Monday, September 25, 2006

The Perfect Storm

It happened so fast, it is sometimes difficult to believe. But the Tigers rise to a playoff team did not happen by accident. The nucleus of this club was built through every method possible by general manager Dave Dombrowski. He made trades to acquire Carlos Guillen, Placido Polanco and Jeremy Bonderman. Justin Verlander, Joel Zumaya and Curtis Granderson were products of the minor league system. Magglio Ordonez, Todd Jones, Ivan Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers were high-priced free agents. He even tapped into the Rule 5 draft for Wilfredo Ledezma and Chris Shelton. The Tigers are an ideal mix of youth and experience. Dombrowski could not have made a better hire for manager than Jim Leyland. This season is the product of a perfect storm brewing. Everything just kind of came together at the same time for the Tigers. Hats off to Dombrowski. He has done a terrific job.

Random Thoughts

- From the Theater of the Absurd, we present the Lions. It was insane how they did not insert Mike Williams into the loss to Green Bay Sunday until the very end when the game was on the line. It was an unfair spot to place Williams in. The Lions treat the kid like garbage.

- Here is a novel idea. Perhaps the United States should send their best amateur players to the Ryder Cup. They could not do worse than Tiger and Phil and the rest of the boys from the PGA Tour. That was awful - even worse than at Oakland Hills two years ago.

- I just have a feeling Michigan State's collapse vs. Notre Dame Saturday night was the beginning of the end for John L. Smith in East Lansing. The Spartans were staring at a nine-win season and a decent bowl game if they had won that game. Now you have to wonder if they are capable of going .500 in Big Ten play.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Nick P said...

Hey Book,
So I had a fun weekend, watching MSU while enjoying a few cocktails, well technically the end of the evening i wasn't enjoying much, and then proceed to go to the lions game sunday. Someone please shoot me in the face.

MSU - I'm not yet cable of discussing this.

Lions - Good lord. I wanted to run out of the stands and just start beating the crap out of Roy Williams when he did his first down BS. FOR (editted) SAKE WIN A (editted) GAME BEFORE YOU PULL YOUR (editted) (editted) (editted) (and just throw a few more editteds in for good measure). While I never vocally expressed it at the game, I felt myself just wanting to see the lions lose. Show me something, anything and I'll root for you. Show me this garbage, and we'll have a fire millen march in less than 2 weeks.

Tigs - absolutely incredible, my joy for this time is only rivaled by my disgust with MSU's second half. More than my happiness about the tigers, I feel great for maroth, inge, robertson, and everyone else who has been thru the losing years.

10:14 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
I feel for all MSU fans out there. I understand how badly they want to see their football program thrive and how all it does is make them cry. You feel like you're beating a dead horse when you examine the Millen situation. It is just so absurd he still is running that team. He has done a very poor job. Sunday's loss to the Packers was just more proof.
Caputo

11:35 AM 
Blogger I rule said...

At some point disgust evolved into apathy for me when it comes to the Lions. You can emotionally invest only so much before you're driven to insanity with their pathetic state. I wrote them off years ago and have been much more at peace since. For those masochists who continue to be committed enough to consider themself a fan (tasy) of the Lions, you should either be literally committed or understand that staying away is your greatest contribution to real change.

Curiously, I never adopted the same attitude toward the Tigers. They have gone through some long periods where they were equally laughable, but there have always been memories of great seasons that kept me hanging in there with them. They were very good throughout the 60's and 80's, which made the 70's and 90's easier to overlook. For you diehards who continue to hang in there with the Lions, I sincerely hope you are rewarded eventually. I won't be there with you, because, to borrow from Howard Beale, I am just "mad as hell, and I can't take it anymore."

12:24 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. C. Lions are a Mystery! Tigers are not a mystery, agree with your comments. I know i have mentioned this before but what a lineup they would have if they could acquire a big time hr hitter to hit next to Magglio. Don't know if it was KC a weak team or the tigs got it back together again. All those runs at KC may be attributed to less than great pitching. Tigs looked good on defence. I am really happy for them it's such a long season. Vinny

12:27 PM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Pat,

I'm not sure if you've ever written about this, but don't you think there are a lot of parallels between MSU football and the Lions? I know, I know. One is college and one is pro, but both programs seem to relive the same scenarios over and over no matter who the coach, GM or athletic directors are.

As for the Tigers, your headline, "The Perfect Storm," got me thinking about the Tigers future. First, let me say that I'm absolutely thrilled by what the Tigers have done this year. I thought they might be .500 this season, give or take.

But being that everything did come together so perfectly this season, what's the likelihood that the Tigers will continue down this winning road? Certainly they have pitching depth, and that's a huge plus. But positionally, I don't think we're set up that well. Pudge, Poloanco, Guillen, and Maggs all have either age, health (or both) concerns going forward.

Whom should we build around in the field? Granderson for sure. Monroe should stay and Inge is a nice complimentory player. I'd like to see Infante get 500 ABs next year. I think this off-season will be absolutely key to the Tigers competitive future for the next several seasons.

12:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I Rule,
People have gotten mad at Ilitch in the past, and there was a lot of apathy toward the Tigers. He did a lot of dumb things for a long time. But it never got to the point of total disgust like with the Lions and Ford because Ilitch is much different owner than Ford. He does care about winning and losing. He did win with the Red Wings. Losing does eat at him. He made his own money, having grown up like lot people in Detroit without much of it. He wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was a big fan. He was even a Tigers farm hand. He is not nearly as aristocratic as Ford.
Caputo

4:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Vinny,
The good news is the Tigers end the season with three straight games vs. KC. The bad news is the Twins play them four straight starting tonight.
Caputo

4:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
This off season is going to be a really, really interesting one. Where in the past, the Tigers have shaken it up with big free agent signings, this off season figures to be one for trades. What type will hinge on how well they do in the postseason.
Caputo

4:26 PM 
Blogger I rule said...

Pat, I suppose at some point it has to come back to the owner, but it really doesn't matter to me whether that owner earned it himself or was born into wealth. I don't believe Mr. Ilitch has any greater love for his baseball and hockey teams than Ford does for the Lions.

I have some empathy for the Ford's, and particularly Bill Jr., who has received a considerable amount of unjust criticism. He's a very good man with a heart and conscience that is admirable. Having said that it is an undeniable fact that they have made some poor choices at the GM level, and their loyalty to Thomas and Millen has been at the core of the team's problems for the bulk of the past 49 years.

Perhaps if he were as quick to set aside that loyalty to his floundering GMs as he was to not let his ego get in the way of getting the family business beyond its financial problems, Lions fans would have something to cheer about these days.

5:09 PM 
Blogger warrenmott72 said...

Book,

what do you think of this:

if we play at NY
game 1 Rogers
game 2 Robertson

then come back with Bonderman in game 3 at Det. Lefties always do better at NY.

if we play at home vs Oak
game 1 Rogers
game 2 Robertson
then come back with Bonderman at Oak because he always rises up against Oakland.

"speaking about high school baseball, I broke up a no-hitter against Tanana when he was at CC in 72 with a double off the wall!"

7:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Warrenmott72,
When it comes down to the Tigers rotation for the playoffs, I feel about it the way you do. I do think it is more important for them to win the division and face Oakland than it is for Leyland to set up the Tigers rotation in any particular way.
Caputo

1:03 AM 
Anonymous golf guru said...

Regarding the Lions, pro football has clear limitations in terms of the adjustments you can make once the season is underway. The Packers game is NOT more evidence of a Millen failure. Objectively, it and the post-game reaction of the players is evidence of a team that has progressed. The offensive play shows promise - although not good enough, and the defense clearly has work to do, and could benefit from another week of coaching, more practice, and, as a result, better play from linebackers and secondary as well as the return of some injured players.

The plaintive whining in some circles of "same old Lions" is not an objective perspective. They show continued enthusiasm and fight. They are evolving, not crumbling. If the Lions are too painful to watch, go do something else; get a life (and maybe psychological counseling). Then come back next week and see if they are showing more progress, better fight, and are thereby easier to watch.

Despite emotional comments from sportswriters and others, Mike Williams' lack of playing time is not a travesty. The coaches will play the best players available. Williams' entrance in the final few minutes may have been more of a calculated gamble to get optimal match ups for a last-minute game-winning score despite Williams' likely imperfect understanding (and, thereby, risky execution) of his responsibilities.

7:20 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Golf Guru,
You and I disagee on this one. To me, the Lions poor start is telling of an organization that continues to flounder. The Packers are not very good. They won just three games last season and lost their first two games this season at home. To me, the Lions seem totally unbothered by losing. It has just become an accepted part of life. I find that disturbing.
Caputo

10:46 AM 
Blogger naptime said...

It would be a shame if Maroth didn't get to pitch in a playoff series this year. Admittedly, this Tigers team is already a great story and Mike's been down with an injury.

But seeing a 20 game loser take the mound at Comerica Park in its first year of postseason baseball would be something.

I hope Leyland stretches him out over the next week if he has the chance, especially if we end up facing the Yankees...

Remember Maroth's one-hitter against New York in '04? Looking back, games like that one seem to mean a little more now as far as the development of this team over the past 3 years.

2:15 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Naptime,
You couldn't be more right about Maroth. Getting hurt this year was quite a setback for him, but, like you, I have a gut feeling he will play an important role coming up. He comes back from difficult times remarkably well. And, like you wrote, he may help the Tigers particularly if/when they face the Yankees.
Caputo

3:47 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr C. - Mr. Polanco Lookeed up his stats. Who did the tigers have to give up to get him? I think he has 49 rbi an has missed a number of games due to that injury. The catch he made may have won that game but like you suggested if i remember correctly it may have been better if he had not made that play. First time i have seen Toronto play. They are better than i thought. NYY & Boston make it tough for them. Vinny

8:59 AM 

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