ALDS Final Celebration Tidbits

Here are some celebration miscellaney…

First, Joey C found this YouTube video of the celebration. It was somebody with a camcorder recording the TV broadcast so the quality isn’t the best, but you definitely get the gist of what’s going on.

You can download the whole game 4 for free from MLB.com. Or if you prefer, for $0.99 you can get 4:48 of bliss that includes the last out and celebration.

Buster Olney called it “perhaps the greatest team celebration you will ever see.” While Jerry Green said it brought back memories of the 1968 party that spilled from the clubhouse to the Lindell AC.

Some may have been put off by the celebration, but The Bleacher Guy explains that those who didn’t appreciate the celebration didn’t experience the depths of despair this team had encountered.

Finally, Peter Gammons weighs in. It’s premium content, but I’ll excerpt the sweetest stuff below:

Those were the Tigers of 1984, of Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, Sparky Anderson and Kirk Gibson, and they may or may not have meant more to the city’s psyche than the Tigers of 1968. Yankees or no Yankees, these 2006 Tigers are summed up by manager Jim Leyland’s simple phrase, “We showed we belong,” which may not sound like much in New York or Boston or Chicago, but to a franchise that hadn’t had a winning season since 1993 in a town where baseball not only mattered but was Cobb, Gehringer, Kaline, Lolich, et al — lords and masters — just to “belong” with the Yankees is a measure of the self-respect that somehow got lost.

So to hear the chants for Kenny Rogers, the 23rd winningest left-hander in history yet an abused postseason figure, was a wonderful thing. To watch the standing ovations for Craig Monroe, Todd Jones and Carlos Guillen made them all the stars that went on top, and, best of all, seeing Leyland carried off the field like Knute Rockne made the weekend.

ALCS: Tigers & A’s – the season series

A look back at what transpired over the 9 times that these 2 teams hooked up in 2006:
Continue reading ALCS: Tigers & A’s – the season series

ALDS Aftermath

Very rarely am I right. That’s why I see no shame in pulling this out from last Monday:

At the same time, the mere fact that the Tigers are still playing means they have a shot. If the Tigers can find a way to take one of the first 2 games I actually believe the Tigers will win this series. This is fully a homer pick and not based on anything resembling solid logic. I’m confident that Kenny Rogers and Jeremy Bonderman can pick up wins against the Yankees 3rd and 4th options.

Sometimes it’s good to be a homer. I wasn’t expecting the complete shutdown of the Yankee bats, but I’ll just attribute this to Blind-Squirrel-Nut.

A link-a-thon of who’s saying what about our Tigers… Continue reading ALDS Aftermath

The Clinch: ALDS

I’ve been home from the UM/MSU game for almost an hour. I had over an hour in the car to listen to postgame quotes and gather my thoughts. And I’m still here and don’t even know what to write. I’ll start with just saying how freakin’ proud I am of this team right now. I’m proud of how they weren’t overwhelmed by playing the Yankees. I’m proud of how 18 of the 25 guys who had never played in the postseason looked like they belonged. I’m proud of how the veterans came to play with a steely eyed focus. I’m proud how the team shook off an awful week leading up to the postseason. I’m proud how they celebrated with the fans.

I know there is a lot of animosity towards the “experts” and really everyone who didn’t give the Tigers a chance. These people aren’t idiots. They are paid for analysis and opinion and in all reality the smart money was on the Yankees. But it is right to believe that the Tigers weren’t even considered a formidable foe. On several occasions I heard cute predictions like Yankees in 2.

The Tigers were a team that did win 95 games in a division where they were just 1 of 3 teams to post 90 wins. They were a team that did post a 19-31 record over their last 50 games but were only outscored by 3 runs over that time period. They were slumping, but more to the tune of .500 than what their record reflected.

As for that Yankees lineup that had an advantage at every position, they were held in check to say the least. I thought that the Tigers chances would be to limit the damage from the Murderers Row enough that the Tiger hitters could take advantage of the Yankee pitching. Instead the Tigers outhit the Yankees at every position except catcher over the last 4 games.

As David Pinto pointed out the real surprise isn’t that the Tigers pitching staff had success against the Yankees. It’s that they completely shut them down for the last 2 days.

But there will be plenty of time for analysis later. For now it is all about unbridled enthusiasm.

ALDS Game 4: Yankees at Tigers

PREGAME: I don’t think I need to set up what this game could mean for Detroit (and the Yankees). Instead, let’s look at the pitching match-ups.

The Tigers will send out Jeremy Bonderman. Bonderman led the rotation in K/9 (8.6), BB/9 (2.7), and HR/9 (.77). Despite all that he had the highest ERA in the rotation at 4.08, probably in large part to a DER of .682 while he was pitching. In essence he deserved better on the season. At the same time, Bonderman has twice blown 6 run leads at home this year and has mixed results to say the least in his last few starts. He’s only fanned 8 batters in his last 16 innings.

On the other side Jaret Wright will be pitching for the Yankees. Wright has been a flyball pitcher with only 33% of balls in play coming on the ground. Despite that he’s only allowed 10 homers in 140 innings this season.

As for individual match-ups, Magglio Ordonez is 8 for 18 and Sean Casey is 5 for 11. Pudge Rodriguez is 2 for 10 with 3 K’s against Wright. Damon, Matsui and and A-Rod all have OPS’s greater than 900 off of Bonderman.

POSTGAME
: I had the pleasure of watching this game on a grainy little portable TV. The pitch-by-pitch dominance of Jeremy Bonderman was lost in the static, but definitely not in the results. For the 2nd straight day, the Yankee hitters weren’t able to do anything except shake their heads on the way back to the dugout. After Tiger starters failed to record a 1-2-3 inning at any point during the first 3 games, Bonderman retired the first 15 hitters in order.

The Tiger bats had no trouble with the back of the Yankees rotation and their bullpen and as a result this series ended in 4 games.

For those of you fortunate enough to be at the game today, congratulations. You’ve got yourselves one of the best sports memories that you’ll ever experience.

(The folks at Michigan Stadium did a tremendous job keeping the crowd updated. It wasn’t just the regular scoreboard updates that were handy, but they would replay big plays as they happened. They did and awesome job).

ALDS Game 3: The day after

After his warm-up tosses in the bullpen, Rogers made his way down the leftfield line and politely tipped his cap to the Tiger faithful offering encouragement. At the end of the game he thrust his hat into the air to the Comerica faithful offering thanks. The Tigers offense mixed in some key hits from the mid to bottom of the order. CG-2, Carlos Guillen and Curtis Granderson continued their hot hitting while Pudge Rodriguez found a level of comfort with 2 hits and a walk.

Some other thoughts on the game:

  • Al Kaline threw out the first pitch. When his name was announced the Tigers warming up in the outfield stopped their running and stretching to applaud for Mr. Tiger. Kaline threw from the actual rubber, and looked up to see what the radar gun clocked him at.
  • Rogers was awesome the whole game, but he seemed to get another rush of energy after fielding a Derek Jeter bullet through the box. He responded by throwing a 92mph fastball. From that point on he seemed stronger than ever.
  • As dominant as Rogers was, he continued a trend among Tiger starters. They’ve yet to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in this series.
  • Inge is struggling to say the least. He added to his woes last night with 2 K’s and a popout while looking completely perplexed.
  • Lineup order doesn’t seem to mean nearly as much when you win does it? Both managers changed their lineups. The Tigers seemed to work, but the Yankees not so much. Then again, did it matter who was hitting against Rogers last night.

What others are saying

WasWatching.com

Actually, if Wright can go a solid 5 tomorrow, Proctor should be good for two and Farnsworth and Rivera can chip in one inning each. But, the Yankees still need to score some runs to force a Game 5 back in New York.

Baseball Toaster: Bronx Banter

The worst case scenerio reared its ugly head tonight for the Yankees as Kenny Rogers, the consumate October choke-artiste, came up aces for the Tigers, throwing the best money game of his career. It was nothing short of Ripley’s I tell you and I can’t recall being more livid watching a game all season. Rogers had a nasty curve ball that he used for a strike-out pitch, to go along with his normal assortment of slop. His control was excellent and he had the Yankees at his mercy. Did he make a deal with the Devil? This certainly wasn’t the Kenny Rogers we knew in New York.

New York Daily News – Baseball – Bill Madden: A beautiful day for Mr. Rogers

What we do know is that it was quite a confluence of fractured and frayed personalities around Joe Torre last night all seeking to atone for their Yankee postseason failures – Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and, above all, Rogers. And what an awful night it turned into for the Yankee manager, who placed his faith in Johnson and Rodriguez, and bit the bullet on Sheffield in favor of his pet vet Bernie Williams, only to get tortured by the 7-2/3 shutout innings of pitching by Rogers – who he once said “lacked confidence” and was “one of the toughest players to read.”

Carlos Guillen is showing the country that he shouldn’t have to take a back seat to Derek Jeter. He is now 5 for 10 with 2 walks in the series. Another one who is showing off his stuff is Curtis Granderson. Granderson capped the scoring with a solo home run in the 7th. He is now 6 for 12 with 2 homers in the series.

Mack Avenue Tigers: A Detroit Tigers Blog » ALDS Game 3: Rogers throws game of his life

The dream season that we thought had slipped away is no longer a dream. This is October. Now it’s a reality. That was Ernie Harwell’s voice coming from your television and radio, bridging the years. That was Chet Lemon’s name you heard mentioned when Curtis Granderson hit two home runs in a series. That was playoff baseball at its finest.

AMAZING! – 10/07/06 – The Detroit News Online

The Tigers brought playoff baseball back to Detroit after a 19-year wait, and the pent-up spirit, from the stands to the base paths to the pitcher’s mound, was overwhelming. On a night when Yankees legends flailed and Tigers legends grew, the Tigers graphically showed why they’re here — and why they just might stick around.

DREW SHARP: Rogers, fans enjoy overdue playoff feast

Starvation assumes all new dimensions when you’ve waited 19 years for even the tiniest bite. Detroit gorged itself Friday. A city that had long forgotten the emotional timbre of hosting playoff baseball swallowed the moment whole, without chewing.

ESPN.com – MLB/PLAYOFFS2006 – Crasnick: Yanks pinning hopes on Wright and dormant bats

The New York players are too seasoned and businesslike to send out negative signals. But there was some blunt talk in the clubhouse about the need to show energy and get the old swagger back.

Random Acts of High Five-itude

Tonight was simply an amazing experience at Comerica Park. I eagerly waited for this game all day and arrived when the gates opened. And even though I had prepped myself, I still couldn’t believe I was watching a playoff game in Detroit. I also couldn’t believe the choice seat I had 3 seats in from where the wall starts to rise along the left field line. It was a great spot for seeing Polanco’s double land fair, only to be called foul (really, what else is the left field umpire looking for?)

I want to paint the scene of what happened immediately following the game. The crowd was on their feet for the entire bottom of the 9th inning so when Jonesy fanned Matsui to end the game, it couldn’t conceivably get any louder. So the fans cheered some more, and then everyone just kind of stood there looking at the field. Nobody really moved at all. I can only imagine what might happen should the Tigers clinch tomorrow.

When people finally did start making their ways to the exits, everyone was high fiving. Again, I mean everyone. People were high fiving up the aisles. They were high fiving in the concourse. They were high fiving in the street and on the sidewalk outside the stadium. And it wasn’t just drunk frat guy with his buddies and anyone else who might join in. These were all strangers. They were young and old. They were guys and girls. They were black and white. It was just amazing that you would end up high fiving every 10th person you saw and say a simple “Go Tigers.”

I know that a winning baseball team has served as a unifier in this city in the past. And I don’t mean to compare people simply being excited to what happened in the aftermath of the 1967 riots. But tonight was certainly special in more ways than one.

ALDS Game 3: Yankees at Tigers

PREGAME: We’ve all been waiting a very long time for this, a Tiger playoff game in Detroit. A raucous Comerica Park crowd will be cheering for the Tigers to take a lead in the series.

The Tigers will send out Kenny Rogers. Rogers post season record has been well documented. He’s allowed 20 runs in 20 1/3 innings spanning 8 games. The good news is that he’s comfortable in Comerica Park with a 3.27 ERA and only 6 homers allowed in 102 innings. The bad news is that many of the Yankees have tremendous career numbers against Rogers. Giambi (.435BA), A-Rod (.556BA), and Posada (.500 BA) are just a few of the big guns that the Yankees will trot out.

On the other side will be Randy Johnson and his gimpy back. Johson has had no problem carving up the Tigers this year. In 2 starts he’s allowed only 4 runs and 6 hits while fanning 12. However, 3 of those hits have been homers. The left-hander might just be what Magglio Ordonez and Pudge Rodriguez need to get going. Pudge is 0-fer the series while Ordonez has been limited to a double and a walk.

Game Time 8:09

And I’ll be there so don’t expect any updates for a while.

POSTGAME: It was an amazing night, and I have a lot to comment on. But I’m sleepy so the big honkin wrap-up will have to wait until the morning. And by morning, I mean the morning that comes after I fall asleep.

This isn’t the first time

I’m still miffed about the scheduling of tomorrow’s game. Since I’ll be in Ann Arbor, I wanted to make sure that I’d have access to updates. I contacted Bruce Madej from the Michigan Athletic Department to find out if updates would be provided. He assured me that they would be and shared an interesting anectdote.

On October 13th Michigan was hosting Northwestern while the Tigers were facing the Padres in the World Series. Apparently so many in attendance were tuned into the Tiger game, that when Alan Trammell his a home run (1 of 2 on the day) there was such a loud cheer that Northwestern jumped offsides.

Game 3 Comerica Park festivities

The Tigers announced that The Four Tops will be performing the National Anthem prior to game 3. Other stuff of note is that Al Kaline will throw out the first pitch, Ernie Harwell will be in the house on ESPN and WXYT, and the Joint Services Color Guard from Selfridge Air National Guard Base will present the colors. Here’s hoping for a fly-over also. I’m a sucker for the fly-over.

For those of you heading down, gates will open at 6pm.

ALDS Game 2: Aftermath

I’ve finally had a chance to watch this game through the magic of ReplayTV.  It was a great and thrilling win.  The Tigers hit with decent power and make the most of their scoring chances.

As for Justin Verlander’s performance…I’ll just say that he survived the Yankees lineup.  The 105 pitches in 6 1/3 innings and the 4 walks were probably enough to tell you that.  His only “easy” inning began when Bobby Abreu just missed a home run on a line drive that was hit so hard it only resulted in a single.  Fortunately it was a single because Gary Sheffield hit into a double play to follow it up.  Verlander certainly had plenty of gumption on his fastball.  He also threw a few tremendous curves and one that had Sheffield ducking on a pitch over the plate.
Continue reading ALDS Game 2: Aftermath

Didya think this one through?

The great state of Michigan is crazy for their Tigers and can’t wait to host their first playoff game in 19 years.  The great state of Michigan is also enamored with football and coincidentally the state’s 2 biggest universities are facing off on Saturday in Ann Arbor.

So of course MLB and Fox decide that it will be a good idea to make the Tigers-Yankees a 4pm start to go up against the Michigan-MSU game which is set to kick off at 4:30pm.    Nevermind the 100,000+ viewers who couldn’t possibly turn in because they’ll be at a football game, do you think anyone will actually be sticking around to watch any of that precious advertising in between innings?

What’s silly is that there are 3 games scheduled for 4pm, and only 1 in the 1pm slot. The 1 o’clock game stands a good chance not to be played because Minnesota is down 2-0 and headed to Oakland. An A’s win on Friday night, and there is no 1pm game. (Thanks Paul)
Now they could have scheduled the game at 1pm instead of the Cards/Padres game which is occupying the time slot. There is also a 7:30 timeslot which would have worked nicely but the Mets get that one.

I’m grumpy because I’m going to be one of those 100k in Ann Arbor. I’m not the same kind of grumpy I was today at work because it’s hard to be too upset about going to a college football game. I’m just frustrated by senseless acts of scheduling.