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Blog Entries posted by DaYooperASBDT

  1. DaYooperASBDT
    (Posted a couple years ago for an MTS contest)
    Detroit Tigers Baseball has been my enduring friend.
    Back in early childhood, I first saw how Tigers baseball lived in my grandfather's heart. My King would enter the humble castle that was his living room, and sit down in front of the TV. I would keep Grandpa company, along with his spitoon, and sometimes his can of Black Label beer. I began to learn the game, as Mr. Kell gave what seemed like a never-ending introduction to new friends, like Rusty Staub, John B. Wockenfuss, and Aurelio Lopez - Senor Smoke.
    On occasion, the Tigers would miss out on a close play, and my Grandpa would holler, "Kill The Empire!!!". I wanted to correct him, but I couldn't, because such little imperfections only seemed to add to his humanity, and stamp him as a true Tigers fan. Although I wasn't too keen on chewing snuff or drinking beer, Grandpa's love for the Tigers quickly spread to this little boy.
    My Grandfather's health quickly declined, and he passed on during the summer of 1982. We brought Grandpa back to Detroit, his home town, for his services and burial. While dealing with her grief, and all the funeral arrrangements, Mom still went to great lengths to have my cousins take me to a Tigers game. My very first Tigers game. Perhaps she knew that Grandpa would join me one last time, as we visited the green and blue sculpture that housed my heroes.
    We arrived at the ballpark, to see Udjur battle Storm Davis and the Orioles. As I peered around one of the famous posts, to see Tram and Lou's middle infield ballet, my good friend, the Detroit Tigers, brought me comfort, and reminded me that life does indeed go on.
    Udjur was shelled, and a sore-armed Lopez tried to stem the tide. Aurelio was battered, and left the game to a chorus of boos and insults. It seemed so unfair to me, but I learned that even your friends can let you down at times, but a man takes his punishment and perseveres.
    As I reached my early teens, the Tigers seemed to grow with me, and they became true contenders. Players like Parrish, Tram, Lou, Jack, and Peaches started racking up the victories. At that age, as I began to scour my soul, I began to scour the Tigers roster, and wondered how to fix the imperfections still residing within.
    In my later teens, while emerging from my shell of shyness that consumed my youth, I witnessed the Greatest Season of 1984. I was amazed by the bullpen work of Willie, and a restored Aurelio. Then came October, and I watched Gibson vanquish the demons and fears stemming from many failures past, as he took on Goose Gossage's fastball, and demolished it deep into the Detroit darkness.
    After celebrating that final Series out, I suddenly feared for my friends, realizing that such success is rarely repeated. But the boys made another run in 1987, and I watched Frank Tanana's incredible 1-0 victory to clinch the division. Hope for another title leaped into my heart, but my dreams were dashed by the Minnesota juggernaut.
    During my twenties, I struggled to realize my own dreams, and lost track of my beloved Tigers for a while. They struggled mightily as well, but there were always a few good players to follow, like Big Daddy, Mickey, Tony, Travis, and Higgy. But something would always stand in the way of team success - the obstacles seemed insurmountable!
    Now in my late thirties, I have renewed many old acquaintances, made some new friends, and achieved some small successes. And in recent years, I have brought the Tigers back into my home, to share with my friends and family, just like my Grandpa did so many years past. Despite my past neglect, the Tigers always been there waiting, and have rewarded me with a host of new heroes, and promise of a bright future indeed.
    Thank you, Tigers baseball, for being my enduring friend.
  2. DaYooperASBDT
    One more Myspace oldie:
    Detroit Tigers 2007 Preview
    Category: Sports
    It may be a bit early for this, but here's an overview of what we can expect from the 2007 Detroit Tigers. Without a doubt, the Tigers enjoyed a tremendous turnaround season, the World Series loss notwithstanding. Can the Tigers make another run in 2007? Let's examine next year's roster ....
    First Base:
    Identified recently as a position that needed an experienced player. At least for now, the Tigers have decided to give Sean Casey another crack at the job, re-signing him to a low-cost one year contract (about $4 million).
    Casey doesn't have much home run power, but when healthy, he gets his share of singles, walks, and gap doubles. He is a rapidly aging 32, with poor speed and deteriorating defense. If he can avoid injury, he could possibly hit .300 to .310 and be a decent #6 or #7 batter in the lineup.
    Another option at first? Chris Shelton is still around, but after a terrible second-year slump, he ended up in the minors, and saw no playing time in the post-season. Unless he goes on a real hitting rampage at Spring Training, he will probably start the year in Toledo.
    Backups: Looks like Carlos Guillen and Pudge Rodriguez will again see a lot of time at first. Makes sense, since their usual fielding positions are very demanding, and playing first is almost like a day off for them. Also, the Tigers may look at converting outfielder Marcus Thames into a first baseman, to give him more playing time.
    Second Base:
    Placido Polanco returns to man second, after a sub-par and injury-plagued 2006. When he's right, Polanco is one of the peskier offensive players at his position. He provides solid defense, but could stand to draw more walks since he usually bats second in Leyland's lineup.
    Backups: The Tigers suddenly have a surplus of middle infielders, including Omar Infante, Neifi Perez, and Ramon Santiago. Expect only two of those three to make the 2007 roster. Infante is the most versatile of the three, since he can play the outfield in a pinch. Infante also has shown surprising power at times. Santiago and Perez can't hit, but are good with their gloves.
    Carlos Guillen was clearly the Tigers MVP in 2006, and is one of baseball's better kept secrets. His bat rivals both Jeter's and Tejada's. Guillen's defense took a step backward, as he committed an un-usual number of throwing errors. His knees stayed healthy last year, and he still displayed decent range at short.
    Backups: Primary backup could be Santiago or Perez, as Infante garnered very little playing time at short in 2006.
    Third Base:
    Brandon Inge has shown steady improvement with both bat and glove. He still strikes out a lot and doesn't have a high on-base percentage. However, Inge has become one of the better home run threats on the club. His defense can be spectacular at times, and he has unsurpassed range and throwing arm at his position. Inge is a human highlight reel with his arcobatic dives and laser-like throws, but his glove can be stiff at times. Inge is clearly the most athletic player on the Tigers.
    Backups: Infante will likely play third on Inge's rare days off
    Designated Hitter:
    The DH spot was occupied by what seemed a cast of thousands in 2006. The most successful of the group was Marcus Thames, who had a huge first half, but slumped badly late. Thames now appears to be trade bait. The Tigers jettisoned Dmitri Young before season's end, and will probably not bring Matt Stairs back.
    So the Tigers wasted no time this fall in bringing a proven hitter to Motown, trading for 38-year-old Gary Sheffield, one of the best right-handed hitters of our generation. Ex-Yankee Sheffield did not enjoy his time in the Bronx Zoo, and appears pleased to be reunited with manager Leyland and GM Dombrowski. Sheff should be a lock for 30 HR's and 100+ RBI, even if he is a bit past his prime.
    Pudge Rodriguez returns behind the dish, and is still a tremendous defensive force. His offense has declined, but is still above average for his position. Vance Wilson has proven to be a highly capable backup with occasional offensive pop.
    Right Field:
    Magglio Ordonez had a good return to form offensively, and avoided any major health problems, unlike previous years. His range in right field has become limited, but at the plate he should benefit from having Guillen and Sheffield being on base on a regular basis.
    Outfield backups: Thames appears to be on the trading block, and youngsters Brent Clevlen and Cam Maybin will likely need another year in the minors. Alexis Gomez provided acceptable defense at all three spots, and contributed some timely base hits. Gomez should stick on the roster come April. Infante can play a decent CF or LF in spot duty.
    Curtis Granderson, in his first full season, fared well in the cavernous Comerica outfield, and showed the ability to draw walks and hit with power. He struggled with curveballs down and in, and challenged Cecil Fielder's team record for strikeouts. Granderson has great intelligence and makeup, and will continue to refine his game in coming years. He also gets a few stolen bases, but is not skilled at stealing. His power potential continues to intrigue, however.
    Left Field:
    Craig Monroe got off to his usual slow start, but one of the Tigers' best power threats in the second half of 2006. He still struggles to get on base and doesn't walk enough, but contributes an important home run now and then. Defensively he is average at best. Monroe may some become trade bait, as young phenom Cameron Maybin could debut in Detroit by season's end.
    Starting Pitchers:
    The Tigers had a decent lineup in 2006, but they were led to the World Series by an elite starting rotation. Rookie Of The Year Justin Verlander, wily lefty Kenny Rogers, young Jeremy Bonderman, and lefty Nate Robertson were all dominant at times.
    The fifth rotation spot is still to be determined. Mike Maroth, who missed most of 2006 after an elbow operation, will get the spot if he's healthy. Other candidates include Zach Miner, Chad Durbin, and Wil Ledezma.
    The Detroit relief corps was an above-average group last year. Aged closer Todd Jones started slowly, but racked up the saves on a consistent basis. Jones does not have classic "closer stuff", but does mix and spot his pitches well.
    The true star of the bullpen was fire-balling rookie Joel Zumaya. His pitches clocked at fast as 103 MPH, and despite a few bouts of wildness, put together a dominating season as the "setup man" to Jones.
    Fernando Rodney also contributed some important innings, featuring a good fastball and a devastating changeup that fools even left-handed batters.
    Lefty Jamie Walker has signed with Baltimore, so the Tigers may try to acquire a replacement for him. Wil Ledezma showed some promise last year, and may become the first lefty out of the bullpen in crucial game situations.
    The rest of the bullpen will be selected from these candidates: Jason Grilli, Roman Colon, Ed Campusano, Corey Hamman, Chad Durbin, Craig Dingman, and Zach Miner.
  3. DaYooperASBDT
    Another old Myspace entry:
    Today’s ***** Session 9/30/07
    Category: News and Politics
    Today's ***** session will focus on people who feel they and/or their organization has all the answers. How does one church or one political party gain a complete monopoly on all knowledge of a particular subject? How do they manage to have all the answers, thus making everyone else wrong?
    To the best of my (limited) knowledge, only one person ever had all the answers - Jesus Christ.
    After witnessing what I've seen in Lansing recently, with all the political/partisan bickering and positioning over the State budget, I've often been invoking Jesus' name, but not in a good way! :-(
    Now the state government has been forced to shut down, despite the Legislature and Governor having 8 months to get together and develop a compromise solution.
    I feel sorry for these people's spouses, friends, family, etc. If these so-called leaders can't have a reasonable, adult conversation about the important issues of our times, how could they even manage compromise at home?
    Surely there are people out there that don't have such a hidden agenda, but I suppose they would not fare well as politicians. Years ago, Michigan had an excellent governor, Bill Milliken. He did not take extreme positions, as many politicians do today. Milliken recognized that a solution should involve all interested parties.
    To take an extreme position that the government should either do nothing for the common good, or act as your mother and do everything for you, that is a blend of both ignorance and insanity.
    Take a look around you, people. This country is undergoing many negative trends: manufacturing job loss, massive illegal immigration, poor health habits, use of fossil fuels, balooning credit, etc. This is a time for leadership and problem solving, not finger pointing.
    I will make one promise to all of you. Politicians who excel in blaming others, instead of problem-solving, will not get my vote. I'll just stay home, or write in the name of one of our great leaders from the past, dead or alive.
  4. DaYooperASBDT
    One of my old Myspace entries, it's always fun to look back and see what came to fruition since:
    Wednesday, November 29, 2006
    Detroit Tigers of the Future
    It's not easy to become a big league ballplayer, and even a top amateur player must prove himself by demonstrating his performance and perfecting his craft against tough competition. Each year all the big league teams get together and conduct a draft of all available high-school and college players. Some teams prefer to draft college players, who have more game experience and physical maturity. Some teams will also draft high-school kids, who may be less polished, but have shown superior athletic skills and a willingness to learn the nuances of baseball in the minor leagues.
    The Tigers have several minor league teams, including teams in the Gulf Coast League, Florida State League, Midwest League, Eastern League, and International League. A player may initially be placed in the GCL or FSL. Success in that league then earns promotion to a more advanced league, where tougher competition awaits. Here are some of the Tigers' most promising young prospects, the Tigers of the future ...
    CENTER FIELD: Cam Maybin
    Age 20
    6-4, 205, Bats Right
    Drafted in 1st Round (2005, Asheville, NC)
    Maybin has a rare combination of speed, power, and defensive skill that comes along once in a generation. Many baseball experts consider him the most promising young player in all of the minor leagues. Cameron simply demolished the ball in high school, finishing with a batting average over .600 and claiming many South Carolina state records. Many thought he was college-bound, so the Tigers received an opportunity to draft him with the #10 pick in round one. Detroit was able to lure Maybin into signing a pro contract, and should receive some dividends from their investment very soon indeed.
    Maybin played at West Michigan in 2006, and put up impressive numbers despite a nagging finger injury. Cameron batted .304, showed good extra-base power, and showed good base-stealing ability. Detroit fans are chomping at the bit to see him in the outfield at Comerica Park. That could happen as soon as September of 2007.
    STARTING PITCHER: Andrew Miller
    Age 21
    6-6, 210, Throws Left
    Drafted in 1st Round (2006, UNC)
    The Tigers, drafting sixth in the first round, were shocked to find Miller still available, and did not hesitiate to draft and sign the talented left-hander. Miller had a quick cup of coffee with Lakeland, pitching three games and striking out nine in only 5 2/3 innings. As a condition of his contract, the Tigers brought Miller to Detroit for the month of September. Due to an injury to Mike Maroth, Miller got to pitch in some meaningful games for the Tigers, and displayed a good fastball and a sharp-breaking slider. He did struggle to throw strikes, which should be expected from a player going almost directly from a college campus to the Big Show. Expect to see Miller pitching at Erie this spring, but he could be back in Detroit by 2008, if not sooner.
    FIRST BASE: Jeff Larish
    Age 24
    6-2, 200 Bats Left
    Drafted in 5th round (2005 - Arizona State)
    Jeff had a good 2006 in the FS, totalling 18 home runs (13 HR through the end of June). He added 34 two-base hits and drew plenty of walks (81). Most important of all, he bats left-handed, and the Tigers clearly have a need for more lefty batters.
    Jair Jurrgens, Starting Pitcher. JJ was simply dominant while at Lakeland, and earned promotion to the Erie Seawolves by mid-June. He struggled in July, but bounced back in August, allowing only 1.16 baserunners per inning in those games. JJ has outstanding control of his pitches, and should start the 2007 season with Toledo, just one step from the major leagues.
    Brent Clevlen, Outfielder. At Erie, Brent got into a long batting slump. Through June 21st, he was only batting .206 with three home runs. Clevlen then rediscovered his batting swing, and struck seven HR over the next four weeks. That hot streak earned him a one-month trial in Detroit. Clevlen was very impressive both at the plate and in the outfield, making great throws and hitting some important home runs for the Tigers. But he is still a very raw product and will need significant playing time to improve his swing. Brent will man one of the outfield spots at Erie or Toledo, but could be Detroit's right fielder in a few years.
    Virgil Vasquez, Starting Pitcher. Playing for Erie, Vasquez struggled at first, allowing 1.57 baserunners per inning. However, from June 1st going forward, he become a pitching mainstay, and lowered that figure to 1.29 for the season. This past fall, Vasquez hurled in the Arizona fall league, and was nearly un-hittable. His strong performances of late should earn promotion to Toledo (International League). Vasquez, along with current Mudhen Jordan Tata, will try out this spring for a spot with the big club.
    Corey Hamman, Relief Pitcher. The Tigers have lost lefty reliever Jamie Walker, who recently signed with Baltimore. His replacement could be a much younger lefty, Corey Hamman. Corey started quite a few games at Toledo, but fared better as a relief pitcher. The Tigers have taken notice of his ability to get lefty batters out, as they only batted .207 against Hamman last year.
    Tony Giarratano, Shortstop. Tony has a good glove but has struggled with the bat. He started very slowly at Erie, batting .224 by the end of May. Giarratano then got on a great streak, with 29 hits in his next 59 at-bats, including 8 doubles. However, he lost the rest of his season to injuries and his potential remains to be seen. If all goes well, Tony should be promoted to Toledo, and someday he'll be a decent bench player in the major leagues.
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