July 30, 2008

The Triple Deke's Top 10 Red Wings Games

For the hockey fan portion of me, summer is starting to feel abnormally long. It doesn't seem like it should. "Long" summers are supposed to follow playoff exits to the Avalanche and Chris Pronger's teams, not Stanley Cup championships. So to pass the time, just for the sake of doing something new on this blog, and to commemorate our 100th post, I bring you the Top 10 Wings games that I have seen in life.

Some of the games are out of left field, some are rather cliche. In order to make the list, the games had to fit under a scattered, arbitrary umbrella of senseless criteria that would be too painful to outline. So just read it. (Oh, and I tried to go into as much detail as I could, writing it off and on for about a week, so this post ended up being my longest ever, just to give a heads up. I think it has more words than all four Monster Blood's combined.)


#10 ~ 1997 Western Conference Finals, Game 2: Red Wings 4-2 Avalanche

Of all of the renowned Wings/Avs games that have been played over the years (and you can bet there will be a few on this list) I'm not sure how many people truly remember this one. After crushing the high hopes of the 62-win Red Wings in the Conference Finals the year before, Colorado got off to another good start in this series by winning the first game 2-1 on the legs of a stellar Patrick Roy performance. And early on in Game 2 they appeared ready to take the Wings down the same miserable path to another disappointing playoff finish.

They started the game by jumping out to a very demoralizing 2-0 lead. To make matters worse, Roy was still rocking his invincibility cloak. I specifically remember an instance where the entire right side of the net was left open after a skirmish in front, and what looked like a surefire goal was erased by a ridiculous diving save that made me nearly scream "No fucking way" in front of my mom. So, yes, things looked bad. After seeming to outplay Colorado in the first game only to come away with a loss, they were staring a zero-games-to-two hole right in the mouth. Their stupid arena was loud, and their stupid players were more than confident that they were in the Wings' heads. They were, after all, the favorites to win this series as well as the defending champs.

A fortuitous bounce would turn the game around, however. The Wings got an opportunity to get back in the game in the 2nd period when Mike Ricci took a penalty for excessive cock sucking. On the powerplay, Igor Larionov got credit for a goal that deflected off a defenseman near the goalmouth on an attempted pass. It didn't matter that the goal was lucky or even a cheap one -- all that mattered was that the Wings had some life in a game and a series that was spiraling out of control much too early for them to accept. Now, going into the 2nd intermission, they had something positive to fall back on while being surrounded by the shit storm that was the Colorado Avalanche.

In the 3rd, the Wings were granted another power play and again took advantage, as their hard work finally began to pay off. Sergei Fedorov one-timed a shot by Patrick Roy to put the series on its head. It was a full 180 degree turn in momentum; the Avs were in complete psychological control only a period ago, and now their bid for a 2-0 lead had taken a massive hit. In the history of huge momentum swings, this one is up near the top -- I, and I assume many others were not feeling a single drop of confidence when things were at their bleakest. Now we were a goal away from stealing a game in Colorado and taking home ice away from them.

Later into the 3rd, one of the sickest Red Wing goals in history took place. Steve Yzerman glided into the Colorado zone with a man in front of him around the left faceoff circle. Looking to just put a puck on net, he swooped to the outside and around the defenseman, and then tried to go short side on Roy. It hit his shoulder and bounced behind the net, but Yzerman was still eying a scoring chance. That's when he shat all over the state of Colorado: He banked it in to give the Wings a 3-2 lead. It was un-fucking-real. Roy was on his knees, with his back not quite up against the post, and Stevie saw fit to careen the puck right off of Roy's ass. I can't tell you how many times I tried to recreate this goal in my driveway, it drove my friends insane. Rather than shoot from the front of the net like a normal person, I would continuously take the puck behind the net, wasting minutes on end trying to bait somebody into reasonable banking position. More times than not I would just miss my target completely and hit somebody in the eye or the nuts.

As the 3rd period wound down, the theatrics weren't over with. Nicklas Lidstrom saved planet Earth when Mike Vernon was caught out of the net and he bailed him out by making an impromptu stick save. I saved my shit-stained underwear from this game as a memento.

Darren McCarty capped off a phenomenal turnaround by owning Roy on a breakaway, roofing it glove side to seal the game: 4-2 Wings.



#9 ~ 1998 Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3: Red Wings 3-2 Blues (2 OT)

This game makes the cut for two specific images that will be burned in my brain for as long as I have a memory of such trivial things as hockey games.

The contest got underway when Darren McCarty scored early in the 1st period. You may remember it as that goal where he absolutely destroyed Grant Fuhr afterward in a collision, as he was tripped and stumbled into the goaltender, sending sticks flying into the air and the net back into the boards.

The Blues responded with a bomb from Al Macinnis at the point. It was a blazing shot. Hardly a screen in front of Osgood, too. Macinnis' shots didn't require screens -- they were so frightening that goaltenders welcomed as many bodies that could fit between the shot and the crease.

But this Macinnis goal is not the one that this game is remembered for. The first thing I recall about this game is that old Al had an even bigger bomb with the Wings leading 2-1 with only one minute to play in regulation. Al "Fucking" Macinnis, as he's now referred to, decided that his 100 mph slapshot was so balls-out amazing that he could score from anywhere in the arena. He picked his spot, right on the red line at center ice, and let go a screaming howitzer of a shot. It caught Osgood a bit off-guard and found it's way under his left arm. Tie game, 2-2. I remember vividly how much this goal sucked. It really, truly, seriously sucked. Up to this point in the playoffs, this being the Wings 9th game, they had struggled with the Coyotes before putting them away in six, split the first two games against St. Louis at home, and now this. It was hard to be optimistic when your goalie was letting in soft goal after soft goal. I thought this game was done and that the Blues would only need a few minutes of OT to oust the Wings.

After a long 3rd intermission, the dreaded overtime had arrived. Taunting chants of "OOZZZZZ -- GOOOOOD" rang throughout the arena. I waited for the Blues to just finish off the Wings so I could go pout myself to sleep. The Blues' Craig Conroy, it appeared, was ready to play the role of executioner.

Entering the circle on Osgood's left, Conroy fought off a Wing defenseman and shot it low and wide on goal. It slid past Osgood......it hit the post.......it slid all the way across the goal line....it hit the other post.......and came back out. Unbelievable.

I thought it was in. Conroy thought it was in. The crowd thought it was in. So we had a review of the shot: The second thing I recall about this game is the overhead replay of this memorable "no goal." To this point, after only seeing it live, I assumed the worst, that it had gone in. It sure looked like it did to me. But that overhead angle -- wow. Seeing the puck slide directly across the goal line and not go in was chilling. It was also invigorating; I was in a disheveled heap on the couch and shot back to life when I saw the replay. Maybe that was the only Blues chance, I thought.

In the 2nd overtime, Brendan Shanahan saved the day. Coming down on Grant Fuhr's right, he fired it low and hit his spot. Game over. Sadness over. Blues: in shambles. The Wings would go on to win the series in six games, beating St. Louis in the postseason for the 3rd straight year.



#8 ~ 1997 Western Conference Finals, Game 6: Red Wings 3-1 Avalanche

I already went over this one a couple of weeks ago, and also linked a video of this game there. In that post, I said that this would be one of my top 5 favorite Wings games if I ever made such a list, and that's when I got the idea to compile a Top 10. Turns out that estimation was a little off, as you see it at #8 here. But nonetheless this is still a very memorable game, one that has burned up my VCR over the years with continuous playback.

It's on the list more so for it's importance and significance than it is for how well it was played. By winning this game, the Wings would advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, but perhaps equally important was that they would sever any remaining psychological hold that the Avalanche had on them. Over the course of the series, the Wings had outplayed Colorado and appeared to have the upper hand. But when the Avs resurrected themselves for a 6-0 defeat in Denver in Game 5, the series had a much different feel to it. Now, with a 3 games to 2 lead, the Wings had to either finish off the Avs at the Joe or take their chances with a Game 7 in Colorado. A Game 7, needless to say, would have sucked balls.

So under the circumstances, and backed by an inspiring pregame rally by Scotty Bowman, the Wings played one of the most emotionally charged games I've ever seen them play. You could tell that each and every player would've rather got bent over by Mike Ilitch one by one than go back to Colorado. After a tense, scoreless 1st period in which Patrick Roy made numerous big saves, the Wings broke through in the 2nd when a scorching Marty LaPointe slapshot burned right through Roy and into the net for a 1-0 lead. The goal was as much a relief as anything. I remember watching this game in the living room of our old house, and right as Lapointe scored my dad went by the window, mowing the lawn. Why he was mowing the lawn at like 9 in the evening I don't know. But what I remember was that he (not a hockey fan, mind you) was wearing head phones, listening to the game, and gave a mini fist-pump in celebration. Even to this day he claims to not like hockey, but he still watches Red Wings playoff games for some weird, unknown reason to our family. He's a strange dude.

The game stayed 1-0 until Sergei Fedorov scored a gargantuan goal, with a little help from his two wingers Slava Kozlov and Doug Brown. During this Cup run the line of Kozlov/Fedorov/Brown played a huge roll, particularly in the last two series, and finished the playoffs with a combined 39 points in 20 games. Most of those points came from the two Russians but Doug Brown's forechecking was an invaluable compliment, and his effort was on full display for this goal: Involved in a scramble along the boards, Brown managed to kick the puck to an oncoming Kozlov, who then faked going to the net, swooped behind it, and delivered a perfect centering feed to Fedorov. Sergei was stoned on the initial attempt, but pounded in the rebound for the goal. My favorite part of this whole game was the bench reaction to this goal; they looked as excited as I was the first time I beat Super Mario 3.

After a terrifying Avalanche goal to make things 2-1, Brendan Shanahan effectively ended the series with an empty netter that was about as gratifying as an empty netter has ever felt. The Joe was rocking, like it had literally come to life. Like I have mentioned before, the Red Wings and their fans really, really, really wanted to win this series. The weight of this game's inclusion on the list is mostly held in how big this series-clincher proved to be in the long run of this rivalry. Not only did it propel the Wings to their first Cup in four decades, it also was a huge response to last year's playoff disappointment.



#7 ~ 1998 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Red Wings 5-4 Capitals (OT)

In the simplest sense, Game 2 of the '98 Finals was one marked by ups and downs. The Red Wings were coming off a 2-1 victory in Game 1, a game that played like a typical "feeling-out" contest. This game, however, started out much differently. The Wings had all of the momentum in their favor, jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Steve Yzerman, and were pouring all of the pressure on the underdog Capitals by getting an endless number of scoring chances. But Olaf Kolzig kept Washington in the game long enough for Peter Bondra to tally another "soft" goal against Chris Osgood, which seemed to be the gameplan for every fucking team in '98: "Just wait things out, keep it close, and Osgood will eventually fuck things up." Now the Caps had some confidence.

They took the lead when Used Tampon...I mean Chris Simon scored, and then got a two goal advantage when former Wing Adam Oats perfected a roofing job. What in the hell was this shit? The Capitals? Seriously?

Just when things couldn't get worse, the Wings took a penalty. No fear, though, because Steve Yzerman scored again on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-2. I breathed a half-sigh of relief.

It was only half-sigh because I couldn't even fucking exhale before Washington scored their next goal. 28 seconds later, some shoddy defensive coverage led to a little tic-tac-toe play behind the net, and Joe Juneau scored to make it 4-2. It was back to "what the hell is this shit" mode.
But the Wings wouldn't give up. Marty Lapointe picked up a loose puck in traffic in front of the net and scored to make it 4-3. At this point the game was growing larger and larger in epic-ness, to the point where you knew you were watching something you wouldn't likely forget. Every big moment began to play off the next one, as the game kept trying to outdo itself. And if the game wasn't wild enough: Esa Tikkanen......wow, dude. Wow.

Every Wings fan remembers Tikkanen for his phenomenal gaff in the 3rd period. He skated in alone on Ozzie. He wound up for a slapshot, faked it, and went wide. Ozzie was 10 feet out of the net. Tikkanen had an empty look. And then he fucked it up. It was here where we knew the Wings were going to find a way to pull it out. Doug Brown then came up huge minutes later as he stole the puck in the Caps' zone, went short-side high on Kolzig and blew the roof off JLA. What an individual effort. He could've handed out 10,000 dollars to each fan there and they wouldn't have been half as happy as they were after that goal.

Then we had overtime. Of the 10 games on this list, 6 of them go to OT, (I'm a bit of an overtime whore, so what) but this is the only one where I was close to 100% certain that we would win. Kris Draper didn't let this one go on for too long as he was wide open on top of the crease for a tip-in after a Marty Lapointe centering pass. The Caps might as well have canceled the rest of the series because there was absolutely no way that they were going to come back from this. The Wings won the series in a sweep and hoisted the Cup for the 2nd straight year.



#6 ~ 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5: Red Wings 3-4 Penguins (3 OT)

This is where I take a brief, perhaps odd turn. Most Red Wings fans, even years from now, will choose to treat this game as if it never happened. I can't.

First of all, this isn’t entirely a list of my 10 favorite Red Wings games. The other nine pretty much fall in that order, but overall, this is a list of the 10 most memorable Wings games that I have seen, whether those memories are good, or, in this case, outright horrifying. Secondly, this game was, from a hockey fan’s standpoint, sublime entertainment. Sure I skipped class the next day because I was so downtrodden and mentally pummeled, but let’s not concentrate on that for now.

My convoluted recap of the game is here and the follow-up post to that one is here, so I’ll leave out any sort of game summary in this segment. The first one should not have been done -- I did it literally within two hours of the game ending, which was an impossibly bad idea. But after re-reading all of my blubbering, and ignoring the fact that just looking at it gave me vaginitis, I still stand by the basic points of everything I said. The game was extraordinary, it was bone-crushingly intense, and it reached a dramatic level that only a handful of other Detroit games have in my lifetime.

The only thing I take back is the title: “I Hate Sports.” It wasn’t even a joke when I wrote it. I was mad at an imaginary physical entity that resembled “sports”, and I wanted to punch this figure in the face repeatedly. But in fact, when I detach the Red Wings from my memories of this game and look at it simply as two teams playing for a championship, this game represented everything that I love about sports. It was so unpredictable, at times expertly played, and provided great theatrical entertainment. I'm still scarred by it, as all Red Wings fans will be for as long as they follow this team, but that on its own doesn't describe how I remember the game. The litany of emotions that my friends and I went through while watching it -- the good and the bad -- stretched across a wider spectrum than any game previous to it, and I think for that reason alone I can’t leave it off of my Top 10.



#5 ~ 2002 Western Conference Finals, Game 7: Red Wings 7-0 Avalanche

Now we're to the part where, if you're a Wings fan, you might be able to guess what the remaining games will be. Hey, this wasn't an attempt to be "edgy" or anything.

(But seriously though, I've done my best so far to make this an actual ranking. Like most people, I can't turn away from a list, whether it be sports-related or like the Top 10 Episodes of Perfect Strangers or something. But I fucking hate it when you see Top 10's and other lists like that on TV or the Internet where they clearly didn't put any thought into the actual ranking of whatever they're listing. That's supposed to be the whole point of it, right? They just throw some shit together and end up with a complete mess. So, I tried to not do that, and I tried to literally make it so #9 was better than #10, # 8 was better than #9, and so on. Whether you disagree or whatever, that's fine, but as long as we ever have any sort of list here at TTD (you know what, fuck it -- I want to do that "Perfect Strangers" thing next) you can be assured that it carries the integrity of a meticulously calculated order of the most insignificant shit you have ever read. For some reason I take pride in that. Let's just move on...)

So yeah, the game. This glorious game. The last meaningful Wings/Avs postseason game to date (the Massacre of 2008 doesn't count....series' have to last longer than 2 and half hours to be considered "meaningful"). The previous six games set the stage for what felt like the biggest game I had ever watched. I recall watching this one alone, in my basement, away from all human contact. I didn't want to talk to anybody. As far as I was concerned, as a 16 year-old guy who couldn't so much as look at a girl without wetting myself let alone get a date with one, this was the most important night in the history of our solar system. Yes, I can see how that's a little self-centered. So be it. Waiting for this night was worse than waiting for 100 Christmas mornings put together.

But less than 2 minutes in, all of the tension was relinquished. Tomas Holmstrom tipped in a point shot to open up the scoring. This tip-in was perhaps the finest I have ever seen: the shot appeared to be going wide; Homer was fighting for position in front of Patrick Roy, per usual, and desperately reached for the puck to deflect it, as he was in mid-air, falling down. 1-0 Wings.

Only a couple moments later, Sergei Fedorov scored on a slapper from the left wing. Absolutely delirious. Roy fucked up on the shot (really, really fucked up) and just tried to punch it away with his blocker. It hit the inside of his hand and bounced into the net. 2-0 Wings.

Luc Robataille had the next one. It was a 5-hole wrister from in close -- not Patrick Roy's best start, to say the least. He was clearly, visibly bothered by this wretched beginning. 3-0 Wings, still the 1st period. Was this seriously happening?

Then another Homer goal, still in the 1st period. This was getting ridiculous....I had a permanent smile on my face that lasted from this until Ron Francis scored in OT in game 1 of the Cup Finals a few days later. The funny thing was that Homer wasn't initially credited for either of his goals, so he was one goal away from a hat trick while not officially having scored yet. The Joe was drunk with joy, by the way: 4-0 Wings.

More goals were still on the way. Olausson and Hull this period. Meanwhile, the Dominator was shutting things down on his end, but it wasn't like there was much to do. Unfathomably it was 6-0 going into the 3rd...it felt like one big party. A young Pavel Datsyuk finished off the onslaught with a power play goal near the end. It was fucking 7 to nothing. Never before in a Wings game had I seen something this unexpected happen. Few times in life had I felt happier than I did on this night. The Avalanche still might have had more series wins after this one (3-2), but the Wings had won what is widely considered one of the better conference finals (if not series' in general) of all time. They also finished it in ass-whooping fashion, winning the final two games of the series by a combined score of 9-0.



#4 ~ 2002 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3: Red Wings 3-2 Hurricanes (3 OT)

Our next stop takes place only three games later, right in the heart of hick country. The Wings could only manage a split in Detroit, after Carolina stole Game 1 and the Wings had to use a late goal to secure Game 2. This set up an intensely played Game 3; the hits were hard and frequent as the 'Canes tried to play up to their drunken fans. It worked, for most of regulation.

The Hurricanes struck first on a goal from Josef Vasicek that went under Hasek's right arm. "Ugghh" was my response. The Wings were roughly 100 times more talented than the Canes, but they had a great playoff run as the 8th seed out of the East, and then they had a pretty good Cup Finals too all things considered. Anytime they had a lead they went into New Jersey Devils mode and shut things down. Even with a talented bunch like the 2002 Red Wings, it still wasn't that fun trying to come back on them.

In the 2nd period with the Canes still leading 1-0, Igor Larionov scored on a perfect one timer in front of the goal to tie it up. The centering pass was delivered by Brett Hull, who made a nice individual play to retain the puck in the corner before finding an open Igor. The game remained a tie until the 3rd period when Jeff O'Neill decided to be a dick...he was was on the receiving end of a brilliant lead pass that split the Red Wing defense right at the blue line, carried it in on Hasek and put Carolina up 2-1. This team just wouldn't quit being annoying as fuck.

I couldn't believe the Wings were about to go down 2 games to 1 to these guys. They were minutes away from defeat and the crowd seized their opportunity to be as humanly loud as possible. Scary times indeed. I don't want to say I lost hope entirely, but I was at the least resigned to the fact that a miracle wasn't going to come.

The Wings had a late faceoff with under two minutes to play in the Carolina zone. Steve Yzerman won it back to Sergei Fedorov, who swung it around to Nick Lidstrom, who took a hopeful shot from the point.....and it went in! Holy fuck, it went in the net! Less than 90 seconds left in the game and the Red Wings had magically tied it, as Brett Hull pulled a Tomas Holmstrom and deflected the puck past Arturs Irbe. Wow I was stoked. The Canes weren't too rattled though, as they had amassed 7 overtime victories this playoff season. We were in for a battle that would turn into an epic, triple overtime showdown.

The overtimes are a complete blur to me. I remember watching this game with Brent, and things got a little stir crazy watching a five hour long hockey game with the stakes this high. The longer it went the more insane we felt. And the longer it went, the more devastating it would be for the losing team. There were a couple of "oh, shit" moments in the 2nd OT when the Wings got a power play but couldn't score, and then the obligatory Carolina power play was granted later on, but nothing came of it.

In the 3rd and final overtime, the game was 30 seconds away from becoming the longest in Stanley Cup Finals history when Igor Larionov, aged 41, notched his second goal of the game. My reaction to this can be best described as relief + whatever the verbal equivalent to going "fa;lkdjfopicjv;kafj;aoidjd;kafjd;fijad;fkcioewe" on your keyboard is. Happy doesn't begin to describe how we were after the puck going in. The Wings owned the Canes in Game 4 winning 3-0, then they beat them 3-1 to win the Cup in Game 5.



#3 ~ 1997 Regular Season, March 26: Red Wings 6-5 Avalanche (OT)

It was about as big of a game as a non-playoff game can be. The Avalanche were our newly minted arch nemesis, a branding that was complete after Claude Lemieux saw fit to erase Kris Draper's face the year before in the Conference Finals. They went on to win the Cup, and then they beat the Wings the first three times they played them in 1996-97. God, we hated this team. Roy, Lemieux, Ricci, Foote, Keane, Forsberg, Crawford.....my computer is vomiting out the DVD tray as I type these names. Just to grasp an idea of how huge this game really was, here's a few notes to start off with:

- This is a regular season game with its own Wikipedia entry. That alone should say a lot.

- When you simply search "Red Wings" on Google video, the brawls from this game are the first things you see.

- Most people remember this one for the bloodbath it was. But it was also a really good game, one that featured a 2-goal 3rd period comeback and and overtime winner. It wasn't all about the brawls.

The Avalanche were going for the season sweep against Detroit. After losing the '96 Conference Finals, a regular season 4-game sweep would've been particularly hard to deal with for the Red Wings, and confidence would likely be at a historic low for this group that had been battling throughout the '90s for that elusive Cup.

The 1997 Wings were a different group than the '96 team, not so much in personnel as just a change in direction and mentality. The addition of Brendan Shanahan at the beginning of the year helped make them a tougher team, hopefully to bolster a perceived weakness of how "soft" everyone thought they were. After falling to tougher teams like New Jersey and Colorado, if the Wings couldn't get it done with this mix of skill and strength, then it was going to be hard to believe that they ever would. Sure, this was only a regular season game. But it was a regular season game in name only. The Wings needed this one for their playoff psyche.

The brawling got underway in the 1st period with the Avs leading 1-0. The heavy stuff ensued when Peter Forsberg took on poor little Igor, and all hell began to break loose. Darren McCarty sought revenge for Claude Lemieux's homicide attempt on Draper by pummeling him with punches at center ice (McCarty somehow eluded an ejected, I'll never know how). In the video you may mistake this scene as one in which Mac is continuously punching a turtle. This is not the case -- it is indeed Claude Lemieux. Patrick Roy saw the opportunity to play hero by racing to Lemieux's aid, but Shanahan cut him off and they both collided. Mike Vernon came out, because when one goalie does, the other one HAS to, and the two netminders squared off. Adam Foote got involved but he was ejected when his bulbous nose poked one of the referee's eyes out. This whole thing was surreal. It was like watching WWF, like it had story lines and shit.

There was more fighting in the 2nd, as well as 6 goals between the two teams. The Avalanche were leading 4-2 as time was winding down, but Nick Lidstrom scored to cut the lead to one. Shanahan and McCarty were both given more fighting majors, as was Jamie Pushor, Aaron Ward and Tomas Holmstrom.

But the Wings just couldn't seem to get on top of things. "Peckerhead" Valeri Kamensky actually picked up a hat trick in this game, which didn't help matters. It was 5-3 in the 3rd when Marty Lapointe struck back with a rebound goal, and then seconds after that Brendan Shanahan snuck one in on the left side of Patrick Roy's skate to tie the game at 5. The Wings had evened the score literally and figuratively and were a goal away from winning one hell of a contest.

It went to overtime. It only took 39 seconds for the trio of Igor, Shanny, and McCarty to run a nice little play that finished with Mac one-timing Joe Louis Arena into the stratosphere. This was such an incredible game to watch, and the ending was a perfect fit to cap off everything else. It was also Mike Vernon's 300th win -- a game in which the Avs scored 5 times on 19 shots. The Wings only finished the regular year with 38 wins (good enough for the 3 seed in the West), but this one felt like it counted for 10.



#2 ~ 1997 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Red Wings 2-1 Flyers

For a game that was ultimately decided by just one goal, this one was never in doubt. 42 years had passed since the Red Wings had last won the Stanley Cup, and if you thought they were going to lose with the Cup in Joe Louis arena, you're fucking silly. There was 0% chance they were losing this game. None. Doesn't sound all that suspenseful or dramatic, but that's not what it was about. It was about the culmination of a decade-long journey that had this Wings team searching for respectability and eventually a triumphant reward. The light at the end of the tunnel was blinding as the Wings took on the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 with a 3 games to 0 lead.

This was the most competitive game of the series. In the three others the Wings humiliated and dominated the Flyers. They looked as confident as we had ever seen them. But Philly wasn't going to go down easily.

Brendan Shanahan got everybody out of their seat early when he rang a shot off the crossbar. I think I remember saying "Wow" about 50 times.

Philly picked up their play after being whatever is less than completely shitty in Game 3. They could only hold off the Wings for so long, though, as Nick Lidstrom deployed a missile from the blue line to make it 1-0. Batshitcrazytime.

Steve Yzerman played this game like a possessed person. He's the main reason why we weren't going to lose this game. He played about as well as you can without scoring. There was a sequence in the 2nd period where he took a shot, it slowly bounced toward the outside post after the initial save, and then Tomas Sandstrom picked up the puck at the side of net and swirled a wrap around on goal. jI still remember the collective scream of the crowd as everybody thought it went in: If you watch the video of the game, it's around the 3 minute mark

Only seconds later, after a review to see if that shot went in, Darren McCarty scored arguably the biggest goal in Red Wings history. 11 years later I still don't believe that this was actually Mac. I think his soul was taken over by some other-worldly force and did it for him. The fact that he pulled a move like that in the clinching game of the Stanley Cup Finals is what makes it so absurd.

The Flyers made it interesting by scoring with 14 seconds left, on a goal that saw Eric Lindros enter the arena for the first time in the series. It didn't matter. 14 seconds later the Red Wings finally reached the summit and had the greatest celebration of all time. I would've given anything to be at JLA that night, but settling for watching it on TV with my friends wasn't too bad. We heard fireworks going on in our neighborhood for hours afterward. As you can tell, 1997 was kind of a big deal, what with 4 games from that year making the list. I haven't watched another season that had so many memorable moments, games and players as that one, before or since. What a year, what a team.



#1 ~ 1996 Western Conference Semifinals, Game 7: Red Wings 1-0 Blues (2 OT)

I'd be shitting you if I dubbed any other game as The Triple Deke's #1. This is the game that made me a Red Wings fan for life.

The Red Wings annihilated the competition up until this point, winning a record number of regular season games. They had the Russian Five, an up-and-coming Chris Osgood, Yzerman, Bowman, Ciccarelli and of course, the incomparable Bob Rouse.

But the St. Louis Blues, now with Wayne Gretzky, didn't really give a damn. After falling behind 2-0 in the series, they took Detroit to the limit -- owning a 3 games to 2 lead with a chance to upset the Wings in St. Louis in Game 6. The Wings prevailed and escaped back to JLA for one final showdown that would either end in a huge sigh of relief or a complete fucking riot. They simply could not (NNNOOOOOOTTT) lose this game. They failed in 1994 with a hyped team that lost in the first round to San Jose in 7....then they breezed through everybody en route to the Stanley Cup Finals in '95 only to be embarrassed by the Neutral Zone Devils....then they regrouped and won an astounding 62 games (in a time with no shootout wins). For the team to get the fans hopes up so high yet again and fail in the 2nd round to the fucking Blues would've been beyond disastrous.

The game actually started out a bit choppy. A number of whistles halted play early and took the crowd out of it. But once things got rolling, we were given a goaltender duel for the ages (a particularly fine performance by the usually average Jon Casey). Through 4 periods we saw scoring chance after scoring chance, but no goals to speak of. Casey was robbing people left and right. Ozzie kept us in it with a few timely saves when he was called upon. But Casey, as they say, was standing on his head. It appeared that nothing could be done to beat this man.

By the start of the 2nd overtime, I couldn't take anymore. With my dad sitting in the living room with me I had already plotted this elaborate excuse for why I couldn't go to school the next day if the Wings lost. It was going to involve some wild portrayal of irrevocable psychological damage that had been done to me by Tony Twist and his St. Louis cronies.

Fedorov nearly ended the game with a wide open one-timer on the doorstep. When you're in the 5th period of a game, and you wait through an intermission and seconds later you have a scoring chance like that, you just get tired of having your hopes shot down like that. I was at the point where I didn't believe Jon Casey would ever blink.

****

Vladimir Konstantinov has the puck deep in the Detroit end. He completely duffs a pass to Bob Errey who's standing along the boards in the neutral zone. Gretzky eyes the mistake, and reaches behind to steal the pass. It bounces off his stick. Steve Yzerman pounces on it and gathers some speed through center ice. You can almost read his mind as he says, "I've had it with this" and let's go a picture perfect slapshot as he hits the blue line. Jon Casey never sees it -- this was the only way he could be beat on this night. Not a rebound, not an odd-man-rush, not a power play, not a one-timer. It has to be this shot. And it sizzles over his right shoulder into the net.

****

The celebratory victory pile behind the net was awesome. I think that whenever a celebration is so extreme that the mass of humans crumble into a pile, it always enhances the moment. It certainly does here. Yzerman was tackled after the shot went in and he happily jumped around the corner. I think I sprained my foot jumping off of our couch, for what it's worth.

This game was the definition of tense. It's the game that got me obsessively hooked on hockey; the game that made me an overtime whore; the game that made me want to play hockey every summer afternoon on the street with my friends and shoot 100 slapshots until I could finally pick that top corner like Yzerman did. The impact of this game was so enormous, not just on me but for anybody who idolized Steve Yzerman. It defined his career and made him a legend. Not only that, but if he doesn't score, the Wings don't play Colorado in the round after that, and perhaps that little rivalry never happens. Just something to think about.


________________________________________

The Triple Deke's Top 10 Red Wings Games -- research:

- hockeydb.com
- hockey-reference.com
- USA today hockey archive
- YouTube
- Wikipedia
- my memory, which for some reason only remembers stupid shit like this and not schoolwork

Fil signed for $15 million/5 years

Hockey news. Red Wings news. Pretty good news.

Filppula signs on for 5 more years, and if he reaches some of that potential that everybody claims to see than it will be an even better deal. I rip on Fil slightly, but I still acknowledge that he's a valuable commodity to this club. The Wings are going to have a little bit harder of a time now fitting under the cap, what with only some change left to resign Chelios and McCarty.

The only thing I'm worried about long term is that Zetterberg will be due for a big pay day come next year, as will Franzen, so keeping this whole unit together (i.e: w/ Hossa) for more than one year might be easier said than done. But who cares about that right now, '09 is going to be rather choice.

July 25, 2008

Notice

As a supposed die hard Tigers fan who writes a sports blog, I feel mildly obligated to mention that I have a uterus-load of stuff to do this weekend (work, wedding, moving) so I won't be able to watch any live action of the biggest series of the year. Truly disappointing, yes. Hopefully I'll have a series recap or something up on Monday. But to our infinite, countless, innumerable myriad of bandwidth-bursting readers out there, I apol........ okay this is just stupid.

Back on Monday.

July 23, 2008

Does Rick Mahorn have to choke a bitch?

The greatest thing the WNBA has ever had to offer us.


I'm so happy that this happened. And because it involved a Detroit team I feel obligated to mention it.

Rick Mahorn actually pushed Lisa Leslie to the ground. This shouldn't be hilarious but it is. Incredible. Even greater yet was that somebody punched him from behind afterward.

And, if that wasn't good enough, a Detroit player had to be wheelchaired off the court after she found a way to injure herself while doing practically nothing.

I feel bad for writing this. But I don't really.

July 22, 2008

Tigers crush Royals, Jimmy Gobble to sue manager for negligence

Tigers 19-4 Royals

Good game all around, save for a few bullpen missteps in the late innings. After losing the first six meetings of the year with Kansas City, reality finally took hold and the truth came out: The Tigers are better than the Royals. Even though they're the lowly Royals and we have the team that was suppose to challenge for the World Series, I needed a 15 run blowout to fully convince me. A number of guys had some eye-popping lines in the box score, as you might expect when the team nearly breaks 20. But we know the team can hit. It was Zach Miner pitching a scoreless 6 innings that was perhaps the best thing to come out of that game.
  • Rather than pick out random things to bullet, I'm just going to go right down the batting order since so many players got involved with the offense. It starts with Curtis Granderson: 3 for 5 with a walk and 4 runs scored. 2 of those 3 hits came in the Tigers' 10-run 8th inning off of the lefty Jimmy Gobble. Curtis may not be hitting for the same power against lefties as he is righties (.393 SLG against .502), but he has really come around on just putting the bat on the ball against them (.295 AVG against .297).
  • Polanco went 1 for 5 and stranded 3. He was replaced by Ramon Santiago who had a walk and 2 runs.
  • The 3-4-5 spots in the lineup had a huge night. Guillen went 3 for 4 with 2 walks, 2 RBI and 5 runs scored.
  • Cabrera went 5 for 6 and picked up 6 RBI. He was pretty aggressive, swinging at some first pitches, but he was also impressive in taking the ball to right field, and as he's shown before he can do this with power, which is what makes him dangerous.
  • Matt Joyce had another 4 hit performance. He knocked in 5, scored 3 times and was a double short of the cycle. He's been on fire in July, slugging .800 and carrying an OPS of 1.207. He played for Magglio, who was given the night off. With Joyce and Thames hitting for serious power (nearly 1/3rd of Joyce's hits have been HR), the Tigers have a truly scary outfield with Maggs/Curtis/and the LF platoon.
  • Sheffield went 1 for 5 but made that one hit count: a 3-run homer in the marathon 8th.
  • Thames went 0 for 3 before Ryan Raburn took over for him. Marcus is now 0 for 11 against the Royals this year with 6 strikeouts.
  • Pudge was 1 for 4 and walked twice(!), once with the bases loaded(!???).
  • Edgar Renteria was 0 for 5 with a walk and 2 runs scored. I have run out of words on how to describe how bad he has been, and we've still got at least 2 and a half months of baseball.
  • Zach Miner: 6 IP, 3 hits, no runs. He was really good save for a shaky 3rd inning. Everything else was surprisingly superb.
  • Jimmy Gobble allowed all 10 runs for KC in that monster 8th inning. I almost felt bad for the poor guy.
  • Tonight we have Kenny Rogers going up against Kyle Davies. In 10 innings against KC this year, Kenny has given up 9 runs on 16 hits and walked 4. His career numbers against their lineup isn't too much better as they've slugged .552 off of him, and Mark Grudzielanek is 12 for 20 with 7 of those hits going for extra bases.

July 21, 2008

Links: At the Movies

It's been a fairly light week of sports watching for me, and the lack of posts should resemble that. The Tigers split with the O's, a series that included a gut-punching, 6-run-blown-lead of a loss that I'm glad I didn't write about, and an 8.2 inning gem from Verlander. Things obviously need to pick up for the Tigers, quickly. They are 49-49. The White Sox, at their current pace, are headed for around 92 or 93 wins. Let's pretend that order will be restored somewhat and the Sox fall off that pace just enough to win, say, 88 games. That's entirely likely. That considered, the Tigers would still have to go 40-24 to finish the season, starting tonight. So, if you take any consideration into this make-believe scenario I just invented then the Tigers would have to win at least 40 of their last 64 games when they could only win 49 of their first 98. Well, shit. (And this doesn't even take the Twins into account -- who are EVEN with Chicago in the win column right now -- which pretty much falls into line with how badly I've neglected them this season. Whatever. I don't see how they win more than 85 games, I just don't.) So the Tigers obviously have to play better than .500 ball, but if the White Sox and Twins don't ever regain consciousness and fall back toward the pack then we're looking at a 45-19-ish record that the Tigers will need to win this division. Ouch.

****

Alright, now for the portion where I completely diverge from sports for something far more important: Batman. I don't want to turn this into a Live Journal or anything, but it warrants mentioning that seeing The Dark Knight this weekend (twice -- and it would've been three times if I didn't have to work yesterday) was the pinnacle of my life. The absolute apex. I'm all for opinion, and I like reading and hearing both sides of any argument, issue or news item whether it be a major national crisis or simply your team debating if they should deal a 3rd rounder for a certain running back. But if you didn't like this movie, you are a fucking asshole. It's that basic. It you left the movie theater and you felt unfulfilled, bored, or anything other than extremely satisfied, then you have no soul. I don't know what to tell you. I tend to think of myself as an understanding person; I do my best in life to do things rationally and to not make a big deal out of things that aren't worthy of the effort. But I reserve the right to, just this one time, act like a total dick about this. This movie had everything. It had action, it was funny, it was dramatic, it was suspenseful, it was thrilling, it was brilliantly acted, sharply directly, and pretty much perfect in every facet that you can conjure up. I cannot believe the movie, and in particular Heath Ledger's "Joker" (best character in any movie ever....we as a country need to stop worrying about gay shit like the war and the environment and star figuring out a way to bring Heath back to life) was as hyped as it was and then actually exceeded what I thought it was going to be. That never, ever, fucking happens. I have since vowed to not see a single movie until they come out with the next Batman.

So for the first and probably only movie review that The Triple Deke will publish:


The Dark Knight: 7 out of a possible 4 stars.


Red Wings
  • 1998 Western Conference Finals, Game 6. "The Chris Osgood Game." Listen as announcer Gary Thorne fucks up the intro by yelling, "from the Joe, in St. Louis!" at around the 10 second mark. Even though Thorne always had Freudian flubs like that game after game, I still pine for the old days when hockey was on ESPN. Of course, that was before ESPN transformed into a caricature of itself, allowing such idiocies as this, this, and this to happen. If I could have the 90's ESPN hockey programming to go with our present day hockey action -- with that kickass ESPN hockey theme music -- I would never ask for anything ever again.
  • Speaking of the 90's, here's an interesting thing about how the New Jersey Devils ruined hockey during my childhood. I don't agree with all of Mr. Bernie's points as much as I just find the topic worth discussing (I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the Devils' implementation of a neutral zone trap was "selfish" -- that's a bit absurd), but reading the comments below the piece are worthy enough of a read. Seeing the Devils fans get all riled up is always entertaining. My take on the matter is that, while the trap sucked, and while I may or may not have actually cried as New Jersey bludgeoned the mighty Wings in the '95 Finals, they did what they had to do to win, and they did it better than anybody. While it wasn't as exciting for fringe hockey fans, it didn't make me watch any less hockey than I would've anyway.
  • Kris Draper's baby shat in the fucking Stanley Cup. I will die believing that Draper set this up on purpose so that he would have the "day with the Cup" story to top all such stories. It's a much lesser known story that after the Wings won it in '97, owner Mike Ilitch relinquished an incredible 37 quarts of diarrheal feces into the Cup after he accidentally ate some spoiled crab.

Tigers
  • The Tigers got their ass kicked, in RBI baseball for the NES, as I lost 3 of 3 games to my girlfriend's brother and felt a humiliation that I have never experienced in 22 years of life. I honestly didn't think that I could be beat at that game. I might not ever recover from this. Wait, this isn't a link.

Pistons
  • Tayshaun doesn't think the Pistons should do jack shit. Funny, I'd be saying the same thing if my name was being thrown around as trade bait and I didn't want to go anywhere.

Lions
  • Daunte Culpepper, acting as his own agent these days, reportedly contacted the Lions about signing with them. You know, it's not like I expect them to ever talk with a quarterback that I'm kind of OK with, but even so, waking up and seeing Daunte Culpepper linked with the Lions makes me feel uneasy. Rattled, even. Although at this point, with Drew Stanton and Dan Orlovsky as our backups, how terrible of a move could that really be? I would slightly favor Chris Simms, however, as the Bucs need to move him and he'd be an inexpensive pickup.

July 16, 2008

Dallas Drake retires

No surprise here.

A casual look sees his 3 goal, 6 point output and falls asleep. But anyone who watched him work this year knows how valuable he was to the club. When his minutes went up, good things happened.



Word.



Now he can devote all of his time to beating the shit out his children when they don't eat their vegetables.

July 14, 2008

Links: with a Brett Favre tangent

Perhaps you've heard of this Brett Favre fellow. He used to play quarterback up in Wisconsin. Played for like 15 years, then had a tearful goodbye after a crushing loss in the NFC title game -- surprising most people -- as many thought there was no way he would let that be his last game.

Those people in Wisconsin really liked watching Brett Favre play, but not half as much as the national media. The media enjoyed nothing more than seeing how much he loved the game, how much fun he had, how much he behaved like a 12 year-old boy. They raved about every step that he took. If Favre ever so much as picked his nose it would receive an endless amount of countrywide praise. Up until he retired, Favre was basically their only reason to live. He was, you might say, kind of a big deal.

Then reports started swirling about a comeback. And let me tell you: I can't stand this shit anymore. I'm serious, I can't fucking take it. Enough is enough. I'm losing my fucking mind. Usually when people complain about what's on TV, I just think, "why don't they just not watch it?" But this situation, for whatever reason, has developed into something far more complex. It's not just television -- it's everywhere. Favre's rumored comeback has garnered national attention, from outlets that aren't even sports oriented. It's leaked into every facet of our lives, every crevice of our society, every vacant hole in our universe has been filled by the latest Brett Favre fodder. This is fucking insane, people. Stop it. Stop debating whether he's coming back or not, whether he should come back or not, what the Packers should do, what they will do, what they won't do, whether he'll be the backup, whether he'll be the place kicker, whether he likes crunchy or creamy peanut butter, or whether he likes anal. It's all ludicrous. I turned on ESPN radio last nigh in my car, and I swear to you the first two words I heard were "Brett Favre". I didn't even let the woman finish here sentence before turning it right back off (yes, a woman was doing a sports radio show; we let them vote and all of a sudden they think they can do anything). I tried the radio again today, seeing as how the late afternoon is local sports radio here, and the first thing I heard was some caller talking about why Brett Favre should stay retired. How about this: WHO THE FUCK CARES, ASSHOLE????? I want him to stay retired just as bad as the next Lions fan, but for fuck's sake, why do people feel like they have to have an opinion on whether somebody should retire or not? It's his career! Let him do whatever the hell he wants! Yeah it's absurd how he's had one foot in/one foot out for like 3 years now, and that's kinda shitty for the Packers, but this does NOT have to be on the news or Sportscenter or PTI or any of that crap for 24 hours a day. This is absolute madness.

And somehow, Stephen A. Smith is the only person whom I've heard say something this rational about the whole Favre saga. Stephen A. Smith. I can't believe he's the voice of reason. That in itself should be some sort of signal that the End Days are upon us.

Okay, I'm done being annoyed now.


Red Wings
  • We're getting to that point where the relevant hockey talk will become more and more sparse, so I'm going to start linking random clips of old games (Brent had his own addition yesterday with Game 6 of the Finals). It's a good thing I don't have ESPN Classic because if I did I would die alone and my entire family would hate me as I would only watch this shit and never leave the house. For today, we have Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals. If I had a list of such things, this would be a top 5-favorite Wings game for me. It's a condensed version (sliced down to about 10 minutes), but all the good parts are included: Marty Lapointe's slapshot goal that literally went through Patrick Roy's glove, and Shanahan's empty netter that put the stamp on the series and capped off a sweet six games of revenge for the previous year. I remember this win feeling so huge that it seemed like we had won a separate championship of parallel importance to the Stanley Cup, not just the Campbell Bowl. That's how bad we wanted to beat Colorado in '97.

Tigers
  • You may have heard that Tiger Stadium is being torn down. But don't fear, they're keeping the important shit up: The foul poles. You know, I'm pretty bummed about this. I wish there was some way that the stadium could go back in time to its peak condition, do some self-renovating every couple of years, and all at no cost. Maybe I'm just too drunk on nostalgia but am I the only one who thinks that there should have been at least some upkeep on it over the past decade? Even if it's not being used, couldn't it have been just for the hell of it? And why can't they tear down some of those OTHER abandoned buildings? Tiger Stadium gets offed but countless whore houses are left standing?
  • I'm sure everybody has a favorite memory of Tiger Stadium. Most would probably include something like Cecil Fielder putting one on the left field roof or watching the '84 World Series team. Mine, however, was in 1997 when I went to a game in which the Tigers were playing the Blue Jays. I was with my dad, my sister, and my dad's friend + family. We were in the upper deck in right field (where absolutely nobody else was sitting....I was convinced that any foul ball that came with 50 feet of our seats was going to be mine, and it never happened. I'm still mad about this) in the first row, right above the Blue Jays bullpen. One of the kids of my dad's friend was a fucking weirdo, and was doing strange stuff the entire game like running up and down the stairs every time there was a hit, standing on his seat, screaming, and other stupid kid things. Apparently afraid that the game would end without getting his dad arrested, the kid then took a running plunge into the guard rail and launched a massive loogie in the direction of the Jays 'pen. It didn't hit any players, but a couple of them still noticed it and gave an inquisitive glare upward in our direction, which sent us kids ducking for cover and laughing hysterically. About 20 minutes later, an usher came to our seats to talk to our dads and asked "you guys throwing stuff up here?" To which my dad's friend, completely oblivious to what had been going on for the previous 8 innings, said, "Nope, must've been somebody else." The usher then took a slow, 360-degree gaze around us, and observed that at this point in the game there wasn't a single person sitting in our section. But instead of telling us to leave the stadium, he kind of just gave a little "Hmmpph", shook his head, and walked away without saying anything
  • Todd Jones won't be allowed to mess with shit as often as he's been used to.
  • Here's a more in-depth, statistical explanation as to why the Twins have to stop winning one of these days (better than my ramblings, anyway). It would have been nice if they would've done that before taking 3 of 4 from the Tigers this weekend.

Pistons

Lions
  • A look at the overhaul of the Lions secondary. Last season the pass defense was 31st in yards allowed, 31st in opponent's QB rating, and dead dead last in completion percentage against. If the overhaul doesn't include a gigantic protective netting behind the safeties then nothing is changing this year.

July 13, 2008

Guys.... Do you miss Hockey?

Since we've been going through NHL withdrawals and since Todd Jones is an all around dilldo. I've taken the time to dig up a very special hockey game for everyone to watch. Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. You know, the one were we bent the Pens over for the last time this season. Enjoy! (The best part is there's only limited commercial interruption.)

July 10, 2008

I hate when games suck

Tigers 6-7 Twins

Well, that was a crushing loss. I wish I had time to delve into it, but starting at the end of this post I probably won't be able to update on anything until Sunday night at the soonest. Or that could be a lie, who knows.

Quick reactions, while I'm still angry:
  • Fuck Todd Jones.
  • Fuck Justin Morneau and Denard Span.
  • Good job Bobby Seay. Is that like the 7th time you've faced one batter and walked him on 4 pitches?
  • I hated Leyland's decision to have Matt Joyce bunt with 2 on and no out in the 9th. Joyce couldn't get it down and after 2 strikes he was doomed. Joyce then told Leyland to eat shit by hitting double in the 11th before being stranded by a Clete Thomas, who was too busy loitering to do anything.
  • This Twins team is incredibly annoying.
  • Curtis striking out with the bases loaded while we were up 6-2 turned out to be huge.
  • Fuck Todd Jones.

Cabrera with another one

Tiger 8-6 Indians

So I missed a comeback. The Tigers swept the Tribe to move to 2 games over .500 and extend the Indians' losing streak to 10. Wow....I would hate to be a Cleveland fan right now. Not trying to sound like a dick -- I almost (but only almost, not completely) feel sorry for you people.

The Twins helped out by losing to Boston again. They're now 3.5 games back of first place. But the fucking White Sox....come on, man. They've won 11 of 13, they still have another game in Kansas City and then they're off to Texas before the All Star break. When play resumes, they get home series' against the Royals and Rangers again before coming to Detroit. Since the Royals cannot be counted on to make it through the night without wetting themselves, let alone take a game from the Sox, it's up to the Rangers to wear out the Chicago arms during their set in Arlington.

The next 11 games are going to be huuuge for the Tigers. They have 4-game series' against the Twins and Orioles, and then they get their chance to pound on KC. I think they have to take 3 of 4 against Minnesota, and then win a bare minimum of 4 out of 7 between their Baltimore/Kansas City road trip. After that they have a chance to make up some ground on Chicago when they face them at the end of the month and then the first week of August as well. Shit's gettin' real.
  • He's coming around now, we can say it without worry: 10 for his last 23 with 4 home runs. Last night was the second time he's hit a walk off home run, and he also had a walk off double not too long ago also. Miguel has done better against the Indians than any other opponent this year, hitting .448 with 3 homers and 11 RBI, and slugging .828.
  • Carlos had a big bases loaded double with the Tigers down 6-1 in the 7th. He also made an important play in the top of the 9th when he scooped up a hard grounder and nabbed Casey Blake at home.
  • Rafael Betancourt was responsible for blowing the big lead for Cleveland in the 7th. What has happened to this guy? He completely owned the Tigers, giving up 0 runs in 10 appearances last year, and now he has collapsed. Not just against Detroit, either. It's hard to duplicate the phenomenal year he had in '07, but his '08 has been awful: 66 ERA+, 1.53 WHIP, and an .861 OPS-against. He had 9 walks all of last year, but 13 in half as many innings, so the control doesn't appear to be at the level it once was.
  • Perhaps Eddie Bonine's time is up for now: 3.2 IP, 9 hits, 5 runs.
  • Luckily he had some relief: Casey Fossum went 3.1 innings and struck out 6 while giving up just a run.
  • Then Zumaya came on for an inning, gave up a walk and a hit, but struck out one and allowed zero runs across.
  • Edgar Renteria went 1 for 4, and then sabotaged a little girl's birthday out in section 148 by biting the head off of a live bunny and spitting it back in her face. When will this man cease his rampage of terror on us Tiger fans, I ask? (OK, so he had an RBI single...wake me when he does something honorable like finding a way to trade himself for Jair Jurrjens.)
  • Matt Joyce went 3 for 4 and had the game-tying homer in the 7th. Don't be fooled by that .247 average -- he's hitting for enough power (11 of his 19 hits are for extra bases) to total an .872 OPS. Among Detroit's seemingly endless crop of young white outfielders that my mom probably couldn't tell apart to save her children's lives, he's been the best so far.
  • Tonight's match-up vs. Minnesota: Kenny Rogers vs. Kevin Slowey. In Slowey's last start against the Tigers he got the win by going 6.0 innings, allowing only 4 hits and didn't give up a run. Nobody on the Tigers has more than 6 plate appearances against the 24 year-old, so hopefully this second time around they'll now how to properly wreck his shit.

July 9, 2008

Me reading a box score: boring to all

Tigers 9-2 Indians

Over the next few games I won't see any live game action due to my job. But it's summer and I can't just keep interjecting Marian Hossa's name into every post, so me going over the game stats will have to suffice for the time being.

(First, though, I wanted to pimp the Red Wings championship DVD. I bought it yesterday after stumbling into some blind luck when I found a 100$ Best Buy gift card in my room, unspent. I will say that, while it trumps the other 3 championship DVDs in sheer awesomeness, they could've recorded Mike Babcock taking a dump next to the Stanley Cup for 12 minutes and I'd still thoroughly enjoy it. And I thought I should mention that me and my friends cheered whenever Hossa scored during the Finals, even when he brought the Pens to within a goal as Game 6 was nearing its end. Yeah, we're lame.)

  • Miguel had a big night. 4 for 4 with two homers, which made jogging around the base paths a lot easier with that sore hip he's got. We've been saying it for a while now, but maybe he's finally sta.....okay I'm just going to stop.
  • Marcus Thames: 2 for 3 with another home run, a double, and 3 RBI's.
  • Justin Verlander started in a 2 run hole as he gave up a first inning bomb, but then he shut the Indians down from there. 7.0 IP, only 2 hits -- none after the first inning -- only one walk and 7 K's. I hate when I miss watching him pitch (like I did with a certain no-hitter last year.)
  • Carlos missed the game due to the birth of his daughter, but should be back for Wednesday's game. He fucking better be.....
  • Aquilino Lopez shut it down from there, going 2.0 innings and striking out 3 while not allowing a hit.
  • Pudge notched his 4th homer of the season ... the long ball was prominent last night, I take it.
  • Renteria was 1 for 4, and then struck an elderly women in the stands when she accused him of ruining her remaining years.
  • Tonight's match-up: Bonine vs. Paul Byrd. Byrd's only start against the Tigers this year resulted in a 7.0 inning/4 hits/2 run performance. Guillen is OPS-ing 1.307 in his career against Byrd, so watch out for that.

July 8, 2008

Looking for Reasons

The MLB season is just past the halfway point. The AL Central, which was supposed to be a Tigers/Indians duel to the death, has been nonexistent thus far and certainly won't take place now that Cleveland has given up on 2008. Although it could be worse considering the awful start, Detroit sits at a disappointing 44-44; a full 7 games behind the surprising division-leading White Sox.

With the Tigers having the day off before facing the Tribe tomorrow, I've taken the time to convince myself why the Twins and the Sox won't be able to keep up with the stellar pace that they've set.


White Sox

I didn't think the White Sox were going to be any good this year. They're 51-37 and hold the division lead at the moment, which is kind of the opposite. And they've done it while Paul Konerko has struggled and been hurt, while Jim Thome is on pace to have his worst full season since his early 20's, and while Ozzie Guillen indirectly begs somebody to assassinate him by continuing to act like a giant cock. But they've got this far with a whole lot of pitching -- the starting rotation has ranged from at least average to excellent, and the bullpen has been rock solid: Linebrink, Logan, Thornton and Jenks have all done very well, and they've done it by doing something that a lot of Tigers pitchers have had a hard time doing -- not walking people.

But I'm hoping that, for the second half of the season, at least some of that pitching will start to fade. Let's start with John Danks; Danks has pitched very, very well for the Sox. His record is a modest 6-4, but he's been burned a few times with poor run support (which shows you why W-L is like the 18th most important pitcher stat). After getting shelled in his first loss, his next three losing decisions came while only allowing two runs in each of those starts. His strikeout/walk ratio is nearly 3 to 1, WHIP is 1.168, and his ERA+ is soring at 170. But then there's this: He's 23 years old. This is only his 2nd big league season, and his innings are going to creep up to totals he has yet to reach in his career. Sustaining the success he had during the first half of the season won't be impossible, but don't be surprised if he starts to fall off.

Gavin Floyd's stats look remarkable this year compared to what he's previously done. He hasn't been a steady part of an ML rotational until now, and he's jumped on the opportunity: 1.119 WHIP over a span of 109 innings, accumulating 10 wins and a 3.22 ERA. Like with Danks, though, I'm hoping that he'll slip back to some of his earlier numbers (career 1.443 WHIP and 5.13 ERA). He's still doing well (just came off a 7.1 IP/no runs/3 hits outing) but before that his hits and run totals were slightly increasing, and he's given up a few more line drives than he was before, with fewer ground outs. Hopefully this is a signal that the league is just barely starting to get to him and he'll start to regress enough to slow this stupid team down.

As far as their offense goes, I expect more of the same. As a team they've hit 120 homers, which is 12 more than the next closest team. Carlos Quentin has been a big surprise, but we'll see if he's had a major breakthrough or if he'll turn back into the guy who let down Arizona. Jermaine Dye is having a good year, and I don't expect both Thome and Konerko to finish how they've started. So if they're going to falter, it needs to be the pitching first.

Twins

Minnesota will not die. Every year we think that they're finally going to go back to the contraction-talk-era Twins and they never do. They trot out a bunch of guys you've never heard of before the season and somehow they manage a 50-38 record through 88 games and they're right on the heels of the first place Sox. I mentioned like a week ago that the Twins don't scare me. Well, they should. Things that should be dead but aren't are scary. They give away Johan Santana and lose Torii Hunter and nothing has changed. How is this so?

To be honest, I have no fucking clue. I look at their team and I see a whole bunch of average. An average staff is headlined by the "ace", veteran Livan Hernandez, who somehow has nearly 10 wins before the allstar break with a 76 ERA+ and WHIP hovering around 1.600. Nobody has been dominant, but guys like Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey all have ERAs under 4.00 and have helped the Twins to another one of their trademark runs (they've won 16 of 18).

So I looked into it. According to Aaron Gleeman, the Twins have been wicked clutch. They've tallied a significant advantage in OPS with runners in scoring position while having rather mediocre numbers in every other scenario. I try to look at this as a positive for the Tigers, as it will be hard for the Twins to keep up that kind of pace.

Gleeman points out that, while the Twins RISP numbers are likely to regress, the rest of those "other scenarios" I referred to could possibly pick up. But the Twins will be relying on that while fielding a handful of young, unproven players while they try to hunt down first place.

As for the Tigers, we all know the story: there has been a disturbing amount of underachievement. Cabrera has yet to fully come around. He, along with Polanco, Maggs, Sheff, Curtis, Inge, Zumaya, and Rodney have all had to battle injuries. That doesn't even include Bonderman, who's done for the year. Renteria has been awful, to the point that my computer does a red underline for his name and suggests "Fuckface" as a correction. The offense that was suppose to chase 1,000 runs isn't even on pace for 800. So, is this shit really going to last? We've recently seen a spurt, a resurgence of sorts, that has looked fairly promising. If we can get everybody healthy, then I like our odds of improving ... I just don't want to let myself believe that these inconsistencies will last until the end of September. I can't see it happening. Once we get Maggs back, once Rodney finds his groove, once Renteria dies, then we can get this train going again.

I think that's enough bullshitting for one night. Go Tigers.

July 6, 2008

Mariners secret weapon backfires

Tigers 2-1 Mariners (15 innings)


Wow, what a painfully long game. I know that a win is a win, but the offense is starting to revert back to its April/May form, and a number of hitters are slipping mightily. That said, the pitching today was excellent, led by a 9 inning gem from Nate Robertson, a solid showing from Zumaya and capped off by a Jones save. The Tigers escape Seattle with a split as they come back home to face the Sabathia-less Tribe.

Although we're trained to fear the worst during games like this, the Tigers set themselves up to win deep in extra innings by working pitch counts and making Seattle burn through pitchers, whereas their hitters were doing the opposite, letting Nate off easy by often swinging at the first pitch. Tiger hitters drew 9 walks while the Mariners had 5 (2 intentional), and in the 15th inning the M's resorted to throwing their backup catcher Jamie Burke out on the mound. Arthur Rhodes apparently had a tired arm and was unavailable to pitch, so it was Burke tossing BP fastballs and coming away with the loss.

  • Robertson's line: 9 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB (both intentional), and a big strikeout of Raul Ibanez. He was only hit hard once on the day as he allowed an RBI double for the M's only score.
  • Zumaya's: 2 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 2 BB and 3 K's. It's the most impressive outing from him that I've seen since he's been back.
  • Between both teams, in a 15 game, only one player had multiple hits: Pudge Rodriguez with 4 (all singles).
  • Ryan Raburn had a mammoth home run in the 5th that tied the game at 1. It came on a full count, and in the split second before he started to uncork his swing, I cringed as it looked like Ball 4, easily. Then it went really far and I forgave him instantly.
  • Edgar Renteria: 0 for 7 with 2 K's and 5 left on base. You could say he's in a bit of a slump. It was either his last at-bat or the one before it where he swung and missed at a pitch that was literally about a foot and a half outside. He would've need two bats to reach it. And he's frustrated. Shit, we're all frustrated. But I'd feel at least .01% better about how big of a bust he's been if they would just stop playing his "Who's Your Tiger" commercial. He's nobody's fucking Tiger. Edgar's parents don't even root for him anymore (I hear they're big Bobby Seay fans).

Links: Remember that time we got Hossa?

I'm already tired of "Links" being the title to link dump posts. If any person who secretly reads this site -- or just a random Stumbling stranger -- comes up with a better name, they get a free car. I really have no means of making that happen, but dammit, I'll sure try sort of. For now, "Links" will have to do.

I want a catchy title though. Not like "Link Time", or "Linkamania" or something fruity like that. It needs to make people say "I'm gonna stop and read this even if somebody sets me on fire right now." You know how Don Cherry has "Coach's Corner" and how Chris Berman has "The Two Minute Drill"? Well, I want that.

"Wait -- you want to be an old, crusty television fucktard who either laments about the same Neanderthal nonsense every day or vomits recycled jokes that are so tired and unfunny that you contemplate suicide whenever you yell absurdities like "Jon Kitna Kaboodle?"

Uh, sure.

In other news, I went to the Detroit Zoo today. Animals and shit. It was a great time that was made doubly greater when we finished out the day at the penguin exhibit, and this greeted us at the entrance:







I don't really give a damn that "Winginarium" is an indefensibly awkward pun that made me nauseous just trying to pronounce it -- I'm just glad that the people running the penguin house had a good enough sense of humor to think of this. I think that when they eventually take down the banner it should be permanently replaced by a 24 foot-high concrete bust of Marian Hossa's head.


Red Wings
  • Keeping track of our divisional foes: The Blackhawks are getting serious with this "trying to not suck" thing. On the flip side, they're shelling out a large sum of money and are now over the cap, and need to make a move to make up for it. Not very Hollandesque, if I might so smugly point out.
  • Filppula headed for arbitration. This can be looked at as good or bad -- Good that no other teams can send an offer sheet his way now, but bad if arbitration values him in the $3.5 mil range (in which case, the Wings would have to part with another player to fit under the cap ..... wait a minute, wait ..... that player could be Lilja. Oh my Jesus. Let this happen.)
  • Hossa happier in Motown than in Pittsburgh, where allegedly he was forced to trim his pubic hairs and paste them to Sydney Crosby's face for the playoffs.

Tigers
  • Bless You Boys with extending thoughts on Zach Miner. Best line: "Remember when the Tigers traded Denny Bautista because they'd designated him for assignment and he was out of minor league options? And they could've sent down Miner instead? Okay, just checking."

Pistons
  • James Jones a good fit for the Pistons. Also emphasized in the article is that Joe Dumars is not looking to beef up the roster via free agent signings, but trades. They are, however, still looking to resign Theo Ratliff and Lindsey Hunter, the latter of which would be expected to play less than he did last season. Including playoffs, Lindsey only played in 35 games ... what's the point in bringing back a 37 year-old point guard when his previous playing time of 35 games is going to be cut?

Lions
  • Lions camp preview. 3rd round pick RB Kevin Smith is drawing some (good) attention already. After reading this I feel decent about the offense ... the line is always a question mark but, like the piece alludes to, hopefully with Martz gone things will run more smoothly. And maybe they can stay on the field longer now that "running the ball" won't be the 4th option behind "pass long", "pass short," and "pass to Darren Sharper".
  • Ernie Sims to have a breakout year? Perhaps, if he doesn't collapse first: "The Lions' 32nd-ranked defense was on the field for 1,087 plays last season - almost two full games more than an above-average defense." I can see how that would wear somebody out.
  • Shaun Rogers is liking Cleveland. "I'm happy to be where I'm wanted," he says. We wanted you too, douche bag. We just wanted you to be in better shape than this guy. I'm surprised that you weren't demanding to have an oxygen mask installed in your helmet.

July 4, 2008

Tigers get back to winning against M's

An abbreviated and hapless recap as I had to work during most of this one. Very tired. Basically sleep-typing this.


Tigers 8-4 Mariners

I got home just in time to see Todd Jones fail to finish out a game in which he came in with the comfort of a 6-run cushion. He gave up two runs before he could complete the pedestrian task of getting three outs, then Rodney came in and on one pitch ended it. The final out was aided by a nice running snag by Clete Thomas. Other thoughts as I peruse the box score...
  • Matt Joyce batted 5th and had himself a 4 hit night, including 2 doubles.
  • Michael Holliman went 2 for 5 with his first career homerun.
  • Miguel Cabrera returned to the lineup and went 1 for 5.
  • Verlander improved to 5-9 on the year, although just from looking at his line it doesn't appear it was his best performance: 11 hits + walks in 6.0 IP, but only 2 runs allowed.
  • Zumaya Watch: 1.0 IP, 2 hits and strikeout.
  • Carlos Silva didn't appear to fair well for the Mariners: 9 hits and 5 runs in 5.0 IP. At Comerica earlier this year, he went 4 innings and gave up 7 runs on 9 hits.
  • Rodney's one pitch outing netted him his first save of the season.
  • Tigers gain a game on the Sox, 6 GB.
  • On the hill tomorrow: Kenny Rogers vs. Erik Bedard. We haven't seen a whole lot of Bedard, like ever -- he's only had 3 career starts against the Tigers and none of our guys has more than 10 AB's against him.
  • Blah.

July 3, 2008

See.... Some people know what's up!

Here's a quote from Hossa today that I just needed to share with everyone.

"Pittsburgh, I had a really great time and it's a great organization. It was a really tough decision to make ... but when I compare those two teams at the end of the day I felt like I would have a better chance to win the Cup with Detroit," -Hossa (via nationalpost.com)

See, Hossa know's what's good. The Penguins are fun and all, but at the end of the day it comes down to who get's to hoist the cup.


By the way, I finally finished up the renovations of The Triple Deke. I think it looks swell. Tyler better be damn happy after this but if he doesn't like it, he can suck it. Last time I ever work for that douche!

July 2, 2008

The Links: Wednesday Night "Marian Hossa" Special Edition

OK, I'm over Mats Sundin now. No way in hell did I think we would get Hossa. So much so that I didn't even entertain the though of dreaming about the guy becoming a Wing. I know he said he wanted to play with a contender, but I assumed that it was just Player Speak for "if we win at least 40 games and I still make 8 to 9 million, everyone else can fuck off." Little did I know that I'd hop on the computer around 1 o'clock today to see the very break-y-est of breaking news, as the first reports came out about the 1 year/$7.4 million signing. So, since it's not everyday that you're favorite team signs the biggest free agent of the off season (suck it, Jagr), here's a special Marian Hossa extravaganza of links. Enjoy, Earth.

  • Hossa a "perfect fit" for the Red Wings system. Yeah, no shit. If Babcock decides to completely load up with Dats/Hank/Hossa (Wow that feels awesome typing that), it's the best line in hockey, hands down, which is funny because D/Z/Homer was the best line in hockey anyway. If he puts Hossa on the the right of Franzen and a hopefully-resigned-Filppula -- which, as of now, I assume would be the set up he goes with -- Fil becomes like twice as good as he is now because he won't be dishing off to a guy (Samuelsson) who confuses the goal for row 8 of section 219. And holy God, what a power play we have now. I want the season to start tomorrow. At 4:30 AM.
  • How the deal went down, how his signing effects (affects? ... too lazy to look it up) the roster, and some glowing remarks about his character -- all from Bruce MacLeod's corner. Excellent reading from MacLeod, as usual. I'm sure he revels in such praise from a guy who he doesn't even know exists. Bruce, if you ever get toasted and search for a picture of Walter Hermann t-bagging a basketball rim and come across this site, I just want to say I enjoy your work. Sure, I could just comment your blog and tell you that directly, but then that would make the last 30 seconds of my life 100% pointless as opposed to the 99.4% it would've been anyway.
  • How they're taking it in Pittsburgh. By the way, The Pensblog is a must-read for me everyday now. Tons of posts, tons of wittily assembled Photoshopped pictures, and funny-as-hell writing to boot. This isn't a groundbreaking find or anything since they have a billion readers already, but still I'm glad I came across them during the Finals. And, like with MacLeod, I'm sure a raving review like that from somebody teetering on the edge of complete anonymity like myself is quite the compliment. You're welcome, guys.
  • The obligatory Marian Hossa Wikipedia page. My favorite part: "In 2000, while playing for the Senators, Hossa accidentally clipped Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bryan Berard in the eye and almost ended Berard's career." We've got a cold blooded killer on our hands, people.
  • Ken Holland talking about the signing. At the end of the video, Holland, apparently proud of his work, shockingly turns from a good-natured Everyman into a ranting, arrogant lunatic as he tells all the other NHL teams to kiss his nuts. Or he doesn't.
  • And finally, a Hossa highlight real, accompanied by an annoying song to wrap things up.

Hell Yes, part II

Part I was supposed to be yesterday when the Wings resigned Brad Stuart to a 4-year deal. I failed to post anything. Sorry. Regardless, I was excited.

But not half as excited as when I got word that we signed this fucker. Holy shit. We just won the Cup again. Yeah that's a ridiculous statement, so what. I love Ken Holland.

July 1, 2008

The Tigers game was interesting, but first:

*****
This post would've been up two hours earlier, but when I woke up this morning, D3: The Mighty Ducks was on TBS and I got a little distracted. For some reason I feel mildly obligated to mention the Ducks movies once in a while in order to pay homage to Coach Bombay as he watches over our blog. The man is my cinematic hero. The unquestioned master of the feared and much-ballyhooed stick handling maneuver, the infamous Triple Deke. Numerous times playing hockey during my youth I put this move on display in an effort to all at once bewilder my opponents into submission and leave them in a state of awe. Never did the end result resemble the scene I just described, however ... instead they chose to simply swipe the puck from my possession 100 times out of 100, turn their head to me as they darted up ice on an odd-man rush and yell, "You realize that's not even an actual 'move', right? You're just slowly moving the puck back and forth the same number of times -- every time. It couldn't be easier to defend..." To this, I declared shenanigans and forged onward in my quest to, one day, replicate Coach Bombay's wondrous stick work and make him proud.

I still find it funny how much more you like movies -- cheesy sports movies in particular -- when you enjoyed them as a kid, but if you saw the same movie for the first time as an adult, you would probably be either bored to tears or just think it's the stupidest thing you've ever seen. For instance, despite loving baseball, liking movies, and growing up in the 90's, I have never seen The Sandlot. Not once. I also have no desire to see it, and if I did, it would probably be a fairly boring hour and a half. On the the other hand, aside from viewing the Mighty Ducks franchise an absurd number of times, I also watched such 90's kiddie classics as Rookie of the Year and Little Giants enough times to melt my VCR. I wonder if 10 years from now I'll be kicking my kids out of the living room so I can catch the last 20 minutes of Angles in the Outfield, scarring them for life when I violently scream "KESEY'S UP WITH THE BASES LOADED AND YOU WANNA WATCH FUCKING DORA?!?!?!" as they beg me mercifully to put my belt back on.

*****

Tigers 5-4 Twins



The Tigers are now 42-40, and remain 5 back of the White Sox after Chicago beat the Indians last night. They are now two games over .500 for the first time this season and have won six in a row.

First thing's first: I can't believe we won that game. I hate playing in Minnesota. Weird shit happens. Weird shit that seems more amplified playing in that stupid, stupid dome. Even Thames' homer looks ridiculous in that place -- it hits the elevated seats that nobody can sit in and ricochets behind a gigantic trash bag, never to be seen again until a homeless man discovers it three weeks later at a Minneapolis landfill.

Really though, to commit three bonehead errors and a handful of other strange, mind-lapsing goofs that weren't scored as such and still come out of there with the win was bizarre. No way should that have happened. Could this be a sign? Could it be that the 40-ton weight of negative karma that crippled this team (along with poor pitching and spotty hitting and blah blah blah) has finally fully reversed itself and now we're on track to take the division? I was on record about a month ago as saying "I've given up on the season" ... not meaning that I was to stop watching games -- I'm not a tool like that (e.g., my dad) -- but that I was through with watching with the high expectations that were turning me into an anxious, nervous mess during the first two months of the season. "Are they ever going to start winning?" I'd ask to myself, as did plenty of other fans alike. Alleviating myself of those expectations has made the last month of baseball watching more enjoyable for the fact that I'm not crying myself to sleep at night after a loss. Luckily, though, those losses are becoming fewer and farther in between and the Tigers seem to be on the right track.

Again, this game was, for lack of a thesaurus or a fully functioning brain right now, weird as hell. It started on the very first pitch of the game when Renteria swung at the first thing he saw and a brilliant sliding catch was made near the right field foul line to get things rolling. Other notes...
  • Miguel Cabrera: He left the game with an apparent hip flexor. Miguel, this is really really bad timing for that. Shame, shame. Before he was pulled, he made a terrible looking effort to stretch for a ball thrown by Polanco (to which they credited Polanco with the error) and made a 6 year-old tee ball error when he dropped a run-of-the-mill catch from Guillen, this coming after Carlos made a nice snag at 3rd. I thought he was just being lazy and didn't have his head in the game, and I thought that's what the prognosis was when Leyland was getting animated with him in the dugout. But then he left, and then we found out that he was hurt, which sucks worse than him just not trying hard. It may be related, but I'm not sure if his lone poor at-bat, in which he struck out, had something to do with it.
  • Curtis was the FSN player of the game, going 3 for 4 including the eventual game-winning RBI. He really seems to be doing fine against the lefties now, staying back on pitches and cutting down some of that lanky swing.
  • As mentioned, Marcus Thames hit yet another homerun (15), and he did so to right field, this coming off a first-pitch fast ball up and away. It appeared to be a good sign for how locked in he was, but then he struck out four times to finish out the game, and made a mental mistake while replacing Cabrera at first base when Casey Fossum fielded a ball to his left.
  • Joel Zumaya closed out the game for his first save of the season. He went 1.2 IP, allowed 3 hits, was a tiny bit wild but didn't walk anybody, didn't strike anybody out, but still managed to hold on in the end.
  • Sheff had two hits to hopefully break out of his mini slump. He knocked a ball back up the middle for his first hit ... did a nice job of waiting out an off-speed pitch and slapping it rather than attempting to rape it with his bat like he usually does.
  • Matt Joyce had a HUGE hit, his first triple of his career to score the tying run in the 8th, and then was knocked in by Granderson.
  • The strangest part of the game was this: Carlos Guillen had a pitch sail two inches away from his head and looked rather pissed about it. It looked scary and drew a "holy shit" out of me. Then, when Joe Mauer was up for the Twins, Galarraga threw behind him, then nearly hit him with an inside pitch, and they both looked retaliatory. Both benches got warned, then Ron Gardenhire came out to vehemently argue about it and got tossed right away. Of course this morning on Sportscenter, they only showed Armando throwing at Mauer and cut out the part when Carlos was nearly murdered.