Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's going on in the American League Central

Look what's going on in the American League Central Division.

Last years two bottom dwelling teams, the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals, are a combined 15-8, with the Tribe holding a half a game lead over the Royals as play begins today.

Last years champions, the Minnesota Twins, lost the Royals, and are in the cellar, with a 4-7 record.

My team, the Tigers, one of three teams picked to contend, along with the Twins and the Chicago White Sox, got off to a terrible start, going 3-7 in their first ten games.

Two consecutive walk off wins against the powerhouse Texas Rangers have the Tigers, at 5-7, and have given us Detroit fans a glimpse of how good they can be.

Tigers closer Jose Valverde has yet to give up a run in 4 2/3 innings, with 2 saves, and a 0.

The Chicago White Sox are right there, as usual, in 3rd place, just a game behind the Tribe.

The Royals have slugged their way to second place, and have 4 of the top 11 hitters in the A.L., starting with Wilson Betemit, who's batting .379.

The other Royals off to a good start at the plate are Alex Gordon, .346, Chris Getz, .342, and Billy Butler, who continues to own the Detroit Tigers pitching staff, and is hitting .341.

The Indians are winning the other way, with pitching.

Cleveland's staff has the 5th best team ERA in the A.L., at 3.45, by far the best in the division, well ahead of the ChiSox, who's team ERA is. 4.06, AND HAVE A TEAM whip of 1.13, second best in the A.L.

The Tribe staff is lead by three right handers in  Justin Masterson, who's 2-0, with a 1.35 ERA, 9 K's,  Mitch Talbot, 1-0, with a ERA of 1.46, and 11 K's, and Josh Tomlin, who has a 2-0 record, a 2.63 ERA, and  a miniscule 0.88 WHIP.

The closer is Chris Perez, who's 4-4 in save opportunities this year, has a WHIP of just 0.63, and has yet to allow a run in 6 1/3 innings of relief.

The pitching of the Tigers and the Twins, on the other hand, has been less than stellar.

The Tigers are 13th, next to last in the A.L. in team ERA, at 5.28, and that's with Justin Verlander's 3.13 ERA in 3 strong outings.

The staffs of both the Tigers and Twins pitchers have allowed 13 home runs, and the Tigers staff has a un wanted high of 12 wild pitches through the teams first 12 games.

The White Sox are holding steady in 3rd place, just a game out of 1st place, with a respectable A.L.  4.06 team ERA, and ChiSox hurlers have allowed 115 hits in 115.3 innings pitched.

Ex-Tiger Edwin Jackson is 2-0 for the Sox, with a 2.89 ERA, and 24 K's(13 against the Rays on April 7th) in 3 starts.

Since the 2005 season the White Sox and Twins have dominated the division titles, but with the early results from Cleveland, KC,  and Detroit, the Central looks as competitive as ever.

As a Tiger fan, I'm hoping for a division pennant, one the team hasn't won since 1987, right before they lost to the dreaded Twins in the ALCS.

It's a long way to October, but I love seeing the Twins, even for a moment, wallowing in the cellar, struggling to find their way out.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Watching baseball on TV

On a very ugly day in downtown Detroit, the St. Louis Cardinals and their Hall of Fame bound pitcher, Bob Gibson, were destroying the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of the 1968 World Series.

The Cardinals humiliated the Tigers, and their fans, 10-1, on National TV.

Now, you're probably asking yourself, why, as a Tigers fan, am I bringing up a horrible memory like that?

Well, it's the 1st game I remember seeing any Tiger game on TV...October 2, 1968, a Wednesday.

The reason I bring up my early TV baseball viewing is a well done article by the guys over at Baseball News and Scores about the current baseball packages offered by Major League Baseball.

When I was a kid growing up in the suburbs of Kalamazoo, Muskegon, and then Portage, Michigan, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, if the Tigers were on TV, it was an event.

The Tigers were only on TV on Opening Day, of course, and then, if they were home, the team would show the Saturday home stand game, and that was the only chance, unless the Tigers got on the NBC Game of the Week, to see the Tigers play at Tiger Stadium.

We could see some Tigers games on the road, but not many, and it seemed like they always played lousy teams, like the Indians, and the Rangers, although I do remember some games against the powerful Orioles teams.

Today it's much different.

Today you can watch every game of your favorite team by subscribing to  MLB Extra Innings on your cable or satellite, or via your computer/ I pad, etc., with

There are also the ESPN Games of the week, usually on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the TBS National Sunday afternoon game, and the FOX Saturday baseball coverage.

Lot's of baseball, anywhere, anytime.
It's simply amazing to me how many games, heck, even every Tigers game can be seen via either the TV, or on my computer.

There's just one problem though, with the TV packages of MLB.

The blackouts.

MLB has the right to black out ANY game, whenever they want.

If I want to watch a Braves game, MLB, for some reason, blacks out the Atlanta games.


Well, for some reason, Jacksonville, Florida, where I live, is in the Braves territorial reach, even though the last time I drove to Atlanta, it took me nearly 6 hours to get there.

MLB blacks out the Braves games in Jacksonville, even though we cannot watch them on cable TV.

Channel 54 on cable here in town, the CSS station, NEVER plays the Braves games, even though they show the previews.

So, you cannot watch the Braves, a big time draw in the south, on cable TV in Jacksonville, and you can't watch them on MLB-TV, channel 279(479 HD) either.

The blackout policy is silly, right?

I guess it's because of the Marlins and the Rays, channels 50 and 51,on Sun Sports, but it's just as long a drive, 5 1/2 hours+ to Miami, and 4 1/2+ hours to St. Petersberg, to watch those teams live.

Oh, and if the game you want to watch is on the FOX Saturday broadcast window, or the TBS Sunday window, then you cannot watch ANY OF THE GAMES.

I realize there are lots of $$$$$$ flying around, and that baseball is protecting the investments of FOX and TBS, however, the whole point of purchasing the games shown by MLB Extra Innings, or on, is to watch games in out of market areas.

So, if the Tigers are playing on Saturday afternoon at the same time FOX has one of it's 106 games showing either the Yankees or Red Sox, that's the only game I can watch.

That's the problem, as MLB unfairly blacks out games that you want to watch, and force feeds you the TBS or FOX games.

If your spending $179 a year, of your hard earned money, I think it's only fair that you get to watch what you paid for, regardless where you live.

It was so much easier back when I was a kid playing baseball with my friends.

We played baseball all the time, and we would play while listening to Ernie Harwell, Ray Lane, and Paul Carey, giving us the play by play of our beloved Detroit Tigers.

There is a lot of big league baseball on TV, and that's great, but I think MLB, who takes your money to watch your team, should let you watch your team, anytime, anywhere.

I enjoy watching games on ESPN, I like how they cover the game, but I get sick of watching the same teams, the Yankees, the BoSox, the Cardinals, the Braves, well, you get the idea.
While I do like to watch every big league club, I also want to follow the team I've loved since I was 7 tears old, and I'm sure you feel the same way.

Baseball fans want, and should, be able, if they're willing to pay, be able to watch any team, at any time of the day, anywhere.

Reds duo, Blue Jay's Arencibia receive Freehan catcher award for week one

The Cincinnati Reds had themselves quite a start to the season, continuing their come from behind ways of the 2010 baseball year, and it was their catcher, Ramon Hernandez, who hit a walk off 3 run HR as the Reds beat the Brewers on opening day.

 Ryan Hanigan, the other Reds catcher, went 5 for 7 over the weekend, and the duo are the co-winners of the Bill Freehan Award for the first week in 2011.

The American League winner is J. P . Arencibia, of the Blue Jays, who smacked the Twins pitching in the opening series, hitting .429, with 2 homers, and driving in 5 runs.

Who will be the award winning catchers for week 2?

Make sure to check back on Monday to place your vote for your pick as the Bill Freehan Catcher of the Week.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Keith Olbermann catches the Yankees cheating

Over the weekend the New York Yankees played the Detroit Tigers in the opening series of the season, at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees won the opening game against the Tigers, 6-3, against Justin Verlander.

The picture was taken by Keith Olbermann.

Bill Freehan Catcher of the Year Award, Week #1, 3/31-4/3/11

Welcome to the first ever balloting for the Bill Freehan Catcher of the Week Award.

In earlier posts I announced that I would be honoring by hero, former Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan, by awarding, in his honor, a catcher of the week, of the month, and then of the year, from both the American and National Leagues.

This weeks nominees are listed below, if, however, you believe another catcher should be nominated, please fell free to write in a comment and your voice will be heard.

The first nominees in the American League are...

Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians     

In 3 games the Indians backstop hit a robust .462, with 6 hits, a home run, 3 RBIs, and 9 total bases.

Russell Martin, Mew York Yankees

Martin is the every day catcher now for the Yankees as Jorge Posada winds down his career as a DH. Martin was 5 for 11 against the Tigers last weekend, a nice .455 average, with 3 RBIs and 9 total bases.

J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays

Arencibia hit .429 vs. the Twins, smacking 2 HRs, driving in 5 runs, with 11 total bases, tops for all A.L. catchers the first week of the season. J. P also caught 2 complete games for Toronto this past weekend.

Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles catcher lead a terrific Orioles pitching staff to a 3 game sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays, hitting .300, including a 2-4 on Sunday, and defensively he threw out 2 of the 3 Rays base runners that attempted to steal, catching 27 innings for the Birds.

A.J. Pierzynski, Chicago White Sox

The long time backstop of the ChiSox was 5 for 13,  with 2 RBI's, guiding Chicago's pitchers to a Sox sweep of the Indians in Cleveland. 

The National League nominees are...

Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves

McCann and the Braves are off to a good start. McCann hit .462, with  6 hits, 5 RBIs as the Braves won 2 of 3 from the Nationals.

Ryan Hanigan, Ramon Hernandez, Cincinnati Reds

 Yes, we are joining the 2 Reds catcher together, and you'll see why.

The Reds swept the Milwaukee Brewers, and both Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan were right in the thick of the action.

Hernandez was the Reds catcher on Opening Day, going  4 for 5, with a game winning walk off HR to beat the Brewers.

Hannigan was the Reds catcher hitting .714, 5 for 7 at the plate, with 2 homers and 4 2 games against Milwaukee.

The two Reds catcher combined for 18 total bases against the Brewers.

John Buck, Florida Marlins

Buck caught all 3 games of the opening series against the New York Mets, collecting 4 hits in 13 at bats, a .308 average, with a HR and 4 RBIs, and 9 total bases..

Nick Hundley, San Diego Padres

Hundley went 2-4 in both games he played in over the weekend, a .455 average, and driving in 2 suns for the Padres. Defensively Hundley threw out both attempted base stealer's, in 28 innings caught.

Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks

Montero was 5 for 8 batting, including a 3 for 5 on Friday, with a HR and 2 RBIs in 2 games against the Colorado Rockies. The teams game on Sunday was postponed.

So, we have our very 1st ever nominees, so please vote in the comment section for your choice.

If you don't like the choices above, feel free to write in your choice in the comment section below.

I will tally all the votes on Wednesday, with a 12 PM Eastern time deadline.

The votes of you, by you,  the followers of this blog, will be counted, and along with my vote, we will name a winner of the 1st Annual Bill Freehan Catcher of the Week Award.

Thanks for participating, and please pass along our award on your blog, with either a mention, or a link to the page.

Thanks again to all the readers of my blog, it is much appreciated.