April 24, 2013

Miguel Cabrera’s ESPN Commercial

Apparently, winning the Triple Crown and American League MVP gets you some commercial time on ESPN.

Nice special effects! It’s like Miguel Cabrera is in the next Marvel superhero movie.

Personally, I’ve always dreaded the Tigers being on Sunday Night Baseball. In the past, they’ve seemed to wilt under the national spotlight. Of course, I also have that Midwestern inferiority complex that seeks affirmation and a Sunday night game brings that.

Could this weekend’s Tigers-Braves series be a World Series preview? Sure, it might be too early to make that kind of declaration, but the new schedule gives us interleague play every day — and thus, a series liek this in April.

(via Austin Drake on Facebook)

April 23, 2013

An Early Season AL Central Showdown vs. the Royals?

At this point of the season, virtually everything you could write about a baseball team has to be prefaced by the qualifier, “it’s early.”

So to call a late April series between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals an important one is probably overreacting a bit. After all, it’s early.

But 18 games into the season, the Royals are a “surprise” with a 10-7 record and a slim one-game first-place lead in the AL Central. The Tigers are a “disappointment” with a 9-9 record that has them 1.5 games behind Kansas City in the division.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox

The Royals roll into Detroit on a high note, having swept a Sunday doubleheader at Fenway Park with the goodwill of an entire nation directed toward Boston. The Red Sox had won seven in a row and looked to be emerging as a contender in the AL East.

The Tigers staggered back home licking some wounds after suffering a three-game sweep in Anaheim to the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels were strugg-a-ling at 5-10, leaving them six games behind the first-place Oakland Athletics in the AL West and buckling under heavy expectations.

The fear going into last weekend’s series, of course, is that the Angels could right themselves at the Tigers’ expense as Detroit neared the end of a nine-game West Coast road trip. That’s exactly what happened, with the Angels crushing Tigers pitching in two of the three games. Detroit was outscored 18-1 in the first two games of the series.

Getting swept in Anaheim ended the road trip on a bad note. After winning two of three in Oakland and Seattle, this had the look of a successful West Coast swing for the Tigers. Even better, Detroit got that trip out of the way early in the season.

However, the schedule could end up making a bad thing worse for the Tigers this week.

If the Royals stay hot and win this series, that nudges Detroit a bit further down the AL Central standings with the Atlanta Braves coming to town for the weekend. More importantly, a series win — even in late April — could help give Kansas City some confidence that they can hang with the consensus favorite in the division.

Of course, the Tigers could pull themselves together against the Royals over the next three games, which would obviously be the best result. Detroit went 13-5 versus K.C. last year. Beating up on the lower-tier clubs in the division is a big reason why the Tigers were able to eke out a division title.

But the Royals team that’s visiting Comerica Park for the next three games really does look like a different team. Maybe they’re still a trendy sleeper pick in the division — even in the league.

Yet as of right now, the changes general manager Dayton Moore made to his starting rotation appear to be paying off in a big way.

Trading top prospect Wil Myers (and three other prospects) to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields and Wade Davis looked like a short-sighted deal at first glance. Was it really worth giving up a potential star for the short-term fix of a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher who wasn’t really an ace?

After four starts, however, Shields has yielded the desired results for the Royals’ rotation. Though he has a 1-2 record, he’s allowed nine runs in 27 innings for a 3.00 ERA. Shields has also racked up 28 strikeouts in that span versus just six walks. He’s been the No. 1 starter K.C. was seeking.

But Davis arguably may have been the more important acquisition. For one thing, he’s 27 years old — four years younger than Shields. And with three club options in his current contract, he could be under club control through 2017.

Davis has been excellent in his first three starts, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Though he’s allowed 18 hits in 16 innings, the right-hander has struck out 15 batters and walked only three. Davis will pitch the series opener for K.C., matched up against Max Scherzer.

One more addition that Moore made that’s paid off so far is Ervin Santana. During the past two seasons with the Angels, he didn’t look too impressive, pitching like a fifth starter. But whether it’s because he’s healthier, refined his game, needed the ol’ change of scenery or is simply pitching more efficiently, Santana has been a new pitcher for the Royals. He has a 2.48 ERA after four starts, striking out 26 batters in 29 innings with just five walks.

However, with Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez set to pitch in this series, the Tigers appear to have the pitching advantage. Additionally, the Royals’ offense hasn’t matched the performance of the pitching staff thus far.

Outfielders Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain, along with shortstop Alcides Escobar, are off to strong starts, giving Kansas City the offense it needs.

But first baseman Eric Hosmer hasn’t shaken off his poor sophomore season, compiling a .629 OPS with no home runs in 52 plate appearances. Third baseman Mike Moustakas is batting .158 and slugging just .193 (!). Billy Butler is hitting .216, but leads the Royals with three homers, 12 RBI and 12 walks and is a certified Tigers killer.

With the Tigers and Royals scheduled to play another 16 games after this week’s three-game set, it doesn’t make sense to place too much importance on the outcome of this series. But losses in April obviously still count and can end up haunting a team in September.

Asserting themselves over the upstart Royals would make a strong statement for Detroit early in the season and help stave off the early-season funks that have made the AL Central races closer than they should’ve been over the past two seasons.

The Tigers should take the opportunity to put the sleeper pick to sleep.

April 11, 2013

Brayan Villarreal: Early candidate for Tigers’ punching bag

det_villarrealI don’t know about you, but I thought something was missing from the Detroit Tigers newswire Thursday morning.

I expected to see that reliever Brayan Villarreal was being demoted to Triple-A Toledo.

Wednesday’s 8-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Comerica Park is an early candidate for worst loss of the season. Detroit  had a 6-1 lead after the fifth inning, a margin that virtually any major league bullpen should be able to hold.

But the Tigers and manager Jim Leyland are still trying in this early stage of the season to figure out their bullpen. Who is best suited for which role? Which member of the relief corps is eventually going to seize the closer role that the team wasn’t able to fill during spring training?

Though Villarreal wasn’t really considered a candidate to be the Tigers’ closer, I think we can all safely eliminate him from consideration at this point.

His strikeout stuff (averaging 10.4 Ks per nine innings in 59 career appearances) made him an intriguing possibility for the role. However, he and Al Alburquerque are arguably more effective when deployed at different points of a ballgame, rather than restricted to the ninth inning. If Detroit needs to get out of a jam with a strikeout in, say, the seventh inning, Leyland can use either pitcher in that situation.

Or one of them can come into a ballgame with a runner on base and walk three consecutive batters, as Villarreal did on Wednesday. Rather than put out the fire, the 25-year-old right-hander poured gasoline all over the mound and lit a match — much like Jason Grilli used to during his three-plus seasons in Detroit.

After issuing his third walk — which drove in a run, with the bases loaded — Villarreal was mercifully pulled from the game. Octavio Dotel came in to face a situation very few relievers can escape successfully and promptly served up a bases-clearing, three-run double to J.P. Arencibia. All three runs were charged to Villarreal. His line for the day: three runs, three walks, zero hits.

And since he didn’t record an out, how many innings did Villarreal pitch, Dean Wormer?

Giving up three runs and three walks without getting anyone out is no way to get through life, son.

That was the second terrible outing for Villarreal. In his previous appearance, he allowed five runs, four hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning to the powerhouse Minnesota Twins.

Yes, it’s early in the season. Go ahead and point out that Villarreal has provided a small sample size, one that doesn’t provide enough data to properly judge. That’s fair. MLB.com’s Jason Beck reported that Villarreal found a hitch in his mechanics that needs to be straightened out. But can the Tigers afford to have him work on his delivery in the majors and watch late-inning leads get blown?

No, Villarreal is not the only Detroit reliever struggling. Phil Coke can’t get right-handed hitters out. Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel look like they still have some kinks to work out early in the season. Fortunately, Drew Smyly, Darin Downs and Alburquerque have pitched effectively to this point.

Though sending Villarreal to the Mud Hens seems like an easy decision at this point, who would the Tigers call up to replace him?

Bruce Rondon would probably be the first answer, but if Detroit thought he was ready to pitch in the major leagues, he would’ve been on the team out of spring training. The Tigers surely want to see more than three outings in Toledo from him. The same almost certainly applies to Jose Ortega, Luis Marte or anyone else Detroit could possibly call up.

Maybe Marte should be scratched from that list for now, after allowing two runs, five hits and two walks in two innings during his first two appearances of the year.

At this early point of the season, perhaps the Tigers just need to give their bullpen a chance to get itself right. Putting 11 runs on the board and having Doug Fister go eight innings in Thursday’s win over Toronto gave the relief corps a breather that was probably needed.

Of course, Detroit’s relievers will need to get some work to get sharp. That will surely come during the Tigers’ West Coast road trip beginning this weekend. We’ll see if Villarreal is still on the team as it flies out to Oakland.

Maybe pitching in the relative obscurity of 10:00 p.m. ET game times and getting away from the pressure of local media and fans will help. The Tigers certainly have to hope so.

 

 

 

April 10, 2013

I wonder if Todd Jones is busy…

When the Tigers made the score 6-1 and the end of the fifth inning rolled around, I started to hope the rain would start up again. And I NEVER want a game to end early, especially when I’m listening at work. I’m sure the hearty fans who were there today agreed with me. But I’m also pretty sure the reason was completely different. They wanted to be able to feel their extremities again. I wanted to avoid an appearance by the Tigers’ bullpen.

I waited a bit to write this, so I could calm down some. But I’m still steamed. Toronto wrapped this one up in a bow and handed it to the Tigers, who promptly said “No, really. You’re too kind. We can’t accept this.” Villareal continued his hate-hate relationship with the strike zone and walked the only three batters he faced, all of whom scored on Mark DeRosa’s double. He was allowed to walk the bases loaded because the rest of Leyland’s bullpen has been, to put it nicely, inconsistent. Dotel took over and decided that batting practice fastballs were the way to go. Although he did make what will no doubt be a highlight show staple with his five-hole play on a comebacker. At least he didn’t break his arm.

The bullpen issues, like the ones in Minnesota, could probably be attributed to the crappy weather conditions. It sure looked like Toronto’s pitchers were affected as well. I really want to reserve judgement on this crew until there’s a bigger sample size and more baseball-conducive weather. But I’m a fan. And I’m angry, and right now I want Villareal sent as far from a major league pitcher’s mound as possible.

Porcello pitched well, but needs to start finishing off his good outings. And I hate to harp on it, because they scored six runs, but the offense once again squandered chances to cash in on seemingly ripe RBI situations.

I know it’s early, and since they left Minneapolis, they’ve played pretty well, but games like this one reminded me too much of last year’s early-to-midseason struggles, and I really don’t want to go through that again.

I wonder if Todd Jones is busy…

April 8, 2013

Morning Prowl: Coke vs. Righties, Who’s the Closer and Santiago’s Struggles

tiger_prowl

Back in my Bless You Boys days, I came up with “Morning Prowl” for the title to our links posts. I figured that was something I’d have to leave at BYB, and I think Kurt, Al and the gang would’ve been fine keeping it. I hope they don’t mind us using it here.

However, in these days of SEO and keyword-rich titles, a headline without “Detroit Tigers” in it doesn’t really bring in the traffic. Not that we’re overly concerned such stuff here at The Daily Fungo, but it’s nice to know we can be a little more creative with our titles and headlines.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done links posts at BYB or MLive, so I might have to shake some rust off. That includes knowing where to look for good stuff. Hopefully, most of these links will be new to you.

•• If Tigers manager Jim Leyland thought Phil Coke could get over his inability to pitch effectively versus right-handed hitters, the lefty’s performance in his first three appearances of the season have shown him otherwise.

Coke allowed a .396 batting average and 1.050 OPS against righties last year. Not really what you’d like to see from a potential closer. Yet Leyland figured he’d give Coke a try in that match-up, apparently. To little surprise, it hasn’t gone well.

The Detroit News‘ Lynn Henning tries to figure out why Coke struggles so much against righties. Coke isn’t throwing his secondary pitches, but that might be because he’s not locating his fastball properly and can’t work from there. [Detroit News]

•• Should Darin Downs be Detroit’s closer? That’s one of many observations Motor City Bengals’ John Verburg has about the Tigers and AL Central. [Motor City Bengals]

•• It’s looking more like Joaquin Benoit could be the ninth-inning man for the Tigers, as much as Leyland doesn’t want the media to label anyone as “the closer” right now. Personally, I’ve always thought Benoit was signed to a three-year deal to take over for Jose Valverde after his contract expired. [Oakland Press]

•• Robert Sanchez wrote a heartbreaking feature on Max Scherzer,  his brother Alex and the family’s attempt to cope with Alex’s suicide that is definitely worth your time to read. The pictures alone are extremely touching. [ESPN.com]

•• Does Al Alburquerque commit a balk every time he delivers a pitch? That’s what New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to argue during Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Tigers. Major league umpires obviously don’t agree. [MLB.com]

•• Leyland is giving utility infielder Ramon Santiago a chance to keep his spot on the roster, starting him at second base on Saturday and shortstop on Sunday. Santiago went 1-for-8 in the two games, which surely didn’t boost his manager’s confidence. Will he make it through the season with the Tigers? [MLive.com]

•• Are you still in disbelief that Jason Grilli is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ closer? (Did you even know Grilli was the Pirates’ closer?) After posting a 2.91 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 58.2 innings last year, the former Tigers reliever got the nod in Pittsburgh. In two appearances this season, Grilli hasn’t allowed a run and he’s excited about the opportunity he’s been given.  [Yahoo! Sports]

April 4, 2013

Mud Hens Sign New Closer

So perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Jose Valverde in a Tigers uniform after all.

Chris Iott reports Valverde signed a minor-league deal …

with no major-league commitment from the Detroit Tigers — general manager Dave Dombrowski announced late this morning.

Valverde will report to extended spring training in Lakeland and face some hitters before joining Triple-A Toledo.

Is this a sign of desperation after yesterday’s ninth-inning loss to the Twins? Not according to the story; the Tigers watched Valverde pitch recently and liked what they saw – more zip on the heater and a good splitter.

So Bruce Rondon, was probably thinking he might have to compete with Valverde in Spring Training, if the Tigers re-signed him. He likely didn’t figure he’d have to compete or pitch alongside Valverde in Toledo.

If nothing else, it will be an interesting Papa Grande Watch for the next 30 days.

April 1, 2013

Tigers Today: Opening Day 2013 | Tigers @ Twins 4:10 p.m ET

Leading Off: Today marks the 113th Opening Day in Tigers history. The Tigers are 52-59-1 in the previous 112 season openers.

The Rundown

The Tigers are in first place. And so are the Twins. But the Rangers are not, and that’s always a good thing.

Today’s Game: Tigers @ Twins | 4:10 p.m. ET | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Justin Verlander vs. RHP Vance Worley


This is the seventh time the Tigers have opened the against the Twins, the first time since March 31, 2003 at Comerica Park. Previous openers:

Last year on Opening Day the Tigers beat the Red Sox 3-2. You might recall that Jose Valverde began his season the way it would end six months later: with a blown save. Before that, though, Justin Verlander was tremendous: eight innings of two-hit, shutout baseball: with seven Ks. Austin Jackson delivered the winning run in the ninth with a single to left.

Around the Central:

Today

Royals (Shields) @ White Sox (Sale), 4:10 ET

Tuesday

Indians (Masterson) @ Blue Jays (Dickey), 7:07 ET

Minutiae

Happy Birthday, Will Rhymes, 30; Rusty Staub, 69; and Ron Perranoski, 77.

Finally, no matter what our expectations are for the Tigers this year – or any other – they will never be lower than what we fans experienced 10 years ago. And to help us keep that perspective, this year we will be charting the 2003 Tigers right alongside the ’13 club. And watch as they go in distinctly different directions.

Enjoy the game.

April 1, 2013

Catching Up: Thoughts on Bruce Rondon’s Demotion

Note to self, pro tip, etc.: Trying to get started on a blog the same week that area schools are on spring break, thus leaving little nieces at home to be supervised (and entertained), is not the best idea.

Of course, that inability to be productive was exacerbated when the Tigers sent reliever Bruce Rondon to Class AAA Toledo and signed Justin Verlander to a five-year, $140 million contract extension.

The better blogger thing to do would be to write separate posts on each subject. The Verlander news, especially, deserves its own entry. Clearly, I’m still in spring training mode.

But for now, with the 2013 season just hours away from beginning, let’s just get a few thoughts out there.

rondon_tigers

Plenty of people — fans, reporters, analysts — are surely ready to say “I told you so” about Rondon. (We should include Scott Boras, agent for reliever Rafael Soriano, among them.)

Being the closer for a World Series contender was a heavy responsibility for a pitcher who has yet to throw a pitch in the major leagues.

That’s not to say Rondon couldn’t have handled it. Now we’ll never know, of course. But Rondon didn’t look like he was quite ready for the pressure of the job. Not with a 5.84 ERA in Grapefruit League play with 17 hits allowed in 12. 1 innings.

Rondon’s 19 strikeouts show the firepower that made him an appealing closer candidate in the first place.

But his walk total had to be the largest concern. Rondon issued nine during the spring. That’s hardly an improvement over the 44 walks he threw in 53 innings (an average of 4.4 per nine frames) last season in the minors.

If there’s one thing Jim Leyland — or any MLB manager — isn’t going to tolerate, it’s putting runners on base, creating potential big innings and squandering leads (and wins with them).

That would apply to any major league team, let alone one that has championship aspirations.

But as George Sipple wrote in the Detroit Free Press, there’s just too much Rondon still needs to work on to be an effective major league reliever.

Leyland said he believes Rondon, who throws more than 100-m.p.h., needs to master his two- and four-seam fastball and slider. Others in the organization, according to Leyland, thought he also needed to master a fourth pitch — the change-up.

The pure stuff — topping 100 mph — is an excellent foundation to build on. However, the Tigers clearly think he still has to learn what Leyland has often called “the art of pitching.

Adding a pitch with some bend to it would certainly be an asset. So would an off-speed weapon that could disrupt hitters’ timing. But Leyland acknowledges that the kid can only learn so much this season. Closers don’t typically feature four pitches in their arsenal.

(And if the Tigers should have derived any lesson from calling up pitchers like Jeremy Bonderman and Rick Porcello before they had a chance to properly develop, it’s that secondary pitches have to be learned in the minors.)

Despite beginning the season in Toledo, the chances of Rondon still being the Tigers’ closer this year could still be pretty good. After all, Leyland didn’t name anyone to be the ninth-inning guy. The Tigers are going with the ol’ “closer by committee” approach.

Personally, I don’t think that approach works. It should work. Any competent major league pitcher should be able to get three outs with no opposing runners on base and a lead to protect.

The Tigers also have  their deepest bullpen in years, with Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel and Phil Coke capable of handling ninth-inning duties. Al Alburquerque should probably be included in that mix as well.

Ideally, one of those relievers would eventually establish himself as the closer or at least provide a stopgap until Rondon is ready. But the depth should allow Leyland to mix and match.

It’s possible that the Tigers’ relief corps is already used to the idea of a different guy getting the call, depending on the situation or match-up. That’s how Leyland managed his bullpen last postseason when Jose Valverde was no longer a trustworthy option.

Yet some relievers are obviously better suited to the closer role than others.  And though it’s not something that can be quantified, I believe pitchers — and any athlete, really — wants to know what their role is going to be each day when they get to the ballpark.

They want to know if they’ll get the call in the ninth inning. If they’re going to pitch the eighth, they want to know that. They want to know if they’re going to face the opponent’s best left-handed hitter late in a game. Knowing their role helps pitchers mentally prepare for the task at hand.

With the Tigers a strong favorite to win the American League pennant and advance to their second straight World Series, it doesn’t seem like the right year to conduct a grand experiment with the bullpen.

Yet Leyland and general manager Dave Dombrowski didn’t leave themselves much wiggle room.

The Tigers took the chance that Rondon could win the closer  job in spring training. It was a risk worth taking, as paying big money for free-agent closers just hasn’t worked all that well for Detroit (Valverde’s 49-save 2011 season excepted). And as mentioned above, the bullpen has plenty of other candidates who pitch in that role, even if they aren’t flashy names.

So sending Rondon down to the Mud Hens and going with a closer carousel is the right move to begin the season. Better that than risk Rondon getting shelled, the Tigers losing games and the pressure building on all involved.

But someone will eventually have to establish himself as the closer. Jason Motte did it with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 and Sergio Romo asserted himself with the San Francisco Giants last season.

Who’s going to seize the opportunity this year for the Tigers?

Author’s Note: A commenter pointed out that Rondon wasn’t “demoted” because he hadn’t actually made the major league roster. That’s certainly correct and I probably should have used a more appropriate term, but I think the point of the overall post still stands. The correction is appreciated, however.

March 31, 2013

I Believe I Can Blog

Another re-introduction is in order. Following Ian Casselberry’s triumphant return to this blog, there’s another less-anticipated, and much less-accomplished blogger coming back to the Fungo fold: me, Jim Craddock. Mike was kind enough to let me share my occasional musings on baseball and the Tigers a while back, and I’m honored and thankful that he’s extended the invitation again. Just so you know what you’re getting, I would like to paraphrase Crash Davis in Bull Durham as I explain my Tiger Baseball belief system:

I believe Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, and Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame
I believe that a HOF case can be made for Mickey Lolich and Bill Freehan, too.
I believe I miss Paul Carey doing ballgames as much as I miss Ernie Harwell
I believe Cincinnati is pronounced Cincinatt-uh, because that’s how George Kell did it.
I believe the MVP voters should have waited until AFTER September 1st to turn in their ballots in 1987.
I believe that Randy Smith’s name should never be spoken aloud without immediately spitting.
I believe that goes for Tom Monaghan, too. Because the Tiger careers of Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson, and Ernie Harwell should never have been interrupted.
I believe that Dave Dombrowski is Mike Ilich’s baseball equivalent to Jimmy Devellano…
I also believe it’s a shame that it took him a decade to find him.
I believe Magglio Ordonez was worth every penny he made in Detroit.
I believe we could make three more trades with the Marlins and we’d still be on the plus side of the ledger because of Miggy.
I believe Triple Crown = MVP.
I believe the Tigers will win the division…every year
…and finally, I believe Opening Day should be a national holiday.

I have other, less Tiger-centric baseball beliefs, but those will have to wait for another post.

March 26, 2013

A Blogging Return to Tiger Town

Well, hello there. My name is Ian Casselberry.

You may remember me from such baseball blogs as Bless You Boys and Big League Stew.

I’ve also written for MLive.com. And over the past year, I was a MLB lead writer for Bleacher Report, primarily covering the National League.

Writing about the “other league” was fun because I’d mostly been an AL guy (and Tigers guy) previously and I enjoyed the opportunity to cover teams I didn’t always get to watch. I particularly enjoyed following the Washington Nationals last year as they emerged as a World Series contender.

But I certainly missed writing about — and watching — the Tigers last year. I’d sneak a game in when I could, especially when Detroit played a matinee. For most of the season, I felt like some old friends were off having fun without me and I’d just hear about it on Facebook.

Fortunately, the Tigers took care of that for me with their postseason run, making them a team I got to write about frequently in October. If only the season would have ended the way we hoped…

I left B/R back in February, however, and wanted writing about baseball to be fun again.

Whenever a character is rebooted in comic books or movies, the new creators often say they’re taking him “back to his roots.” Let’s remember that Superman is ultimately a farm boy from Kansas or that Peter Parker is always trying to make up for not using his powers to stop a crime when he could have.

OK, that’s a bit loftier than whatever it is I’m doing.

Yet I started out blogging to give myself an outlet when I lived in Iowa and most of my friends and fellow fans lived back in Michigan. I wrote about the Tigers because no one seemed to be writing what I wanted to read at the time.

That doesn’t quite apply now. There is a lot of excellent writing on the Tigers available now. The Tigersosphere is strong.

But I miss writing about my favorite baseball team. If I’m trying to “get back to my roots” and make writing fun again, the Tigers have to play a role in that. So here I am.

I’ve wanted to team up with Mike McClary and write for The Daily Fungo for years. However, something always seemed to prevent me from doing so.

When I first planned to contribute to the Fungo after the 2006 season, I got an offer from SB Nation to run Bless You Boys. Three years later, I was ready to help Mike out again, but was offered a gig at the now-defunct (editorially speaking) SB Nation Detroit. Soon thereafter, I joined the crew at Big League Stew.

So now that I’ve written my first post here, I expect an e-mail from Grantland shortly.

Just kidding.

Anyway, that’s probably far too long and self-indulgent of an introduction. I’m excited about blogging on the Tigers again. Mike has some cool plans I hope he gets to follow through on.

It’s going to be a fun year. I hope to do all I can to get you coming back here to read more. Thanks for following.