Visiting the Jake

P1050487I took the family down to Jacob’s Field this weekend and caught the Sunday tilt. Luckily it was one of the wins.

I had been to Jacob’s Field back in 2002, but a lot had changed since then. They added a park behind the trees in centerfield celebrating Indians history and their stars. It is very well done and a really cool place. Didn’t think to snap any pictures of that.

They’ve also expanded the scoreboard making it the largest. But unlike the Comerica Park scoreboard which it surpassed, it displays a ton of information:
While Comerica Park does display more stats than it used to, it just never seems to effectively use all the real estate.

The other thing that was very different was the mix of fans. In 2002 the Indians were still relevant while the Tigers were still a joke. This time I saw just as much Detroit gear as Indians clothes. There were also a ton of empty seats – way more than you’d expect for a battle between the top 2 teams in the division. The announced attendance was over 30,000 but there weren’t nearly that many in the stands.

Our section was high above home plate, and it seemed that we were in Comerica Park given the mix of fans. It almost seemed like Ticketmaster gave everyone with a Michigan Ip address seats together. Despite taking over sections of the stadium, the Tribe fans we encountered were pretty friendly. I think the Cavs win over the Pistons helped to smooth any rough edges.

P1050515As for the game itself, Jeremy Bonderman was dealing. After a couple hard hit balls in the first inning, he didn’t allow another hit until the 7th. Any concerns about the blister seemed to have vanished. I did notice that Bonderman did throw at least a half dozen balls back to the umpire. There was theorizing that the stitches were higher this year, and I wonder if with returning so many balls if that’s what he was trying to avoid.

The offense continued to produce, and looking at the linescore you’d never know that the Tigers were missing 2 key components. Neifi Perez takes a lot of abuse, but he did a fine job filling in for the last week. He’s never going to hit a ton, or even a couple pounds, but that’s not really his job. He’s the last guy on the bench, and save for one error he turned in some solid defense. He also put together a few nice at-bats including a walk on Friday night well try to lay down a sac bunt. He also had an extended at-bat on Sunday where after falling behind 1-2 he saw 6 more pitches before hitting a grounder to short scoring a runner from third. He also knocked a few line drives that ended up in gloves.

Perez is the last guy on the bench and he’s getting playing time that reflects it this year. A big part of the problem last year was that Omar Infante was a better option and was left to languish on the bench due to one error while Perez continued to not produce. I’m not saying Perez is a good player, or that acquiring him was a good idea. But as the last guy on the bench, it really isn’t a big deal.


  1. matt

    June 5, 2007 at 9:34 am

    neifi blows. lets develop someone.

  2. T Smith

    June 5, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    If there is ONE good thing about Neifi, it’s that he does have the ability to walk — thus making the opposing pitcher pitch. If he’s gonna be an instant out, let’s at least try to get 8 pitches out of the at-bat, or a walk.

    I do a lot of Neifi bashing — but I agree, as the absolute last guy on the bench, he’s filling a specific role.

    Does anybody know if Guillen/Inge will be back tonight?

  3. Chris Y.

    June 5, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the write up.

    It’d be nice to get there and see a game someday.

  4. Kyle J

    June 5, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Since we’re giving Neifi backhanded compliments, I have to say his fielding this year has seemed much better than it was last year.

    As the last player off the bench, the only real problem with Neifi is the $2.5 million we’re paying him, which I guess is preferable to the $2.5 million we’ll be paying Jose Mesa to sit at home for the rest of the year.

  5. colin

    June 5, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus reported yesterday that “Carlos Guillen should be back in the lineup early this week”.

  6. Riley

    June 5, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Nice post Bilfer. Your comment about there being more Tigers fans in attendance this year as opposed to 2002 was something I noticed as well. If you watched any of the highlights on, you could hear a good number of cheers for good plays by the Tigers, which I was surprised to see.

  7. Andrew

    June 5, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    My friends and I tried going to a game there the first year it was open. We were a bit naive to think we could get into a game by buying a ticket at the gate. I remember they were sold out all season long (and for some time thereafter if memory serves me right).

    Cool pics.

  8. Stephen

    June 5, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    T Smith: Whaaat??? Perez has 28 bb’s in his last 720 ab’s. That’s one walk every 29 ab’s. That’s I-Rod territory. I hear Billfer that he’s the 25th guy, but the 25th guy should get more hits than a National League pitcher. This is the American League. Is .220 and a .290 oba, too much to ask for from the 25th guy? When we’re congratulating a guy for one hit in a series, a long at-bat, and a groundout that’s not good.

  9. David

    June 5, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    I happen to agree with all the Neifi bashers.

    A total dud.

    At this point, even though I don’t really want to see Miller up here, I would much much rather see us bring him up than watch a terrible Neifi. Heck Ryan Raburn is has been tearing it up in Toledo, and hes about 26, lets see what he can do with extended playing time up at the show.

    I like how Mario gives him praise when he makes a routine play, or fouls off pitches right down the middle.

  10. Sam

    June 5, 2007 at 8:31 pm


    I would bring up the midget (Santiago). He is better than Neifi defensively and offensively. Hooper is not as good defensively, but is a much better offensive player.


  11. billfer

    June 5, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I prefer Santiago myself. But at the same time I don’t think Santiago is substantially better than Perez, and the Tigers are paying Perez regardless.

    If Raburn had a good enough glove to play the infield, he’d be up already.