Upon being named columnist, Sharp wrote: “A columnist’s role isn’t to blindly lead cheers. Nor is it a blank check to slam individuals solely because you have been given a club. But there is a responsibility to raise questions and express doubts. There should be a commitment to deflate the smug and arrogant because, after all, this is only sports—a useful diversion and an increasingly influential business, but hardly irreplaceable in our everyday lives.
He would have Verlander pitching the regular-season finale on Sunday, particularly if a postseason bid is at stake. But as for Friday and Saturday in Atlanta, it’s two from the threesome of Matt Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann and Buck Farmer.
In 1935, the integration of Major League Baseball was still over a decade away. But among the most popular Detroit Tigers were Hank Greenberg, who was Jewish, and Charlie Gehringer, a devout Catholic. The Black Legion gave them a pass.
“These Black Legion members were sports fans, many of them, anyways,” Stanton says. “And Detroit was a city going crazy for the sports teams, because they had suffered through the Great Depression — were still suffering through it — and Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, Joe Louis were giving them something to cheer for, uplifting the spirits of the city. These guys in the Black Legion planned some of their crimes so that it didn’t conflict with the Tigers schedule, so they wouldn’t miss a game. ‘If we’re gonna hang this guy, let’s do it after the game.’ It’s difficult to grasp how they reconciled these issues, but they found a way to do it.”
“Mickey Cochrane was potentially a member,” Stanton says. “One of his closest friends at that point was Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s right hand man.”
Harry Bennett was said to know everything there was to know about who leaned which way in the Ford works, including who was pro-union, and who was in the Legion. Ford himself … well, you’ll recall that he wouldn’t allow the authorities to drain the pond they thought might be full of the bodies of the Legion’s victims
Anyway, in 1936, during the summer after they’d won the World Series, the Tigers foundered. Perhaps for that reason, and perhaps because of the tension that gripped the city as revelations concerning investigation of the Legion began to surface, Cochrane had what may have been a nervous breakdown. He couldn’t sleep. He suffered from vertigo. At midseason, he removed himself from the Tigers lineup.
“Being a celebrity in general, you lose privacy,” Verlander said. “There’s a societal problem right now with celebrities not having privacy, and the way the laws are written, it protects other people, not celebrities. The laws were written before the world turned into what it is now with social media and everyone being a paparazzi. It’ll be changed, I think.
“There just need to be more rights for celebrities. And I know that could come across as ‘Wah, wah, wah, here’s another celebrity crying.’ But if anyone can imagine their whole personal life being exposed or never having the ability to just be comfortable in public, that’s tough.”
He understands the tradeoff. Verlander is a pragmatist, a quality that helped him through the lows of 2013 and ’14. Those are just memories now, residue of injuries past, and he works hard as ever to prevent others from cropping up. Verlander can do only so much. He gets that. Until then, he’ll keep tweaking and iterating and ensuring his body does what he needs it to. He’s seen what happens when it doesn’t. The only quick innings he wants to root for are his own.
The baseball schedule can be tough, especially come August, but some in Boston believe this is more than just some bad scheduling luck. At least one columnist, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, suggests that the day game in Detroit on Thursday may have something to do with the Tigers former relationship with Sox’ president Dave Dombrowski:
The Red Sox tried to get the Tigers to push the start time back to late afternoon or evening when the times were set in the offseason. Major League Baseball said the Tigers could start the game whenever they wanted to, and Detroit refused to accommodate the Sox.
The Tigers have some prior history of Thursday afternoon starts. Another part of their history is that Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties as Detroit general manager last summer.
Is this some kind of a less-than-fond farewell card from the Tigers? Al Avila, bumped up to GM after serving as Dombrowski’s assistant, said yesterday that he doesn’t set game times. A request to speak with another Tigers executive yesterday went unanswered.
Silverman acknowledges that “maybe this has nothing to do with Dombrowski,” but still calls it a “bush league move.”
The Tigers’ hopes to avoid returning Jordan Zimmermann to the disabled list proved short-lived. Detroit placed the veteran right-hander back on the 15-day DL after Saturday night’s 6-5 win over the Mets and will recall left-hander Daniel Norris from Triple-A Toledo on Monday to take his place in the rotation.
Zimmermann returned from the DL on Thursday after missing a month with a right neck strain. However, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, hampered by tightness in his right lat area. An MRI showed no major damage, and Zimmermann was planning to throw a bullpen session Sunday in hopes of making his next turn in the rotation Tuesday at Seattle.
Castellanos has enjoyed a breakout this year in his third season as a Tiger, batting .286 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs while settling into the middle of the lineup. His midseason production especially helped the Tigers weather cold stretches in other parts of their batting order.
The Detroit Tigers announced today that they suspended outfielder Anthony Gose for three days after he failed to show up for a Toledo Mud Hens game on Sunday, a day after he had an argument with Mud Hens manager Lloyd McClendon.
Gose did not play in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and then didn’t show up Sunday.
After reinstating him today, the Tigers sent Gose to Double-A Erie.
“After collectively evaluating the situation in Toledo, we spoke with Anthony and emphasized our organization’s expectations of him,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a released statement. “Most importantly, Anthony’s transfer to Erie is a move to give him a fresh start to his overall performance as he works his way back to Detroit.”
The Tigers are hoping a change of scenery can help ignite Gose, 25, who has struggled since being demoted from the Tigers to Toledo in May. He was hitting .179 with nine strikeouts and four runs over his last 10 games with the Mud Hens. In 50 Triple-A games, he hit .185 with 75 strikeouts.
After essentially having his start skipped last week, Fulmer will start Friday night, then return on his regular four days of rest Wednesday afternoon. That will be his final start before the All-Star break. He won’t pitch again until they need a fifth starter for the fifth game out the break, currently scheduled for July 19 against the Twins.
Each of the other four rotation members will start twice in between then.
Manager Brad Ausmus’ predecessor, Jim Leyland, did something similar with Rick Porcello during his 2009 season as a 20-year-old rookie. He ended up going 16 days between starts, and pitched just three times that July. From there, Porcello stayed in the rotation the rest of the way, albeit with a quick hook that allowed Leyland to take him out of games after five or six innings if the game was out of hand. The plan left Porcello at 170 2/3 innings at season’s end, up from 125 innings at Class A Lakeland the previous year.
Bob Uecker, who along with Bob Prince and Warner Wolf called the action for ABC, warned the new Bird watchers.
“He’s one of the funniest guys I have seen come along in baseball in a long time. He has outstanding stuff and you’re going to see a lot of antics from this young right-hander tonight.”
As noted in his 2013 biography, “The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych,” author Doug Wilson wrote: “Mark seemed to be all Prince, Uecker and Wolf were able to talk about on the air as they only occasionally interrupted their discussions of The Bird to inject minor details such as the batter, score and inning. The actual game seemed secondary.”
At one point Prince declared, “he’s giving me duck bumps and I’ve watched over 8,000 games. He’s some kind of unbelievable.”
Arbitrary cutoffs. They may as well do a bloodletting every 20 innings.
Fulmer entered Wednesday’s game averaging just under six innings a start in his first 11 big league outings. If he kept up that pace and made every turn through the rotation, he’d be on pace for just over 170 innings. He pitched 124 2/3 innings last season in the Minors.
“No one really knows what the ideal amount is,” Ausmus said. “People like to say 25 or 30 percent more than the following year, in terms of innings, but people are still getting hurt all the time. I don’t know if there’s any right answer, but we just have to be a little bit cautious with him.”
A 25-30 percent bump from last year’s innings total would put Fulmer around 155-160 innings. Even on the generous end, that leaves some innings to shave off his pace.
“We’d like to not be caught where we have to shut him down,” Ausmus said. “It would be very difficult. That’s why we want to use caution now, to hopefully avoid that later.”
He battled the virus, but eventually gave up a two-run double to it.
Rodriguez, a 34-year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela, contracted the virus this past offseason and learned just how serious the illness can be. He was laid up for two weeks with severe bodyaches, joint pain, headaches and a myriad of other symptoms. Considering the effects of the illness are even more devastating for women, especially pregnant women, he advised any athletes contemplating participating in the Olympics to educate themselves and their family members…
Several prominent athletes have already voiced concerns over Olympic participation, including Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol, American tennis star Serena Williams and Australian golfer Adam Scott.
“I wouldn’t blame them,” Rodriguez told ESPN.com of any athletes having second thoughts about competing. “If they have plans to have kids in the future, you’ve got to think about it. You have to be aware of that as well. You have to do some homework, some research about it.”
n his first four starts following a late-April promotion, Fulmer never got beyond five innings, had a 6.52 ERA and a .944 OPS against. In the four subsequent starts, he has worked at least six innings each time, posted a 0.32 ERA and .378 OPS against. In his last three outings, he has given up three or fewer hits and yielded no runs. No pitcher in major league history has ever had three such results in their first eight starts. The previous fewest starts was 10 by Anibal Sanchez in 2016.
Fulmer pitched six shutout innings Monday against Toronto, and one of the relievers who followed him was Sanchez, relegated to the bullpen after going 3-6 with a 6.67 ERA as a starter. Sanchez’s poor work and that by Mike Pelfrey (1-5, 4.76), who starts Friday against the Yankees, only elevates the importance of Fulmer, who averages 94.7 mph with his fastball and has groundball tendencies. Fulmer’s next scheduled start is Sunday against the Yankees.
A year ago at this point, the 23-year-old right-hander was still another name in the Mets’ farm system. Not only is Fulmer now a frontline starter, he’s one of the biggest reasons for hope that the Tigers will be contenders this summer.
“He really has been dominant,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s been our best pitcher, probably, over the last 3 1/2 weeks, whatever the stretch is. I don’t know that I would’ve predicted it from a young pitcher like that coming up, but he’s done an excellent job.
“To me, the big thing has been his poise and his ability to throw the changeup. The pitch that he was supposedly working on this year has come around much quicker than expected.”
The Tigers keep signing these old guys to contracts.
Each year, the Detroit Tigers sign several players to new contracts, as every team does. But 62 years ago, one man turned down an offer, one that would have netted him $26,000.
Earl Robinette was a Tigers prospect with a big outfield arm and switch-hitting ability. He was also a part of a family that owned a farm, which played a huge role in his decision to decline the contract.
Since that day in 1954, Robinette has regretted the choice, but the 80-year-old got a do-over Wednesday. According to the Detroit Free Press, Robinette was offered a one-day contract by the Tigers, which he signed at the very table that hundreds of players have sat at before.
“We had to dust off a contract that’s been sitting around for 50 years, for crying out loud,” Tigers vice president John Westhoff said. “Have a seat. You need to sign something.
Well, you can definitely say Brad Ausmus isn’t going down without a fight. Ausmus was ejected after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Doug Eddings during Monday’s game between the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins. He may or may not need that sweatshirt later this season, though.
Lee Panas projects Victor Martinez’ 2012 production, and that of some possible replacements.
Would Martinez have had a WAR of 5.0 again in 2012? Probably not. He’d likely hit about as well overall (lower batting average, more homers). However, he might lose a fraction of a win by not catching. More importantly, we would not expect him to come anywhere close to his 2011 performance in situational hitting. Even if he we think he would have hit a little better in clutch situations than other at bats in 2012, we would estimate that he would have had a WAR of about 3.0.
So, we have two questions: (1) How much will the Tigers lose going from Martinez in 2011 (5.0 WAR) to Player X in 2012? (2) How much would they have lost going from Martinez’s expected performance in 2012 (3.0 WAR) to Player X in 2012?
Shouldn’t have gone motorbike racing with Jeff Kent.
The Detroit Tigers today made the following announcement regarding catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez:
Martinez injured his left knee last week during his off-season conditioning. An MRI at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland yesterday revealed Martinez suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
Martinez will be re-evaluated by Dr. Richard Stedman next week and surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee is anticipated. If surgery is required as anticipated, Martinez will most likely be lost for the 2012 season.
Martinez hit .330 (178x540) with 40 doubles, 12 home runs and 103 RBI in 145 games with the Tigers during the 2011 season.