.

3:47 -- RBI double for Jermaine Dye. 6-0 Chi-Sox. Then Brandon Inge lets one by and another run scores. 7-0. I don't exactly feel like doing this anymore (it doesn't sound like Rod & Mario want to either....I have never, ever heard them as lifeless as they are right now.)

3:52 -- Joe Crede (I can't believe I'm typing this) hits another White Sox grand slam. 11-0 Sox. Zack Miner is indisputably terrible; can't throw strikes, and has one discernible skill: thowing a swing-back "fastball" into the fat part of a baseball bat. We would've been better off leaving Kenny out there to throw right-handed. (Not only was it another grand slam, but my immediate reaction -- before they even cut to the camera tracking the ball -- was to laugh. It's like you think it can't get any worse, and then a team hits two grand slams in one game. I can't stop saying that. Two grand slams. Two.)

4:00-- My Magglio jersey comes off, plain clothes put back on. This decision is made, coincidently enough, at the precise moment that Ryan Raburn comes in to pinch-hit for Maggs. Not sure why he's subbing for him when Cabrera is gimping around at 3rd. Seriously though, two grand slams.

4: 22 -- Some fucker named Clay Rapada comes in to pitch for Detroit and the Sox go 1-2-3. Go figure.

4: 27 -- The Tigers - again - go down in order, two of them at the first pitch. Guess we're all just hoping this thing ends as soon as possible. (They show the replay of Ramon Santiago having his bat broken on a tapper back to the mound. He actually hit the ball twice; once on first contact, then the broken barrel hit it again in the air. This has been a weird game.)

4:29 -- Mario: "You want to hear an unbelievable stat, Rod?"
Rod: "What's that?"
Mario: "The White Sox have thrown 24 straight strikes."

I'll be honest, I thought he was going to say something inane like "Clay Rapada was born with webbed feat", but dammit, that's a pretty fucking unbelievable stat. 24 straight strikes. Good lord. I really, really hope to hear some report tonight or tomorrow about Leyland totally ripping into this team after the shitfest we've seen today. If not after THIS game, then when will the mandatory blow-up take place?? WHEN, I ask! I'm tired of hearing this bullshit about how guys are "trying too hard" and "I'm not going to tell them what to do, 'cause they're professionals."

4:35 -- Sheff takes a first-pitch ball. Order is restored for a moment, but then he strikes out. 7 hits during the last two days, no runs, long faces, Ramon Santiago, and oh yeah -- two grand slams.

4:40 -- And that's your ballgame: 11-0 White Sox. This is complete rock-bottom. Anything worse than this is purely comedy from here on out.

Why the hell is Humpty Dumpty coaching hockey?

After the Red Wings told Nashville "Suck it, part II". I felt the need to point something out, Humpty Dumpty has been hiding in plain sight for years. Obviously all the kings men did a pretty good job fixing him up. He's now known as "Barry Trotz" and he somehow got a job in the NHL. Don't believe me? Here's a picture taken of the Nashville bench not long before the regular season ended. Case and point..... Hahahahaha, Nashville sucks......

I won't make a long post today as Tyler is writing an epic tale of the Tigers game and I am personally looking forward to reading it.

April 12, 2008

Red Wings vs. Predators: Games 1 & 2

Alright, finally. It's time for a hockey post after a tumultuous 11 game-start to the Tigers season which has yielded a grand total of two victories and a string of Triple Deke updates limited only to baseball-related grievances. No more, I say. No longer will I hold this site hostage with my schizophrenic rants as I try to find a healthy balance between optimism and despondency. Against my own will, I'm not going to talk about what the Tigers did today (TWO HITS WTF!?!) I'm not going to talk about the injuries that seem to pop up after every game (CARLOS! DONTRELLE! NOOOOOOO!) And I'm not going to talk about the reoccurring blunders that are troubling in nature and further prolonging this dreadful stretch (OH MY GOD ENOUGH WITH THE DOUBLE PLAYS!) No, there will be more time for that as the months drag on.

Instead we turn our attention to the Wings, who have taken care of the first two games of their opening round series against the Predators, and looked really good for the most part.

- Nick Kronwall is as good at hitting a puck-carrier who's coming out of his own zone as anybody in the league. Why anybody would come over the blue line with their head down is beyond me, but to do it against the Wings with Kronwall on the ice is even crazier. It's to the point where he's doing this at least once a game almost; and it's always one of those scary collisions where skates come flying up in the air and shit, the type that's bound to slice the ear off a nearby skater one of these days. I only pray that it happens to Jordan Tootoo.

- How would you like to be Aaron Downey? You play well the entire year in the pivotal role of enforcer, you do a damn good job at it by all accounts, and then Darren McCarty decides to get his life back together, plays well for a couple of weeks in the minors and gets called up, then he essentially takes your job for the playoffs. Not only that, Mac scores a goal (on a Dallas Drake assist? Is it 1994 or something?), crowd goes nuts, everybody's riding a nostalgic high, and suddenly nobody even remembers who you are. The impartial side of me thought that Downey should have kept his rightful spot, but the 12 year-old kid in me was really happy to see McCarty score a goal today.

- If there was ever a perfect example of how bad luck always seems to interject itself into a playoff hockey game, the 2nd period of Game 2 was it. The Wings were soaring with a 2-0 lead before a dump in took a strange bounce, kicked out of the corner into the slot, and set up an empty net goal for Nashville as Hasek was behind the net to play the puck. Then, only seconds later, a clusterfuck of circumstances takes place leading to Lilja fumbling over his own feet, allowing a breakaway and ultimately an equalizing goal. I started getting flashbacks to moments like the "Paul Coffey Game" and Game 5 from the Anaheim series of last year, thinking that this was going to be another one of those ridiculous games that the Red Wings find a way to lose. But just as I was about to start clamoring for a timeout, Mike Babcock actually called one, and it was an excellent call at that. Not just because I was hoping for it, but because it seemed to work. Very shortly thereafter, bad luck struck again but this time for Nashville, as Kris Draper scored a goal in Kris Draperian fashion -- an intended pass bounced off a skate and into the net. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe that after what just happened to the Wings, they somehow found a way to right the ship and go onto win the game.

- We had a lot of guys come back from injury just in time for the playoffs. Samuelsson hasn't looked any worse than usual; Homer's back to usual self; Brad Stuart's made a couple of blue-line blunders and I really don't see how he can put any velocity on a slap shot with a broken finger; and then Draper of course scored a goal (he certainly hasn't lost his ability to do what he does better than anybody in the NHL: fire a slapshot square into the goalie's chest. I swear, I think my face would melt off in complete shock if one of his slapshots ever resulted in a goal.)

- I would much rather see Derek Meech over Lilja right now. Well, not just right now, but for the rest of eternity. Lilja is good on the PK, is one of the team leaders in hits, and that's pretty much it for what he's good at. Meech does a good job of picking his spots on when to be aggressive and jump into the play; he's shown his versatility, playing defense and winger (even played with the top line for a few shifts during the regular season); and he's a good if not great stick handler, namely when it comes to the first touch of the puck where he always seems to make the necessary move to burn the first guy. Lilja, on the other hand, gave me a permanent heart murmur after somebody yelled to him "Your skate's untied!" which distracted him enough to be largely responsible for the 2nd Nashville goal in Game 2.

- Watching playoff games with Dominik Hasek is frightening. He's brilliant at times, maddening during others. For pretty much the entirety of the first two games, he's been really good, and has made some huge saves. This could be a different series if he didn't make some big stops. But every time he leaves the crease I feel like turning off the TV in fear at what I'm going to see next. And out of the three goals, one was a complete fluke where he abandoned his net, but the other two went right through his legs (I feel half as confident with Dom in net on breakaways as I do Osgood -- if you're playing against the Dom, you have two options: wait him out until he flops and then roof it; or if doesn't do that, you can easily beat him 5-hole if you keep it low.)

- The discrepancy in shots was huge during the regular season between these teams, and the same is happening in the playoffs. 40 to 20 Detroit in Game 1, and then 38 to 27 in Game 2. Nashville started to look completely overmatched by the end of the 2nd game and they were clearly dejected after the Draper goal. When you're an 8-seed and your only chance to beat the Red Wings is to get under their skin and annoy them to death, you become less effective by taking penalties and giving up numerous scoring chances. And unless the Nashville crowd can will them on during the next two games, this series is pretty much over.

April 11, 2008

Redwings 1 - Sturpid Team from Nashville 0

It was a good game last night, for one Detroit team anyway. Wings made it look easy and good old Zetterburg was in the zone. As happy as the game made me I still had to be reminded "IT'S APRIL IN THE D!" every commercial break. I'm sort of numb to that phrase anymore but every time I visit Detroit from now on beware anyone who might ask me what month it is.

Another thing has been on my mind lately. You know, that awesome duo that is Datsyuk and Zetterberg...... aka. Euro-Twins.... I'm all for nicknames but Christ on a cracker if the media is going to make up nicknames the very least they can do is make them good.

My little image up there clearly argues my case that they should not be called Euro-Twins any longer. But to back it up, I'll also write them down for you.
  1. They don't look alike, or have the same last name. Kind of hard to be twins of the European variety if you don't have the same mother.
  2. Google Njurunda, Sweden real quick. If you go by the first five links it's the most beautiful place to visit in the world. Damn, better get me a damn plane ticket now. As for Datsuyk and Sverdlovsk some might say "but Brent, A large chunk of Western Russia is kind of sort of part of Europe." WRONG! But go ahead, try and tell me Sverdlovsk is on the European side of Russia..... Sorry I don't agree with anything you just said. He was born in Asia, not Europe.
  3. As if the first two were not enough evidence to end the retarded nickname there is one final piece. While Datsyuk is sexy is his own right Zetterberg is fucking Suave Sexy.... He has a Supermodel girlfriend and has his own clothing line "Z". But mainly what makes him so suave is his slicked back hair.
Speaking of his hair... Maybe they could call him Henrik "the slick" Zetterberg...... as dumb as that is... It's better than the fucking "Euro-Twins."

April 9, 2008

Did you know it's April in the D?

In case you don't have FSN in Michigan, or even care for that matter. It's April in the D bitches! And in case you didn't read one of Tyler's previous posts or even care for that matter. I'm the new guy writing for The Triple Deke. I've been graced with the invite from Tyler to grace all three or so of you with my insight and knowledge in sports.

Before I go any further I must make a disclaimer. I have terrible grammar and poor spelling. I May not make sense at times, but damn it I love sports. And if that isn't enough to write for a sports blog then I don't know what is. The point being if you think I'm an idiot and don't enjoy what I write, then by all means ignore my posts.

Quick introduction of myself. My name's Brent, I'm a ginger, I like soccer. Yes, I did just say I like soccer. But before you all start hatin' I like other sports too.

Ranked List of my favorite sports.

1. Soccer (European mainly international too, MLS is usually a bore)
A. Hockey (As I always say, best damn sport in North America)

2. Football (College more than pro usually, would change if the Lions didn't perpetually seem retarded)

3. Baseball (I rank it at number three just because I really could give a shit about any more than maybe three teams in baseball, the rest can suck it)

4. Basketball (I keep an eye on basketball, But really with the way the last minute of the game takes twenty with fouls and tv timeouts. I find it more boring than watching a full soccer match)

-This list is subject to change at any moment for any reason or for no reason at all.

I'm keeping an eye on the Manchester United vs. Roma Super Bowl Playoffs of Europe. And tonight will also be my first Tigers game as a blogger. I hope I don't have to write about watching a piece of Tyler die inside.

April 8, 2008

Did I honestly say that

Tigers (oh my god) 0-5 Red Sox

Very early signs that this blog is run by at least one jackass (things that I've said in the past week):

"I'm still not that worried about our chances of winning the division..."

That's an outright lie. I have no idea why I would say such a thing. "Not that worried"........really? Like, at all? Seven games into the season and I'm already arguing with myself. This blog sucks.

"Wake me when we're 0-10..."

I take it back. Wake me up right the fuck now. Immediately. This has to be some kind of bad dream. A seemingly endless, bottomless, hopeless, week-long bad dream.

"The losses don't bother me as much as the injuries do..."

I don't even know what this really means. They both bother me a lot so picking one over the other in order to make some kind of ludicrous point in an attempt to essentially keep a level head on my shoulders is asinine. And don't forget the number of times that I've made fun of people for already wanting to wander through freeway traffic over the horror that has been the start to this season. Hey, I'm right at that point myself guys.

People talk about sample sizes and the marathon-length to the season and general trends, but it's pretty apparent as it stands-- we're in for a long Summer regardless. Whether they keep up this funk and stretch out the "longest offseason" in Tigers history into the "longest actual season" in Tigers history, or even if they dig themselves out of the hole and taunt us with the possibility of an amazing turnaround, this is going to be one stressful ride. I know that most of these hitters have proven over the course of their careers that what we're seeing right now doesn't represent what they're likely to do for the rest of the season...but they honestly couldn't win ONE of these games just by accident? Just to sooth the mind if even for one lousy day? And 15 fucking runs in seven games? There are teams with lineups that are half as good as the one we've got, so I'm going to try to calm down. Still, though, I'm getting tired of waiting.

It's obvious where the pitching is leading us. I think that if Verlander and Bonderman don't turn into a Sabbathia/Carmona-like tandem, like as soon as possible, we're cooked. Basically, when you look at the roster, we're like a glorified Texas Rangers/90's Colorado Rockies team. We were counting on our hitting to slug us to victory and for the pitching to be at least average, and after seven games, absolutely nothing has happened. If we would've got off to a hot start, then I would've at least been able to maintain what I thought/said in that season preview (god that feels like forever ago), which is that I'm scared about how the pitching is going to turn out, but we've got enough bats to out-duel Cleveland. The bats will come alive, but we've given (at least) a 7 game head start to the competition.

The pitching hasn't been atrocious in every game; it's not like we're throwing the AA staff out there. Shit, we held Boston to 5 runs today. But the problem is that, for the pitchers, we're seemingly falling back on standards that were set during the first 3 quarters of the '06 season.....a season in which there were almost no injuries, we got a super year out of a rookie, a 40-something year old dude actually came through when it mattered, the bullpen was tremendous (and healthy, remember), and everybody else seemed to give either their career year or something that was at least above what they're expected to provide. And from then on, things have regressed somewhat to the norm, so now it feels like we're waiting for something to happen that we might not see for a very long time.

I don't know what's so different about a 0-7 start as opposed to an 0-6 start, but for whatever reason, the amount of panic has seemed to go up a notch with me, as you might be able to tell from these last two posts. I can't accurately explain it. I think it has something to do with the fact that, from 2005 going backward, I only had one constant thing that I was used to when it came to Tiger baseball -- losing. And more importantly, the expectation of losing. Then, in only 2+ years, we had unexpected success, followed by inexplicable joy in going to the World Series, followed by a blur of a five-game World Series loss, followed by the hope that we could just keep this competitive thing going, followed by The Trade that sent expectations to a higher level than I'd ever seen before as a fan, followed by the shithole that we're in now. I guess this has all been a lot to digest in such a short period of time, and it's turned me into a menopausal housewife. I need a bottle of peroxide to guzzle right about now.

April 7, 2008

Running out of titles for depressing Tiger posts

Tigers 2-13 White Sox

Last night marked the first Remote Toss of 2008. I snapped when Verlander hit a batter and I threw my Radio Shack "4-in-1" clicker straight into the ground, propelling batteries everywhere. Now that I've had a day to relax, I feel better. And I'm still not that worried about our chances of winning the division.

I was bothered by a couple of things though.

1) Dropped balls by Pudge and Carlos Guillen. How Guillen managed to fuck up a scenario that basically replicates a game of catch in the backyard is beyond me, but we'll get over it.

2) Cabrera losing track of the count....again? How does that happen multiple times in a span of a few games? I guess they aren't giving him all that money to pay attention.

3) Pudge hitting leadoff. The man who's allergic to walks. The man who sees a first-pitch slider five inches inside and things it's a good idea to swing. The man who is bound to start hacking at pitch-outs at some point during this season. Seriously -- Pudge is the guy you want hitting first? Forget for one second that he starts breaking out in hives at the mere thought of a 3-ball count, and think about this: In a close game, with 8-9-1 due up in, say, the bottom of the ninth, Pudge is getting an extra at-bat over the rest of the team, and not only that, he's batting 5 to 6 spots higher than Guillen or Renteria. I know Leyland has been been great, but some of the stuff he does just makes me scratch my head 'til it bleeds. Not that anyone in their right mind is asking, but last night I would've rather seen:


Obviously that didn't make or break the game, but for about a 20 minute period after hearing the batting order, I was up in arms. Up in arms, I say.


I'm concluding this post with a Triple Deke news item: starting shortly there will be another author to this site, my roommate Brent. I'll let him fill you in (yes all three of you out there) on what his contributions to the TD will behold, because even I have no idea what the hell he will be adding. Could be Communist propaganda or midget porn for all I know. But in any event, I'm sure you're all as orgasmically excited for this momentous occasion as I am.

April 6, 2008

"Longest offseason" in Tigers history continues

OK, so if Verlander doesn't shut down Chicago tonight and the Tigers drop to 0-6, I might sorta kinda just a little tiny sliver of a bit start to get worried.

But if you're a Tigers fan and your brain is as easily manipulated as mine, maybe this will make you feel better: we are only 3.7% of the way through the regular season. If you want to compare this to football, 3.7% of an NFL season would put you at the midway point of the 3rd quarter of the first game of the year. So, I mean, it's like we're not even through the first game yet. Or something. I don't know. Kiss my ass, I'm just looking for ways to make this look better.

The losses don't bother me as much as the injuries do. Or at least they're a lot more disheartening. You can erase a loss in one game by winning the next one. Injuries, especially with baseball (especially with pitchers) linger on for what feels like an endless amount of time, and compel you to check status reports on your favorite team before you check your email in the morning. I read that it's a possibility that Sheffield might play tonight (albeit with a splint), but seriously, he tore a tendon in his fucking finger -- that's not gonna just go away. I also keep reading about discouraging things like setbacks for Fernando Rodney. I really don't expect him to ever be the same pitcher ever again; if he is, I'll take it as a plus because I'm tired of getting my hopes up with him (ditto Zumaya). Between all of these injuries and Granderson's finger and the amount of elderly bodies that make up the Detroit Tigers roster, I'm exponentially more worried about that than just one more loss.

April 3, 2008

Uh, any day now guys

Tigers 1-4 Royals

So I'm all excited to watch my first live Tigers game of the year......and we've got good ol' B. Inge at the hot corner. Cabrera out with a sore quad. Fucking lame.

- Bonderman was looking solid until the 4th when he started leaving some pitches up. Gordon crushed a hanging changeup for a two-run shot. Started getting sloppy in the fifth with his control, and gave up another bomb in the 6th.

- Clete Thomas -- whom I still cannot believe is Caucasian -- had another good rip in his first AB of the day, just got a little unlucky on where he hit it. Then he nearly took Greinke's hand off in the 5th with a line drive. Although we're only in game 3, I'd prefer him to Jaques Jones right now, if only to see what else he's got.

- As Rod & Mario proved last year, they had 100% efficiency in the department of Jinxing Tigers Hitters when it came to overplaying the opposing pitcher's struggles against them. Every single fucking time that they would mention the lack of success that a certain pitcher was having against Detroit, you could be absolutely certain that the Tiger bats were going to go limp for that game. They put the screws on them again by describing Greinke's Tiger troubles, his anxiety issues, and how up until recently he had lost his love of the game. Then Rod got a little salty and called Greinke a "little chode" which totally sent the Tigers into a downward spiral. (If that wasn't bad enough, Mario predicted a "deep playoff run" for the Wings this year. Excuse me while I slit my wrists.)

- There's something about baseball that feels similar to watching a pot of water and waiting for it to boil -- it seems like the so many of the games I watch there's like zero offense and then the few that I miss they put up 10+ runs. Maybe it's just me.

- Maggs is swinging a lot at the first pitch this year, way different than last year. It always drives me nuts when guys do this right after their pitcher just threw like 25 pitches the inning before. Also, it seems like he's dipping his shoulder a bit. But you might not want to look too much into that because this is coming from somebody who's baseball career topped out at the 1998 Michigan Little League State Championship in which we finished 3rd........I OPS'd an abysmal .642 and suffered severe injuries to my larynx when I failed to lay down a sac bunt in 4 consecutive at-bats, causing my enraged coach to spear me with a trident. As you might imagine, this igniting a horrific fall from grace for me as a youth athlete.

- Pudge is also swinging at first-pitches, but then again, writing that is like coming out with a report on the sky still being blue. When he swings at 71 MPH first-pitch curveballs I don't even blink anymore. It's kinda like when my mom drunk-dials me and proceeds to ask me "what classes are you taking this semester?" for the 80th time in 3 months -- I'm not surprised when it happens, but at the same time it makes me want to rip off my eyelids.

- "April in the D" is just......I don't.........oh my God......I can't muster the words. There isn't enough time in the day. I just can't understand why advertising and marketing people would A) think that this is something that viewers would find entertaining, and B) would have the balls to even pitch the idea to their superiors without feeling consumed by a suicidal level of depression.

- Looooootts of pop-ups and guys looking like they're trying to hit homeruns. Or as Rod put it, "trying to hit 3-run homers with nobody on base." I don't know the team personally, but I'm pretty sure the guys no that they can't do that. Must be those crazy Japanese rules he's talking about.

- Inge didn't look bad out there: a seeing-eye single, a homer and a walk (I think that Andy Van Slyke should hand Inge a 100 dollar bill every time he draws a walk. And then with every strikeout, Leyland should get a free kick at his nuts. It would be an excellent test for psychology purposes if nothing else.)

- For as much praise as Sheff gets for his base running, you gotta question why he's gunning for 2nd base when we're down 3 in the 8th. I would've also liked to have seen how hard he was running out of the box instead of 11 seconds of X-Mo replays.

- Mark Grudzielanek was an annoying prick this series.

- Random nugget of the day: The Royal's Joey Gathright can jump over cars.

Hopefully we can turn things around quickly against the White Sox, considering how the schedule looks for this month. I think 0-3 might have something to do with me. I remember right after I started this blog the Wings went into a horrible funk. So, sorry I guess.

April 2, 2008

Chronicals of Irrational Hysteria: Episode I

Tigers 0-4 Royals

I'm thinking of installing a reoccurring theme for this blog centered around moronic, "Chicken Little"-type fans who see things like, say, the Tigers somewhat surprising 0-2 start and head for the nearest 10-story window. I saw a really good one after today's loss on the ESPN boards:

From UTvolWarrior98 (which sounds like a 9 year-old's AIM screen name):

"I know I will probably get jumped for this, but this start is very disheartening. If you can honestly sit here and say..."oh..dont worry..did you really think we would go 160-2"..there is something SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH YOU! If you are a true, diehard, Tigers fan, you are PI ZZ E D OFF right now...flat out. There is nothing positive to take out of these first two games. The real sad part about all this is its against a team that has NO BUSINESS beating us..especially at home. No, being 0-2 isnt the end of the world..and yes..we can turn this thing around quickly. But, if your not SOMEWHAT bothered...angry...embarrassed...or infuriated...you cant be that much of a Tiger fan."

Wake me when we're 0-10.

"There is nothing positive to take out of these first two games."

Rogers seemed pretty good.

"...this is its against a team that has NO BUSINESS beating us..especially at home."

This isn't college basketball, where home court advantage gives a very legitimate advantage over your opponent. It's baseball -- a sport where you stand around for 97% of the time. A sport where players hang around in club houses and hot tubs and can be found yawning frequently while on the bench. Give me two reasons why the Tigers should be invincible in a home game against the Royals (a team that isn't THAT bad, mind you. They aren't the Orioles.)

"if your not SOMEWHAT bothered...angry...embarrassed...or infuriated...you cant be that much of a Tiger fan."

That's my favorite part. The ever-popular "if you don't feel like me, you're a cunt-bag" proclamation. I'm "somewhat" bothered. But barely. In fact, parts of this are marginally encouraging.....I'd be more concerned if we just lost 2 games of the 12-10 variety instead of 5-4 and 4-0. I'd say if it bothers you that much that you would feel compelled to provoke level-headed people with this nonsensical gibberish then you, sir, are not much of a fan.

April 1, 2008

Opening Day 2008

A few brief thoughts as I put off studying for another 20 minutes...

Tigers 4-5 Royals

- I didn't get to see the game due to work + class + traffic + rain + whatever else, so I had to settle for the Gamecast thing on tigers.com. I think that watching this is somehow more nerve-racking than seeing the actual game on TV. You wait for what feels like minutes on end for each pitch, and without seeing body language or mound visits or how close a ball is to being a hit or any of that stuff, my pessimistic imagination takes over and wreaks havoc on my fragile psyche. I remember during Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS, when Todd Jones strolled to the mound at Yankee Stadium in a save situation, and I had to watch the damn Gamecast as I shat my pants with every pitch. I could only imagine the vacant look on Jones face as he says to himself, "oh what the hell -- here's another BP fastball right down the pipe" to each Yankee hitter. To this day I still can't believe the Tigers got out of there with the win.

- I wasn't sure I understood the Baseball Tonight crew when they were discussing this game, blaming the bullpen for the loss. So let me get this straight: Jason Grilli comes into the game with runners on the corners w/no outs and only gives up one run (I'm spinning this as a positive, considering it's Grilli....quite frankly, I think that in this scenario they should just let the runner on third walk home as soon as Grilli comes charging out of the bullpen -- it would save some time at least); Bobby Seay does his job; Lopez holds the Royals scoreless for 1.1 IP; Todd Jones....Todd Jones throws a hitless 9th inning with a strikeout (?); and then Bautista gives up what proved to be the losing run on a measly bloop hit to center, but also struck out 3 in two innings and by most accounts seemed to be pretty good........and the Tigers were a segue into Baseball Tonight's "bullpen issues" segment?? Please, fellas, there will be plenty of time throughout the year to discuss the Tigers 'pen. Remember Grilli and Jones from like a sentence ago? Yeah, those guys aren't good. And for whatever reason, these guys are starting their 3rd year together and don't appear to be going anywhere soon, so wait until it's an actual issue for the Tigers and don't use it after the bullpen gives up only 1 run in 5 innings. It was because the Tigers' bats went cold after Carlos' HR in the 8th, and because Polanco somehow went 0-6 (I'm still investigating the reasons as to how this could physically happen. Stay tuned.)

- Four walks for Sheff. And I actually read a couple of boneheaded comments from Tigers fans saying shit like "we pay him to hit!" I really hope that most people don't think this way. The dude got on base 4 times in one game, I'd say that's pretty good. The guys batting behind him aren't too bad at hitting by the way.

- A lot of buzz went on about Inge's throw to home in the 11th, and it sounds like he had a nice overall game. I heard Leyland was so impressed that he left him a box of tampons in his locker to show his gratitude.

- You gotta love Detroit sports fans. I thought that nothing would come close to the insanity of the "I'm done being a Pistons fan" type of thread I saw last week on ESPN's Pistons message boards (from March 28 if you give a shit about looking it up....it's kinda funny, actually), but the "here we go again" Tiger threads are slaying me right now. Really, they're a delightful treat to read. I think I'll start practicing my own just for the hell of it: The Indians are already up a game....the bullpen sucked...Polanco will soon be relegated to the minors....Cabrera is only hitting .200 (fuckin loser.......still a fat 400-pound fuck/advocate of terrorism), Jaques Jones needs to be shot....Gary Sheffield won't swing the bat.....Clete Thomas is a stupid name....so on and so on.

I don't peak around on other teams' boards so I don't know if the negativity thing is equally ridiculous in other cities, but it's certainly apparent on Tigers and Pistons boards. I picture these people as being the types who talk loudly on their two-ways while in line at the bank and still listen to Smash Mouth. I'd respond to one of them if I wasn't already of the opinion that eating a bowl of dog shit would be a better use of my time.