Tag Archive | detroit tigers

Best of

It is the baseball off season and it can be a lonely time in the world of sports for baseball fanatics like me. Fortunately, in January of 2009, the MLB Network was launched and that was something to pacify my time until real games began. It became a place where if I were not watching a hockey game (my “winter” sports obsession) or some tv show, my tv was usually on this network.

Surprisingly, there is a lot of good stuff on the network and over the past two years it continues to evolve and get better. Aside from having shows that tell you the latest goings on with the Hot Stove, there is also original programming.

One of the shows I have come to enjoy a lot is called Prime 9. It is a show that does a countdown of the top 9 whatever in baseball. Some of the subjects include best pitching seasons, best short stops, left fielders, cinderella season, etc. There are usually ground rules as to how they went about assessing things and they even say the point is not to make a definitive list, but to start debate.

This past week’s episodes were the best double play combos and (unique) worst uniforms. The episode about the keystone corner duos was fun to see. Only 2 of the combos on the list have i actually seen in action and from what I remember, I understand why they were listed. The other 7 in the list, I have only seen highlights from. The show also does a good job of not only showing highlights of those who played before I was aware of baseball, but also having others explain why those made the list.

The list of best double play duos is

9.  Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion

8. Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese

7. Lou Whittaker and Alan Trammel

6. Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel

5. Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio

4. Joe Gordon and Phil Rizzuto

3. Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley

2. Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker

1. Bobby Grich and Mark Bellanger

The uniforms episode was awesome to see.  This was a chance to look back at some of the fashion choices that teams have had over the years.  Of course, most of these choices came from the color tv era.  Some of the uniforms you just couldn’t appreciate unless you saw them in full technicolor glory.  And at times, it would look like your tv was puking with all the fanciful choices made.  Of course as I watched this, I was wondering who on earth the owners of the teams at the time consulted in coming up with the particular colors, etc.  It was also interesting to hear what some of the players had to say about wearing some of the worst uniforms that could have ever been thought of.  This show also reminded me of some teams, like the Dodgers and Yankees that have only had a couple uniforms throughout their history and imagining those teams wearing anything other than their normal uniforms would probably cause me to keel over from shock.  Camouflage uniforms were not included because those are to honor the troops (and I am all for doing whatever can be done to honor them and what they do for me.)

The most unique (worst):

9. San Francisco Giants and their orange jersey (back when it was a regular part of the rotation and not just on fridays) and the orange stockings.

8. Florida Marlins (in particular, the teal colored sleeves when they first came into existence)

7. Anaheim Angels (this was the uniform pre-2002 that had the wings, pinstripes and the periwinkle blue sleeves)

6. Cleveland Indians and the RED uniforms of the 70s.  The players they talked to about this uni were united in their dislike of looking like giant peppers or ketsup

5.  San Diego Padres’ uniforms from the 70s that were brown and mustard colored.

4. Kansas City / Oakland Athletics.  These uniforms were due to Charlie Finley with the Gold and Green and it sort of fit in with his marketing of the players and various nicknames they had.  Seems to have worked as there is still the green, gold and white that you see in Oakland.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates.  These uniforms were from the 70s and while the Yellow and Black colors wasn’t a big deal, the sheer number of uniform combinations was mind-boggling.  Their poor equipment guy

2.  Houston Astros of the late 70s / early 80s.  These uniforms had a bit of a rainbow look to them.  Surprisingly, it is one of the common ones for throw-back uniform looks and you can see a lot of people wearing them in the stands at times.

1. AND THE MOST UNIQUE / WORST UNIFORMS?????  Feel free to guess.  As I was watching the episode, I was thinking the entire time, if this particular team’s uniform didn’t appear on the list, the people who put the list together really just did a huge injustice with the concept.  Seeing it as the worst however, I couldn’t agree more with the list makers.  Fortunately, on throwback uniform days, this team has NEVER sought to resurrect these uniforms, which is the best thing ever.

Fan complex over attendance?

Clearly, I have been highly neglectful of my blog.  Why?  Because of being busy at work doing stuff and watching baseball.  In any event, I have to talk about a few things that bugged me this past season in baseball and there were a few.  Sorry if the next few posts will be about old things, but once I get those out of the way, I hope to have new opinions and perspectives on things.  So much has gone in the world of sports, so I need to get caught up so I can stay on top of the sports happenings.

The week of August 9th was interesting. My White Sox began a 6 day home stand against our biggest division rivals: the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers. These series were both huge in terms of standings. The White Sox had gone on a tear in early June and by the All-Star break were in first place. After the break, they continued playing relatively well and winning games. At the start of the current home stand however, they had fallen into a tie for 1st place with the Twins because of the Twins having a hot streak and the White Sox losing 3 of 4 to the Baltimore Orioles, the WORST team in baseball. The O’s however, had gotten a new manager, Buck Showalter and had been playing their best ball of the entire season.

In any event, during the 3 game set against the Twins, a curious thing happened.  Instead of people talking about how 2 teams were battling it out for first place and focusing on the baseball, were more into discussing the lousy attendance at the games.  Truth be told, the sad attendance we had at those games was appalling to me, especially since I attend most games and the more fans that are there, the more fun games CAN be at times.  In listening to sports talk radio (which probably is not good for my sanity), I heard lots of interesting excuses for why fans were not going to the games.  These ranged from: the only seats available are in the upper deck and those seats are horrible, the tickets cost too much, the team is bad, food and drink costs too much, there is nothing to do around the park after the game, etc.  I will be the first person to NOT argue with a person who does not feel a need to spend the extra income they may have on a baseball game.  In this economy, the money spent for a ticket and food / drink could easily pay for a meal for a family.  Not to mention, there are many who don’t even have a job to think about going to a game.
To the fans who complain about the bad seats, I would guess those are people who have not been to US Cellular field since the renovations in 2003.  Before the renovations and the ball park was a pitcher’s park, the upper deck was not a great place to see a game.  The area was very steep (although, not steep like Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play) and you felt very far away from the game.  Now, however, it is not nearly as steep, unless you are in the very top rows, and that only happens for sold out games.  I have heard some complain about the price that is charged for tickets in the upper deck.  When people complain about that who say they would go, except for the amount of those tickets and they can’t sit in the lower deck, I don’t feel bad.  Make no mistake that I am complaining of how people are spending money.  This irritation is directed at those who would go, but for inability to sit in the lower deck.  First of all, there are no bad seats in the upper deck.  In fact, I think you have a BETTER view of the game because you can see everything happening on the field.  You also get a better read on balls hit so you know whether it will be a home run or not.  I’ve sat all over the ball park and really the only bad seats are in the LOWER DECK near the foul poles because you have an obstructed view there. I know some like sitting there because you are “closer to the action” and I don’t begrudge that, but don’t say you won’t go to games because you think the upper deck is so bad, especially if you haven’t sat there since before 2002.
As for ticket prices keeping you away, well, the cubs actually cost more.  I recently went to a cubs game (because I am an awesome friend) and purchasing tickets for the 400 level was nearly $55 dollars going through the cubs website.  Luckily I saved a lot of money because I went on stubhub to get the tickets for at least $25 less.  In any event, I do think it is ok for people to say “i prefer to watch the game at a bar or in my living room than going to the ball park” rather than coming up with some excuse that when really examined is just lame.  Own up to real reason for not going to the games.  If the sox can only draw 20,000 fans regularly, so be it.  Eventually they will find a way to draw more fans and sell out when there are huge series against a division rival when the division lead is on the line.  Maybe not while things are bad, but eventually.  at least i can hope.

Roller Coaster

The White Sox are on an incredible run. Beginning on June 8, 2010, they started to get great pitching. Sadly, they lost that game to Detroit, but then they went on an amazing run. They took the next 2 games against Detroit and then went on a feast of National League playing. 2 of 3 from the Cubs and the last game in that series against the Cubs was amazing. Next up, a sweep of the Pirates, Nationals and coming home to sweep the Atlanta Braves. Finally, another series with the Cubs and there again, they take 2 of 3.

During this amazing streak, the white sox climbed to back over .500 and more importantly, found themselves right back in the AL Central race, trailing the Twins by only a couple of games. This is all great, but there is one thing that seems to be off to me and that is all the fans who are ready to print world series tickets today. That attitude really drives me nuts because those same people were on the panic bus day 2 of the season and were calling for the team to be blown up. I’d even hazard money that those people weren’t even going to games.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that the Sox are playing super well. It is also nice that now the GM Kenny Williams is in the market to buy and not sell players. This is all good and fine, except as i look around at possible available players, there just doesn’t seem to be much out there that will make THE difference in my opinion. Names tossed around are Adam Dunn of Washington, Lance Berkman of Houston, Luke Scott of Baltimore and of course, Adrian Gonzalez of San Diego. All would be nice lefty bats, and while they would make a difference, I don’t think we would get past the first round if any of those guys were added.

Adam Dunn: Lefty bat, strikes out a TON, but his production is predictable. He also can play the field, but to me, he seems like a limited Jim Thome (no slam on Jim as I adore him). Mike Rizzo, GM of the Nationals, has already stated that the price for Dunn would be steep. From the White Sox perspective, that means giving up a TON. May even include Beckham in addition to Daniel Hudson, Jordan Danks, etc. As much as I don’t really care for prospects who are unproven, I am kind of tired of never giving the prospects a chance to develop, not to mention constantly depleting the minors so that when you desperately need someone, you can’t because you refuse to develop talent.

Lance Berkman: Lefty bat (switch hits), aging, has had recent injury issues and while he would agree for a trade, he really wants someone to pick up his option. Injuries and what Houston would want in return just doesn’t place the balance in his favor in my opinion. Mainly, Berkman is not a choice for me because of injuries and I don’t need that on the team (despite having Herm Schnieder aka Dr. Pain to repair our guys).

Adrian Gonzalez: Lefty bat, plays good first and well, he is beyond proven. Amazing power for a guy pitching in PETCO park, i.e. he hits bombs a ton in a pitcher’s park. Why he is a pipe dream? The Padres are in 1st place and *if* the Padres were to trade him, they would want a ton, much the same that Mike Rizzo would want.

I do want the Sox to pick up another bat, but I don’t want it to be someone who causes issues that the team was trying to get away from in the past of having a base clogger, who strikes out a ton and is streaky and the hot streaks are not coming enough or at the right times. I know I can take solace in the fact that the Twins and Detroit pitching staffs are weaker than what the Sox have when they are going well. Also, the hitting for the Sox is coming around. I hope things continue to go well, but unless they are going all the way guaranteed, I just can’t get overly excited about the team playing the way they should have been playing all season long.