Programming Note

I’ll be on WDET 101.9 FM talking about the Tigers and their losing ways at 10:40 this morning. If you’re so inclined you can flip the dial there, or hit a preset, or get the stream from

: Here’s the audio. I’m on about 45 minutes in.

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  1. Chris

    May 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

    To underscore how the team is playing, perhaps you can discuss which Tiger is going to be the token Allstar representative.

    Tigers are in a perfect storm of multiple player coinciding slumps.

  2. Kathy

    May 16, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Kind of constricted by the interviewer’s questions, but you just came across as sane and objective. Loved your defense of Magglio and swinging at the first pitch!

  3. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 10:59 am

    My first time hearing Billfer. Good show.

    Though the interviewer seemed knowledgable, I agree with Kathy that he was a bit constricting. Wish he would have kept the questions short and general and let Billfer ramble on a bit.

  4. Chris

    May 16, 2008 at 11:02 am

    How did I miss the interview? I tuned in on the live stream over the web at 10:40 and there was a discussion about hockey. Hopefully the audio can be posted.

  5. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I think Billfer actually came on around 10:45. Maybe you were a bit early, or late, or something. Computer clocks can be a little off sometimes.

  6. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Or maybe the broadcast was blacked out on the West Coast. Can’t have any Diamondbacks fans stealing secret Tiger strategies from Billfer.

  7. Kurt

    May 16, 2008 at 11:23 am

    “Let’s give up three runs in the first and see what happens” doesn’t qualify as strategy, Sean.

    Caught the tail end of the show and think you’re right Bilfer. The rest of the division is waking up. If the Tigers don’t begin to heat up by Memorial Day, they’re going to end up in nothing more than the spoiler roll.

  8. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 11:29 am

    It’s the best strategy they’ve been able to come up with so far, Kurt. They’re working on it. Leyland and coaches have been burning the midnight oil.

    “What if we move those 3 runs to the 10th instead? ‘Cause, you know, there isn’t always a 10th inning. Can we do that?”

  9. Kurt

    May 16, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Sean, Well played!

  10. Adam

    May 16, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Chris – the all-star representative from the Tigers appears to be Jim Leyland.

    Good luck having him fired now.

  11. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    DL Leyland.

  12. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    The thing is:

    It looks like Sheffield is walking the balancing bar on the Leyland issue. Here are the variables:

    1. Bloated contract/No Trade Value
    2. Underpreforming/Downright NOT performing
    3. Wildcard in Clubhouse
    4. Potential Lineup Card Filler-Outer

    If you DL him you likely risk taking the full loss on the contract — even if its only a 30 day. You’re basically dissing him (in his mind) –deservedly so — but the risk is creating a monster, or as Billfer says, “erupting Mt. Jim” and creating a cancer in the clubhouse of a team already in a huge funk. You have a guy who has every track record of shooting his mouth in public, saying the wrong things, openly coddling veterans — whatever. All of a sudden maybe Guillen starts driving in runs — maybe Raburn and Thames start — maybe Cabrera starts to hit for power — maybe Inge starts at 3B, and on and on. One good apple could set off a chain reaction. In which case it forces your hand — you have to write off the bad investment. For sure Leyland will likely never produce again cuz the baditude. Anyway, it’s absolutely ridiculous to be taken hostage like that, but this is what is in the back of Sheffield’s mind when “coddling” the manager.

    So… instead of going there, he’s basically playing yet another hunch. He’s hoping Leyland’s mind will come alive sooner than later and the problem will go away by itself. Unfortunately, that’s not really happening.

    If I were Sheffield, I’d just take him into my pimped out Navigator (in between the cream and the clear) and tell him frankly and like it is: “…Skip, you’re going on the DL. Until your mind is 110%, for both in game strategy and personnel moves, this team can’t afford to rehabilitate you on the coaching staff. You’re my best option for manager, if you’re at 110% — but until then, there is little margin for error.”

  13. billfer

    May 16, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks for the kind words. FWIW, I didn’t feel constricted. The interviewer (Craig) covered quite a few topics about the team in a short amount of time. Plus it’s his show and I’m just the guest so it’s his time to do with as he pleases. I’m just happy for the chance to do it.

  14. T Smith

    May 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Yep. That’s it. Leyland’s hurt. Tired mind? Strained logic?

    Any shot at class-action law suit against Big Tabacco here?

  15. Joel

    May 16, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    I think T Smith is on to something. The Tigers sluggish play is due to the effects of 2nd hand smoke.

  16. T Smith

    May 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Apologize about the repeated post … but think it belongs in this tread, too:

    In all sincerity, Leyland is not entirely to blame, no. The truth is, it is mostly the players. But the poor play of his beloved veterans compounds his peccadillos. He did the same kind of bone-headed things in 2006 & 2007, but he was backed up by solid play and talent. So he must have been doing something right, right? Well that something right ain’t right this year. Now he’s just mismanaging.

    I know it’s tempting to finger a fall guy, and there is a lot of that going on here, but when all you have left at the end of the day are dubious decisions from the guy pulling the strings, those decisions will get called into question a hell of lot more when the team can’t win. This team played horrible in KC, but in my mind, I can honestly say without falling into the fall guy trap, that the Tigers should have taken at least one of the three games. Leyland blew it in the first game by pulling Robertson after 82 pitches. The series still would have sucked, but 1 of 3 is certainly better than being swept.

    I’m well aware the game may have turned the same tide if Roberston pitched in the eighth, but I honestly think the Tigers would have won that game with solid managing. They had the momentum the entire game, were hitting in every inning — they just didn’t get the key hit. If the game went into extra innings, the Tigers would have won. If the team is in a nasty funk in a vertical nose dive to suckitude, it can’t afford as much as one game-costing mistake in managment if it hopes to turn it around before it’s too late.

    Aside from that, Leyland is simply not getting it done motivating these guys. Yesterday the KC camera crew focused in on the Tiger dugout in the late innings, and all you saw were Maggs and Inge and some other guys joking and laughing. I don’t know about you, but if KC was throwing my team an ass whoopin’ for the second straight series, the last thing I’d be doing in the dugout is laughing and joking without a care in the world. Have ‘em study film, send them to a yoga retreat, bring in Tony Robbins as a consultant, I don’t know. Anything! If you’re not utterly embarrassed by being dominated by the KC “friggin’” Royals (to quote Kevin in Austin, I believe), please hide it a little better. Leyland could and should set the tone just a little better.

  17. tiff

    May 16, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    RE: song for the 7th inning stretch? Faith – George Michael.

  18. Chris in Dallas

    May 16, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    tiff how about It Ain’t Over Till it’s Over by Lenny Kravitz? Nah. That song sucks.

    Anyway I’m going to play If I Were Dave Dombrowski For A Day. Looking ahead to 2009 (not that I’m writing off 2008 – lots of baseball left), I see one glaring move that IMO *has* to be made. I say decline Renteria’s club option and go after Rafael Furcal, who will be a free agent. Think about it. He’s a switch hitter, a defensive upgrade and he can actually steal a base. He’s also a leadoff hitter, allowing Granderson to move to a more natural slot lower in the order. And he’s slightly younger than E-Rent. Does this make too much sense? That’s like filling 5 holes at once, which previously I only thought was possible if you were Jenna Jameson. Hey-oh.

  19. greg

    May 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Good Post T-Smith. That’s the disturbing thing, the apparent complacency at times. They should have anger from being this embarrassed. If they do, they’re masters at concealing it. They have been the dormat of the AL for 40 games, and there’s little sign that it bothers them.

    I’m not convinced they need to relax more, I’m afraid they’re too relaxed.

    Take guys like Ryan Freel or Reed Johnson. These guys oooze energy. You can’t watch a game without them making a strong impression about how they leave it all on the field, even if they go 0 for 5. Those guys will run through a wall for you. Every ground ball, they don’t just run hard, they run like their sole purpose in life is somehow making it safe to first. A week doesn’t go by without that kind of hustle leading to an error, because the fielder is rushed to throw the guy out, which prolongs an inning, which leads to a rally, which leads to runs, which leads to a loss turning into a victory, which can lead to a winning streak.

  20. greg

    May 16, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    A good sign.

    From a quote from Maggs:

    “You know what is going on with us?” said Ordonez. “We suck. We stink. We’re not hitting, not pitching and we are making errors.”

    This is good. The sooner the rest of them come out of denial, the sooner they realize what Maggs has realized, the sooner they’ll snap out of it. None of this ‘We’re a really good team, we’re just playing bad.’ No, they flat out suck. Right now, they’re a really, really bad team. The sooner the rest of them realize that, the sooner they’ll make the changes they need to make to turn this thing around.

  21. Chris in Dallas

    May 16, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Haha. With that quote you can tell Magglio has spent time around Ozzie Guillen. Without the expletives, of course.

  22. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Maggs is my hero for saying that.

    T Smith is my go-to guy on Leyland. Oops – am I being presumptuous (assumptuous?) Shoulda maybe played it safe with go-to person? Seriously, good words on Leyland and the whole blame thing.

    Chris in Dallas – Speaking of Ozzie, someone brought up whether there was a parallel between the CHW and Detroit Tiger post-World Series declines. In some ways, there could be, but at least we (they) don’t have OG as manager. Ozzie is funny, a character, but in really good or really bad times, I’d much rather have a Jim Leyland.

    And leave “assumptuous” alone, Chris. (hehe)

  23. Sean C. in Illinois

    May 16, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Tomorrow’s headline:

    D’backs complain catch-and-throw ruse ‘illegal’

  24. Chris in Dallas

    May 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    I love Ozzie. He’s a one man quote machine. Anybody who slanders Jay Mariotti in such a way is the tops in my book. I’ll look past his, um, comments about Maggs a couple years back. That being said, I think over the long haul Leyland’s style is probably better.