Archive for January, 2004


I guess some people could call me a snob, but for several years in the 1990s, I abhorred sports talk radio, despite being a huge sports fan. My friend would make me listen to WDFN in the car, and I thought in most instances, the people running the shows were pretty stupid, and the people who called in even more so.

So my drive home from work was limited to news talk radio, until the news talk station I listened to changed formats to sports talk, which is AM 1270. When this happened, drive home consisted of a show known as the Locker Room. Hosted by Eli Zaret, Gary Danielson (former Lion’s QB), and at the time, Kirk Gibson, the show had a much more local flavor that appealed to me. Over time, I grew to enjoy the show more and more, because the people interviewed were top notch, and the hosts did a great job of interviewing, asking tough questions without being idiotically obnoxious. For three years I listed to this show on the drive home.

And yesterday, as listening to the show, I come to find out that it’s being cancelled. They didn’t go into to much detail, but it sounds like it was a combination of things.

With this, my drive home from work becomes more of a chore. I’m confident that whoever they put on instead won’t be at the same level. But with that, I thank Eli Zaret (who’s book “84, The Last of the Great Tigers – Untold Stories From an Amazing Team” is a must read for Tiger’s fans), Gary Danielson, and Kirk Gibson for for putting a high quality sports radio show. They changed my opinion of sports talk radio, at least for a while.

More Pudge

First off, with tax time upon us, getting a nice chunk of time to write something worthwhile has been few and far between, so I apologize for the lack of content on the site.

With that said, it seems like Pudge and the Tigers are the topics of choice recently. You’d think Maddux would be bigger news, but maybe it’s just because I-Rod is more of local story.

With that said, both Rob Neyer and Aaron Gleeman have made their comments.

Personally, at this point I think he’s not coming. Rumor has it that Seattle will make him a decent offer once the money from Kaz Sasaki is freed up, and that will be that. We can only hope that Brandon Inge gets so upset about the whole thing, that he goes out and hits .230 this year. Or something.

Strat-O-Matic Round Robin Tournament

I’m hoping to put on a round robin tournament featuring the Strat-O-Matic dice baseball simulation. If anyone in the area is interested, drop me a line. Basically there will be 8 players, who will have to play a set number of games against each opponent at their leisure (but by a certain time). Then there would a playoffs, and eventually a World Series.

It’s also a good way to meet other people in your area who are baseball fans. I’ll supply the game cards and materials.

Pudge: Is He Coming or Not? Which is Better?

Sorry for the lack of posts, but even this, I’m going to defer to two of the better Tiger blogs out there. The Detroit Tigers Weblog wrote a nice piece about Pudge’s visit to Detroit and some of the specifics. And at Tigers Central, there’s a nice piece on the impact Pudge might have on the Tigers. Rather then hastily throwing something up about this, I’m going to defer to them. Make sure you check them both out

Baseball Happenings

A lot has been going on in the baseball world. Between two funerals and getting beat up at work, I haven’t had the time I’d like to report on it all, but let’s touch on a few things.

Whenever one of the best players ever decides to come back and play for one more year, this is definitely a good thing. Roger Clemens signed a deal with Houston that should make the NL Central very interesting. You could well have two of the best rotations in all of baseball going at each other for a division title. I think “Best” rotation has to go to Boston right now, but coming in second to that stacked lineup isn’t an insult.

I have to admit Vlad Guerrero’s signing with Anaheim came out of right field (pun intended). I don’t know if anyone really saw this coming, but the Angels have had a nice winter. Signing proven vet Bartolo Colon and upstart Kelvim Escobar really bolster what will also be a nice rotation. The infield probably needs some work, but having Garrett Anderson protecting Vlad makes any lineup capable of scoring runs.

And finally, rumors are flying about Pudge coming to Detroit. I’d like this move because it would give us the star power that the team has lacked for a while. Yeah, they had Juan Gonzalez for a year, but getting a proven commodity, despite being up there in years, in never a bad thing. And everyone talks about how having a good team up the middle is very important, and this would probably be the last piece for this year. Carlos Guillen/Fernando Vina sounds a whole lot better then Santiago/Morris. Now all they have to do is get Carlos Beltran next year, and I’ll be a happy guy.

Eating Crow

Sometimes when in a hurry, and when I haven’t posted in a while, I feel like I have to put “something” up to keep readers interested. In the case of my last post, I wrote about the Pete Rose situation because it was the hot story, and I wrote it based on memory and from headlines.

And this time I failed pretty miserably. I want to thank Lou for leaving the comment and educating me. In fact his comment is probably worth reading more then the entire previous column. For that, I apologize to all of my readers.

With that, the Tigers made a pretty good deal in my opinion. Carlos Guillen comes to Detroit, and we ship off Ramon Santiago, and a minor league shortstop. Rather then making the same mistake, since I’m running short on time, I’ll comment on this deal tonight.

Story of the Year……So Far?

The big story right now isn’t who’s going to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year (although everything points to Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley, both deserving in my eyes), but who might be on the ballot last year.

It’s interesting to see how the Pete Rose story developed. Of course rumor started last year about secret talks between Bud Selig and Rose, with some veteran players coming to bat for Charlie Hustle.

Then, Baseball Prospectus made the headlines in even mainstream publications and websites by scooping everyone and writing a story saying Rose’s reinstatement was imminent (well, at least by the end of 2004). Prospectus might not get the credit they deserve, but they were right.

Then just a week or so ago, Rob Neyer speculated that things would break with Rose’s book release.

And the rest, as they say is history, as Rose finally admitted that he bet on baseball. He said he never bet on his own team (never proven, but there’s still some speculation), and for that, we should feel sorry for him. And opinions are across the board on whether he should be reinstated. My opinion is, I’m all for giving a guy a second chance. But with some conditions. I don’t think Rose should be able to manage. It’s just way to risky. I also think they should put Rose on probation. Say maybe 3-5 years. Where he can act as a spokesman for the game, attend events, but would not be able to join a team in any capacity, and wouldn’t be allowed to be put on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.

Then, after a period of scrutiny we can make a better decision. Yes, Pete Rose has had to wait, but the risks are just to great to the integrity of the game to just open the door completely and invite him back into the house.

Closing the Books on 2003….

I’m sure most of you have made your New Year’s resolutions, and probably some of you have already broken them by now. With that, the Tigers along with Mike Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski resolved to make the Tigers better.

Just before the New Year, the Tigers made one more addition. A critical spot, they made an addition to their starting rotation. The Tigers signed Jason Johnson to a two year, seven million dollar deal the other day.

Like Vina and White, this is a decent pickup, but not a move I’m doing cartwheels about. Johnson is an average starter, who’s never thrown more then 200 innings in a season, has been plagued by injury problems, but lasted through the entire season in 2003. His strikeouts per nine innings slid last year compared to 2002, which is a little discouraging, but he was less succeptable to the long ball then he was that same season.

On any good team, Johnson would be a fifth starter. On the Tigers, he’ll probably be our most effective starter in 2004 (barring a better signing). Bonderman could sky rocket, but I think he has one more year of growing pains. In that respect, I’d put Johnson slightly ahead of Maroth and Cornejo.

One stat I like to use when measuring pitchers is a stat Baseball Prospectus has termed simply as “Stuff.” Basically, it’s a rough number to determine a pitchers dominance. A level of 10 is rougly average, and a level of 0 is roughly replacement. Jason Johnson’s Stuff went down from 12 in 2002 (slightly above average), to a four this year (below average, but a little above replacement). Jeremy Bonderman had a 2 stuff, Mike Maroth a -4, and Nate Cornejo a -11 (mostly because of his lack of strikeouts).

So Johnson was a little better then all of those guys. This year he’ll be coming to a slightly better pitchers park, so hopefully we’ll be able to see him win some games.

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