Tigers name Rick Knapp pitching coach

The Tigers found their pitching coach, and they poached him from the Twins. He is Rick Knapp and he’s served as the minor league pitching coordinator for the last 12 years in the Minnesota organization.

I really like this move. The Twins have a tradition of producing striking throwing machines on a regular basis, and you’d have to think that Knapp gets some of that credit. The Twins have walked the fewest number of hitters in the AL in 4 of the last 5 years.

The trick for Knapp now is to see if he can translate his development skills to pro pitchers and get the Tigers staff throwing strikes. His biggest challenge of course is with Dontrelle Willis, who’s struggles are well known. He will largely be evaluated though based on his work with Justin Verlander to see if he can help Verlander regain his studly-ness.

I am excited about Knapp’s long term potential impact as he imparts his philosophies on the young pitchers in the organization. Plus he won’t be churning out those arms for the division-rival Twins anymore.

Google Stalking

  • Jeff Passan wrote an article in August and Knapp was largely the subject. But one takeaway was that the Twins control strength goes beyond instruction and it is an organizational philosophy that goes down to talent evaluation. It will be very interesting to see what Knapp does with guys who were largely sought out for velocity and stuff.
  • In an article about Kevin Cameron, Cameron mentions that one year there was a rash of shoulder injuries to many Twins minor league pitchers. I don’t like the sound of that, but don’t know enough about it to judge either.
  • Knapp was discussed in reference to some tools and techiniques he used in assisting David Bromberg. (h/t)


  1. ron

    October 17, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I like the first letter of his name.

  2. Steve

    October 17, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Smooth Move

  3. Neal

    October 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Maybe we could have him at a Lansing Tiger event, it should be held at the Knapp building.
    I have no idea what it houses now, but I remember seeing it there a few years back.

    Seriously, if he can get Willis control issues on track, that’s worth a specific hire in itself. If we can spend a few hundred thousand to recoup on an investment still owed $20 million, we should do it. Have we thought of just getting someone specific just for that case?

  4. Neal

    October 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    We all know the horrendous year Willis had last year.
    I’m going to do my best Chief Monday and put some lipstick on that pig.
    Willis held batters to a BABIP of .220.
    He had a horrible LOB% of 59.9%, whereas he normally was well over 70%.
    With the control issues, he started giving up more HR’s, 1.5/9IP. He was under .9 in most of his other seasons.
    Maybe a season of limited innings pitched will get some life back in his arm, and some control.
    Hope springs eternal.

  5. Mark in Chicago

    October 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    can the results at the ML level be any worse than last year?

    i say hooray.

  6. Coleman

    October 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Neal: ‘Maybe we could have him at a Lansing Tiger event, it should be held at the Knapp building”

    Followed by lunch at Bill Knapps? “Knapps. A Snack or a Meal.” (Quite underrated as a restaurant slogan).

  7. Ryan

    October 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Neal: Oh… my… god. Was Willis’s BABIP really only .220? He was lucky? That was Dontrelle WITH LUCK? I’d guess that this could be one of those where metrics don’t mean what they usually mean, but…

    Just picturing Dontrelle without the luck makes my head hurt.

  8. Coleman

    October 17, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    @Ryan: That BABIP might not be as surprising as it sounds. Think of Dontrelle throwing one over the plate like a fastball pitcher throwing a good change-up; and the hitters, caught off-guard by the unexpected in-the-strikezone pitch, couldn’t get good swings.

  9. David

    October 17, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Let me just say one thing


    GOD I WOULD JUST LOVE IT IF WE GOT HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Pingback: The Spot Starters » Rick Knapp » Tigers Get a New Pitching Coach

  11. Ryan

    October 17, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Coleman – Yeah, I can totally see that having hitters legitimately shocked to see a strike would have that effect.

    It just hurts the noggin in a funny way to contemplate that this may have been lucky Dontrelle.

  12. David

    October 17, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Oh and btw Passan is my favorite writer – great articles

    Knapp sounds OK

    cept who does Dombro go after?



    yea hopefully he can help all of them find the plate

    I agree first pitch strikes are big – really a lot of baseball seems to be dictated by the count a hitter is in

    On average if the pitcher has you in an 0-2 hole your done, and if you’re up 3-0 or 3-1 good chance you’ll get a hit or walk

    of course there are exceptions

    He wants guys to have under 50 walks/year? pref between 30-40?


    well Willis fits the mold 35 walks in 24IP

    never realized Verlander had 87 wow high

    good luck Knapp, you’ve got your work cut out for you

  13. billfer

    October 17, 2008 at 8:21 pm


    Let me just say one thing


    GOD I WOULD JUST LOVE IT IF WE GOT HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you ever stop to read the article, or the headline at least?

  14. David

    October 18, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Yea I read the article, Passan’s article,

    not yours this time though just a quick skim

    you might know that if you read my second “quickie” comment

    I was/am more interested in Peavy on the block than the Knap hiring even though we probably won’t get him (Peavssssss)

    Thought you would know that I read what you write usually

    b/c I have been coming here for a few years now and I believe I cracked your top 10 in comments a couple years back

    I don’t always agree with what you write, but MOST of the time I read it and try to comment on topic

    To be honest the playoffs are a little more exciting than Tiger news especially because they cannot do much in acquisitions until after the WS.

    I mean if Urbina was in trouble for killing someone else or Higginson was signed as a coach or Inge had another fight to the death with a pillow and was out for 2009 then it’d be more interesting than Knapp or Leyland in his green T.

    Maybe you don’t like Peavy =( =PPPP

    I duno to be honest you kind of turned me off after being so anti-small ball… I gave you more credit than that.

    I don’t really want to argue with you either

    Oh well

    Maybe its my fault for seeing my idol, Tyrus Cobb(Mr. Put the Pressure on the Defense, Mr. Sacrifice, Mr. Anti-HR unless bases jacked, Genus in Spikes etc.) as closest thing baseball has had to GOD and take his word (combined with what I’ve seen/experienced to be the truth) as gospel.

    OH well, maybe I’m young unrefined and ignorant 😉

    I wish we’d get Peavy he is the most dominating pitcher I’ve seen in awhile

    Anyways GO RAYS GO TAMPA beat BOSTON, can’t stand the BoSox

  15. Pete G

    October 18, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Hopefully Knapp can help develop a new “organizational philosophy”. Remember DD likes “power” arms. Draft the hard throwers and we’ll teach them to throw strikes later. That got us to last place in the central.

  16. billfer

    October 18, 2008 at 9:19 am

    @David – I only bring it up because earlier in the week I posted about Knapp and your comment was about Brian Roberts. Today I posted about Knapp, and your comment is Peavy.

    As for Peavy, yes he’s awesome. He also has a no trade clause and has said he won’t pitch in the AL. Plus if the Tigers were to acquire him, it would be expensive. Would you trade Granderson+Porcello?

    As for Ty Cobb, he was a smart guy and was always playing the percentages. He also played in an era when one ball was used the whole game and it would get beat up, soft, muddy, and harder to see. He played in an era when it wasn’t uncommon to have parks with power alley’s of more than 420 feet. He played in an era when the infields weren’t as well tended and gloves were small and left on the field between innings. And he played in an era where the players largely weren’t capable of hitting homers. So small ball was a smart play.

  17. Deaner

    October 18, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Good to hear… I don’t really know much about Knapp.

  18. Vince in MN

    October 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Well, I hope Knapp is good, but he better work fast. He probably only has one year, since if the Tigers tank again (or at least don’t show some marked improvement) and Leyland gets the axe, I would guess the whole staff goes with him, right?

  19. greg

    October 18, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    From what I understand, even today’s players wouldn’t be able to hit homers with the old baseballs used back in the day.

    DD – his ‘power arm’ approach also got the Tigers to the World Series in 2006.

    I don’t think his power arm approach is responsible for the last place finish. The reasons for the last place finish would take a few paragraphs to cover, IMHO.

  20. David

    October 18, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    1) As far as Peavy goes, yes I would trade Porcello for him

    Granderson — no unless we were to get another pitcher of theirs in return, not just Porcello and Granderson straight up for Peavy, it’d have to be 2 4 2

    Plus I know this organization has pretty much put Granderson on their untouchable list

    You’re right the players weren’t largely capable of hitting hrs because of what you pointed out – the huge fields, the beat up ball

    Plus he played in the 20s during the Ruth/Hornsby era and still thought hrs were the dumb move most of the time

    He believed in hitting to all fields something that should be done more of these days and he even said as much to Teddy Ballgame

    “The way those clubs shift against Ted Williams, I can’t understand how he can be so stupid not to accept the challenge to him and hit to left field.” – Ty Cobb

    And I’ve read a few things written by Williams and he admits it was a dumb thing for him to hit into the shift.

    Guys were smarter in the early days than they are today

    if you’ve got the old version of his auto bio (the one not smeared with lies as the new one is) check out what he says on Edward Collins (cocky) mr sacrifice and one of the best players ever

    Bill, I don’t know if you know Bill

    but his site is more awesomer than Peaver could ever be-er


    If you’ve got time and have 1/10th the interest as me in Cobb or other Deadball/20s/30s players you might want to consider checking it out

  21. David

    October 18, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Yep Greg they prob. couldn’t

    remember besides the huge power alleys POLO GROUNDS!


    (ah Tiger Stadium how I miss ye)

    also used one or two balls usually and would go into the crowd to fish out foul balls

    games were all played during the day/evening WITHOUT LIGHTS

    pitchers had quite a few tricks
    1) Emory board/scuffing of the ball to make it “dance”
    2) Tobacco to make it “black”

    Plus they had the Spitball

    Also lets just say the bats were not the same length to weight ratio as todays and not made out of the same quality

    Even with all of this some hitters excelled

    Plus look at the strikeout numbers from that era, low low low

    put the ball in play and make the defense make errors

    Put runs on the board any way you can

    Even today with all the “improvements” to the game (more like watching a HR Derby) they only score what? about 2 more runs/game than they did during that time

    The game was created for strong speedy players with good arms good eyes and good reflexes

    Now a lot of hitters try to hit like Ruth and not many can

    I mean the only guy on our team IMO that has that kind of talent and should be doing that (most of the time) would be Miguel

    Although I love Inge he falls into that category as does Sheffield as does Thames etc.

  22. David

    October 18, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Last place finish?


    Does this cover it?

    In a particular order


  23. Smoking Loon

    October 19, 2008 at 12:36 am

    An interesting, encouraging pitching coach hire in Knapp. I’m glad to see that this was taken care of quickly.

  24. Coleman

    October 19, 2008 at 4:15 am

    David: I agree that Inge swings for the fences too much (yeah I know, going out on a limb there), although interestingly this seems to vary depending on situation (only 1K with runner on 3rd < 2 out), which means he can not do it, which means at least in theory this could be made to go away. Anyway, I have a feeling Inge would have gotten along fine in the dead ball era. Just a hunch. And Granderson. Then again maybe I’m blinded by the high socks.

  25. ron

    October 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Knapp is a pitching coach, Peavy is a pitcher and David is excited and very knowledgeable and it’s all baseball.

  26. Eric Cioe

    October 19, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Imagine what Verlander could do if he cut his walks in half and threw more strikes. He’s shown this year that he can give 110 pitches in every start (though, as Billfer showed, beyond 115 things get dicey). 110 pitches at a >65% strike rate equals 7 or 8 innings every time out.

  27. David

    October 19, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Loon – basically what I thought but didn’t say

    Coleman – Yea I agree I’m also blinded by the high socks somewhat, all players even down to little league should play like that

    I checked it out not only 2008 but 2005-2007(3 years) and with a guy on third base less than 2 outs here is his line

    26 for 65 good for a .400 batting average

    (and of course he hit .500 this year)

    and in 05-07 a .942 OPS

    Just looking at the splits from those 3 years

    I notice

    He usually hits well (defined as an OPS over .800) with guys on base and less than 2 outs

    He usually hits poorly when he leads off an inning/ or when the game is close and its near the end (ie when Joe Nathan/Bobby Jenks/Joakim Soria/Cleveland’s closer or the setup men) is/are pitching)

    By that logic he should be moved up in the order to create more opportunities with guys on base – I duno

    Inge would have done well, I wonder if his glove work would have been compared to PIE TRAYNOR?

    Granderson not so much, maybe if he played before – coulda played alongside Moses Fleetwood Walker and co before Cap. Anson wanted nothing to do with them

    Ron – thanks for the compliment you get it, maybe I got overexcited about Peavy but it still is baseball related and this is the only forum I know to express views on this site

    BTW you know your stuff as well

    Eric – I hope Knapp can get him to do that for next year, he needs to be an ACE AND A HORSE – he should log 230 innings assuming health

    ~33 starts and 7IP average/start

    Billfer – A few more things

    Ed Barrow that smart guy that created the Yankee dynasty from the 20s to the 40s said Crawford was the “best” hitter he saw and he got Ruth/Gehrig and Dimaggio for the Yanks

    It is really sad that Willie Horton has a statue and guys like Crawford or Manush or Heilman just have their names on the wall and they were much greater players than Horton

    back to Cobb

    he was great not only about what he did on the diamond (some of which is unbelievable) but other things

    1) He was one of the first fighters for players rights, he fought hard against the reserve clause, used pressure from state senators and representatives to fight for players rights, he set precidents on contracts and rights and paved the way for what players got a lot later

    2) He ended up his life with well over 10 million $$, when he probably didn’t make more than 1 million in his whole career , he gave quite a bit back to build a hospital and scholarships

    3) He went through a lot more than most

    He nearly lost his eyesight

    He almost had quite a few mental breakdowns

    He had his tonsils hacked apart by someone who was admitted to an INSANE asylum

    He was hazed probably worst than most due to him being from the south

    He ended up having quite a bit of the league going against him in the batting title against Lajoie so much so that they tried to fix it

    He had to deal with Frank Navin – his low payroll, inability to pick up guys/trade for guys who Ty wanted [ie George Sisler (UofM) Walter Johnson (the first time they faced him)]

    He had to deal with Babe Ruth messing up the game and all the New York/East Coast press getting on him

    He had to deal with many fans (including the one where he leaped into the stands and beat him senseless) yelling cusses at him

    He had to deal with many fans sending him death threats (ie in Philly he got quite a few letters saying fans were going to snipe him down)

    He was basically made to be manager (something he didn’t want) and made his whole team much much better (ie Harry Heilman, Manush)

    He was kicked out of baseball for something he didn’t do

    His mother blew his fathers head off when he was first called up

    I could go ON and ON believe me, but in many facets of life he was very successful, very well liked, and considered the best player to ever play bar none (he was ranked first by the majority of those who saw him Ruth and Wagner, and was given THE HIGHEST % VOTE in the first ever Hall of Fame ballot)

    When he says something I believe it

    He squeezed every drop of talent he had and reached what I believe to be his maximum potential something that very few people ever dream of doing

    He knew much more than you, or I

    If you read on him you will see, there are quite a few good books if you ever have excess time

    But small ball a lot of the time is the way to go

    The game should be played base to base, you’re supposed to hit to all fields, you’re supposed to be fast, able to bunt (and do it well) your supposed to get in the other guys head, you’re supposed to have good location on your pitches, you’re supposed to try hard and smart

    The game was meant to be played inside a park not outside of it

    Ty Cobb was the greatest of the great
    There will never be another as great as the Great Georgia Peach

    Small ball wins

    plus like Ron typed I was excited about a guy like Peavy working with Knapp and a guy like Roberts who fits a glaring need we’ve had

  28. billfer

    October 19, 2008 at 6:39 pm


    I appreciate your enthusiasm and zest for Cobb and the guy has many, many, amazing accomplishments. But in terms of some of the “things he had to deal with” I’m not buying it. He received death threats and cussing from fans because he cussed at fans and was a colossal jerk. He brought that on himself, and seemed to relish it, much like Bill Laimbeer.

    And as for dealing with Babe Ruth messing up the game? I’m not sure what this means. Hitting to all fields is great if that’s what your strength is. If hitting the snot out of the ball is your strength, do that. Ted Williams was a tremendous hitter despite the shift. Maybe if he hit to all fields he wouldn’t have been as effective because that’s not how his swing was patterned. Ruth managed to finish in the top 10 in batting average – which was Cobb’s favorite measure – 12 different time so he must have been doing something right.

    And because Cobb was so smart, I’d bet he’d adjust his philosophies to the times. He didn’t apply pressure by running and bunting and stealing for the heck of it. He had odds in his mind of his chances of success and whether it was a good gamble.

    Speaking of good books, I’d highly recommend Ty and the Babe by Tom Stanton. Great read.

    Ty and The Babe: Baseball’s Fiercest Rivals: A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship

    As for the statues, there is a case for Crawford for sure. But Manush only spent 5 years as a Tiger and they weren’t that remarkable to warrant statue consideration. And why is it that Barrow thought Crawford was a better hitter than Cobb?

  29. Ghost of Tigers past

    October 19, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    I still think Leo is the answer.(In his book The Baseball Economist, J.C. Bradbury titles a chapter, “How Good is Leo Mazzone?” Using statistical analysis, he analyzes whether Mazzone had a significant impact upon the pitchers that he coached. The sample is all pitchers who have pitched at least one year under Mazzone and one year under a different pitching coach. Bradbury found that Mazzone lowered the ERA of pitchers by an average of .64 points, and that after leaving Mazzone, pitchers’ ERA increased by an average of .78 points. Bradbury believes that such an impact is deserving of Hall of Fame consideration) I hope I am wrong about Knapp!

  30. ron

    October 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Love the technique Knapp uses of the pail on the stool to check follow through.

  31. Coleman

    October 19, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    David: I’d love to know how intentional Inge’s pattern is–in other words, does he TRY to hit home runs with the bases empty, but instead concentrates on putting the ball in play with men on base, or does it just work out that way? Does he realize he’s doing this? And does he know he’s a .180 hitter with bases empty? (Inge & Pudge = Jekyll & Hyde).

    What actually popped into my head earlier (which is why I made the Inge comment), is that if they were making up sides grade-school style, and Cobb was one team’s captain, I’m thinking there are still a lot of Tigers waiting to be picked when he nabs Inge.

    Although it would help Inge’s cause if he had a better small-ball-era name, like Elmer or Burleigh, or a nickname like Buggs or Itchy.

  32. ron

    October 19, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Tonite, Price was right for the Rays. Go Rays.

  33. David

    October 20, 2008 at 2:00 am

    “He received death threats and cussing from fans because he cussed at fans and was a colossal jerk. ”

    Where do you get this? From late propaganda slander taking his name and dragging it through the mud 40+ years after he has been dead

    The only time I’ve heard of him going after fans is when they started using racial epithets towards him, I’ve never heard of him starting a swearing contest (and what he does in that god awful movie is all made up – not true)

    And in that time and where he was from “Those were fighting words”

    A lot of what has been made of him being a jerk is made up baloney – Al Stump’s second book and the joke of a movie

    “Maybe if he hit to all fields he wouldn’t have been as effective because that’s not how his swing was patterned.”

    I doubt it,

    1) You make the outside pitch your weakness

    2) You have one side of the field stuffed with fielders and the other side empty

    3) Williams himself said it was dumb in his book and something he wouldn’t repeat

    Ruth was a freak, plain and simple

    He was exceptional at hitting the sweet spot of the bat from what I gather

    He could also hit to all fields as is referenced in many books, but quite a bit chose to “go big or go home”

    And Cobb finished 1st (not top 10, but 1) in batting average 12x – when most guys struggled to hit .240

    He also finished 1st 8x in slugging

    He also finished 1st 10x in OPS

    I could keep going, but the point is he set more records than Ruth, and could hit the ball hard and far like him

    To prove that he announced prior to a huge hitting spree that he was “going for the fences”

    He hit 5 home runs in 2 games (tied record) went 12 for 19 with 29 TB, in 2 games

    “And because Cobb was so smart, I’d bet he’d adjust his philosophies to the times. He didn’t apply pressure by running and bunting and stealing for the heck of it. He had odds in his mind of his chances of success and whether it was a good gamble.”

    Yes he did, he applied pressure because he knew it won games if not today then tomorrow, he was always about making them beat themselves

    “Speaking of good books, I’d highly recommend Ty and the Babe by Tom Stanton. Great read.”

    It was OK,

    I have a personal copy signed by Tom, and while it was interesting and provided different angles …

    I rank quite a few above his

    Plus I’d rather hear what his contemporaries had to say about him

    that site by Bill Burgess has a ridiculous amount of that and many put him heads above the rest

    “As for the statues, there is a case for Crawford for sure. But Manush only spent 5 years as a Tiger and they weren’t that remarkable to warrant statue consideration. And why is it that Barrow thought Crawford was a better hitter than Cobb?”

    Well Crawford was one of the best players all time so I’m glad you agree with me

    Manush – well is he considered to be a Tiger? or no? I mean why even have his name on the wall

    He had arguably his best year here, but was only a starter here for basically 2 years

    Heilmann also should have a statue he spent all but 2 of his years in a olde english D and just under a shade career 150 OPS+ COME ON plus 4 seasons hitting over .390 with one being over .400

    As far as what Barrow said I believe he was talking about guys he managed and or picked up

    He was with us in 1903 and 1904, with the Red Sox in the late teens and the Yanks in the 20s-40s

    Therefore he didn’t include Cobb or Jackson or Speaker or Wagner etc. only guys like Ruth who he managed (and by the way converted him from an pitcher to OF)

    Here is a nice little quote by Charlie Gehringer

    “…Every time at bat for him(Cobb) was a crusade, and that’s why he’s off in a circle by himself.” (Baseball When the Grass Was Real, by Donald Honig, 1975, pp. 42)

  34. David

    October 20, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Yes Ron

    GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BTW what do you think of this(my) fantasy team in an AL only 10 team league?

    (25 man roster, 10 pitcher, 10 hitters 5 bench and 2 DL)

    Rich Harden (drafted before trade to Cubs and I lost him =()
    Francisco Liriano
    Gavin Floyd
    John Danks
    Joe Saunders
    Justin Verlander (dumb I know, thought he would have a sophomore slump in 2007, happened in 2008)
    Scott Kazmir
    Matt Garza

    Two relievers are

    Joakim Soria
    + whoever was hot I could find on the free agent list

    And the hitting

    C— shift between Inge (b/c I like him and roster flexibility) and Laird (Texas) and Taylor Teagarden
    Corner Infield – Mark Teixeria (picked up midseason when traded)
    CI – another hot hitter for most of the season either Willy Aybar or Chris Davis
    Middle Infield – Placido Polanco
    MI – Alexi Ramriez
    OF – Joshua Hamilton
    OF – Magglio Ordonez
    OF – Raul Ibanez
    Utility – for most of the season Jim Thome or Denard Span of Minny
    Utility – Alexis Rios

    That team ended up winning the “World Series” btw and had a regular season 96 wins 26 losses and 7 ties
    finished 17.5 games ahead of #2

    Only 2 “inactive” teams

    categories I tried to keep to a minimum to keep it simple not sure if I’ll do the same next year


    Runs, RBI and Total Bases


    Strikeouts, ERA, Quality Starts

    anyone interested into going into a semi competitive league?

    heck we could have a Detroit Tigers Weblog fantasy league through Yahoo

    sounds like fun to anyone?

  35. Coleman

    October 20, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Hmm, strangely enough fantasy leagues tend to short-change the “small-ball” things you praise so much, most obviously good fielding.

  36. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    David, no offense intended, honest – but could you do all of us (or some of us) a favor? Every sentence doesn’t have to be its own paragraph, does it? I try to read your posts and my eyes fall out. That wouldn’t be so bad in and of itself, but it’s not easy for an old man like me to keep bending down to pick them up, aside from the fact that eyes rolling around under my desk tend to be hard to find without eyes. Also, they get all full of dust and cobwebs down there.

    Just a request.

  37. David

    October 20, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Coleman – Yea, well, what can I do?

    Even if they played by big boys who like to see how far they can hit it, it still can be fun to play

    I actually used a fielding category in 2007 and 2006 I believe assists one year and fielding %/errors the other year, but I don’t really like either…

    I believe all Yahoo! had was Assists, Putouts, Errors and Fielding Percentage.

    It all comes down to Runs and RBIs that is what wins games, and Cobb produced the most (R+RBI-HR) while going through the dead ball era for half of his career

    I’m thinking for next year I might even take out total bases not sure though, it would make the number of categories very small.

    Smoking Loon – you should stop smoking, then maybe it’d be easier to read. Seriously though I didn’t know it was so tough to move your eyes around in your head…if you don’t like it please glance over what I write. Hopefully this isn’t as hard to read as it is all one paragraph. I can’t stand writing like this. I enjoy the spacing. Each line is its own thought. In all fun if I write something else exclusively to you I’ll make sure it is like this.. just how you like. =)


  38. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Well, I was just asking, David. If paragraphs cramp your style, that’s OK.

  39. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    My 2009 Fantasy Team is looking like this so far:

    SS Santiago
    2B Polanco
    CF Granderson
    IB Cabrera
    DH Ordonez
    RF Joyce
    LF Thames
    C New Veteran Catcher Guy
    3B Inge

    Bench: Larish, Raburn, Ryan

    SP: Verlander, Galarraga

    RP: Seay

    That 4th bench spot is unresolved, but at this point would go to Clevlen to start the season (because Thomas and Hollimon won’t be available and because of uncertainty over Iorg). I can’t even begin to flesh out the pitching staff yet, and will probably have to wait until the end of spring training.

  40. Dr Dre in Chicago

    October 20, 2008 at 2:05 pm


    until that last paragraph, i thought you were pioneering a new 2 man rotation with a, how should i put this, pared-down bullpen. thankfully, upon reading your post in its entire-ness, i was relieved to know my assistant fantasy abilities weren’t going to be taxed finding replacements when our 3 man pitching staff’s arms all fell of at the start of week 2.


    any chance of you leaving it at “i like Cobb”? i’m sure bilfer would rather not pony up with the extra storage on that issue alone. alternatively, just start your own Cobb site, and link away.

  41. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 2:57 pm


    Justin, Armando, and pray for… a tornando? Now that you mention it, I might put you in charge of rounding out the staff. Too vexing for me right now. Just know that I want Rodney gone and Zumaya converted to a starter. Give me some free agent/trade candidates for a big-name starter and a stud closer, please. Or you’re fired. Maybe.

    OK, maybe my motivational qualities as a leader need some work. I’m new at this.

  42. ron

    October 20, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    As Director of Marketing and Promotions, I have hired David as a consultant for “Ty Cobb Remembrance Day” which will take place next year on July 17, the date of the Georgia Peach’s passing.

  43. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Uh-oh. I think I’m going to have to ask Coleman to hire an Ombudsman for Internal Staff Relations. Either that or prevail upon Ron to also have a *Ty Cobb Forgettance Day* on July 18.

  44. Dr Dre in Chicago

    October 20, 2008 at 4:07 pm


    re: rounding out the pitching staff (and keeping my “job”)

    1) evaluate current roster to determine ’09 viability




    *per Loon
    +needs more Yoga
    -needs less walks (Knapp effect)

    2) Evaluate free-agent market

    L. Hernandez

    i think we’d probably be overpaying for Garland or Lowe, Hernandez is my Robertson/Willis replacement in case Yoga doesn’t prove to be the silver bullet.

    (gotta admit, this is the most fun i’ve had ‘playing pretend’ since i was a wee lad. however, i must implore all involved to join me in a pact; that this never turn into some pen and paper Tigers Front-office / D&D clone.)

  45. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm


    Good work. A few questions:

    Can we aim any higher than Garland or Lowe? Not saying there’s anything wrong with them. And how about a closer? I have a hunch there will be some roster changes (other teams) in the offseason that will make Gary Sheffield quite attractive to either the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, or Rays – attractive enough to pick up more than half his salary, in fact. So I anticipate having a little more to spend on a free agent pitcher.

    I’m not willing to spend another year waiting for Zumaya to emerge as a bullpen savior. I don’t think he has it in him. I’d like to try converting him, which means he’ll start the year in Toledo. And he’ll stay there until we need him – or trade him. Agree, disagree?

    What about Cruceta? You no like his potential?

    Regarding the pact, no, I don’t want this to be about trying to guess what Illitch/DD/Leyland are going to do. Not a true-to-life projection, but on the other hand, not a completely unrealistic plan, either, as though we had an unlimited payroll and the goal was to build a fantasy All Star team. Just about what I/you/we would do if we were the Tigers’ brain trust but somehow still us.

    I think we can agree that the starting rotation is almost completely up in the air. Bonderman has the inside track for #3, but what if he’s not healthy as expected? And if we do trade for or sign that big name starter, well, we’ve got a whole bunch of guys competing for that last spot (or 2 spots, if Bonderman isn’t ready). Do we even hang onto (or resign, in one case) all those guys – Willis, Garcia, Robertson, and Miner?

    Dre, I want an action plan on those 4 starters I just mentioned. What do they have to do, and by when, to win a spot. and can you see passing on bringing any of them back already?

  46. Dr Dre in Chicago

    October 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm


    in reverse order:

    -to begin with, and this might be the biggest fantasy of all, i would like to have as close to a definitive report on Willis’ objective health, not whether he can pitch well, but can (or should) he pitch at all. i don’t think any time table is useful until this can be determined. i think we should resign Miner and Garcia, i have little amounts of hesitation with those guys. hopefully Robertson is taking steps this offseason to get back to his career norms, whether its his weight, mechanics, mentality or any combo of the aforementioned. i would think that in his case (barring injury as a to-date unmentioned factor) he has until May to show improvement. i would have said spring training, but he’s owed money, they have to make sure they give him ‘a’ chance…but none of this Sheffield-esque bull of trotting out a guy who’s rehabbing in-game. (this by the way should be an organizational motto for ’09 along with, ‘throw it over the effing plate’)

    i would rather not contemplate a non-ready Bonderman, not on monday, so i’ll shelve that for now.

    i haven’t seen enough of Cruceta, and i only have 26 mlb innings of data to judge, so again, i’ll defer to those with better guesses.

    i agree on Zumaya starting and stretching him out in the minors. if you’re going to do something, do it right…no more testing people out at the MLB level unless absolutely necessary.

    i know we’re trying to have a realistic fantasy here, which is why i don’t see any chance of moving Sheffield. for the same reason that i didn’t think anyone would trade for Maggs; there are too many good FAs that are = or > than Sheffield in both ability and value…why would somebody trade talent?

    as far as doing better than Garland or Lowe, it all depends on Illitch. i’m not sure he loosens the purse strings (or if he’ll need to). if we look like we’re in contention around the trade deadline, but need another arm to push us over the top, that’s really the only situation i see the Tigers picking up a bigger name than those two.

    oh, and the pact was to make sure we didn’t start assigning levels and classes to our fantasy selves (eg. lvl 44 dark GM).

  47. David

    October 20, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Ron – seriously I’d do it! thanks!

    Dr Dre – not a bad idea

    I’d start up a Tigers website/dead ball players/whatever I found to be interesting and I’d think it’d have the possibility to be grand, but unlike Billfer I don’t know if I could have a 5 + year commitment to it unless I had a semi large following, and even then it’d be hard

    PLUS I’d actually have to write so people like Smoking Loon would want to read it, not in bullet style where apparently I’m lone “loon”

    Plus I’d rather go after Al Avila’s job once he gets promoted 😉

    Here are two clips on youtube of the Grand “Ahole/crazy guy himself” doesn’t he sound like a mean SOF Ahole? – extreme sarcasm

    The second one btw has Sam Crawford, Hans Lobert(played with Wagner) Jimmy Austin(played with Willie Wee Keeler) and……………………Cy Young at the end! Rare as heck ftw!



  48. Coleman

    October 20, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    I will hire an Ombudsman for Internal Staff Relations, as long as I can call him the OISR (pronounced Oi, Sir!). And as long as the team gets a reasonable amount from Budweiser for the special Om-Bud-Man logo I am designing for him.

    (Nothing like a Bud, a burger, and a corn-on-the-Cobb)

  49. ron

    October 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Dr. Loon, unfortunately you and Dr. Dre and Dr. Coleman have been thrown into this mess at midstream and are limited to the moves you can make, where as I have pretty much free reign. The whole idea is to get people into the seats and since we will be saddled with some deadweight before we can truly turn this team around, I suggest that Marketing and Promotions not be an extension of the G.M.office, but a seperate entity. After that last place finish, you’ll be lucky to average 25,000. With clever promotions, like Ty Cobb Day, a raffle to give away a deer head that once hung in Kirk Gibson’s basement, free posters of major leaguers who played for the Tigers but won a World Series ring with other teams, and such, we should be able to put 15,000 more fannies in the seats each game. Tell your ombudsman to stay home even though Dr. Coleman’s logo idea was terrific. At this time, I’m trying to get in touch with Amanda to help out on A Comerica’s Salute to Michigan Duck Hunters where all fans wearing full camouflage on that day receive a Meier’s gift certificate for a free frozen bird.

  50. Smoking Loon

    October 20, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    Ron, I’m sold. We’ll spin off your department as free-standing entity, provided you first sign a no-competition agreement. That is, I have right of first refusal on anyone you are considering hiring. And no, you may not interview Coleman and Dr. Dre.

    Before you go off on your own, may I humbly suggest a Snorg Girl promotion. Rumor has it she’s taken to parading herself over at baseball-reference.com. That won’t do. Offer her anything to make Comerica Park her permanent home, and DTW her permanent virtual home, and I’ll pay half. She can even stay with me during the offseason.

  51. ron

    October 21, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Smoking Loon, agreed. I’ll begin right away on Snorg Girl. That will leave me with 76 dates to fill.

  52. Coleman

    October 21, 2008 at 1:15 am

    ron: I wouldn’t stake too much of your fake career on the Snorg girl; as fickle as these things are to start with, what happens when the boss (Loon) realizes that half his fascination with her comes from not being able to make other words from the letters in “snorg”?

  53. ron

    October 21, 2008 at 2:10 am

    Coleman, can’t you see my name buried in the Snorg label. For your information, I’ve already contacted Alice and she told me she would only appear on Ty Cobb Day (herself being a Georgia peach). She said she would meet with Loon at the Denny’s near his house (she’s a budding songwriter too) and discuss details of her visit. Now go get Loon his cup of coffee.

  54. ron

    October 21, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Loon, this is exactly why I had to separate myself from the front office (re. Coleman’s above comments)

  55. Coleman

    October 21, 2008 at 3:15 am

    ron: ‘Coleman, can’t you see my name buried in the Snorg label”

    Well, yes, buried…that’s my point. And you still can’t make any words out of it, unless you want to attempt “ron gs” as some kind of txty way to say ron gas (drill! drill!), or some other unsavory way to use those letters. (And don’t try “ron SG” as in ron-snorg girl, that’s just circular).

    Anyway, I thought it was understood I’m not in the front office, I’m in the Under Office.

  56. ron

    October 21, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Coleman, you’re like Batman in his underground bunker where you can let your hair down, be yourself and still keep an eye through your contacts on everyone else. You might be interested, if you haven’t already, in reading “The Mole People” by Jennifer Toth.

  57. Coleman

    October 21, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    You know, dress him up a bit and Leyland doesn’t make a half bad Alfred. It’s rough on him down here though; the groundbox is a no-smoking zone. And that’s not just to keep the boss out of my hair, although it is true that he isn’t fond of being just plain old “Loon.”

  58. ron

    October 22, 2008 at 1:29 am

    Mr. Smoking Loon it is. I’ll bet Snorg Girl could call him anything she wanted to.

  59. Smoking Loon

    October 22, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Aw, shucks. You guys can call me Loon, Smoking Loon, Loony, Puff Loony – you can even call me Sean. I’m an easygoing sort of boss man. As long as the work gets done.

    Snorg Girl is just impossibly cute. Though my thoughts are pure and my intentions nothing but good, it might be better if she said nothing. My illusions shatter so easily.

    Back to business. Issue #1! Tigers pitching! Is this tired staff ready for a Knapp? Willis or Won’tis? If Willis walks, will he walk? Will Knappster’s file sharing face a challenge from Leyland Records? Will Knapp be called on the carpet? With a crowded field of potentially good starters, do the Tigers forego an acquisition and concentrate on the pen instead? Or do they knabb a knew guy with a knack for knot issuing free passes, building around a poster boy for the knew regime, as it were? Will lack of instant results warrant a Knappsack? Knot! Is Rodney in a field of danger? Trade danger, that is.

    A Tigers-oriented McLaughlin Group would be fun. The McLeyland Group. Instead of “Wroooong!”, our host’s catchphrase could be “That’s horse___.” Hey, it’ll be on cable.

  60. ron

    October 22, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Mr. Loon, Ah yeh, Tiger pitching. And Thames. So many problems, so little time. Stop it with the Knapp. The guys been in town one week. Your using up all the good stuff.

  61. Smoking Loon

    October 22, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    But wait, Ron. I was wondering if a Knappy-headed pitching staff can work out the kinks in 2009.

    I’m trying to leave the cupboard bare for Coleman the Wampire. But I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

  62. ron

    October 23, 2008 at 1:04 am

    I knew you’d come up with something else. You can’t help yourself Loon. Do you know anything about his private life? Are there any kidknapps?

  63. Smoking Loon

    October 23, 2008 at 9:16 am

    “Are there any kidknapps?”

    Doh! How did I miss that one?

    Maybe the Tigers can kidknapp some Twins prospects. Oh, it’s no use. It just doesn’t feel original now. I think I need a knapp.

  64. ron

    October 23, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Hopefully all his syknapps are firing off in order so he can impart his pitching philosophy in a lucid manner.

  65. ron

    October 23, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Loon, It’s 9:30 in the morning. A catknapp should suffice.

  66. ron

    October 23, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Loon, as fantasy GM, can you hire a fantasy guy named Head to head one of your make believe departments….head butt, butt head, balloon head…

  67. Smoking Loon

    October 23, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Ron, I put Coleman in charge of all hiring. I’ve got a team to think about. Meanwhile, the newly independent M & P department has yet to submit its plan for drawing 4 million+ to Comerica next year. At least my trusty Assistant GM is out there scouting pitchers.

  68. ron

    October 23, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Other than putting together my daily promotion scheme, yes, 81 of them and trying to design some sort of tunnel to connect to Coleman’s underground subterranian plexiglass bunker near third base so I can sneak in another half million paying customers dressed as food court vendors because there are not enough seats to sell 4 million tickets above ground, I guess I’ve just been lolling about.

  69. Smoking Loon

    October 23, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    “there are not enough seats to sell 4 million tickets above ground”

    Stack them on top of each other (people, not seats) if you have to. I want money. I’ve been talking with Gary, and he’s tentatively agreed to a deal that sends him to the Red Sox, where he will – by design – underperform and get injured. But it’s going to cost us. That and Coleman’s construction project.

    It may seem odd that the owner/GM/manager has never even been to the ballpark. but I’m a busy man. It appears to me, from photographs, that seats and boxes at Comerica are way too big. After announcing that ticket prices are to be slashed a full 10% across the board, make them smaller by half, and institute an overbooking policy. Hire lots of cheap security, and install parking meters at all seats and boxes, and make all aisles and walkways toll roads. Charge a fee for leaving, a penalty for leaving early, and charge extra for leaving after Tigers wins. Cover all of this up with all manner of fun, happy-time promotions, and don’t forget the slogans.

    Of course, these are just suggestions.

  70. ron

    October 23, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Loon, excellent. You just completed my job for me. I’ve never been to the ballpark myself. I’ve fantasized about it. Hey, I’m cleaning up my desk now. Be back in mid March to put my (your) ideas into action. Keep working on that pitching problem. Ta Ta.

  71. Mitchell Harris

    January 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    good luck