End of Season's Greetings

'Tis a sad day in Lakeland: the Flying Tigers played their final game of the season. Other than a few weeks of Instructional League in September, Tigertown and Joker Marchant Stadium will go without baseball until February when pitchers and catchers report.
As far as wins and losses, it was an unsuccessful season, but the Flying Tigers had an ever-evolving lineup and they sent several players on up to Double A Erie.
"Bless you boys."

Porcello leads FSL in ERA

Rick Porcello
Joker Marchant Stadium
May 28, 2008
Tigers prospect Rick Porcello has Florida league's best ERA

Rick Porcello completed his first professional season Wednesday with an outing that recalled his impressive stint with the Tigers during spring training.
Porcello, the Tigers' first pick in the 2007 draft, pitched six innings and got the victory in the Lakeland Flying Tigers' 1-0 win at Ft. Myers. He allowed three hits, walked one and improved to 8-6.
Of the 14 outs that came in play, 13 were ground balls -- thanks in large part to a hard sinker that averaged 92 m.p.h. and reached 95.
"He was outstanding," said Jon Matlack, the club's minor league pitching coordinator. "He ended like he started: throwing the ball extremely well."
Porcello, a 19-year-old right-hander, is the second-youngest starter in the Florida State League, according to research through Retrosheet.org. His 2.66 ERA led the league, and he compiled that mark while on a 75-pitch limit in each start.
Wednesday's start was Porcello's first since Aug. 12. (He had been sidelined because of an illness.) He pitched 125 innings, and Matlack expects him to pitch in the instructional league this fall. Porcello did not use his slider most of the season, which enabled him to focus on his curveball and change-up. Matlack said he has seen progress with both pitches -- particularly the change-up.
"From a developmental standpoint, this young man did everything he was asked to do this year," Matlack said. "I'm extremely pleased with the results."

"The Paris of the Midwest"

Detroit is the star in Kid Rock video

Kid Rock will be the name next to the title, but there's another star at the heart of the rocker's new video: Detroit.

Cameras rolled Wednesday at the Motown Historical Museum, the final stop in a 2-day shoot that found Rock and a film crew mingling with Detroiters at assorted city landmarks.
The project: "Roll On," the fourth single from Rock's album "Rock and Roll Jesus," which sits at No. 2 on the Billboard chart. The storyline: a sentimental visit through Detroit, with Rock driving a Lincoln Continental convertible to such spots as Tiger Stadium and Lafayette Coney Island.

"You couldn't have scripted some of the stuff we got," he said. "This isn't a tourism video. I really wanted to capture the heart and soul of Detroit, and that's the people. I think it's one of the most beautiful things about the city."


Back in the Day


April 13, 1976.

$1.50 bleacher seats -- best bargain in Detroit!

Tigers lost to the Brewer 1-0. Jim Slaton hurled a compete game for Milwaukee. Ray Bare started for Detroit. John Hiller relieved in the 7th and got the loss. 48,612 fans witnessed the action. Time of game: 1:57!!!

Opening Day lineup for the Tigers:

Ben Oglivie CF

Dan Meyer 1B

Willie Horton DH

Rusty Staub RF

Alex Johnson LF

Milt May C

Aurelio Rodriguez 3B

Tom Veryzer SS

Gary Sutherland 2B

For the Brewers:

Charlie Moore LF

Don Money 3B

George Scott 1B

Darrell Porter C

Henry Aaron DH

Sixto Lezcano CF

Bill Sharp RF

Robin Yount SS

Pedro Garcia 2B

Thanks for the Memories

We were by Tiger Stadium earlier last week. Here is what it looks like now. It appears they are leaving the park from first to third base. At least that is where they are stopping for now. Very hard to see them do this. Many fond memories, many great times.

Freddy Garcia heads to Toledo

From today's Free Press:

Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia, signed by the Tigers this month to a minor league deal, has been promoted to Triple-A Toledo and will pitch for the Mud Hens on Wednesday. Garcia pitched in a game Saturday night for the first time since the Tigers signed him. He pitched two scoreless innings for Class A Lakeland.

Rain Check

The remains of Tropical Storm Fay rained out tonight's Flying Tigers game. Freddy Garcia was supposed to start.
Flying Tigers go on the road this week, returning for a final homestand Labor Day weekend. I'll be out of town, however, so this was my last game of the season.
Like the parent club, the Flying Tigers have entrenched themselves in third place and won't make the Florida State League playoffs. A short Fall Instructional League starts in mid September.
Bless You Boys.

Leyland for Governor

In 2006 when the Tigers were soooo hot, somebody actually created a T shirt withthis image. Wow - hard to believe. Dave Dombrowski was givben free reign of MIke Ilitch's wallet and went out and bought a team. Got rid of some great prospects for some proven veterans, who didn't pan out. Whos is the biggest disappointment? My vote goes to Dontrelle Willis. I wonder if he will ever pitch in the majors again. Renteria is a close second. Sheffield is a strong third. Anyhow - a major disappontment has been Govenor Jim Leyland. It is his job to have the team ready and motivated to play ball. And that has not happened. When Trammel lost 129 games he lost his job, because his team didn't produce, but look at the quality of the players he had compared to the quality of players Leyland has. I say Leyland has to go, for progress to happen. My pick for his successor is Kirk Gibson. He is aggressive, knows Detroit, was already here as a bench coach, and is currnetlythe bench coast for the Diamonbacks - who have lead their didvision most of the year.

Don Mossi

Bombs Away!

Struggling Nate Robertson serves up five homers in loss
Tigers fall season-high 11 1/2 games out of first

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There's an old saying in baseball that things usually get worse before they get better.
Nate Robertson experienced as much Wednesday night.
In the latest and worst in his long series of ineffective starts, Robertson tied a Tigers record by allowing five homers. He twice gave up back-to-back smashes.
He allowed eight runs and left in the fourth inning, and the Tigers lost, 9-1, falling a season-high 11 1/2 games out of first place. Texas right-hander Kevin Millwood threw a complete-game six-hitter.
The only other Tigers pitchers to allow five homers in a game were Don Mossi at Cleveland in 1961 and Jeff Weaver at home against Boston in 1999. All five allowed by Mossi were solos, and he won the game. But Weaver, like Robertson, lost by giving up all five of his homers from the second through fourth innings.

Country Joe and the Fish?

Leyland fine with Bonderman drinking and fishing


Tigers manager Jim Leyland suggested that right-hander Jeremy Bonderman can't do much conditioning right now because he can't yet throw following his surgery.

"He puts on his bib overalls -- no shoes and socks -- got a straw hat, got a case of beer next to him, got the hat slightly over his eyes with a fishing pole in his hand and taking a nap," Leyland said. "That's what he's been doing ... I'm not being funny. That's what he's doing. He's sitting by a pond with a fishing pole and a case of beer and a straw hat and having a good time, and he should. Why shouldn't he? He can't do anything. He'll be fine. ... He'll be raring to go (in spring training)."

Tigers in Texas

Nothing can make a sick team like the Tigers healthy like a trip to Texas!

Monday night, a friend of mine with Comerica got tickets in the Tigers' guest box as a perk for buying Comerica Park's naming rights.

At left is the right field stands at the Ballpark in Arlington, which is a replica of good ol' Tiger Stadium.
In the box were Matt Joyce's little sister (about 12, in the white top with Joyce at right) and his Dad's ex-wife, as well as Casey Fossum's wife and little son, all very nice people.
The seats were less than spectacular; directly behind the Tiger dougout, but all the way up in the lower deck.
Sheffield hit a home run, and the Tigers' shaky pitching held on for an 8-7 win.
They won't win the pennant, but if Sheff gets hot and shows he can still hit, maybe we can get rid of his fat contract.

Lee Gets 21 AB's for Korea!!

Of course, Korea has six guys named "Lee" in the game today. Interesting, none are pitchers.
Sad that NBC covers years of swimming and girls gymnastics, but I haven't even seen a game summary of baseball.

Numero Uno

Here's Ryan Perry, the Tigers' most recent No. 1 draft pick. So far at Lakeland he's 1-1 w/ a 3.24 ERA in 6 innings w/ 4 BB and 6 Ks.

Pre-Spring Training 2009 begins today

Wednesday August 13th officially marked the end of the 2008 season for me. Watching Kenny Rodgers give up that grand slam, sitting through a rain delay, and then seeing the Tigers score only 3 runs in the 9th sealed the coffin for me. There are six weeks left in the season so let's start making some moves now that will make the actual spring training a little easier. We have so many questiosn marks pitching, pitching, and pitching. Will Bonderman, Willis, Rodgers be back? Is Robertson better suited for the bullpen as one sportscaster mentioned yesterday? What about Freddy Garcia? Have we seen the last of Todd Jones? Zumaya? Sheffield? Renteria? What is the future of our young stars -- Clete, Ryan, Brent , Matt, (LOL on a fiorst name basis already) and others not mentioned that often. I believe now is the time to start testing. What free agents will be available on the free agent market? Seems like only a few months ago we were supposed to be scoring 1,000 runs - oops. I can hear Ernie Harwell now recting his poem to start Spring Training.

Study: Detroit Tiger fans MLB's second least loyal

Tigers fans may have purchased more than 2.5 million tickets before the 2008 season even started, but they're still one of Major League Baseball's least loyal groups, according to a recent study.
Photo: Upper deck bleachers, Tiger Stadium. April 27, 1977. Detroit bluesman Bobo Jenkins eats popcorn at right.

Self Portrait

Joker Marchant Stadium. Aug. 9, 2008.

Source: Tigers put disgruntled Sheffield on waivers

Updated: August 12, 2008, 4:45 PM ET
One day after Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he was "flabbergasted" by Gary Sheffield's complaints about playing time, Sheffield was among several Tigers placed on waivers by the club Tuesday, according to a major league source.

Hagerty Gets Lucky Again!

The Tigers in addition to signing Freddie Garcia, are sending him to Lakeland and promoting Dontrelle Willis to Toledo. Tom, I am sure that Dontrelle is going to miss you. Lots of moving parts today it seems.

Freddie Garcia Signs With Tigers

Freddy Garcia has agreed to a contract with the Tigers, SI.com has learned. Garcia had been a free agent, and has not pitched since June of 2007 with the Philadelphia Phillies, when shoulder problems limited him to just 11 starts. He went 17-9 with the White Sox in 2006, his last full season in the majors.

Garcia, 33, has a lifetime record of 117-76 with the Mariners, White Sox and Phillies, and has a 6-2 postseason record. He has been sidelined for over a year and had shoulder surgery on a torn labrum, but had recently begun auditioning for teams who might hope to sign him for the stretch drive.

On August 5, Garcia held a showcase for about 15 teams, including the Tigers, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rays, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, Twins, White Sox and Brewers. Scouts thought he looked very good but his radar readings in the 84-86 range indicated his arm strength was still coming.

The Tigers, expected to roll to the AL Central title before the season began, have been a disappointment right from the start, and enter play on Tuesday at 58-60, in third place in the AL Central, eight games out of first and 9 1/2 games behind in the wild card race.

Garcia has a reputation as a big-game pitcher, having won the clinching Game 5 of the 2005 ALCS for the White Sox with a complete game victory.

Gary, we hardly knew ye

Check out this ESPN article: "Manager Leyland 'flabbergasted' by Sheffield's comments"
Photo: Gary Sheffield in Lakeland on June 19, 2008.

Dontrelle in Lakeland

Dontrelle Willis (above in dugout before tonite's fitst pitch) started for Lakeland this evening and went 7 and 1/3 innings, his longest outing as a Flying Tiger. He took the loss and his record fell to 0-3 w/ a 4.50 ERA. He gave up 4 runs, all earned, on 6 hits, faced 30 batters, walked 2 and struck out 6. He got 9 ground outs and 6 fly outs.


Just a brief comment -- after the game that Robertson pitched today and due to the fact that he has a huge contract -- perhaps we can keep him around and get rid of Renteria. Win or lose there will be several adjustments in the offseason.

Me and Cal

This is me and my buddy Cal. He has played a little baseball in his time.

I have been fortunate enough to join a bunch of guys each year that get together to play pickup baseball. It started with some guys in Dallas and has spread across the country. We play in a different location each year and have a ball.

We have played at:

Wrigley Field
Cal Ripken Stadium in Abeerdeen, MD
The Diamond (with Nolan Ryan and his sons) in Round Rock, TX
Bank One Ballpark (with Randy Johnson) in Phoenix
Edison Field in Anaheim

It is not a fantasy camp. We actually have a draft, uniforms, and we use major league bats and balls, supplied by the rookies. Our players age range from 23 to 82. You pitch to your own team and you can have a runner if necessary. It is a riot. On top of that, we raise monies for great charities. To date and through the years we have raised over $1.5M.

This picture was taken at Cal Ripken's house. He and Billy played and we all had dinner in his backyard. Playing with the Ripken's for 4 days was a riot. At dinner that night, I asked Cal who was the greatest player he ever saw or played against. Without hesitation he said Barry Lamar Bonds and there was not a close second. Cal said that Barry has the greatest eyesight ever and he can read a nickel from 500 feet. Amazing!!! We had a great time.

On October 23 we are headed to San Diego to play with Tony Gwynn at Tony Gywnn Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University where Tony is the coach. If you have not seen Tony lately, he has not missed any meals or sandwiches since he retired. He puts Gates Brown to shame.

Sheffield Don't Let The Door Hit You on the way OUT!!!

Sheffield was bitching this morning to the Boston papers about his platoon situation at DH. He doesn't feel like a ballplayer. Well Gary I have some news for you, you haven't played like one neither. What is your excuse now? A heel spur. a migrane perhaps. I think that it is just bad eyesight and you can't catch up to the fastball anymore.

When Leyland and Dombrowski read this, you can bet that he will be on his way to Tampa by September 1st if not by the end of the week. Clevlen will make more contact and can play the outfield. We need to see what he ca do as he is out of options next year and it looks like a sure bet that Clete Thomas will be up for good, along with Larrish.

and our wives think we're basball freaks...

Listen to this interview with Zack Hample, who claims to have caught 3,547 major league baseballs. He shows up as soon as the gates open. Brings his mit to the game, even knows how to say "Throw me a ball!" in Korean.


Two game winning streak

Well the Tigers finally won two games in a row from the lowly Oakland A's.
The eternal optimist in me keeps hoping there is still a chance.
Thankfully they did not need the bull pen today. Is there any worse bull pen in the major leagues? Perhaps we should have kept Pudge and he could have pitched in relief -- at least better than Farnsworth.
Hopefully this blog works -- more later

No Trespassing

Saw Lakeland play the Dunedin Blue Jays last nite at Joker Marchant Stadium. I snuck into the visitors' bullpen to take a few photos. From thh adjacent Tigers' bullpen Dontrelle Willis saw me, and we had the following exchange:
Willis (sounding stern and authoritatian): Hey! What are you doing?!
Hagerty (politely): Taking photos.
Willis: Ya got any credentials?
Hagerty: No.
Willis: I don't give a shit!

Olympic Tigers?

What Tiger minor leaguers are playing in China?

I can find Mike Hessman (infielder, Toledo) and Blaine Neal (RHP, also Toledo).

Scouting reports?

Wishful thinking

From today's Free Press:

The Tigers trailed the White Sox by 6 1/2 games when the trip began. Despite all the losses, that deficit has grown by only one game. Detroit is not out of the race, but another week and a half melted from the schedule without it gaining ground. A 10-game homestand begins tonight, during which all three opponents (Oakland, Toronto and Baltimore) are out of contention. In all, 20 of the Tigers’ next 26 games will be at Comerica Park.“Realistically, if we don’t make a run then, we’re probably not going to make a run,” Leyland said. “We’ve got to start playing better. We’ve got to start stringing some wins together. I’d like to get down to three games or so by September 1st.”

Yeah and I'd like to have a million dollars. I doubt either scenario will happen.

Green Day

Tiger Stadium from the upper deck bleachers. June 1976.
I much preferred it this way, with green wooden seats and green painted walls. When John Fetzer waved his magic wand and turned the stadium blue in the late '70s it looked too much like Yankee Stadium.

D-Train kept a-rollin'

Dontrelle Willis (21) hurled 6 and 1/3 innings last night vs. Clearwater at Joker Marchant Stadium. He yielded 10 hits, 5 runs (4 earned) while striking out 6 and walking none. He has now pitched 20 innings at Lakeland and has a 4.35 ERA.

Wait til next year

OK, despite being incurably optimistic I'm finally ready to admit the obvious: the Tigers will not make the playoffs this year. A sweep of the White Sox could have given us hope, but last night's loss removed any doubt. Let's clean house and get ready for next year.

"Bless you boys."

Hey I-pod fans!

Download "AP's Inside Baseball" a weekly podcast that comes out of Thursday afternoon.
20 minutes or so on the latest news, without that smarmy blonde chick on FOX. (No chicks at all, in fact. Kind of like an old-time press box discussion. I think I smell the cigar smoke.)

Old School

Here's a vintage Tiger logo for your viewing pleasure.

"Go get 'em, Tigers!"

Here's a blast from the past. Did anyone else see any of the '68 World Series? I went to game three on a Saturday at Tiger Stadium. My sister and I sat in the lower deck bleachers, way out by the flagpole in CF. Earl Wilson was on the mound for the Tigers, who lost.

Sunday's game 8-3-08

I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to question some of Leyland's decisions. Why in the hell did he leave Rodney in yesterday's game so long. I realize he got a couple of bad calls from the ump but there was no way the ump was going to give him any of those close pitches because he was so fricken wild. That's been his problem all along--control.

Oh yea, I forgot to mention the wonderful contribution from our new relief pitcher.

Our pitching is killing us!

On the positive side: How about that shot from Cabrera? Rod Allen guessed that ball may have traveled 500 feet if it hadn't impacted on hardware in the dome.

Let's see what happens with Chicago in Chicago.

Put a fork in 'em, they're done!

Now, while the White Sox and Twins are sputtering, is when the Tigs should be charging into the middle of this race.

Instead, the can't beat the team that they could face in the playoffs.

I hate to say it, but it's over.

Joy in Mudville

Young slugger Bill Bouie, who later blasted a softball over the fence at Dodger Stadium, swings a wooden bat at Sacred Heart Seminary in 1969.

Here's Dontrelle Willis on the mound and in the dugout before the first pitch at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland on July 26, 2008.

Way to go Tom!

Congrats to Tom for being the first poster. (It's easier for him, he's younger than most of us.)
Guys, just look in the upper right cornerof the blog. See "post" or "new post?" Click there. Write a post.
See the toolbar? See the picture icon? Click on the picture icon to post a picture. It's that easy.
(Picture taken at Joker Marchant Stadium this spring.)

Tiger photos

Hey Tiger fanz,

I'm not sure how to post photos to this blog, but check out my website if you'd like to see photos of Tiger Stadium, Detroit Tigers spring training, the Lakeland Flying Tigers or the Gulf Coast League Tigers (and Indians).

"Go get 'em, Tigers!"

-- Tom

p.s. Tigers v. Rays sold out tonite at Tropicana Field. Might have something to do w/ a postgame LL Cool J concert.