Thanks for helping me get an A everybody!

By Kyle Bauer

If you saw my two recent posts on Calvin Johnson and Mike Modano, they were fake.

I wasn’t doing this to be malicious or get quick-hits, I was doing it for a final presentation in my media-ethics class on irresponsible blog-reporting. Obviously, I turned this blog into an example for the class. I deleted them because they were completely false.

Calvin Johnson is not demanding a trade, nor did he get in a dispute with Jim Schwartz. As far as I know, he definitely did not get Louis Delmas girlfriend pregnant.

Mike Modano will be a Red Wing this season, the Stars have no interest in bringing him back.

Just wanted to do that to set the record straight.

Thanks to everyone who commented and helped.

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8–2010 Podcast

The most strenuous circle redux

By Kyle Bauer

I feel like the Tigers upcoming series against the White Sox is the essential equivalent to the Tigers series against Minnesota in late-September last year. The implication is survival. And while last season it was those bastard Twins up against the wall, we knew if the Tigers lost three of four, that very well could have been it. The same high-stakes exist in this four game set. If the Tigers pull off a miracle and win 3 of 4 or even sweep (LOL) they’re back in the race, looking at a waiver-pick up and healthy bodies down the road. They lose three of four or get swept…..well…..just try not to get passed by Kansas City.

In honor of this series, I am reposting a blog I wrote last year on the Tigers double-header with the Twins on September 29th, 2009. Enjoy……

The most strenuous circle

A 27 hour journey through an unstable Tigers fan mind.

Have you ever sat in the 200 section at Comerica Park on a cold night? I’m guessing you have. I’ve sat up there many times before. Monday night was the worst weather I have ever been in. Despite being in the covered area of 231, the horizontal rain made sure we couldn’t find solace in a 22 dollar ticket. Turn the water to cold and stand in front of the shower head, that’ll give you an idea of Monday night. Umbrellas weren’t even enough for comfort as the 50 mph wind gust blew a sorry fans protection out of her hands and barreling across rows of empty seats.

After the rousing speech from Sparky Anderson, I went to the Tigers Re-tail center in the food court. While debating buying a 10 dollar Edgar Renteria jersey t-shirt, I overheard the game had been called after only a half hour delay.

Immediately my head spun. I went into all the different scenarios. Does Verlander get bumped up to the first game? Does Bonine get bumped and Robertson and Jackson get moved up? Does Laird catch both games? How does this affect Seay and the bullpen? All the questions filled my head, made me a little dizzy, and it sent me into the realization that tomorrow would present a situation not often seen. A double header in what is practically the playoffs.

I woke up at 10 am. Put on multiple layers of clothing, which I failed to do the night before. Among the layers of clothing was a pair of pajama pants under my jeans.

I’m a superstitious guy. This is to a fault. Many times I have made sacrifices and done peculiar things for the sake of superstition. For instance, I’ll throw my Tigers hat up on the roof if they’re in a slump. Surprisingly, I’ve only felt concerned enough to do that once (following the 9 to 7 loss against the Blue Jays September 12th) this season. Fat chicks be damned, this will serve as a slump buster. Also stored in my head are split stats of their record in what games I’ve been to.

Example:Tigers 2009 record:
When sitting in Centerfield- 5-0
Upper deck- 5-2
Right field corner- 3-0
Left field corner- 1-0
When parking in Greektown- 2-0
When eating before the game- 4-0
When tipping the “Eat Em up Tigers” Guy- 6-1
When wearing my Tigers vintage Starter jacket- 1-2
When wearing my blue and orange Nike Air Force 2’s- 10-2
When attending Saturday night games- 3-1
When tickets are purchased by someone else- 3-0

…..this goes on and on. I have been keeping track of these numbers in my head for the past six years. The control freak/competitor/crazy in me somewhat believes that this could effect the outcome. We all know it’s outlandish but it’s a silly way to connect you to the game.

With my split stats in mind, the ideal situation for me to watch a game would be for me to park in Greektown, eat before the game, sit in the centerfield bleachers, tip the ‘Eat Em Up’ his booze money, while wearing my blue and orange Nikes and have my friend buy the ticket for me.

With this crucial game out of mind, in place the weather and lack of money, I broke two superstitions’. I wore my Tigers jacket, and remember those PJ’s? I hadn’t worn them this year because lifetime, the Tigers are 0-4 when I wear pajamas or sweat pants under my jeans. Guess I was applying logic over my own delusions.

Merging onto 696 enroute to Comerica Park , I said to my friend,

“Were going to lose, I’m wearing PJ’s underneath my jeans.”

He laughed.

In retrospect the Tigers would had won the first game, if I had just taken the extra step and changed out of them.

Or maybe the Tigers would have won, if they not went 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position and been out hit 11 to 7. If Jim Leyland would have pinch hit Magglio in multiple late game situations, most notably for Santiago in the ninth with Ramirez on second and two outs (yeah, yeah I know Ramon drilled that ball). The ‘Peoples Champion’ Brandon Lyon throwing two wild pitches in the 10th obviously didn’t bode well either. Still, with all that, they had their chances. Porcello was hit especially hard, left in two batters too long, but he was effective.

The thunderous roar from a small yet devoted crowd was effective for me. All year long I had been searching for a crowd to remind me that the Tigers were in a pennant race. I wasn’t expecting much. Rain had shut down what would had been a playoff type crowd, official attendance over 35,000. But a solid group of around 20,000, took off work, skipped school or didn’t have anything better to do.

First signs of life was when Rick Porcello faced Delmon Young with two outs in the sixth inning. For the first time in the 14 games I’ve been at this season, cheers grew organically. Fans stood up and applauded without the score boards telling them to. I was moved. Finally a pulse in this alleged baseball city. Porcello got Young to ground out and the crowd of around 20,000 made more noise than any crowds of 40,000 made all last season. The loudest movement struck when Nick Punto bunted into double play, stymieing a lead off double by Alexi Casilla. Jubilation swallowed the poetic baseball justice of the moment.

With plenty of creators for ambience to wander, my ears were ringing at a Tigers game for the first time in three years. In corny yet appropriate fashion, “Eye of the Tiger” began to play; everyone was still standing and screaming. It was on.

Soon it was off.

Brandon Lyon has not looked too well as of late. I believe he’s simply coming back down to earth after an impressive three month run. The lead off double by the .196 hitting Casilla signaled trouble to me. My intuition was right and all those calling for him to replace Rodney were proven wrong. A feeling of frustration but also vindication came over me as I watched Span scamper to third base. The silence didn’t tell the story as much as the stunned faces around me. As I’ve been known to do from time to time, I stand and yell at the sections around me. This will one day get me beat up, but no one will touch me when they know I’m right. When they hear me yell,

“THIS IS WHO YOU WANTED OVER RODNEY. IN YOUR IDEAL WORLD, THIS IS YOUR CLOSER!”

Some looked back at me with blank stares, likely thinking that I’m more insane than I actually am. Really, I just like letting people know when I’m right. It feeds my ego.

A little hope glimmered with Granderson’s lead off homerun. My hope was channeled through Nathan hanging almost every pitch and Polanco also hitting the ball hard for what I thought was going to drop in. Then Miguel Cabrera with one meager swing of the bat, weakly grounded out to third, saving a rattled, vulnerable pitcher.

Way to be a leader Miggy. Well that’s ok; it’s not your fault, its mine for wearing the pajamas under my jeans. 0-5.

While it was an awful played game by both teams, it was entertaining. This game brought the intensity that I had been searching for. It also brought out the beauty of sports and how fragile the emotional complex is.

Tiger fans have matched the mentality of the team this whole season; At times, there’s seemingly been apathy. Other times confidence and comfort. Then there’s been the disdain and hopelessness. Not only the team, but the entire fan base needs to be medicated.

The fans would intrigue me on this day; the reactions, moods and opinions. With all that was on the line and everything that could change in 10 hours, this had to be monitored.
On the way home, I listened to multiple sports talk radio stations. The callers for both were gloomy. The hosts for both were gloomier. Game by game this fan base has waffled, today the batter would be overflowing.

I called Neal, my dad and my girlfriend. Turned to my friend on the way home and to each of them I declared that the Tigers will win the second game. They’ll win an unassumingly good match up on Thursday, splitting to all but lock up the division.

I had class in the evening, I didn’t go. No offense to ESPN Gamecast but that would not had served me well for a game of this magnitude. Yes I was confident, but you never know, that’s why you watch.

Finally resting on the couch after nervously wasting three hours, I settled in. I watched Verlander pitch some of his best innings of the season through five. In the mean time I had also witnessed Miggy hitting a no-doubter that left me scratching my head to why he couldn’t get a better at bat against Nathan, earlier in the day. Magglio came up with a huge two run double that further instilled my belief that he’s earned back at bats against righties.
The Tigers are up 5-2 but it’s the Twins, this is the Tigers, this is the Twins facing the Tigers. It’s never that easy. Verlander walks out for the eight inning after an extremely impressive and efficient seventh. Denard Span hits a bleeder for a single that I knew would cause trouble. This hit caused me to send the following text to Neal…

9:29 pm- “I hope Span gets in a career ending car accident.”

…just a touch irrational. There are moments in games where I’m such a mess,
you’ll catch me declaring, suggesting, and making some very strange and alarming comments. It’s why I probably could never manage past 12 year old little league. After a couple breathes I usually reel it back in. So of course I do not wish that Span suffers a career ending car crash. If he tears his ACL running out a ground ball, that’s a bit different.

Span as usual, lead a charge where the Twins came back to make it a game. Verlander tends to dial it up in his higher pitch counts. In seventh , eight and ninth innings his batting average with ball in play is high but he has 34 strike outs to 10 walks and only seven runs allowed in 21 appearances beyond the sixth inning. His velocity will pick up deep in the pitch counts also.

This night he didn’t have the extra velocity to reach back to. Verlander actually looked tired and while Span and Orlando Cabrera’s hits were weak, it was enough to extend him into vulnerable territory.
My dad was watching the game with me, he left the room. He gave up right as Kubel made it 5 to 4.

I had lost hope at that point also, sending another text to Neal…

9:33 pm- “Seay should had went against Kubel. They’re going to win this fucking thing.”

JV locked in and did just enough to get Cuddyer. The Tigers live through another inning. Verlander’s arm is somehow still attached, throwing 129 pitches, majority of which fastballs in the high 90’s.
I sent out the text…

9:36pm- “though rodney is my boy…I really feel like they have to get another run this inning with how min. keeps coming….”

Curtis Granderson has been the focus of much criticism from me this year. I have grown wrestless with his struggles and apparent regression as a ball player. Thankfully, he appears to be getting his stroke back at the right time. Another late homerun, this one far more meaningful.

Think of how numinous it is when the inning starts off with Delmon Young reaching on a miscue by of all players Polanco.

Normally, when Rodney takes the mound in a save situation, I’m comfortable. Unfortunately for my nerves, that’s trumped by the Twins being at bat with a less than 12 deficit. With the leadoff runner on, my stomach was clinching. I sent out a mass text to the five people I was in touch with…

9:49 pm- “….and it begins….”

This was before Nick Punto, another player who seems to only get big hits against the Tigers came through on another rarely misplayed ball by Granderson. Rodney was doing everything he could to shut it down but like usual the Twins kept getting breaks.

Denard Span comes to bat and I was hoping for that career ending injury again. Maybe he would tear his rotator cuff taking a practice swing. It was bleak. I had to calm myself and remember that Rodney is 35 for 36. While he had already gotten four outs, why the hell couldn’t he get the fifth? F.Rodney set him up, with two change ups and jammed him with a high inside fastball.

The ball landed in Raburn’s glove (with Raburn out there I was holding my breath). I let out a scream that also served as the loudest sigh of relief in my life. My phone was spontaneously blitzed with enough texts to immediately fill my inbox.

The Tigers salvaged themselves and made it an exciting day of baseball that’ll I’ll never forget. The emotional toll it took left me shaking for a few minutes. But I believe the emotional toll will cost both teams. The final text message I sent was the most poignant of the entire day….

10:15 pm- “these 2 teams are taking everything they have out of each other and they didn’t have that much to give in the first place.”

Those two games took almost everything out of me as a fan. But I don’t mind. This is what a pennant race is all about. The Tigers clinched a playoff spot with ease in 2006. A different situation has been presented in 2009, one that last occured when I was only a year old. While it is taxing, it is fun, it’s memorable and it’s something to look back and smile on.

Yesterday was a day that the Tigers and Detroit have not seen and might never see again.

Hope you hated and enjoyed it as much as I did.

Our good pals, The Victorious Secrets are back.

By Kyle Bauer

We all remember The Victorious Secrets, as they were chosen to be the butt-end of every joke through out the month of April, winning the “April in the D” contest for FSN.

While watching Judge Mathis on Friday afternoon, I noticed that they were back attempting to win another television music contest.

The Freecreditscore.com band is being replaced. Even though they really weren’t a band. But you have to admit, their four-year run wasn’t as annoying as it probably could’ve been. I did enjoy the bicycle jingle.

Now The Victorious Secrets are putting themselves up on the chopping-block at a national level. I don’t get this career move. Instead of Mtv is the band trying to get big by solely playing commercials? This is a pretty advanced move considering all the various routes an alternative band can take to stardom. Screw integrity, blogs, itunes, satellite radio and good old fashioned hustle, they’re selling their way right to the top. Really I cant blame them for trying to make some money, but you have to admit, literally turning yourself into a commercial band is kinda comical.

Which song Victorious Secrets song do you prefer?

Should the Real Deal on Sports become spokesmen for J.G. Wentworth?

I like his red pants.

7-29-2010 Podcast

15 million vs. playoff chances.

By Kyle Bauer

It can be as simple as that. Lets lay it out; Fifteen million owed to Magglio Ordonez if he reaches 540 at-bats. If Magglio reaches 540 at- bats, his career .315 average will shine through. Magglio not reaching 540 means 15 million will stay off the books. But a man who has an .852 ops and on pace for over 20 homeruns and right around 100 rbis will be out of the line-up. Which would you rather have?

Magglio Ordonez has served to be a polarizing figure. More a scapegoat than any other Tiger. Fans are infuriated that at the age of 36, there was a possibility of him making 15 million this year and possibly another 15 million next year.

Many do not seem to understand or accept the weight of such a back-loaded contract. While Magglio is not worth that much a season, it is fair that a man, who has been one half of a triple-crown contending season for Miguel Cabrera, while carrying a consistent bat, is the second-highest-paid position player on the Tigers. Next to Miguel Cabrera, he is the best position player on this team. His value is immense.

While everyone is cheering for Magglios injury seeing this as saving the Tigers money, it has obliterated this season. At this point, I doubt Dumbrowski will act hastily. Detroit has been involved in trade rumors, I never bought into the idea that the Tigers were going to go all in at the trade deadline. This will be reinforced. Desperation could set in, but with Inge, Magglio and Guillen all being injured within a week, there are now too many holes to patch. With Magglios injury the season is sunk and there is no-saving it.

The Tigers were still a couple players from seriously contending with Magglio but a couple cheaper players. I saw Miguel Tejada or Ted Lilly possibly with Ryan Theriot coming to the Tigers at the right price. Even without Guillen and Inge, the Tigers in my mind still had a viable offense with Jackson at the top and the combination of Miggy and Maggs in the middle.

The offense was fragile. You could argue that taking one cog out of the machine, was enough to halt it. Magglio was too much, Inge and Guillens loss could be neutralized with a cheap acquisition. So now the Tigers sit with Rhymes, Larish, rAAAburn, Sizemore, Worth and Avila/Laird in the bottom of the line-up. Too much ineptitude to overcome. You celebrate this injury now because of all the money coming off the books, but you wont be spending money at the ballpark to see this team. All the excitement is gone, all reason to watch this team is gone. This summer and early fall is dead. Is this really what you want?

All the money coming off the books is good. The Tigers will have around 75 million to play with. But similar to where this story all begins, the Tigers might have to throw at least a quarter of that at one player. Why would Carl Crawford want to come to Detroit? Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt didn’t want to come here. You would have to over-pay the same way you overpaid for Magglio Ordonez in 2005. That is why I defend the Magglio Ordonez contract. Aside from worth to the team, the contract holds validity because the Tigers had to pay the bad team tax at the time. In order to get a name in Detroit, the Dumbrowski was going to have to spend recklessly. If the Tigers were to get Crawford, they would have to use that 75 million and then some. The Tigers are a much better team than in 2005 but Detroit is still the same undesirable climate. Dumbrowksi will have to pay the bad climate tax, hope you’re ready for more back-loaded contracts. That is if the Tigers are lucky. All that fresh new available money will likely be wasted on two Adam Everetts and two Johnny Damons.

The Tigers will be relegated to the same market this off-season that they face at the trade-deadline. This is a mid-level market that will only attract mid-level talent at best.

There is nothing good about Magglio Ordonez broken ankle. It is as simple as that.

7-22-2010 Podcast