The price of the playoffs

The Detroit Tigers have been lauded in this space, and recently in much more prominent places, about the relationship the organization has with the fans. But something seems to be amiss with regard to playoff ticket pricing. While some of other contenders are offering playoff tickets at only a slight mark-up, and in some cases at a slight discount, the Tigers have joined the Angels as teams who are putting in for premium price hikes (hat tip Baseball Musings).

It’s no secret that the Detroit economy is hurting. The Tigers received some flack for making modest price hikes to select seats going into the 2009 season (a move I defended). Attendance ended up down significantly, but the price hikes likely had little to do with it. The team was coming off record attendance numbers and a last place finish in 2008. The Tigers still will draw 2.5 million thanks in part to a first place team, and a bevy of discounts on mid range tickets (upper deck box and outfield box seats were on sale for weekday games most of the season).

Continue reading The price of the playoffs

Playoff Roster Eligibility Rules

The Tigers find themselves in a position where roster moves may have playoff implications. MLB Playoff roster eligibility rules seem to be very convoluted at first blush. It turns out they are only partially convoluted, it just seems worse because as near as I can tell the rules aren’t really made available to the public. Have no fear though, we’ll get through it.

There are a couple magical end of month cut-off dates in Major League Baseball. The most well known one is the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. This deadline has no impact on playoff roster eligibility so you can put it out of your mind. The other deadline is the August 31st deadline. This is the one that counts.

To be eligible for a team’s playoff roster a player must be on either a)the 25 man active roster, b)the disabled list, c)the bereavement list, d)the suspended list as of August 31st at midnight.

In the case of the Tigers, assuming they don’t make additional moves prior to that deadline they would have 14 position players and 11 pitchers representing the 25 man roster. They would also have Matt Treanor, Joel Zumaya, Alfredo Figaro, Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman, and Dontrelle Willis as eligible players meaning they would have 31 players at their disposal. If they were say concerned about Brandon Inge’s knee it may behoove them to have Inge on the DL as of the deadline so that both Inge and his replacement on the roster are both explicitly eligible. But this isn’t completely necessary…

If an eligible player is injured and unable to play a club can call up any player in the organization regardless of their roster status* provided that the replacement player plays the same position (position player for position player and pitcher for pitcher), the replacement player was in the organization as of the August 31st deadline and they finished the season in the organization, and they receive approval from the commissioner.

*The player would need to be added to the 40 man roster if they weren’t on it before they could be activated. They just wouldn’t have needed to be on the 40 man roster by any other deadlines.

So those are the rules around eligibility. But what actually happens when someone gets injured?  The playoff roster is set each round when the lineup card is delivered to home plate. If the first game of the series is postponed, teams can reconfigure their roster as long as the series hasn’t started.

If a player is injured, they can be replaced during the series using the rules stated above. If the player is replaced they cannot come back in the current round, nor can they play in the following round.

For more information:

The World Series

I’ve somehow made it all the way through the playoffs without actually blogging about them. It’s not that I haven’t cared, I’ve watched the games. It’s just that I haven’t had a lot to say. That’s still true, but this is the World Series and all.

Will the Rockies stay so ridiculously hot? Will the Red Sox talent prevail? Hell if I know. Will the layoff effect the Rockies? Will first base effect David Ortiz? All questions that are probably better answered by the bloggers who follow their teams year round.

In any case, enjoy the Series and feel free to comment here.

Whitecaps win Midwest League Championship

Congratulations to the West Michigan Whitecaps on their MWL Championship. The Caps won the rubber game in a best of 5 series 11-6 over the Beloit Snappers.

It was a night of big innings as West Michigan used an 8 run 5th inning to wipe out the Beloit 5 run 3rd inning.

Scott Sizemore and Michael Bertram each had 3 hits to lead the offensive attack.

Charlie Furbush was knocked out in that 3rd inning and Luis Marte came on in relief and threw 5 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits and no walks while fanning 9.

Congratulations to manager Tom Brookens and the rest of this year’s Whitecaps.

The Surge – Whitecaps Baseball: West Michigan Whitecaps – 2007 MWL Champions
Minor League Baseball: Scoreboard: Scoreboard

It’s a coin flip

No, I’m not talking about the Tigers playoff chances – which probably aren’t that good right now anyways. But in the event of a tie and a need for a one game playoff, the homefield was determined for those games if necessary.

If the Tigers and Yankees tie, Detroit heads to New York. If Detroit and the Seattle Mariners tie, the game will be played at Comerica Park. And finally, if the Mariners and Yankees tie, we don’t really care. But that will be in New York.

The Official Site of The Detroit Tigers: News: Detroit Tigers News

Kenny Rogers extra giddy-up

Here’s a fascinating post looking at Kenny Rogers stellar playoff performances.

The author uses video to break down Kenny’s mechanics and demonstrate the extra effort and the quicker tempo Rogers was throwing with against the Yankees. Particularly interesting was the video comparison showing a regular season start and the Yankees playoff start. Rogers rushed his delivery considerably in the playoffs and the result was a significantly faster fastball.

Now I’m pretty sure that Kenny Rogers couldn’t throw like this and make it through a whole season. So don’t be looking for crazy-angry-emotional Kenny in a midseason tilt against the Royals. But in the process he probably learned something about himself that he can draw on in tough situations.

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.

FSN Replaying Playoff Wins

Fox Sports Net Detroit is certainly going to warm Tiger fans up as we wait for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training. The station will be airing the Tigers 7 consecutive playoff wins in the ALDS and ALCS. The games will be shown in their entirety along with some of the postgame reactions and press conferences. For someone like myself who watches the Ordonez homer about once a week, this will be a treat.

The schedule is below so get your DVRs ready.

Mon. Jan. 29, 7:00 PM – ALDS Game 2 at New York (Tigers 4, Yankees 3 – played 10/5/06)

Mon. Feb. 5, 7:00 PM – ALDS Game 3 at Detroit (Tigers 6, Yankees 0 – played 10/6/06)

Mon. Feb. 19, 7:00 PM – ALDS Game 4 at Detroit (Tigers 8, Yankees 3 – played 10/7/06)

Mon. Feb. 26, 7:00 PM – ALCS Game 1 at Oakland (Tigers 5, Athletics 1 – played 10/10/06)

Mon. March 12, 7:00 PM – ALCS Game 2 at Oakland (Tigers 8, Athletics 5 – played 10/11/06)

Mon. March 19, 7:00 PM – ALCS Game 3 at Detroit (Tigers 3, Athletics 0 – played 10/13/06)

Wed. March 21, 7:00 PM – ALCS Game 4 at Detroit (Tigers 6, Athletics 3 – played 10/14/06)

Moving On

It’s been a couple days now, and I hope the pain isn’t quite as strong. I received emails and calls from friends offering condolences like a loved one had passed away. It got me thinking about the grieving process, and I realized I did the bulk of my grieving after game 4. By game 5 I had come to terms with it, and was progressing through all 5 steps:

  1. Denial: My goodness no. Fernando Rodney didn’t just throw that ball away. How could this happen? It was an easy out. Why is this happening to me!? Curtis couldn’t have fallen on his own. Maybe the game can be played under protest or something
  2. Anger:: Frickin Eckstein. What does grit have to do with hitting routine flyballs that should be outs. This prick is going to win the MVP without actually hitting a ball hard. I hate gritty little players.
  3. Bargaining: Please God, just give this team a chance to get it back to Detroit. They’ve done too good and come to far. I know they’re not hitting but maybe the Cardinals could make an error or slip or something.
  4. Depression: It’s over. There’s no coming back from this. They were so close and will they ever get this chance again? What if someone gets injured next year or Verlander was a fluke? What if Jim Leyland gets lung cancer?Spring training is a long ways away. Now what am I going to do?
  5. Acceptance: They could win game 5 and bring things back to Detroit, but then what? It’s been a great season and the team just chose the brightest spotlight to play its worst. As much as I wanted them to win the World Series, it doesn’t diminish the wonderful experiences from the rest of the season. I can’t wait until next year.

Now there is a hollowness that has come with the end of the baseball season. There was such a rhythm for so long, that I’m actually a little out of sorts without it. Part of me is grateful for the break. Fandom combined with maintaining the site left me without a lot of time for family and sleep. Now I can appreciate both a little more.

As for the site, I’ll be here all off season and there is a ton to talk about. While I probably won’t be posting every single day, you can still expect new stuff 4 to 5 times a week. Even before the hot stove heats up, we’ll talk about:

  • The 40 man roster and who will be back, who will be added, and who will be jettisoned.
  • The merits of Don Slaught as a hitting coach
  • Why Guillen shouldn’t be moved to first base next season

Congratulations Cardinals

My sincerest congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans. The Cardinals went out and outplayed the Tigers. St. Louis is a great, historic organization with a tremendous fan base. Enjoy the next year as defending World Champions. You earned it.

World Series Game 5: Tigers at Cardinals

PREGAME: So here it is, win or go home or whatever other cliches you choose to use. I’m in a much better state of mind thanks to the counseling session that took place in the Game 4 Aftermath comments.

This preview is pretty thin. First, I’ve covered the Tigers starter Justin Verlander as well as Cards starter Jeff Weaver. Second, everyone understands the consequences. Third, I’m pressed for time at the moment. I do plan on giving the live-blog thing a shot tonight (just check in this spot). I’ve never done it for fear of jinxing the team. But really, I think we’re beyond that now.

The good news is it looks like the rain has stopped.

Detroit Lineup

CF – Granderson
LF – Monroe
SS – Guillen
RF – Ordonez
1B – Casey
C – Rodriguez
2B – Polanco
3B – Inge
P – Verlander

Cardinals Lineup

SS – Eckstein
RF – Duncan
1B – Pujols
CF – Edmonds
3B – Rolen
2B – Belliard
C – Molina
LF – Taguchi
P – Weaver

So pick your Tiger, and let’s enjoy this one tonight…whatever happens.

The Liveblog

Continue reading World Series Game 5: Tigers at Cardinals

World Series Game 4: Aftermath

At this point I’m not even sure how to process what transpired tonight. I’m not sure what feels worse, the fact that the Tigers are down 3 games to 1 or the fact that it is exactly where they deserve to be. In terms of pitching and offense, the game was pretty much even. The Tigers had 10 hits and 3 walks while the Cardinals had 9 hits and 5 walks. The difference once again was the Tigers inability to make plays on defense.

The telltale inning of course was the bottom of the 7th in which the Tigers needed 5 outs to get out of the inning. First was the flyball where Granderson slipped. It’s hard to get too upset at Granderson. He just lost his footing. What are you going to do? The Tigers still had a chance to get out of it before Rodney threw the ball 100 feet to first base in a situation where 60 feet would have been sufficient.

And as frustrated as I am with Rodney, all of his other throws were phenomenal. He picked up back to back strike outs to end a 1 out, first and third rally. He picked up a routine flyball and 2 strike outs in the subsequent inning. He pitched well, but it was all undone because of 2 plays. One that was out of his control and one that he literally had in the palm of his hand.

Some other notes from tonight’s game:

  • The offense perked up with 13 baserunners tonight. Sean Casey and Ivan Rodriguez combined to go 6 for 8. Granderson picked up a double, and by the end of the game he’d even managed to lay off the curve ball. Polanco is the only starter still hitless, and he’s had a couple of hard hit line drives at people the last 2 games.
  • What did Marcus Thames do to Leyland? He’s the best bat on the bench and he gets passed over in favor of Alexis Gomez?
  • I think the cut by Inge was the right play. The throw would have been close to getting Taguchi, but I think it would have been a couple feet up the first base line.
  • That throw that Molina made to try and nab Carlos Guillen was pretty incredible.
  • Scooter? For the kids (all those kids in ET who are still up at 9:30)? Fox continues to not get it. Stop with gimmicks and give us more baseball.
  • McCarver made a big deal of Monroe not making the play on Eckstein’s game winner. I really don’t know what else he could have done.
  • Do you think Miles scores if he’s running from 1st instead of 2nd? I don’t actually know. I’m just wondering how large that passed ball on the Encarnacion strike out was.

With the season on the line, the Tigers could turn to their veteran pitcher who hasn’t allowed a run in the postseason. Instead they’ll turn to the rookie who has struggled in 3 straight starts. I understand Leyland’s reasoning that other guys besides Rogers will need to get wins for the Tigers to have a chance. And I understand that Rogers’ success has all come in Comerica and that he’ll be ridiculed mercilessly in St. Louis. But if the Tigers lose game 5 and Justin Verlander contributes to that loss, it’s going to be a long off season saying, “What if?”

The Tigers needed this game. They had one of their more favorable pitching match-ups in a game that could have pulled the series even. Being down 2-1 in the series they had little margin for error and that margin is gone. I’d be a fool to like the Tigers chances at this point. I know that the 1968 Tigers were in the same situation against the same team, and won the series. Sure, I’ll hold out hope until that last out is recorded, but that hope far surpasses my expectations at this point.

What others are saying

Detroit Tiger Tales

The only hope now is a repeat of the comeback in the 1968 World Series. Such a comeback is very unlikely especially given how poorly they are playing. Justin Verlander, who seems to be out of gas, goes against Jeff Weaver tomorrow. Weaver was not too sharp in game 2 so there is some hope there. A lot of people think they should go with Kenny Rogers tomorrow but I don’t think it matters. If they are going to come back, they need 3 wins and Verlander is going to have to pitch one of those games. It doesn’t really matter if it’s game 5, 6 or 7.

Mack Avenue Tigers: A Detroit Tigers Blog » World Series Game 4: No mas

I’d like to say there’s some reason to be optimistic. But really, there’s not. The Cardinals just seem to be playing with much more poise, and the Tigers seem to have all but lost any of that cool poise we saw most of the season. I just don’t see them coming back to win the World Series from a 3-1 deficit and no poise.

The Daily Fungo: I’m Speechless

Call me an idiot or a pathetic optimist but I can’t see the Tigers season ending Friday night at Busch Stadium.

Oh. Tigers Fans. Honestly, We’re Sorry. – Deadspin

On a night when Every. Single. Break. went the Cardinals’ way, on a night when Tigers fans had to have been ripping out their eyebrows, on a night when the Cardinals’ spikes were made of diamonds and the Tigers’ were made of Vasoline … the Cardinals have taken a 3-1 lead in the World Series and are one game away from winning the World Championship for the first time since 1982. We cannot imagine how difficult that game must have been for Tigers fans.

Cardinals Diaspora

Oh baby…one game away. Let’s see it on the big board.

Maybe its the dense layer of fog from the damp fall day gathering in my head (or, uh, the fog from something else), but I’m having a hard time collecting thoughts on the game.

Get Up, Baby! » Game Four Liveblog Hijinks

The Cardinals did some terrible things with runners on base, and Suppan was far from perfect, but the Tigers just made more mistakes. I’ll take a win any way it comes–let’s keep The Cheat out of this series the old fashioned way, yeah?

DREW SHARP: Tigers haunted by ghost of Flood

The Tigers have orchestrated enough resurrections to make Lazarus envious, but perhaps they’ve run out of miracles.

This game was theirs.

CODE RED! – 10/27/06 – The Detroit News Online

This was a game they had. It also was a game they had to have. And then, in the flash of key miscues, it was gone, a horrific crusher that will not be easy to overcome.

STLtoday – Sports – Columnists

They left this ballpark Thursday night knowing that barring a monumental miracle of their own, they’d basically handed the Cardinals this Series with a non-stop flow of self-destructive nonsense.

World Series: Cardinals vs. Tigers: Cardinals Comeback — The Hardball Times

n a lot of ways, this was the best game of the 2006 World Series. You had the Tigers, who were down 2-1 in the series, come out hitting the ball and taking an early three-run lead. Then you saw the Cardinals come back and take the lead—only to have the Tigers tie it up, then give up the lead again. In the first three games, the team that was leading after the fourth inning ended up winning every game.