March 21, 2011

So Where Was I … ?

InboxI suppose you can call it a lack of foresight. Specifically, putting the word “daily” in your blog’s title sets a certain expectation that, frankly, is tough to meet — especially for someone like me to whom writing tends to be more ebb than flow.

Thanks for your patience as I still try to get the hang of this blogging while working the 8-to-6 shift.

***

What was the point of Tom Gage‘s column on Monday? So Mike Ilitch came to Lakeland and left without talking to the media — big deal.

Maybe the man didn’t feel well. Maybe he wasn’t in the mood. Maybe the trip to Spring Training was squeezed in an otherwise busy schedule.

Gage seems to be making a lot out of Ilitch’s in-and-out visit — that somehow the long-term contract status of Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland is now more in jeopardy than it is.

I’m not buying it. You?

***

This weekend I got my first live look at the Tigers thanks to MLB Network. I got to watch the 30 Clubs in 30 Days installment — which, mercifully, did not include the unfortunate Hazel Mae — on Friday night and then got the bonus coverage on Sunday of the game against the Nationals.

First, the 30/30 episode. MLB Network does a decent job with these, though it’s hard not to be a tad critical of them when they feature your favorite team.

I thought the interview with Leyland was more than a bit low on insight, but was shocked — stunned, even — to see that Kirk Gibson‘s 1994 season was ranked by the hosts as one of the top single seasons by a Tigers outfielder.

As for the game, watching Justin Verlander carve up the Nats was flat-out fun. Yeah, it was Grapefruit League action but nevertheless I enjoyed seeing Verlander adopt a more serious mindset in an exhibition.

In other words, if he was that locked in for a meaningless game in Viera, I can’t wait to see how he looks on Opening Day in the Bronx.

***

I’ve been two four Cactus League games this spring and as much as I like watching baseball in person, I have to admit there’s a major snooze factor when the games involve two teams I couldn’t care less about.

My first game was Diamondbacks and White Sox at the new Salt River Fields. The most notable parts of the game were Armando Galarraga’s head whipping around as another bullet from Sox hitters buzzed past him.

Fast forward to this weekend when I saw three games: Padres at Angels, Reds at Diamondbacks and Padres at Mariners. Hard to summon much enthusiasm for these clubs (though I was interested in seeing Cameron Maybin play for San Diego, which happened on Sunday.)

PhotoOutside of the company of friends, the highlight of the trio of games was getting my photo taken with former big-leaguer and Angels TV announcer Rex Hudler at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Before we posed for the shot I asked Hud, as all the Angels fans called him, if he’d take a photo with a Tigers fan. He said absolutely, told me how much he loved playing at Tiger Stadium and said it was one of his favorite parks.

I couldn’t resist, of course, asking him if he thought Jack Morris was a Hall of Famer and he said: “Oh yeah. Should’ve been in on the first ballot.”

With Hudler’s vote, that makes three former big leaguers I’ve had the opportunity to ask (Rick Manning and Ken Phelps are the others) who all agree The Cat belongs in Cooperstown.

I will now pause and wait for my man Lee Panas to again tell me why Morris doesn’t belong.

Be kind, Lee. Be kind.

P.S. I saw Peter Gammons at the Padres/Mariners game on Sunday. He was sitting behind home plate with former D-backs GM Josh Byrnes and some other baseball execs, and had with him a notebook, media guides and all his tools of the trade. The man doesn’t slow down.

***

On this date in 1996 the Tigers pulled off a pair of less-than-history-making deals when they first acquired RHP Ramon Fermin and infielder Fausto Cruz from the Athletics for outfielder Phil Plantier. Next, they picked up RHP Richie Lewis, C Raul Casanova and OF Melvin Nieves from the Padres for RHPs Sean Bergman and their 1994 top draft choice Cade Gaspar and outfielder Todd Steverson.

***

Finally, Happy 48th Birthday to Rich Monteleone.

1 Comment(s)

  1. Lee Panas | Mar 27, 2011 | Reply

    Mike, I’ve actually been trying to look at Morris’ career from different angles lately. Unfortunately, I’m still not seeing the light :-)

    I’m still on my Whitaker/Trammell for the Hall crusade though!

    Lee

Post a Comment