Open Thread: Hope and Surprise

There was a request for some open threads during the All Star break. I’m happy to oblige. Here are today’s topics for discussion:

  • At what point did you become a believer in this team?
  • What or who has been the biggest surprise of the first half?
  • Who do you think will have the biggest impact for the Tigers after the All Star break?
  • What has been your favorite Rod Allenism of the first half?

24 Comments

  1. Joe V.

    July 10, 2006 at 11:59 am

    At what point did you become a believer in this team? – After the Leyland tirade, and watching how the team responded on that early west coast trip.
    What or who has been the biggest surprise of the first half? – Marcus Thames, great to see him taste the success he has after bouncing around the minors for so long.
    Who do you think will have the biggest impact for the Tigers after the All Star break? – Leyland and Chuck Hernandez. It will be critical that the pitching staff is handled correctly in terms of workload.
    What has been your favorite Rod Allenism of the first half? – Hard to pick a favorite. I will just say he has been fun to listen to and is one of the best color guys in the game.

  2. Jeff M

    July 10, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    What or who has been the biggest surprise of the first half?

    1. Miner… Talk about flying under the radar. This kid can pitch.
    2. Verlander… We all knew he was good, but I think we all expected a few growing pains.
    3. Zumaya… same as Verlander. It’s a little easier to hide his inexperience in the bullpen though.
    4. Granderson… No growing pains at all
    5. Rogers… everyone figured he’s regress atleast a little
    6. Maroth and Robertson definitely stepped it up a couple notches

    Everyone else is basically playing near expectations, which I suppose is a bit of a surprise in and of itself.

    At what point did you become a believer in this team?

    After April, I was pretty sure they were in for a winning season. After Miner put in a few good starts, I became pretty sure they had a good shot at the playoffs.

    Who do you think will have the biggest impact for the Tigers after the All Star break?

    Dave Dombrowski.

  3. Lou

    July 10, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    I believed in the Tigers after I went to see them in person on April 20. That was their first come from behind win. More specifically, I believed in them after Inge’s 15 pitch at bat in the top of the ninth. Inge was absolutely going to get on base and it didn’t matter how many pitches Duscherer was going to throw. It was absolutely amazing. Once he got on base, I just felt like they were going to win, and they did.

    My favorite Allenism was the game against Prior, “They’re beating him up like he stole something.” That was hilarious.

  4. BTurk

    July 10, 2006 at 12:27 pm

    At what point did you become a believer in this team?
    – After Leyland blew a gasket and the team responded by going on a run.

    What or who has been the biggest surprise of the first half?
    – Zach Miner. He has been huge in stepping for Mike Maroth.

    Who do you think will have the biggest impact for the Tigers after the All Star break?
    – Jim Leyland for obvious reasons, but if I had to pick a player I’d have to say Todd Jones, he needs to either step it up or the Tigers need to move on and put someone else in the closer role because I don’t trust his 6+ ERA in a pennant race.

    What has been your favorite Rod Allenism of the first half?
    – This ones a close race between “That’s just good baseball.” and “That’s a big league pitch.”

  5. Jeff M

    July 10, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Marcus Thames, great to see him taste the success he has after bouncing around the minors for so long.

    Good call. I forgot Thames. I’d throw him somewhere in the middle of my list.

    [Rod Allen] is one of the best color guys in the game.

    I’m not such a fan. I feel that he dumbs the game down too much sometimes. Especially when he goes on about a pitcher hitting triple digits. Yeah, it’s great, but the road is littered with hard throwers. These guys are good because they know how to pitch. I think it’s a little degrading to focus so much on the radar.

  6. Kyle J

    July 10, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    1) Hard to say. I’m a numbers guy. When they reached the point a month or so ago that they could go .500 down the stretch and still win 90 games, I thought they were a legitimate contender.

    2) Impossible to separate out the pitchers: Verlander being so good so fast. Maroth being so solid–with Miner being even better when Maroth went down. Rogers being even better than he was last year w/ the Rangers. And Robertson is maybe the biggest surprise. Going into the year he seemed like the kind of guy who had hit his ceiling.

    3) Two answers: Verlander (can he hold up down the stretch) and whichever hitter DD brings in. They need someone who can take the offense up a notch, because the pitching is going to have to fall off at least a bit. As Henning argues in today’s Detroit News, Abreu is clearly the ideal solution.

  7. Kyle J

    July 10, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    4) Comment on Allen: I’m not a big fan. He provides a bit of insight on some of the more technical aspects of the game (hitting mechanics, in particular). But he’s awful in analyzing tactical/strategic decisions. My prediction (or hope, at least) is that, assuming the Tigers continue to contend the next few years, they’ll bring in a former player with a bit more name recognition to replace him.

  8. Rich

    July 10, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    I don’t have a lot of time to respond, but for me the part of the season where i was ready to accept that we weren’t going to collapse was when Granderson hit an opposite field home run in the bottom of the ninth against cinci.

  9. matt

    July 10, 2006 at 2:38 pm

    1. after they started the season 6-0.
    2. curtis granderson
    3. jeremy bonderman
    4. i miss gibby

  10. Kyle J

    July 10, 2006 at 2:42 pm

    Liriano replaces Contreras (who starter yesterday) on the AL team:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=2515402

    I feel better about Liriano going instead of Verlander now that Liriano has enough innings to qualify as the AL ERA leader.

  11. Kyle M

    July 10, 2006 at 3:48 pm

    1. After Griffey Jr’s Grand slam. The team didn’t quit they knew they were still in it. I believed in them when I could see that they believed in each other.
    2. The biggest suprise has to be Thames. He went from a AAAA player with a last name that a lot of peoples mispronounce to a middle of the order bat on the team with the best record in baseball. Not a bad first half.
    3. Bonderman is the key for the 2nd half. With Verlander’s IP’s piling up & Rogers’ age he is the key to the rotation which is the key to the team’s success.
    4. Rod saying ‘Go ‘head Baby Boy’ after Curtis Granderson channels his inner superman and does something herioc.

  12. J Scott

    July 10, 2006 at 4:16 pm

    1) I became a believer when after falling to 7-7, they rattled off five straight on the west coast.

    2) Zach Miner was the biggest surprise to me. I had thought that Colon had been the target of the Farnsworth trade.

    3) I hope it is Mike Maroth who will have the biggest impact. If can pitch the way he was in April and May, then we will have six starters and can afford to keep everybody fresh. I am especially thinking about Verlander who is at 110 innings, and should not go over 180 if we want him effective in the playoffs.

    4) I like Rod Allen. I wish he and Mario would cut out the hackneyed jokes poking fun at each other. And his theories on the running game are suspect, but I like him.

  13. Steve

    July 10, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    1) I became a believer when they gutted out the comeback win over the Yankees.

    2) Biggest surprise? Granderson. It was clear last year he could play, but his all-around talents have been really astonishing.

    3) Biggest impact the rest of the way? Bobby Abreu. Or so I hope.

    4) Rod’s problem is his obsession with the bunt and weak grounders to the right side. So my favorite Rod-ism is “you’ve got to move the runner along here, give yourself up”, followed by his shock when the guy swings away and gets a hit (thereby moving the runner, not wasting an out, and adding another man on base). I think he’d genuinely be happy at a bases loaded, nobody out double play grounder if it got the run in.

  14. Steve

    July 10, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    I did a book report on Al Kaline when I was in 3rd grade. After that I was a psydo Yankee fan until I visited Detroit with my wife a few times every year to visit her friends. My son and I would go to the Tiger games. I rememebered my book report from years gone by and we got jerseys and became fans.

    My biggest surprize is Z. Both for the drafting of him, he is an eighth rounder and he has a fun attitude twords the game. I love the fact that he has a real nasty fastball but has other pitcher as well. My son and I will be getting Zumaya jerseys for Christmas this year.

    Favorite rodism, I think pretty much any night qualifies. Neither of the guys will be compared to Vin Scully but “interestingly enough” these two guys grow on you. I will admit I listen to the radio more and I really like the both of them. All of the guys are just like you and me, down to earth and regulr people. If you want to loose your mind listen to the crumsox tv guys. I cant believe that the FCC doesnt take those to ding bats off the air.

    David Ortiz just hit one that landed in Cleveland.

    Have a great nite……….

    Steve

  15. Nate

    July 10, 2006 at 10:51 pm

    – My belief started last season just before the All-Star break. And then there was the poor poor timing of the Farnsworth trade(which happily has worked out very well) to break mine and the team’s spirit.

    But after that loss of hope, like others have commented, the early season Leyland rant and ensuing hard fought west coast trip sparked it again. It’s been an exciting season that even the rough stretch against the Yanks, Bosox, etc. hasn’t dampened.

    – The biggest supprise to me has been Zach Miner. While he’s not been as dominating as our other starters, he’s been solid enough to allow the team to win. He was not something I expected to see this season. I like the Farnsworth trade now, simply because of this kid.

    Marcus Thames takes a close 2nd in this category. I’ve never been impressed by him and felt he was good only for strikeouts and the occasional homerun against mediocre pitching. I still don’t care for him and I don’t expect his production to keep up as it has, but I am happy we’ve gotten it and I’d be just as happy to see him continue the pace and help the team. However, I think his biggest value to the team right now is as trade bait because of those numbers.

    Verlander, Zumaya, and Granderson also deserve mention for superb rookie season.

    – I expect continued and probably increased production from Granderson as he learns big league pitchers, and his defensive contributions will be big. I think Bonderman is also approaching the ace level we were prommised. Both will be keys to the 2nd half.

    – Sadly, I dont get FSN anymore and haven’t had the Rod Allen Experience this season. He tends to annoy me a little durring a game, but some of his comments are just off the wall hillarious, and I love reading em when others post. The one about the Tigs beating up on Prior is the best I’ve seen posted.

  16. Jerry

    July 10, 2006 at 11:31 pm

    Over on ESPN.com. Jonah Keri has a great mid season report/ tribute to the 84 Tigers on “Page 2”. It was well written and a great trip down memory lane. Check it out.

  17. Dave

    July 11, 2006 at 12:36 am

    My belief started in Spring Training. No one in their right mind could have predicted the Tigers to have the best record, but I really believed good things were coming. It started way back in Spring Training when it became apparant that they were going to keep both Verlander and Zumaya right out of the gate. We all knew, that short of a horrendous spring training, Verlander was going to get the 5th spot. But Zumaya was more of a ????

    Surprise of the year has to be Granderson in the leadoff spot, Thames wherever they plug him in, the quality and depth of the starting rotation and Zumaya lights out in whatever inning he’s pitching.

    Biggest 2nd half impact player: Hmmmmm. Let’s go with Alfonso Soriano. Just a rumor though. And based on his Futures Game appearance and his overall season, I’m not sure if I’m happy with Humberto Sanchez’s name being thrown around in trade rumors. But I wonder which National League scout said this: “Sanchez was pretty doggone impressive,” a scout from a National League organization said. “He threw three pitches for strikes, worked in and out all over the zone. Those are three tough outs and he made it looks easy.”

    Rodism: Don’t have one really. Mario and Rod have definitely grown on me over the years, but the majority of my Tigers games are delivered courtesy of Dickerson and Price, even though I still long to hear Ernie.

  18. Jason

    July 11, 2006 at 9:50 am

    1. When they spanked the Twins in the Baggie Dome.

    2. Zach Miner. I thought Maroth’s injury was the beginning of the end for this team. Boy, was I glad to be proven wrong.

    3. Chris Shelton. We can’t accept Shelton’s swoons when he’s hopeless at the plate. We need him to drive the ball consistently.

    4. The second game of the Tigers-Cubs series. In both instances, the timing was better than the substance.

    After our fourth or fifth homer, Rod said, “They don’t call it the Friendly Confines for nothing!” He then repeated that phrase about 20 times during the series.

    Then, Fernando Rodney came to bat in the 9th inning. The camera panned to Rodney in the on-deck circle, bat in hand, looking clueless. Rod said, on cue, “He looks like a fish out of water standin’ there.” I almost fell over laughing.

  19. Jeff M

    July 11, 2006 at 10:06 am

    Rod did get me laughing pretty hard one time… I forget which game it was, but we were on the road and we hit about 20 homers, most of them to left field. He said something about how they need to evacuate the stands before someone gets hurt.

  20. Rich

    July 11, 2006 at 10:12 am

    hahaha, “he beatin on Prior like he stole something.”

  21. Peanut

    July 11, 2006 at 11:09 am

    Favorite Rodism:

    1. “that’s straight filthy” (describing Tiger pitching)
    2. “He tried to sneak a piece of cheese by ’em” (describing Tiger hitter clobbering a high fastball.
    3. “That’s why you got the college degree, partna'” (mocking Mario for correcting Rod’s grammar)

  22. Carl

    July 11, 2006 at 11:31 am

    Never at a loss for words, Rod Allen had me confused and laughing my butt off with:

    “…Yeah… this… Curtis Granderson… he’s a man…”

    This is why I stick to 1270.

  23. Sam

    July 11, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    At what point did you become a believer in this team?

    They were 18-9 and 1130am was talking about them one morning. They were trying to predict the total number of wins for the season. I called in and explained I was a long time season ticket holder and went to SPring Training almost every year. I told them I had predicted 82-90 wins at the beginning of the season, but if everything fell right I could see 95 wins. They laughed their butts off and threw me under the bus for being delusional. Their consensus was 85 wins.

    What or who has been the biggest surprise of the first half?

    Verlander – He will probably die around August 15th because of the innings, but how good is he!

    Zoom-Zoom – How cool is it to watch the games on the road and see the opposing fans reaction when he juices the gun a 101!

    Who do you think will have the biggest impact for the Tigers after the All Star break?

    Dombrowski – May have to get another Arm. Who is going to be the left handed sitck they pick up? Or will DY fill that role?

    What has been your favorite Rod Allenism of the first half?
    already stated earlier, but when he said they may have to clear LF at Miller Park (or was it Texas?) before someone got hurt with the Bombs the Kittys were unloading.

  24. Anne

    July 12, 2006 at 5:20 pm

    1. When did you first become a believer? I started to suspect after the Easter Sunday game which Maroth won, 1-0. Since when do the Tigs ever WIN a 1-0 game? I really knew we had something going, though, April 20 in Oakland, with that come-from-behind win in the 9th (especially Inge’s at-bat). I mean, since when do the Tigs WIN one in the 9th? That’s when I knew these were not the same old Tigers.

    2. Biggest surprise–definitely Maroth and Robertson. Remember, we’ve seen these guys before, and WHEN did they ever pitch like have this year? I’d have to classify Miner as the biggest relief of the first half.

    3.Key to the 2nd half–I have to say Rogers. I’m hoping the knock on him as a 2nd half fader is not true (let’s pray for a nice cool summer 🙂 ), but a lot of what I read on other baseball sites has me a bit worried, as in “They don’t hate him in Detroit yet, but they will.” So far, I’m not buying it, but we’ll see.

    4.Favorite Rodism–can’t say, don’t have cable. It’s strictly radio for me. I remember when channel 50 used to broadcast games; I’d turn off the sound on the TV and turn up the radio. No knock against Kaline and Kell, Harwell was just that good.