Let sarcasm rain down

Some observations from last night’s game that help to express just how sad things have become for the Tigers and their fans…

It could be worse…

…You could be a Yankees fan sitting around wondering “How the hell did we get swept by these guys?”

…You could be rooting for the team that let Gavin Floyd carry a no hitter into the 9th inning. That’s gotta suck and it’s way worse than the time the Tigers broke one up in the 8th inning.

The Tigers offense was so bad…

…That the only situational stats that the scoreboard operator could display were “Career with nobody on base.” (Shockingly enough the HR total always matched the RBI total. Like every single time. Talk about your statistical anomalies.)

…The scoreboard operator celebrated a Dustin Pedroia error resulting in the Tigers 2nd baserunner with a great big flashing “OH YEAH!”

…The folks at MLB.com felt the need to celebrate the Tigers first extra base hit in 25 innings with a pity highlight.

Did you know…

That the largest possible improvement in ERA occurs when a pitcher who has given up one run before recording an out then records a triple play? It goes from infinity to 9.00. My friend Russ and I realized this last night when Freddy Dolsi’s ERA went from infinity to 27.00 when he recorded his first out. Three more outs later and it was lower than Zach Miner’s. By the time he was done he had recorded 5 outs and his ERA was lower than 60% of the starting rotation.

Some people go to games to watch baseball and drink beer. I go to baseball games to watch baseball, drink beer, and do math.

38 Comments

  1. Peter N

    May 7, 2008 at 6:29 am

    I don’t understand why it’s taken so long for the Tigers, one of the best teams in the AL, to jell, come together and win. They will, sooner or later, but as a Red sox fan, Wakefield pitched a heckuva game! Great blog! Peter N.

  2. Vince in MN

    May 7, 2008 at 8:00 am

    billfer:

    If they keep playing like this much longer, you wil be going to the games simply to do math and drink beer. Eventually it will be just to drink beer.

  3. cib

    May 7, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Speaking of math and beer, has anyone investigated if the amount of beer sold at the games – or in the Detroit area in general – has increased since the season began? I know I am drinking more to numb the shock and pain.

  4. jason

    May 7, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I had a dream last night that the Tigers made some “drastic changes” and traded away Verlander. I don’t remember exactly who they got, but there was a closer involved. Very strange.

    Why am I dreaming of Tigers trades? And such bad ones, at that.

  5. Skiman

    May 7, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Hi Billfer,

    L.T.R.F.T.C. here (that’s Long Time Reader, First Time Commenter)…

    I just wanted to drop a quick note and say thanks for the blog, I really enjoy it, and to put in my two cents.

    I think this prolonged malaise has become largely mental at this point, and I don’t know what it’s going to take to snap them out of it. But I DO think they will eventually snap out. They have too many good ball players to keep playing this way for a full season. I think it’s best not to panic, and Leyland seems to agree with me. Nobody is dogging it, or being disruptive in the lockerroom or anything like that. Just be patient. I know that’s hard, but it becomes much easier when you look at the standings and realize that we’re still only a few games out.

    And for God’s sake, people, STOP CALLING VALENTE AND FOSTER on 97.1 with baseball questions!! Neither of those guys is a baseball expert, but because they have a show they feel like they have to be. Valente is clueless, Foster only slightly better. Take my advice and switch to something else until they get back to basketball or football. It’ll lower your blood pressure 10 points. It has mine.

  6. Blake

    May 7, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I feel sorry for any Tiger fan that was at that game last night. Luckily I had it Tivo’d and could fast forward through most of it and still get the point: We suck.

  7. Michael Smith

    May 7, 2008 at 9:40 am

    It’s hard to be a fan right now. When the boys get down it’s like I can see the air come out of them. Whatever they need to succeed, they don’t have right now.

  8. judpma

    May 7, 2008 at 10:26 am

    this team needs a trip to see the Wizard cause it has no heart…no courage.. and no brain

  9. Jeff

    May 7, 2008 at 10:57 am

    And for God’s sake, people, STOP CALLING VALENTE AND FOSTER on 97.1 with baseball questions!!

    For God’s sake, STOP LISTENING TO VALENTI AND FOSTER!!

  10. charlie

    May 7, 2008 at 11:19 am

    if i were mike illitch i would likely have a “drop dead” date or point in the season where things start to go ahead as planned or things have to change. my guess is that date is somewhere in the 50-60 games played area.

    i think dombrowski is already working towards some chamges at that time. it is leyland’s job to get the team winning and if he can’t i think we will see changes in manager and coaching as well as some trades or acquisitions.

    i don’t think ownership is willing to watch $135 million in payroll go down the drain in a lost season. mr illitch is a winner and i expect steps will be taken to at least get the tigers to the playoffs.

    time will tell…

  11. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 7, 2008 at 11:20 am

    The question on my mind today is: Would the Tigers under any circumstances fire Jim Leyland during this season? I don’t want this, don’t think it’s likely (it’s barely conceivable), but I am for anything that helps the Tigers win, up to and including assasination of opposing players and cancellation of all future games against the Chicago White Sox.

    A few days ago I said, “Leyland is toast.” This was an expression of exasperation and foreboding. I wasn’t expressing a wish, a suggestion, or a prediction. But when teams like this play like this for an extended period of time, managers take the fall, rightly or wrongly.

    When the Tigers just aren’t getting it done despite all that talent, I don’t look for bolt of lightning solutions. You look for chronic problems and fix them (letting Jones go is an example of at least cutting your losses), and maybe you look for areas where your stubbornly held ideas aren’t working.

    I might suggest that the Tigers start learning to manufacture runs. They can do it, built for it or not. Nothing gets a team into the game like having to play the game.

    If I were Dombrowski (and who’s to say I’m not – wink to T Smith), I would be saying to Leyland right now, “This team is dead on their feet. I want to see some baseball being played here, Jim. Right now.”

    Of course, with me not being Dombrowski, Leyland might say to me, “You haven’t watched a game all year. You’ve only followed 2 online. So what the hell do you know? I suggest you concentrate on your own job, Slick.”

  12. tiff

    May 7, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I’m with Jeff and Skiman. Avoid Valenti and Foster, avoid future heart problems. It’s idiotic.

  13. linbus54

    May 7, 2008 at 11:43 am

    And you all put me down at the beginning of the season for loving Brandon Inge and wanting to make sure we kept him.

  14. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 7, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Well, I never put anyone down for loving Inge. He would be a net positive starting at 3B (I didn’t always think so). But the Tigers might be a better team now if they had been able to trade Inge for a decent return (like a serviceable catcher to back up Pudge or a lefty version of Thames – hindsight). If the Tigers don’t start Inge at 3B soon, I’ll be convinced they are locked into moving him during the season.

  15. Andrew

    May 7, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Jason,

    I had a dream over the weekend that Verlander was traded (I, too, wondered why I was dreaming about baseball), but I didn’t find out who it was for. In my dream I was too devastated to pay any more attention.

    Too weird that someone else had a similar dream.

  16. West Coast Tiger

    May 7, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I think the rest of the league has figured out that if you throw the Tiger hitters a steady stream of off speed and breaking stuff they can’t hit it. More and more I think the Tigers are guessing what pitch is going to be thrown and swinging accordingly, not reacting to the pitch that is actually thrown. I think DD needs to look at the coaching staff at this point (Hitting/Pitching) or better yet Bring in a team Psychologist. The whole bunch has been on the 15 Day mentally disabled list in how they apprach the game.

  17. Mark in Chicago

    May 7, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Sean C.

    I was thinking the other day whether Dombrowski would ever fire Leyland, and I came to the conclusion that he most likely would not. Leyland is his guy, he brought him in and wants him to be here. I think he just has too much respect for what Jimmuh did in Florida and in Detroit.

    However, I DO think it is possible that Leyland would resign mid-season. He is the type of guy to know when he’s out of ideas and whatever he’s saying or doing isn’t sinking in. The longer this team continues to struggle, the more likely I think this becomes. I do not think Leyland is a quitter, but I put this at about a 25% chance right now.

    If *I* were managing this team (scary thought, I know) I would tell my guys to ignore the pressure of a slow start and have fun. Enjoy the game of baseball and play it correctly. Let’s do some things to get people involved (hit and run, take the extra base, take some chances, etc.) and show some emotion on the field. The team looks dead and the fans are afraid it is, so the fans act dead. Take the pressure off to the extent possible and try to lighten the mood.

  18. linbus54

    May 7, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    To West Coast Tiger, I’ve thought the same thing for the past 3 years. The Tigers need either a team psychologist or a team hypnotist. We’d have won the World Series 2006 & 2007 if we’d had that. Hey, it’s worked for other teams. Can you say Yankees? Didn’t they have one?

  19. cib

    May 7, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    This is sad. I am sitting here on a conference call hoping it keeps raining and rains the game out so I can chill out tonight.

  20. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 7, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Mark in Chicago

    However, I DO think it is possible that Leyland would resign mid-season.

    That thought crossed my mind, and what you say about it makes sense.

    I’m pretty sure Leyland has told the players more than once this year just what you said about pressure and fun. I get that impression from his statements to the press. He seems like a good guy to work for. Maybe not the most fun guy to work for. I can see where his style might rub certain new Tigers whose names rhyme with Cabrera the wrong way, but still. (I’m just guessing wildly – no support for this “theory” at all.)

    I have no idea how bad team chemistry is supposed to affect a ballclub, precisely. Seems to me, whether or not I think my manager or some teammate is a turd, on the field I’m doing everything I can to win, for my own sake as well as the team’s. What am I gonna do, express my displeasure by grooving a fastball or swinging at a bad pitch?

    Lots of comments – all season – from people who watch the games saying the Tigers don’t seem to be all there. Something’s got to change. Something real. And it starts with Leyland.

    I am convinced now that the Guillen-Cabrera switch was a terrible mistake in more ways than one. That should be admitted and corrected before it festers any longer.

    I hate to speculate about trades – smacks of fantasy league to me – but I’m headed that way because I’m running out of anything constructive to say about what ails the Tigers. Still, I don’t see any magical solutions in a trade.

  21. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 7, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    cib -

    It is sad, what’s going on. (Cue the Marvin Gaye song.) Tigers vs. Red Sox – you’d think that’s a game we’d all be up – way up – for. Too bad the Tigers aren’t.

    Tigers Tigers Tigers
    There’s far too many of you sighing
    Batter batters batters
    There’s far too many of you dying
    You know we’ve got to find a way
    To bring some winning here today

    Pitchers pitchers pitchers
    Feel they have to strike them out
    Fielding is the answer
    For only gloves can conquer doubt
    You know we’ve got to find a way
    To play 9 innings here today

    Runners on
    And runners gone
    Don’t punish me
    With a 6-4-3
    Come on score some runs
    And get it done
    We won the game
    We won the game
    Tell me who won the game
    I’ll tell you we won the game

  22. T Smith

    May 7, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    There is a lot of banter going around and a general sense of malaise that always rears its head when the team gets into a downward spiral. You know the malcontents are restless when some guys start to over-react on the team, and when other guys start to over-react on the over-reactors (I apologize in advance for sounding Rumsfeldian there)… Can’t we all just get along????

    To me it seems obvious and simple. There is good news and bad news exclusive of the 20 losses thru the first 34 games.

    The bad news is, this team will not contend and is utterly hopeless to contend if something doesn’t drastically change. Be it luck, a hot streak, a more concentrated focus, whatever. Something needs to change. I think once it does, however, things will roll in the other direction for awhile. But I also don’t think it’s necessarly fair to attack Chris for that — regardless of the lack of dimensions in his posts (yes, I got the Dumbrowski reference the first time thru, without its followup defense). And yes, if things don’t change, this team COULD finish last with 100 losses — so I don’t think that is so out there. I don’t think they will — and I don’t even think they’ll come close to losing 100 games — I’ll be the first to disagree with Chris, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, given the level of play I’ve seen thru 34 games — this team is just not coming together at all.

    The good news is, this team, unlike the 2003 Tigers, or even the Twins, or even the White Sox, is fully capable of a 9 game win streak, or winning 17 of 21, or whatever. This team can turn it on, and can turn it around. To me, that’s extremely good news. Especially since we’re really only a few games back.

  23. Andre

    May 7, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Mark –

    I think you’re hitting on something when you mention ways of getting more emotion into the team. The other day I was only half-joking about the need to start a Sheffield controversy to get him going.

    It might end up being a situation where an opponent does something to piss the team off (think NYY and FLA preseason). The problem is that teams don’t have to play us particularly hard to win at this point.

    While I think something like an unnecessarily hard/dirty slide into one of our guys might be just what the doctor ordered to liven the team up, it still annoys me that this collection of players would need that to get going in the first place.

    The DetNews has the team pegged as having a few too many DH/1B players…I could even live with that if we were losing 10-9 instead of by margins we feel our offense should be able to cover at the drop of a hat. Why do I ever feel like a 3 run hole is too big to climb out of this year with these guys?

  24. Andre

    May 7, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    T Smith -

    You forgot to add this to you “good news”:

    The Tigers didn’t sign Barry Zito to the worst contract ever :)

    2008 STATS
    ERA W-L SO WHIP
    7.53 0-6 11 1.95

  25. Mike R

    May 7, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Gary Sheffield to the 60-day DL, Carlos Guillen to the DH spot, Matt Joyce to LF, Brandon Inge to 3rd base and Jim Leyland to the Unemployment line, please. Thank you.

    Edit: Oh, and fire the Pope and get Jair Jurrjens on the first flight to the Vatican! ;-)

  26. cib

    May 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Sean C., that’s classic – thanks!

    Still raining steadily here in the D.

  27. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 7, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    T Smith

    I think you’re overreacting wuth an underreaction. Moderation such as yours is extreme and uncalled for.

    Please tell me a smiley face here would be superfluous.

  28. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 7, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    if things don’t change, this team COULD finish last with 100 losses

    Absolutely. They’re on a 67-95 pace already. With no single-facet collapse or rash of devastating injuries to blame, either.

    I’m despondent and optimistic. Rejoice, rejoice. We have no choice. But to carry on.

  29. Mark in Chicago

    May 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Leyland with yet another of his infuriating moves is starting Matt Joyce as the DH tonight. We have 4 DHs on this team and he picks Matt Joyce to be one. Either Leyland is putting one of the better defensive outfielders in the DH slot, or they decided to call up another player who is a DH when there are already 4 on the team and have a good/speedy defensive option in Clete Thomas down in AAA.

    Which is it, Jimmuh?

    This makes no sense to me.

  30. Andre

    May 7, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Mark,

    Its obvious…he wants to make sure that Joyce, a veteran, is rested.

  31. Mark in Chicago

    May 7, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    You got me there, Andre. Thanks for clearing that up.

  32. Andre

    May 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Mark,

    I feel you “dawg”… I’ve reached the end of my second-guessing rope. At this point, its just easier to blindly believe there’s a method to the madness.

    At one point I had a theory that all the 1B/3B/DH swaps were an elaborate ploy to have the irony of the same fanbase that was calling for Inge’s head last year beg for his return to 3B.

    Now I just walk around all day in a WTF? haze.

  33. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 8, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Andre

    Now I just walk around all day in a WTF? haze.

    Yeah, me too. (Nothing new, really.). Good post. I second that emotion.

    Joyce was DH because Leyland wanted a lefty he could easily swap for Thames later. Right? Sheffield walks instead of striking out in the 8th, Thames is in there. Right?

    Oh, who knows.

  34. judpma

    May 8, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I’m not sure if anyone could coach this team. Leyland can coach with the best of them and he can’t coach them. You get to a point when a guy makes 6-15 million a year for showing up and on many days that is exactly what these players do, just show up cause no matter what you say to them that paycheck every other friday is about $350-500,000 and that is the bottom line win or lose. In the old days it was about pride. Now it is totally about $$$$$

  35. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 8, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    No. It’s always been about money. That and grown men playing a kid’s game because it’s just so damn fun to play – and watch. The money’s just bigger these days.

  36. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 8, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I misread Billfer’s reverse platoon numbers on Bucholtz. So I have no idea why Joyce was at DH after all. Maybe no one else wants to be the DH, not even Thames. Not even Inge (ha!) (which would explain why he warmed up to catching all of a sudden). Sure seems that way. So they made the new guy do it. I hear Zach Miner is going to be in the DH slot tonight.

  37. Chris in Dallas

    May 8, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    lol Sean. You heard wrong – I have it on good authority that Freddy Dolsi is penciled in for DH. You see, due to a clerical error he was called up as a pitcher…

  38. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 8, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Chris, I was reading about Dolsi, and wondered why a pitcher would have grown up idolizing Manny Ramirez. You’ve cleared it all up. I don’t think this is the Tigers first clerical error, either.