Thursday, April 25, 2013

Celebrating 113 seasons of Tigers' baseball

On this day in 1901, the Detroit Tigers played their first game as a major league team at Bennett Park in Detroit. 10,000 fans turned out to watch their first Opening Day against the Milwaukee Brewers (who left for St. Louis to become the St. Louis Browns the following season).
Photo via

The Tigers were down 13-4 heading into the ninth inning. They went on to score 10 runs, winning 14-13. They finished the season in third place with a 74-61 record.

Since that first season in 1901, the Tigers have won four World Series titles (1935, 1945, 1968 and 1984), 11 American League Pennants (1907-1909, 1934, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1968, 1984, 2006, 2012), five Division titles (1972, 1984, 1987 in the East and 2011, 2012 in the Central) and one Wild Card berth (2006).

But most importantly during these last 113 seasons, the Tigers have created memories. They've given us some of the greatest players baseball has ever seen. In 1936, Tigers' great Ty Cobb received the most votes of any player on the inaugural ballot to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1955, Al Kaline won the American League batting title with a .340 batting average. At age 20, he remains the youngest player to do so.

Photo by Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press
Shortstop Alan Trammell and second baseman Lou Whitaker stand as the longest continuous double-play combination in major league history, playing 19 seasons together with Detroit.

In 1968, Denny McLain became Major League Baseball's first 30-game winner since 1934 after a 5-4 victory at Tiger Stadium against the Oakland Athletics.

Virgil Trucks threw two no hitters during the 1952 season, making him the third major leaguer to do so at the time.

Beyond that, the Tigers have always meant a little something more to Detroit. Yes, our nickname is Hockeytown. I won't dispute that moniker. But I believe that no team in this city, and in this state, brings people together the way the Tigers have for 113 seasons.

In the summer of 1967, Detroit experienced one of the worst riots in American history. It was a city divided.

Down 3-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 World Series, the Tigers came back to win four games and took home their first title in 23 years. The '68 team was largely credited for healing a city so badly hurting from the racial violence that had burdened it.

"Those men, that team, were something. They were a close-knit bunch who cared for each other. They provided an outlet for a city that desperately needed one. And they could play. Boy, could they play." - Ernie Harwell
Oh, and let's talk about Ernie. For 42 years, Ernie Harwell was the voice of Tigers baseball. His signature phrases still hold a special place in our hearts ("He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched it go by." "That one is LOOOONG gone!") Everyone loved Ernie, and Ernie loved everyone. He was, and still is, Tigers baseball.

Despite a drought between the 1968 World Series title and the one that came in 1984, Tigers fans still had much reason to be excited about the team. Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, who put on a Tigers uniform from 1976-1980, quickly became one of the game's most popular personalities. He won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1976 after finishing with a 2.34 ERA and a 19-9 record. There's no way I can describe Fidrych in words. He was so much more than that. Teams in visiting cities actually requested that Fidrych pitch because they knew it would sell more tickets. Seriously.

Unfortunately, Fidrych never won a ring with Detroit. His career was cut far too short due to injury. But in 1984, the Tigers began their season 35-5 and easily went on to win the World Series against the San Diego Padres.

My love affair with the Tigers began somewhere between 1996 and 1997. I decided to fall in love with this team during a rough time, as they were in the middle of what would become 12 consecutive losing seasons. I still remember the final game at Tiger Stadium. I locked myself in my room and cried during the post game ceremony when Brad Ausmus was putting the home plate from The Corner into its new home at Comerica Park. What can I say? I was an emotional seven year old.

In 2002, I sat through a 55-106 season. "Surely it can't get much worse, right?" I thought to myself. Number one rule as a Detroit fan: never ask if things will get worse. Because they will. And they did. The very next season, the Tigers set an American League record (and fell one short of tying the MLB record) by winning 43 games and losing 119.

Photo via
But three years later, something crazy happened. The Tigers started winning. While they didn't win the World Series that season, it will always remain my favorite year of Tigers baseball. Never in a million years did I think that they would turn it around so fast, and in such a memorable way.

Since then, winning has come to be expected. Mike Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski have created a winning culture.

In 2008, Curtis Granderson became the third player in Major League history to reach 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season (Jimmy Rollins joined the club just a few weeks later).

Miguel Cabrera became the first player since 1967 to win the Triple Crown. Justin Verlander has thrown two no-hitters, won the AL Rookie of the Year Award, was unanimously selected the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2011, and the same year became the first starting pitcher to win the AL MVP Award since 1986.

We're lucky. Even today, in 2013, we are witnessing some of the greatest baseball players of our generation.   Sure, not every season has been perfect. They've made some questionable moves. But hey, we survived the Randy Smith Era, didn't we? What can't we do?

And the greatest thing is, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface on what the Tigers franchise has given us, and the game of baseball, for the last 113 years. Hank Greenberg, Norm Cash, Willie Horton, Hal Newhouser, Charlie Gehringer and Jack Morris just to name a few more.

So happy birthday, Tigers. Thank you for being there for us all these years. And here's to many, many more.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April 9, 2013 Game Recap: In GIFs

The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 7-3 at Comerica Park earlier this afternoon. Detroit combined for 15 hits, four of those coming courtesy of Miguel Cabrera. Torii Hunter went 3-5, including his 2000th career hit (we'll get to that later). New dad Alex Avila was 2-4 with a solo home run - his second of the year.

Melky Cabrera finished 3-4 with one RBI. Colby Rasmus connected for a solo home run in the ninth inning off Joaquin Benoit (new permanent closer? We shall see!)

Anibal Sanchez went 7 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. It's nice to see another Tigers pitcher go more than five innings.

But here's the really cool, interesting stuff that happened that had to be immortalized on the internet forever in GIF form.

First of all, Don Kelly made a super amazing catch in left field. Look at him bounce off the wall like it's made of clouds. Absolutely no regard for his body, and it resulted in what's easily one of the top plays of the season in Major League Baseball. Yes, the season is a week old. But this catch will be played in every season-ending montage that is made: COUNT ON IT.

Cabrera hit an absolute BOMB for his first home run of the season. Not only was it a BOMB (I can only type this word in all caps. Not sorry) but it was also a three-run shot. And why was it a three-run shot? Because Austin Jackson and Hunter both singled to get on base. Because they play the way 1-2 hitters should. They are amazing. I am happy. This lineup is freakin' awesome.

In the sixth inning, Hunter notched his 2,000th career hit. 2,000 is a big number. It's really big. 

And then at this very moment right here, I had one of those "oh wow" realizations. Torii Hunter is a Detroit Tiger. You guys. I'm a young gal, so I literally grew up watching Hunter play. I remember those 11 years he spent in the AL Central with the Twins. I remember how he killed the Tigers, and then continued to do so in an Angels uniform for five years. And now he's got that beautiful Old English D on his chest, and he earned hit number TWO THOUSAND at Comerica Park. As a Tiger. What?!

And then the fans and the team gave him a nice long ovation and Lindsay got goosebumps.

While this was a very good game for the Tigers and their fans, I think we can all agree on the most memorable moment. And that moment was this....

Former University of Michigan QB Denard Robinson: Not a pitcher

So there you have it! Tomorrow, the Tigers will play the Jays at 1:08 p.m. Here's to hoping mother nature is kind.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sexism in Sports Journalism: The public's opinion

As I said in my previous blog, I'm doing a project on sexism in sports journalism for my Ethical Issues in Media Class. I decided to conduct an anonymous survey to see what my Twitter followers really felt about women in sports journalism.

I don't want to dwell on this topic. I want to ignore the ignorant. I don't want to give sexists and misogynists the time of day. But while looking at these results, I couldn't not share some of the responses I received. I want a chance to answer some of the things that were said, while also showing opinions that demonstrate maybe society and sports culture is on the right path. Maybe.

As I write this post, I've collected 131 responses. Since I don't have a premium account, I'm only able to analyze 100 of them. So this is out of a pool of 100 sports fans.

We'll start with the demographics.

18-24: 48%
25-34: 34%
35-44: 8%
45-54: 4%
55-64: 0%
65+: 1%

Female: 32%
Male: 68%

A 25-34 year old male answered: “No, and they shouldn’t be.”

I would love to find out which of my Twitter followers feels this way to ask him more questions. If a woman is working just as hard as a man and is just as familiar with the sport (or sports) that she is covering, why has she not earned that respect?

An 18-24 year old male said: "They can be color commentators, but I'd still want a man to be a play by play announcer."

A common response I had for this one was that they didn't want the sound of a woman's voice calling the games. One person did respond that he couldn't answer the question fairly because he had never heard a woman call a game before. I believe that a woman is perfectly capable of describing the action in the game. If it became more commonplace, people would more accurately be able to judge whether they prefer a woman or man doing play-by-play.

A 25-34 year old male asked the question, "Should men be allowed in women's locker rooms?" The answer is: they already are. This is a common misconception and an argument many people try to bring up (as evidenced in my survey). An article from USA Today in 2010 clears this up. 

An 18-24 year old female, who answered "yes," said: "People need to be able to handle the fact they are in control of their bodies and their actions, not what someone else’s attire or lack of."

So many people are quick to blame the victim. When someone is harassed or assaulted, people immediately ask what the victim was wearing. Who were they with? What time of day was it? Instead of implying that the victim did something wrong, we need to focus on the people doing the harassing. This happens in the locker room for all different sports. Female reporters are there to do their job, not to be leered at. 

An 18-24 year old answered: "I look at the article first and the name of the author second.  The article is what is important." 

To me, this would be an interesting experiment. Give someone a few articles in the 10% who don't take women sports journalists as seriously as men, but don't reveal the author for any of the articles. See if they can tell which "gender" is the voice of the story.

A 25-34 year old male said that gender has influenced his opinion because: "Women don't know shit about sports."

Sigh. Do I even need to touch on this one? It absolutely, positively, completely blows my mind that there are people out there who believe women are incapable of having sports knowledge. No, not all women are sports fans. And not all men are sports fans either. A sports fan is a sports fan. A sports journalist is a sports journalist. This doesn't need to be segregated into genders.

More results
When I asked for people to name their favorite sports reporters, I had plenty of different answers. The most popular ones were Ken Rosenthal, Erin Andrews, Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd.

I also asked for people to name which sport they follow the most. MLB (77 votes), NFL (51), NHL (35) and NBA (18) were among the most named. College basketball, soccer and tennis also received multiple votes while a variety of other sports were each named one time.

Back to the survey
I was mostly encouraged by some of the answers I received. However, some responses made me seriously question some of the people that follow me. Seriously. Seriously

An 18-24 year old female said she doesn't take women as seriously as men because, "They just want the attention from the male dominated career. 'Oh I'm so unique, I'm one of the guys.'"

Now obviously I can't speak for all journalists. But as a female who has absolutely adored sports since she was about four years old, and as a professional who now covers sports for a job, I can safely say that I have never done it for the attention. I have never done it to be "one of the guys." This is my passion. Finding something you truly love to do and being able to make a career out of it is so rare, and I've found that through sports.

This respondent also went on to say that women are "oogled at" but that the females "ask for it and want it." I've already touched on this topic above, so I'm not going to repeat myself. I'm just seriously concerned that people feel this way.

An 18-24 year old male said that he does not take women as seriously as men "because they have never played football or baseball." 

This is another argument that I have never quite understood. Yes, someone who has played the sport they are covering will have a different perspective with more experience. But does that mean all journalists should be athletes? If you've never played the sport, can you not be a fan either? Because you've never played the sport? Does that really seem logical?

So...moving on
I have been inspired by so many journalists, both women and men, as I continue to move forward in a career in sports reporting. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I can't change the minds of sexists and misogynists. It's not my job to prove to anyone that women are just as capable as men at covering sports.

I know that I'm smart when it comes to sports. I know plenty of women who are smart when it comes to sports. As long as I carry that with me, not a single negative thing I hear or see can stop me from doing what I want to do.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Imaginary Baseball Gene

There is a gene in the human body's DNA. It is a baseball gene. Not everyone has it. In fact, some would lead you to believe that only those of a certain gender are able to possess this gene.


Men have a special gene. They are automatically superior in their baseball knowledge. Their opinions are immediately more valid than anyone else's. Because they are men. And they have the gene.


Yes, I've touched on this subject before. It's a topic that I care deeply about and something I will continue to talk about for as long as I have the ability to type, write and speak.

Me with a couple of ladies who know their stuff.
For my Ethical Issues in Media class, I decided to do my topic on sexism in sports journalism. Women have come a long way since the days of Mary Garber, and progress continues to be made every day. That doesn't necessarily mean everything is perfect. Women are still disrespected. Our opinions are still met with criticism. Whether it's in the comments section on an article or in the wonderful world of Twitter, there are still men (and even some women) who see through sexist eyes.

Over the last year, I've gained a lot of Twitter followers. I tweet about baseball nonstop, as well as other sports too. That's where my following came from. I have some great people who follow me. They ask me questions relating to baseball. They link me to news topics.

But then I have those who act condescendingly toward me. Those who, just because they disagree, use the fact that I'm a woman to attack me. What does my gender have anything to do with my knowledge and love of baseball? I will forever be baffled by this. You cannot give me a valid reason or explanation as to why my gender plays any role in what I have to say.

Also, I'm not trying to impress you. I'm not flirting with you. If I want to talk baseball with you, it's because I want to talk about baseball. Don't be surprised when I can debate statistics with you. Don't think that I'm doing it to win you over. It's about baseball. Respect the game and respect me, and we'll get along just fine.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

20 Reasons Why Baseball is the Best

So, I realize I haven't updated this blog in about a year. I don't really have any reason for that, but I decided to begin posting more regularly for this 2013 season. About five minutes ago, a link to a story titled, "20 Reasons Baseball Is the Worst," was retweeted on my timeline.

So naturally, me being the psycho, crazed, obsessive fan that I am, was a little bit upset at this. I've decided to write a rebuttal. In no particular order, here are my 20 Reasons Why Baseball is the Best:

20. Web Gems

By John Munson, US Presswire
They can come at any time, for any player, against any team. It can be a catch that preserves a perfect game or a catch to win the game. It can end an inning or kill a potential rally. Whether it's a diving, sliding or hey-I-just-flipped-over-the-fence-and-somehow-survived catch, it will always garner "OOOHs" and "AHHHs" from me.

The web gems that always tickle my fancy are the diving catches in the outfield. Anytime I see a player lay out and land flat on their stomach to catch a ball, I'm just amazed. How do you recover from that? How are they able to jump back up like they didn't just belly flop on solid ground? Who are you people?!

19. Walk off wins

There is nothing like the satisfaction of watching a hard fought game that ends on a single swing for your favorite team. On the other hand, there is nothing as painful as watching a hard fought game that ends on a single swing against your favorite team.

But that's what makes baseball so great. There is no timer. You can't run out the clock. Who cares if it's 8-0 in the bottom of the 9th inning. It's not over! The home team still has a chance to put up that nine spot to win it. And the craziest part? It happens. It happens all the time.

Buzzer beaters are cool. Last second touchdowns are fun. But nothing can touch that moment when a player is barreling around third to beat a throw to the plate to win the game. Nothing comes close to a ball that leaves the park, landing in a sea of crazed fans as they celebrate a victory. Nothing is like watching a group of grown men beat each other up in a dog pile out of pure joy.

This is me on Opening Day in 2008. It was freezing.
18. Opening Day

I don't want to sound like I'm comparing baseball to other sports, because that would be silly. All sports are different and great for their own reasons. But let's be real here. Nothing comes close to baseball's Opening Day. Nothing. It's a holiday. Sure, it's not officially a holiday yet, but give it some time. It will happen. (My friend Marcus tackles that topic here, you should read it).

Opening Day gives every fan a feeling of hope. It's a new start. You know what it's like? Say you just had a bad breakup, or lost a job, or something else that involves things not working out your way. Then think of that moment of clarity when you say, "Hey, I'm going to be just fine. There's greater things waiting for me." That's what Opening Day is like. Forget what happened last season. Forget what happened in spring training. It's a new day. A new season. Every team has a fighting chance.

17. Pitchers' Duels

A wise woman once told me, "When two pitchers can go for nine long innings, matching each other pitch for pitch and embarrassing the opposing offense, that's when you know you're watching something special."

That wise woman was me. I told myself that. Just now.

It's true though, isn't it? It is special to watch a real, true duel between two pitchers. These are Major League hitters. Really, really good, professional, All Star hitters. So when you get to see pitchers who are also really, really good, it's something to enjoy. Of course, not when it's against your team. Bad things against your team are never good. That's why they're called "bad things."

But knowing that a single hit can change the outcome of a game because the two pitchers are lights out at the exact same time? That's what baseball is all about.

16. Late nights at the park

I love myself a day game, I really do. Sitting in Comerica Park with the sun beating down on my face is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Awkward sun burn on the top of my thighs? That's what baseball season looks like.

Kauffman Stadium. Photo by Mark Whitt.
But for me, night games are where it's at. You do get some daylight for about four innings, depending on the pace of the game. Then when the sun goes down and the lights are on, there's a certain magic. I mean sure, I think anything and everything related to baseball is magic. Night games though. Night games are different. The grass is so green and the lights are glowing, sometimes I don't realize we're actually sitting in the dark until I look up at the sky. I love how the scoreboard is a little brighter, the crowd a little louder. Everything just seems more magnified during night games.

15. Rich history

I think the phrase "Nothing is like..." has become a recurring theme in this post, but COME ON. There is nothing like baseball's history. I can't even begin to think about all of the amazing players, moments, coaches, games and stories that have unfolded over the years without getting emotional. Yes, I get emotional over baseball. Yes, I get emotional when I think about events that I was not even alive for but still impact me.

Because that's what baseball does. It impacts people. Do you know why 2006 has been my favorite year of life so far? Because the Tigers went to the World Series for the first time in my life that year. I remember what happened in certain years of my life based on what happened in baseball during that time. Am I sorry? Absolutely not. That's just the way it goes with me.

14. It's unpredictable

It's become predictable that something unpredictable is going to happen in baseball every season. We just never know what that unpredictable thing is going to be, therefore we can't predict it.

Photo by Kim Klement
Teams play 162 games in a season. 162 chances to get to first place and stay there. "It's a marathon, not a sprint." That's probably the most common quote you hear during the first month of the season. But what happens when it's the last week of the season, and it's time for teams to sprint? What happens when after 161 games, you still don't know which teams will be playing in the postseason?

Oh, that's right. Baseball happens. In all its glory, it gives us something like Game 162 in 2011. It gives us Dan Johnson, a guy whose first hit since April 27 came in the form of a pinch hit game-tying home run to send the Tampa Bay Rays to extra innings, where they eventually went on to clinch the Wild Card.

Would anyone have predicted that at the start of the season? At the start of the game? At the start of the inning? Nope. How can people say baseball is boring when you don't even know what's going to happen next?

13. Strategy

Baseball is more than just someone walking up to the plate and swinging a big wooden stick. It involves matchups. It involves timing. It involves knowing when to go and knowing when to put on the brakes. It's about trying to have a guy steal a base while the batter tries to get a base hit at the same time. A successful hit and run is one of the most beautiful things a fan can see.

Strategy comes from all over. The catcher, manager and third base coach are among the anchors. It's such a meticulous game. One wrong step - or one wrong pitch - can change the entire outcome.

12. "This is a real family"

Is there a better way to ask someone to Opening Day?
Admittedly, Fever Pitch is one of my favorite movies of all time. It has everything I want in a movie: romance, comedy and baseball. And Jimmy Fallon. I always want Jimmy Fallon.

Fallon's character, Ben Wrightman, is basically the male version of me. This particular quote stands out to me every single time:

They're here. Every April, they're here. At 1:05 or at 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don't get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that's here for you.

I love baseball for many reasons (hence, this list). I've loved it my whole life. This quote just about sums up why. The Tigers were consistently bad for pretty much my entire childhood. But did I care? Well, yes. I did. I was pretty bummed about it. But it only made me a bigger fan. Weird, right? I realized that I loved this sport so much, it didn't matter if the Tigers could hit a beach ball off a tee or not. They were still there. I could still root for them, good or bad, because they were there. Growing up, I couldn't ask for much more.

11. Baseball movies

Speaking of Fever Pitch, let's talk about the movies that have generated from this sport. Field of Dreams, The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Bull Durham, Major League, Angels in the Outfield, Moneyball, The Natural, For The Love of the Game, A League Of Their Own and many, many more.

Personally, I think all movies should be baseball movies. Just make all films from here on out about baseball. Every last one of them. Because then quotes like these will be in my life. Quotes that say how I feel, but much more eloquently and beautifully:

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
Gosh darn it Field of Dreams, you make me weep!

10. It's diverse 

When you look at any baseball roster in MLB, you see a melting pot of cultures. It is a game for people from all over the world. Players ranging from Cuba to the Netherlands and everywhere in between are able to come together because of their love for this game.

Photo by Mike Blake
Can I be cheesy for a minute? Okay. I will. Not every player on every team speaks the same language. There are some barriers which I imagine make it hard to communicate. But you know what? Baseball is one language that all of them speak.

As a society, I think we can learn a lesson from this. Don't be afraid of people who are different than you. See? That's baseball. It's more than just a sport.

9. It brings people together

Going off what I said above, baseball is a sport that bonds people together like no other. Baseball fans get it. We understand each other. I can tell when I'm talking to a casual fan and when I'm talking to someone who really gets it. When I was in Arizona for the MLB Fan Cave and surrounded by 29 other baseball fans, I was with people who got it. These were my people.

And just like that, I became best friends with fans from all over the country. Do I hate the White Sox? Of course! Do I want the Indians to win? No way! But guess what? Two of my best friends from that experience ended up being a White Sox and Indians fan. Seriously. This isn't a joke.

But once again, that's the beauty of baseball. Did I ever think I'd have something in common with a Rockies fan? Or a Cubs fan? Did I ever imagine myself watching cartoons with a Yankees fan? Sure, we all root for different teams. But in the end, we're baseball fans.

These are all really cool people.

8. The voices

No, not the voices in your head. We'll talk about that later. I'm talking about the voices of baseball. The voices of summer. The voices that raised us. Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, Russ Hodges, Harry Kalas, Bob Uecker, to name just a few.

These voices have defined some of our favorite baseball memories. Baseball is about the audio as much as it is about the visual. You don't just watch baseball, you listen to it. You listen to the stories. You listen to the way they describe each play, almost like they're painting a picture.

Please, just listen. Thank me later.

7. The stadiums

From classic, historic parks like Fenway and Wrigley Field, to a modern stadium like Target Field in Minnesota, each home for baseball is unique and different in its own way. Each place has something different to offer, something that they can claim as their own.

I've been to seven parks in my young life (Tiger Stadium, Comerica Park, Progressive Field, Rogers Centre, Great American Ballpark, Turner Field and Chase Field) and I can safely say that each one was different from the last. My goal, like most baseball fans, is to see a game in each stadium. It'll happen one day. And when it does, I'll report back to this little ol' blog and confirm the fact that each park has its own personality.

6. It's every day

I think that's why it's easy to get so attached to baseball. It happens every day. Each series is usually three or four games (with rare two-game series popping up every now and then) so each day is a chance for you, as a fan, to be either really happy or really bummed out.

But it's also a chance for each team to have short term memory. Unlike football, where a team has a week to mull it over (or sometimes two, depending on if it's a bye week or not), in baseball, they have the chance to fix what they did wrong the very next day.

162 games is a long season. Playing nearly every day for 6-7 months is also very long. But as I said above, sometimes even that isn't enough. Each game matters. That phrase is never more true than it is in this sport.

5. Comebacks

Photo by Todd Gannam
Whether the comeback comes in the form of a game, a player or a team, there's nothing like redemption in baseball. Oh look, there's that phrase again. Nothing like it.

Remember 2003? When the Tigers record was 43-119? No, that's not a typo. That is an actual record. That's an actual thing that happened. But then remember 2006? Three years later? When Magglio Ordonez hit a walk off home run to send the Tigers to the World Series?!

Because I remember it. I remember it like it was yesterday. That's a comeback. That's a team that came back from losing an American League record just a few years before.

Or what about Rick Ankiel? You remember that story. Here's a guy who left the league after failing dramatically as a pitcher. Seven years later, he's back as an outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals and then goes on to SMASH the ball for the rest of the season like he had been doing it for years.

4. Statistics

Of course, every sport has statistics. That's how you measure who's great and who's not so great. But no sport's statistics are more debated and more discussed than that of baseball.

Photo by Chris Buck
Do I even have to mention the Trout vs. Cabrera debate of yesteryear? Because I'm pretty sure that's what you were all thinking as soon as I said "statistics" and "debated" in the same sentence. There's advanced stats, traditional stats, fun stats, weird stats, pointless stats, stats and stats and stats.

(I just realized "stats" is a palindrome. I love palindromes.)

I'll forever scream that the win/loss statistic for a pitcher is overrated. If you ever judge a pitcher based solely on their wins, I'll probably judge you based on your judgment. But see? That's why it's so fun.

3. Trade deadline and winter meetings

July 31 is almost like a holiday. But it's not the same kind of holiday as Opening Day. No, this holiday is a bit different. But much like Opening Day, anything can happen before the trade deadline. Surprise deals, no deals, any deals at all.

Fans and writers come up with crazy scenarios. Twitter is constantly abuzz with the latest news and rumors. And this is all happening while baseball is still being played. It's pure chaos.

And the winter meetings help hold people over until spring training begins. Favorite winter meeting memory? When the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Unexpected, huge and left me speechless. That's baseball.

2. The fact that I can even talk about it like this

Seriously. It's almost 4 in the morning and I'm writing a short novel about why baseball is amazing. I love sports. I love them all. But I could never, ever feel as passionate and as strongly about those sports as I do about baseball.

1. It's personal

I love baseball for more than just the game itself. I love what it symbolizes. I love the traditions that I've started because of it. I love that because of baseball, I have a career path that I know I want to take.

It all started with my Paw Paw. I watched every single game with him from when I was about five years old until the last day of his life. He was in hospice, and the last thing I did with him was sit and watch a Tigers game. It'll always bring comfort to me. Every time I watch a game, I think of him. I think of what he would say during certain situations. This is my second season watching without him, and it's not something I'll ever get used to. But it's just one more way that I'm able to keep his memory alive.

Baseball is much more than just a sport, and it's much more than just a game. And that's why it's the best.

To be fair to the article from Bleacher Report, he does end it by saying that he continues to love baseball in spite of all the things he listed. But still. The reasons that make baseball the best will always outnumber the rest. (Ended with a rhyme. So clutch)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Goodbye and Good Luck, Brandon Inge

In 20 at bats this season, he was hitting an even .100. His two hits were a home run and a double. He bobbled a couple balls at second, his newest position. The fans were booing him. Some even admitting on Twitter that they didn't want to see him get a hit. Because yes, rooting against someone in a Tigers uniform but still calling yourself a Tigers fan makes so much sense.

But alas, he is gone. Brandon Inge was released today and for me, it was bittersweet. I was never an Inge hater. I was never as extreme as a lot of people I have seen. I acknowledged his struggles and I hoped for him to get better. That was it. He frustrated me, but never outraged me. He was a Tiger for 12 years. That's more than half of my life. I'm a very sentimental person. I get invested in teams and players. Inge wasn't just an ordinary player for me. The Tigers have seen a lot of terrible hitters come and go, yet Inge was my favorite of those. "You have a favorite bad hitter?" Yes, yes I do.

Inge was in love with Detroit. Detroit was in love with him. We rallied behind him in 2009 and sent him to the All Star Game. We watched him compete (and fail miserably) in the Home Run Derby. You could see more Inge jerseys at Comerica Park than just about any other player. For every person who loved him, there was someone who despised him. A player shouldn't be rated on his personality and charity work, but that's what connected a lot of people to him. Many fans looked beyond the stats and those who didn't were ruthless toward him. He was the thorn in many people's side.

This is not on the same level as the "FIRE MILLEN!" movement. Millen didn't seem to care about the Lions. Inge cared about the Tigers. He worked hard. Some might say he complained too much and talked big about himself, but he was a good teammate. Those are the two words that keep popping up. Every Tiger they have talked to so far has said that he was a good teammate. And who would know better than them?

Look, I will never defend his poor play. The numbers don't lie and I am certainly not blind. But to act like Inge didn't do something for the Tigers is just silly. His webgems at third are some of the greatest memories I have of any Tigers fielder. From 2000-2012, he put on that Old English D and represented our city. He was so determined to someday get over that hump and do what he tried promising us. It sounds pathetic, I realize that. But personally, that's what I admired about him.

The other day, someone on Twitter said he wasn't going to bother arguing with me (on a separate subject) because I said that people shouldn't boo Inge (or anyone on their own team, really). Just because I have a special place in my Tigers fan heart for a career .234 hitter, doesn't mean I'm stupid. Don't try to say I don't know what I'm talking about. I associate Inge with my childhood and watching him at third base with my Paw Paw, who absolutely loved his "scrappy play", as he would say.

Brandon Inge is no longer a Tiger, and it makes sense. He didn't earn his spot on the roster. He didn't play the way a man making that kind of money should have been playing. I'm going to remember the good times he had here. I'm going to remember how happy I felt for him in 2006 because of what he went through in 2003. I really, really don't care what you have to say about my feelings on this.

This was the right move. I'm just really sad it ended this way.

“But my heart will always be in Detroit 100% forever. I appreciate everything that’s happened here and every opportunity that I’ve been given. But it’s a business when you come down to it. I hope the team does well. I hope they go on to win it all.” - Brandon Inge

Saturday, March 31, 2012


One thing that seems to get lost in the sports fandom is the realization that every single one of those athletes are human beings. They all have families, they all have friends, and they all have lives outside of their sport. The behavior of some fans that I have seen at games and on Twitter is downright disrespectful, unnecessary, and unacceptable.

When I was a young girl, going to Tiger Stadium and then Comerica Park was the highlight of all of my summers. I watched every game that I could on television and seeing them in person was a surreal experience. I will admit that my favorite Tiger as a young'n was none other than Bobby Higginson. Being a kid, I was innocent and naive to the game. I didn't know about contracts, or how much each player was making. All I wanted to do was watch the Tigers and celebrate the rare moments in which they won. So when I encountered my first heckler at a baseball game, I was entirely too confused for my own good.

“Why is that guy in the Tigers shirt booing Higgy?!” I asked my Paw Paw, who I always sat next to.

“He isn't hitting the way they're paying him to. He's letting everyone down,” my Paw Paw would answer.

Ahh, money. The root of all problems. I started to realize the business side of baseball, and it was a side that I did not like.

From the first day I witnessed a heckler until now, I still find it to be the most disrespectful type of “fan” that there is. Yes, worse than the loud person sitting behind you who doesn't know a single thing about baseball. Worse than the people who kick the back of your seat. I find hecklers more annoying than people who try to start the wave at a crucial moment in the game.

Who are you benefiting by yelling at a ballplayer? Who gains anything from you saying nasty things to an athlete on Twitter? When a player is batting poorly or a pitcher can't seem to find the plate, why boo? Why kick a player while they are down? It's not as if they want to do bad. They've worked their entire life to make it to The Show. Do you think they WANT to blow that chance? How is booing going to help them in any way at all? Show some respect.

I realize I'm talking to myself here. The people who treat baseball players as just a number on the back of a jersey rather than real human beings will never change. And you know what? I understand the frustration. It isn't fun watching a baseball player struggle. To say it bluntly: it sucks. Every baseball fan wants to see the best 25 players on their favorite team. Trust me, I get it. But as mad as it makes you to watch a player have a hard time, imagine how it feels for them. Imagine how it feels for their family members. Yelling from the stands or typing from behind your computer isn't going to solve anything. “That player couldn't hit a beach ball off a tee! He sucks! I'm going to tell him about it!” As if he doesn't already know? As if telling a player how bad they're doing is going to magically make them do better? Get real.

Yes, I know there is a such thing as “playful heckling.” I know when people are joking around. I might have been naive when I was younger, but I'm a little bit smarter now. I don't expect any fan base to be all sunshine and rainbows but I do expect fans to learn a thing or two about what it means to respect others.

I said in my first blog post that this would be like my “baseball diary” of sorts. Well, here's a perfect example. I enjoyed the rant session. :)