Category Archives: Argh!

Meltdown for the Ages.

meltdown:

1. Severe overheating of a nuclear reactor core, resulting in melting of the core and escape of radiation.

2. Informal A disastrous or rapidly developing situation likened to the melting of a nuclear reactor core

3. Informal An emotional breakdown

Chernobyl_Disaster

Chernobyl

Carter_leaving_Three_Mile_Island

Three Mile Island

tigerslose

2009 Detroit Tigers

Heartbroken.

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An Overreaction to the Game 1 Loss

Tigstwinsgame1

(Photo courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/DFP)

This morning at the gym I couldn’t help but be captivated by the sight of the jubilant Los Angeles Orange County Angels of Anaheim and Surrounding Neighborhoods and Communities celebrate their AL West championship last night. The champagne, the beer, the jumping around. It looked like alot of fun.

Of course, the next clip just HAD to be a preview for the Tigers-Twins series that got cranked up this morning following a rain delay last night. My excitement quickly turned to nervousness and then to jealousy, as I wanted to watch MY team jump around and pour booze all over each other and watch as Leyland smokes 16 packs of Marbs in celebration.

That’s when the sinking feeling started crawling in. That’s where this blog gets its name. It’s that feeling that keeps you awake at night and you spend the rest of the day trying to shake it off and pretend like it’s not there. It gets in your ear and tells you to stop pretending, you won’t be good enough to win this series. You try to flick it away with a shrug, but it’s always right there. Telling you that those pinstriped jackasses from Minneapolis are about to swipe another division from right under your nose. Now you’re getting frustrated, and you just want the game to start so you can prove that feeling wrong. So you yell and cheer and get pumped up for your team and the belief starts to get stronger and that nagging in your ear gets quieter.

And then you jump out to an early lead and now you are ready to start telling that whisper in your ear to “shove it” because we came to play today and we are taking this division tomorrow night. And the feeling is quiet. And the innings drag on. And you are still confident because, guess what, you are playing just as good (if not better) than the other guys, and it’s YOUR team’s time to win a division, and nothing will stop them.

Then the game is tied. But that’s OK, we’ll get through it. And we do. On defense.

The offense is a nightmare though, and you can swear that you hear the entire Twins nation laughing at how incompetent your team’s batters are, as their pitcher sits down hitter after hitter. Meanwhile, your team is dodging bullets just to stay alive and it feels like they are losing control of the situation. but just when it looks like it’s all going to come crashing down, Nick Punto “puntos” a sac bunt and the DP is turned and now, NOW it’s time for us to step up and fulfill our season of destiny.

We get a runner on. now the excitement builds. That voice of negativity is awful quiet at this point.

And then, of course, the rest of the lineup lets you down. From cloud nine back to earth, but that’s OK, because we are still in this and wrestling control back.

And then Brandon Lyon happens.

BRANDON F**KING LYON HAPPENS.

Two, not one, TWO wild pitches that put the go-ahead run on third and a single later put the Twinkies up 2-1. A sac fly later and it’s now 3-1 and all of a sudden that feeling is back, telling you that it’s your team’s destiny to fail down the stretch, just like they did in 2006 and just like they will do this year. And you IM your friend and say how much this sucks and “watch, Grandy will probably homer just to give me a sense of false hope here” and sure enough, Grandy pops one out of the park, but all you can do is curse under your breath because you know that it was just a flash in the pan and nothing more.

One.

Two.

Three.

And just like that it’s now ONE with SIX to go.

Get it together Tigers. We’ve already done this once with you in the last five years, so why don’t you just man up and win the damn division already? Because I’m sick of hearing about the “CHOKE” and the “CHOKE” that’s about to happen this year. Prove ‘em all wrong, eh? Whaddya say boys? How bad do you want it?

************

Game 2 is in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Let’s hope the post following the game is a little “happier” than this one.

LET’S GO TIGERS!!!

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Allegations, Violations and Misrepresentations. And some Henne.

In case you’ve been under a rock, the University of Michigan football program has found themselves in some hot water this weekend. According to Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder of The Detroit Free Press, the Wolverines are guilty of some major NCAA violations in terms of “mandatory” and “voluntary” practice time. If you don’t know all of the details by now and you need to get up to speed, read the article.

Quite frankly, this sucks. It sucks because the season starts on Saturday. It sucks because I GUARANTEE you that Michigan isn’t the only program doing this, but we are the one being investigated. It sucks because, in the grand scheme of things, what did Rosenberg and Snyder really accomplish in all of this? It’s incredibly unlikely that any major sanctions will be handed to Michigan, so now all these two journalists have managed to do is drive another wedge between the players, fans and coaches. In a week that should be focused on optimism, the Freep has forced pessimism down our throat.

But nothing sucks as much as the fact that Michigan’s own players are the ones doing the talking and don’t have the CAJONES to stand up and say who they are. If you can do the “right thing” and the “big thing” by whistle-blowing against your teammates, then step up and claim your prize. We know Toney Clemons had something to contribute to the conversation. That’s more than we can say about his efforts on the field while at Michigan. Terrence Taylor? Those extra “mandatory” workouts are one of the reasons your ass is in the NFL. The only other guys that we know have said something about the workout program are a pair of freshman who were bragging about the work they put in and whose comments forced the authors of the article to caveat the piece by saying that neither freshman was complaining about the workouts.

Does that make them right? No. But it shows that there are guys buying into the system, and those are the guys that want to work hard and win. My guess is that the guys who are doing the talking are guys that are either tired of the rigorous demands of the Rodriguez regime or freshman that were preyed upon by Rosenberg and Snyder, knowing full well that they could get the kids to provide soundbites that could eventually be turned back on the staff.

In the end, we get to be the face of a problem that is obviously spread throughout the entire college football world, despite what the Freep wants you to think.

  Courtesy of MSU’s Andrew Maxwell:

{Ed. Note: Brian at MGoBlog pointed out that, despite sounding similar to the Freep allegations, this statement doesn’t fly:

17.1.6.3.5 Preseason Practice. Daily and weekly hour limitations do not apply to countable athletically related activities occurring during preseason practice prior to the first day of classes or the first scheduled contest, whichever is earlier.

Aw, hamburgers. Practice limits don’t count during fall camp. You can stop bringing this up now.

Not that this prevented Michigan State from deleting that article in its entirety from its website.

{Ed. cont. They still suck. Anyway, statement is below for your reference.}

We’re almost a full week into it and preseason camp is everything all of us freshmen expected it to be: learning a completely new style of football, working hard every day to try and move our way up the depth chart, meeting new people and trying to fit in with the flow of things, and trying to get used to this totally foreign schedule. A typical day consists of showing up for meetings as early as 7:30 a.m. and being dismissed after our final meeting at 9:30 p.m. In those 14 hours, we have meetings, practice, lunch, more meetings, film sessions, dinner and meetings.

Sound familiar?

Somebody call Rosenberg and Snyder and let them know that it’s time to break another story.

In the meantime, I offer up this bit of wisdom from former UM quarterback Chad Henne:

Henne 

"That’s the players. They have to know, 20 hours, you’re never going to be 20 hours limited. You think about it, you get done with class, you start practice around 2:30 for meetings or whatever, then you go through practice, you get done at 7. So that’s four-and-a-half hours. There’s no way – you’re going to use up 20 hours easily in practice.”

“I really think whoever’s saying it really doesn’t want to be there,” Henne said. “If they’re saying that then they’re not really worried about the team, they’re not worried about what they’re going to do during their season and they’re kind of just giving themselves up. That’s just negative talk right there. So whoever it is just really doesn’t care about the team, I would say.”

“If they’re complaining about that, then they don’t want to be the best they can be and that’s their own fault.”

Henne has always told it like it is, so I have no doubt that this comes as no surprise to anyone else in the college football community. All I want now is Mike Hart to come off the top rope and finish off this shitstorm that Rosenberg and Snyder created.

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Series Wrap-Up: A’s – Get it out of your system, boys.

43-35, 1st in AL Central (3.0 GU on MIN, CHI)

verlanderloss

(Photo courtesy of Anda Chu/MCT)

Well, the struggles on the road continued for the boys from Motown, dropping 2 of 3 to the AL West bottom-dwelling Oakland A’s this week. The Tigers struggled to find their offense, just like they have on the road much of this season, and subsequently lost yet another series away from Comerica Park.

However, the boys have had an off day to clear their heads and find their focus, as a HUGE matchup with the Minnesota Twins starts tonight. Currently, the Tigers hold a three game lead over the Twins and the surging White Sox, so it’s needless to say that this series holds some importance. This will be a great test for the Tigers, though. Even though they are in first place, there are many fans and experts alike that are questioning whether this team has what it takes to be relevant in the playoffs. And while we are still half a season away from the playoffs, tonight should give us a good look at how the Tigers will handle the pressure of a meaningful road series. It will surely be an uphill battle for Detroit, especially in tonight’s game, where rookie Luke French will make his first career start against Twins ace Kevin Slowey. How the boys handle the pressure of protecting a division lead on the heels of a rough road trip will be must watch TV, and you can bet I will be tuned in.

Honestly, I could sit here and go on and on about where the Tigers are struggling and what it’s going to take to win this series against Minnesota, but what’s the point? We know the deck we are playing with and we know what we have to do to get it done. Now it’s all about the execution.

I hope you got all of the road woes out of your system, boys. It’s time to bring it.

On Deck: Minnesota Twins

  • Record: 41-39 (3rd in AL Central, 3.0 GB of Detroit)

littlebigleague

Friday, July 3

  • Tigers – Luke French (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SO)
  • Twins – Kevin Slowey (10-3, 4.41 ERA, 71 SO)

Saturday, July 4

  • Tigers – Edwin Jackson (6-4, 2.49 ERA, 84 SO)
  • Twins – Francisco Liriano (4-8, 5.62 ERA, 80 SO)

Sunday, July 5

  • Tigers – Rick Porcello (8-5, 3.90 ERA, 44 SO)
  • Twins – Nick Blackburn (6-4, 3.10 ERA, 45 SO)

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Series Wrap-Ups: Cubs, Astros – A day late…actually, a few days late.

42-33, 1st in AL Central (4.0 GU on MIN)

ingehomer

(Photo courtesy of David J. Phillip/AP)

I’ve pried myself away from the NHL free agency proceedings long enough to force myself to put my hands on the keyboard and type something other than “Marian Hossa”, “free agency” (whoops, wrote it above) and “salary cap.” So sit down, act like you care, and read these words (it will be short).

Well, the series against the Cubs went about as well as we could have hoped. The boys from the Windy City rolled in following our three game sweep of the Brewers, and proceeded to get swept right out of Comerica Park and back to Chicago. Honestly, this was a huge series for Detroit. It was an emotional series against a regional rival (city) and the Tigers delivered. What made it even more impressive is that they delivered in the face of adversity. None of the games were pretty and we had to claw back into two of them, but that’s the whole point: the Tigers fought through the adversity and dug out three wins at home. Frickin’ awesome. I’ll admit, I was finally starting to feel good about this squad after that series, but I tried to temper my enthusiasm, knowing we were about to embark on a road trip.

It’s a good thing I did, because once we took the field in Houston, everything went downhill. Pitching feel apart. Walks piled up. Rookie Alfredo Figaro basically threw batting practice in game two of the series. It was ugly. But, the Tigers were able to grind out a win in the final game and avoid the sweep, which is a solid moral victory for this team. Now I’m sure you are probably snickering and thinking I’m a sissy for dropping “moral victory” into a post, but guess what, I did. And I think it’s appropriate. This team has struggled with chemistry for much of the season, and they could have easily just folded up shop and hopped on the plane to Oakland as losers of three straight. But they didn’t. And that’s a victory in my mind. These are the character building games right now. It’s the final push to the All Star break, and the Tigers are still competing in the close games and finding ways to win. That’s a good thing. But I still want to see the Tigers put together a solid road trip. Hopefully, they can get it going with a trip to the struggling A’s.

*As I type this, we are currently down 6-1 in Game 1 of the series. Ugh.

On Deck: Oakland Athletics

  • Record: 31-43 (4th in AL West, 11.0 GB of LAOCAASNC or LA Angels)

Oakland Athletics Women's Argyle Top

*Alyssa: I forgive you for wearing this shirt. I’ve put a Tigers one in the mail to you.

Monday, June 29

  • Tigers – Rick Porcello (8-4, 3.55 ERA, 44 SO)
  • Athletics – Brett Anderson (3-7, 5.74 ERA, 45 SO)

Tuesday, June 30

  • Tigers – Armando Galarraga (4-7, 5.65 ERA, 50 SO)
  • Athletics – Gio Gonzalez (0-1, 8.03 ERA, 13 SO)

Wednesday, July 1

  • Tigers – Justin Verlander (8-3, 3.40 ERA, 124 SO)
  • Athletics – Dallas Braden (5-7, 3.26 ERA, 64 SO)

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Take It or Leave It

hossa_celeb_112906

The negotiations are continuing. Red Wings fans are still hoping. But the outcome is becoming to look inevitable: Marian Hossa will not be a Red Wing next season.

This isn’t the first time we’ve been down this road. And it won’t be the last. But when it comes to superstar athletes and money in Detroit, people get upset. As far as players go, nobody has been this polarizing for Red Wings fans since Sergei Fedorov decided to hold the Wings hostage with his salary negotiations in both 1998 and 2003. When Fedorov finally spurned the Wings for the Ducks, he effectively sealed his fate as a player who will eternally be despised in Hockeytown. However, the Hossa situation is a bit different. Where Fedorov actually took less to play for Anaheim, Hossa is all about the cash. Or at least that’s what his agent Ritch Winter is leading us to believe. According to a whole slew of reports, the Wings have offered Hossa somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million, but Winter wants closer to 6 million for his client. That’s a pretty big gap when you stretch it out over the long term, and Hossa could potentially lose out on alot of guaranteed money.

But who is calling the shots here? As this saga drags out, the finger of blame is quickly being shifted to Winter and fans and media alike are portraying him as the major hurdle to retaining the service of Hossa. Winter finds himself in the crosshairs of fan anger right now, simply because he has laid out a number that the Wings can’t match. Here’s the thing: I don’t blame Winter. I blame Hossa.

Throughout this entire process, where has 81 been? We haven’t heard anything from him. This was the guy who decided Detroit offered him the best shot at a Cup, and seemed to be buying into the mindset that Detroit continues to carry with them: play our system, respect our decisions and you will win. Now all of a sudden, the man who was interested in winning a Cup and settling down for the “long term” has continued the vanishing act that he started all throughout this year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, Winter is charged with not only securing a contract for Hossa, but also being the face of the entire Hossa camp, since his client has the gag in his mouth. For the time being, let’s table the frustration, and look at this in the way that Winter is. Last year, his client missed out on a huge guaranteed payday to follow through on his dream to win a Stanley Cup. Winter watched the money slip away once, and he won’t let that happen again. Add to that the fact that Hossa’s value dropped as a result of his Houdini like disappearance in the playoffs, and Winter has a responsibility to lock up as much money as possible, and to do it right now. That’s what an agent does and that’s all Winter is doing here: his job.

Sometimes, the passion of the fans clouds the fact that this game (and many others) are a business. In the end, it’s all about the money and less about the championships for some players. And while we in Detroit are insulated from alot of that because of the Kris Drapers and Nick Lidstroms of the world, we occasionally run into a player who is so talented and effective, yet is usually all about the money, that we put away our better judgment and throw ourselves behind their attempt to “help the team.” I’m not saying that Hossa didn’t genuinely try and make the Wings better or try and forge friendships in the locker room. I’m just saying that we should have seen this coming. Hossa has been about the payday his entire career, and just because he had a moment of “clarity” and acted as if he wants to play the game simply for the love of the game, we should have known that his loyalty only ran so deep. Now, Hossa is on the verge of dashing for the cash and jilting the Wings organization and fans.

But let’s be fair, here: Hossa hasn’t gone anywhere. I could just be sitting here spewing my frustrations, while Hossa is putting his name on the dotted line of a 10 year deal with the Wings. If Hossa does re-sign, great. It will be a true testament to the power of the Red Wings brand, as well as a testament to the character of Hossa. But if he does leave, don’t act surprised. Ever since he came here, my excitement has always been slightly tempered by the fact that he has been all over the NHL and hasn’t stayed put. Yes, his quotes about wanting to stay here for the long term got me excited, but there has always been a sense of unease when I think of Hossa and this situation has done nothing to quash those feelings.

So where do we go from here? Hossa technically becomes a free agent on July 1, at which point he can take the highest bid from any NHL team and the Wings would be out a 40 goal scorer with no compensation. However, Ken Holland is no fool, and if he feels that this situation isn’t workable, he will do everything he can to trade Hossa’s negotiating rights and at least get some form of compensation. Right now, the Los Angeles Kings appear to be the top choice, as they have plenty of cap room and are very interested in adding Hossa to their lineup. But here’s the thing: the Kings aren’t going to win a Cup anytime soon. Both Hossa and Winter know this. Now, this doesn’t mean Hossa is guaranteed to sign with the Kings, but their price would likely be in the ballpark that Winter has suggested, Hossa would immediately be billed as the top player on that team and he would likely be paired up with the exciting Anze Kopitar to form a formidable scoring tandem. But the Kings are a work in progress, and it would be a long haul with alot of losses before Hossa would get another shot at the Cup. If Ken Holland feels that Hossa is a lost cause, he’d be well served to get something from the Kings and let Winter and Hossa figure out the rest. If Hossa is serious about making more money while still competing for a Cup, he won’t play in LA. If he does, then we know EXACTLY what Hossa is all about.

No matter what happens, remember this: When a true champion gets close to their goal, they do whatever it takes to get back and get it done. If Hossa’s goal is a Cup, then he’ll be back because the Wings are a constant threat to get there. If the goal is more money, then don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

The clock is ticking and there’s only one person who can make this decision. So what’s it gunna be ‘Hoss?

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Series Wrap-Up: Cardinals – Thud.

35-31, 1st in AL Central (2.0 GU on MIN)

magswall

(Photo courtesy of Chris Lee/MCT)

Honestly, the trip to St. Louis really sucked. After looking like garbage in Pittsburgh, I was counting on the pitching of Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson to lead us back to our winning ways, with at least 2 of 3 against the Cards. Yea right.

Verlander gave up five total runs and eight hits in four innings of work, which was one of his shortest outings of the season.  For Jackson, the story was different, but the same tune he’s heard all year: lack of run production.

Honestly, I could sit here and blab a ton about the stats and about how “Verlander was due for a bad night” and how Jackson tied his career high in strikeouts. I could tell you all about how Rick Porcello is quickly becoming one of the best young pitchers in the game and how excited I was when the bats finally did come alive last night.

But I won’t talk about those things. Why? Because they don’t matter. What does matter is the fact that this team is horribly inconsistent, scoring five runs over the first two games of the series, and then almost matching that total in the first inning of the third game. Yes, sometimes teams go through funks. That happens. But this team is in a permanent funk for the most part. When you expect them to excel, they choke. When you expect them to choke, it’s a 50/50 chance that they choke even harder or that they fight it and come to play. And then when they hit the road, it becomes the ultimate crap shoot.

Look, I know that we are all looking for something to cling to (at least I am) when it comes to this team. For me, that something is a win streak here and there amidst winning each series they play. Will that always happen? No. But it NEEDS to happen more often than not if we want to have a legitimate chance at the postseason. This team needs to win the games that they SHOULD win (coughcoughPIRATEScoughcough) and compete hard in the games that will define their mettle. Look, I know we aren’t even at the All Star break, but this team looks like they are headed for a big breakdown at some point. Every night the lineup looks cobbled together at best. The pitching staff could implode at any minute. Add to it that Magglio Ordonez is now on the bench indefinitely and Dontrelle Willis is back on the DL with his “anxiety problems”, and anyone that calls themselves a baseball fan can see that there are problems brewing. This does not look like a championship caliber team right now.

On Deck: Milwaukee Brewers

  • Record: 37-29 (1st in NL Central, 1.5 GU on St. Louis)

Friday, June 19

  • Tigers – Armando Galarraga (3-7, 5.56 ERA, 44 SO)
  • Brewers – Braden Looper (5-3, 4.62 ERA, 44 SO)

Saturday, June 20

  • Tigers – Alfredo Figaro (0-0, –.—ERA, – SO)
  • Brewers – Dave Bush (3-3, 5.31 ERA, 58 SO)

Sunday, June 21

  • Tigers – Justin Verlander (7-3, 3.39 ERA, 110 SO)
  • Brewers – Yovani Gallardo (7-3, 2.93 ERA, 85 SO)

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