Group Project: Preserving Tiger Stadium

Okay, so we’re not going to all start a campaign to save the old girl before she gets it from the wrecking ball. What I’m talking about is preserving some of Tiger Stadium’s history and charm. Moving some of Michigan and Trumbull to Montcalm and Witherall.

A couple weeks ago I flashed back to the overwhelming sense of green when entering a stadium. The comments went down the road of remembering Tiger Stadium. A commentor named Ed left the following:

I wish parts of Tiger Stadium had been integrated into Comerica. Sometime in July or August I wrote Dave Dombrowski about that very thing. He wrote back…personally!…to say that they have been thinking about that very thing. His letter stated too that they would be considering what they might do and thanked me for my suggestions.

So I thought maybe we could come up with a list of ideas. I’d love the rightfield overhang to make the journey, but that may be a little too hard to pull off. Something simpler might be to the have flags from the other American League teams ringing the top of the stadium.

What would you like to see brought from the old place to Comerica Park?

161 Tiger Games on TV

What a change from the last couple years when the Tigers were scrambling to get games on TV. This year the Tigers have ensured that all but one game will be televised – and they did it before the end of January. Last year they were still adding games in mid April.

Fox Sports Net Detroit will pick up 134 games (plus 3 spring training games). Fox 2 WJBK will be the over the air partner which will air 17 additional weekend games, plus simulcast Opening Day. For those who are out-state a network of over-the-air affiliates is being lined up throughout Michigan and the Toledo area to carry the package of games airing on WJBK. An additional 10 games will be on National television in the form of Fox Saturday Baseball or ESPN Sunday night baseball.

The lone game that won’t be aired is an April 7th tilt against the Royals that falls during Fox’s exclusive rights window.
Continue reading 161 Tiger Games on TV

Beane, Prospects, and Options

  • Athletics Nation interviews Billy Beane. Beane comments on the ALCS and the Tigers:

    Blez: You mentioned the series against the Tigers. I felt as though the Tigers changed their fundamental batting approach and sort of gave the A’s a taste of their own approach in being very patient with our starters. The Tigers weren’t exactly known to be patient hitters.

    Beane: I think that’s exactly what they did. They were coming off a pretty emotional win against the Yankees and they had a very talented team. They were swinging the bats kind of like when we played the Reds back in the `90 World Series. They had a lot of self-confidence and when they got down a run or two it didn’t seem to bother them. We caught them at a bad time. The better team won that series and that needs to be said. I don’t think anyone should’ve walked away thinking, oh we should’ve won that series. We got boat-raced.

  • Keith Law has his top 25 prospect list(insider). A big component of his list is proximity to the Majors and he also qualifies that players should have a full season of pro ball experience (so no Andrew Miller). Cameron Maybin comes in 15th with these criteria.

    15. Cameron Maybin, CF, Tigers
    More tools than Home Depot, but lacks the polish of Fernando Martinez or the discipline of Jose Tabata. With development, he could easily be one of the top three or four prospects in the game next winter.

  • Jon Paul Morosi notes that despite Zach Miner’s success last year his option years might keep him in the minors in favor of an out-of-option player like Roman Colon or Chad Durbin. Larrison is also out of options, but if he makes the team out of spring training I’d have to imagine things have gone horribly wrong. Morosi also clarifies a couple other option rules:

    Correcting an earlier item in this space, also relating to options: Infielders Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago each have at least one option remaining, but would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors. (Reason: Three calendar years have passed since their first appearances in the major leagues.) Neifi Perez has options remaining, as well, but can refuse any minor league assignment because of his service time.

Weekend Roundup

  • The Daily Fungo interviews Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey. It’s a very interesting listen, and I think it’s great that Petroskey took the time for a blogger/podcaster.
  • Keith Law ranks the minor league systems. Detroit ranks a respectable 11th. (Insider).

    The Gary Sheffield deal kept them out of the top 10, but Cameron Maybin is just a tick below the Jose Tabatas and Fernando Martinezes of the world, while Andrew Miller should be one of the top five pitching prospects in the minors by midseason.

  • John Donovan says the Tigers are the only team without a weakness.

    The Tigers, top to bottom, are the most solid team around. Stronger than ’06. No holes. Really. As long as Sean Casey stays healthy at first, they’ll be tough.

Catching up with Dan Dickerson

Detroit Tigers play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his much-shorter-than-normal offseason to chat with me. We discussed 2006, the Magglio Ordonez call, and the outlook for 2007.

DTW: 2006 was a special season for everyone involved with or rooting for the Detroit Tigers. Was the season more fun and/or satisfying for you as a lifelong fan of the team or as a member of the organization?
Dan: It’ll be hard to draw a line between the two. Obviously I am fan because I grew up a Tiger fan. I think it probably is the most satisfying because it is your job and you’ve been part of something that’s been a lot of fun, but without a lot of success. And then, if it wasn’t out of nowhere, then it was certainly unexpected tremendous success. So to be a part of the organization, to be a part of watching that team, it was incredibly satisfying and gratifying. It was a lot of fun to be a part of it.

It was amazing to me to see them go from a situation where over the previous two years you’d go into a series and think “they have a chance” to going into every game expecting them to win. And for that to transform that quickly was an incredible thing to watch.

Continue reading Catching up with Dan Dickerson

Tigers Miscellaney

This, that, and the other…

  • The big news in baseball is the impending exclusive deal for the Extra Innings package with DirecTV. Here is a roundup of what some columnists are saying. Living in Southeast Michigan this isn’t a big deal to me. But with the Tigers surge in popularity I’m sure there are many displaced Tiger fans who will be frustrated. I’ve put up a poll related to this in the sidebar. Let me know what you think.
  • The Tigers signed Joey Eischen to a minor league deal. He’ll get an invite to the big league camp, as will catcher Dusty Ryan.
  • When I mentioned being surprised that the Tigers were positioning Eulogio de la Cruz as a starter, Matt sent info showing how much better de la Cruz performed as a starter last year. Matt also has a blog where he recently did a deep dive of the Tigers drafting of college players and their progressions through the system
  • Jason Beck has a couple of TV notes. Beck notes that the Tigers have 6 televised spring training games. Also, the Tigers have eight 3:55pm Saturday games which is the start time for Fox Saturday Baseball.
  • Cameron Maybin has a webpage. (hat tip The Surge)
  • Carlos Pena is following in the tradition of Greg Norton, Alex Sanchez, and Eric Munson. He’s signing with the Devil Rays.
  • For my feed subscribers, it seems like I just went full feed and now I’m back to partial. But it’s not my fault (entirely). I recently upgraded to the new version of WordPress (2.1) which supports full feeds differently than the old version. I’m hoping this gets corrected in the short term or that a work around is created. In any case I hope to be all the way back to full feed by the end of the weekend, even if it means uninstalling the new version.

Plate Appearance Depth for pitchers

After taking a look at how hitters did as plate appearances grew longer, it seemed easy enough to see how the pitchers fared.

I decided to take a look at two Tigers with contrasting styles, Jeremy Bonderman and Kenny Rogers
Bonderman performance by depth of PA
The MLB 2006 norm was for OBPs to start increasing once the plate appearance went beyond 4 pitches. However, Bonderman’s stayed relatively flat throughout. This could be indicative of Bonderman’s unwillingness to “give in” to an opposing hitter. It was an approach that had pretty good results for Bonderman, but the rise in slugging percentage may indicate he got burned this way on occasion.
Continue reading Plate Appearance Depth for pitchers

Tuesday Linking

Short and sweet…

Chilling at TigerFest

The Tigers took a big gamble this year by moving TigerFest to Comerica Park. Things were looking up with a generally mild winter, right up until this cold snap. While the event was a smashing success from a ticketing standpoint, most reviews suggest that if you’re going to host 12,000 people in January, an outdoor venue might not be the place to do it.
Continue reading Chilling at TigerFest

Quick Links

We’re over the hump of the offseason and news is flowing now. So these link posts might get to be more frequent.

On another note, if anybody makes it down to TigerFest and would like to share their experiences drop me a line. I screwed up and waited too long for tickets so the boy and I are missing out.

Tigers extend Rodney

It seems like just a few days ago that the Tigers agreed to a one year contract with Fernando Rodney. Well it was just a few days ago. That contract is gone and has been replaced by a shiny new 2 year contract. I haven’t found terms yet, but I’ll update when I do.

UPDATE: Jason Beck has the dollars, $2.7 million in total. Not much to complain about there. The contract secures Rodney at an affordable price for 2008 when Todd Jones won’t be around. A quality bullpen arm for two years at a reasonable price.

Jim Leyland on Neifi Perez

Eric picked this up early on, and I saw the comments posted on MotownSports as well. Jim Leyland was interviewed today on the Stoney and Wojo show on WDFN. Mike Stone asked Jim Leyland, “what does Jim Leyland see in Neifi Perez that we as fans and media members don’t?” The response wasn’t the typical fluff you’d expect. Here is the transcribed version of what Leyland said.

Well that’s a good question because he played terrible. And what had happened was we got reports from our scouts, and I had known him from the past. We were kind of in a panic situation. We had lost Polly and we needed someone who could come in and play second, and play shortstop as well because Carlos needed some time off. And up to this point it looks like we made a mistake.

So Neifi’s going to have to prove us wrong this spring because has not been a good acquisition up to this point.

But that was my fault, and the scouts. And I like said we had to have somebody. And I hope Neifi’ll prove us wrong. I think he’ll be much better than what he showed last year because he showed absolutely nothing when he came over.

Now this reads like he was slamming Neifi something fierce. He was very gruff and matter-of-fact, but it’s a little softer when you actually listen to the interview (available on WDFN podcast page). And in typical Leyland fashion he was more than willing to take responsibility.

That said I thought this was a little bit much to call out a player like that in the media in January. I love that Leyland didn’t pull punches and was honest, but what did they really expect from Perez in the first place? Perez pretty much performed up to reasonable expectations given his history.

I’ve definitely done my share of Neifi-bashing in the past, but I tried to direct my frustrations less at Neifi and more at Jim Leyland’s insistence on playing him. Perez didn’t ask to come to Detroit, and it’s really not his fault that teams keep giving him playing time. I actually feel a little sympathetic towards Perez right now. Weird.

But the good news for Tiger fans is that it looks like the Tigers definitely aren’t committed to keeping Perez on the roster and that Infante will have a pretty good shot at making the team.