Friday, February 27, 2015

The Defensive Wiz Kid

The Detroit Tigers lately have not had anyone who was extraordinary defensively. 2007 and 2009 we saw Placido Polanco win gold gloves at second base with his consist play of not making errors. 2004, 2006, and 2007 Ivan Rodriguez won gold gloves behind the plate. Throwing out base runners and calling a great game is pretty special, but can you think of one play that stands out with Pudge defensively?

During the summer of 2013 the Detroit Tigers had learned that Jhonny Peralta was in connection in the biogenesis scandal. It was only a matter of time before the Tigers would lose their everyday short stop to a suspension. The Tigers made the move that would send Avisail Garcia to the White Sox, Brayan Villerreal to the Red Sox. In return the Red Sox would send Joes Iglesias to Detroit and minor leaguers to the White Sox, while the White Sox would send Jake Peavy to the Red Sox. 

Iglesias was having a great year at the plate for the Red Sox. Coming up through the Red Sox, though, he was better known for he glove then his bat. When the Tigers made the trade it wasn't long for him to rack up the highlights at short while wearing the Old English D. 

Iggy was out of commission for the 2014 season due to shin splints. We hopefully will have him back for a full season this year. If he can stay healthy he will help cover a lot of ground on the left side, taking pressure off of Castellanos at third. He should be a strong candidate for gold glove with his amazing glove work. 

*sorry if the video doesn't play on mobile devices still trying to figure that out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


My #TwoforTuesday post I figured I would share a couple cards of some Hall of Famers. I don't have many cards in my collection with Hall of Fame players, but these are some cool cards.

1999 Hall of Fame inductee Robin Yount stared for the Milwaukee Brewers during the 70s and 80s before retiring in 1993. He has 3,000 hits to his career to go with his 2 MVPs.

This Upper Deck Premier Trios card feature three great hitters, Carl Yastrzemski, Stan Musial, and Rod Carew. Yastrzemski and Musial were both part of the 3,000 hits and 400 home run clubs in their careers. Carew also reached 3,000 hits, but was not a power hitter like the other two. My personal opinion Upper Deck should have added someone else then Carew who has at least 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. A few guys on the list Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Dave Winfield, and Cal Ripken Jr.

Monday, February 23, 2015

2015 Topps Series 1 Hits

I have busted open my box of 2015 Topps Series 1 and thought I would share some of my hits from the set. I was excited about getting my first box this year. I think it was more the fact that it is the start of the baseball card collecting year then the actual series. I do really like the series though and tend to have some good luck with what I have pulled.

First off I will use this card to show off the new look of their base set. I am glad that they got away from just their sold white borders. With this series in the base sets there are two things to look for in the cards, baseball sparkles or short prints. The easiest ways to tell is the base set cards end in 861 for their serial numbers, sparkle 903 and short print 901. Well my pull from this box is a short print of former rival who just retired, Paul Konerko. Respect the player hate the team.

At first I overlooked the foil parallel cards that I pulled. Didn't realize it until I was ripping open my second pack from the box. I decided to just post the coolest card out of the foil and it was between Zack Greinke or Hunter Pence of the Giants. Neither players I am huge on, but Pence has hurt the Tigers more of late then Greinke.

Topps stuck with the gold parallels. Again I just picked the coolest player out of the ones I pulled and how could I not go with World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Sorry for the crooked picture also.

Another cooler insert for this year is the Gallery of Greats. The cards have a throwback look to them and it's a nice set to collect for some great older players like Frank Thomas and Steve Calton.

My first insert card I pulled was jersey piece of Johnny Cueto. Another cool design that goes with the base set. If it wasn't for a guy named Kershaw this card would be even better considering he was Cy Young runner up this past season.

My second favorite card I pulled was a manu card. The player pin is pretty sweet idea to me. I am kinda defensive minded in sports so to pull a young defense first, third baseman Manny Machado I was happy to add this card to my collection.

Hands down my favorite pull from this box, Ian Kinsler autograph. It might be him with the Rangers, but he is the Tigers second basemen. If you pull an autograph of a player on your team it is always a good box that you have bought.

I almost forgot that even with the scratch off cards for the "Call your Shot" game I did pretty well. I did get an autographic relic. I don't know who the card is of just yet, but the list they gave me was a bunch of sweet players. Cards ship out March 2!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy first day of Spring Training!

Today is the first day of official spring training for baseball. Pitchers and catchers report today and the rest of the team will report on Monday. Up in Alpena, MI it is a nice brisk -4 degrees, but it feels like a -17 degrees outside. Needless to say it doesn't feel like spring for me just yet, but now I can start watching baseball. Going into camp the Detroit Tigers have a few question marks to look at, mostly their rotation and bullpen. So with today's post I figured I would talk about long time Tiger and usual fan favorite coming off of his worse season yet, Justin Verlander.

Verlander last season was dealing with a core muscle injury throughout the season last year. We saw his velocity on his fastball drop down to average speed of 94.2 mph. I believe that has a lot to do with his core muscle not being at a full 100%. Looking on past that his ERA+ for 2014 was a horrible 88 compared to his career average of 122. It seems a good portion of people are giving up on JV. I am not one of them. I believe his numbers were down, because of injuries. Chris Iott, beat writer for the Tigers on wrote a good article talking about JV on off-season adding more weight and his pitch mixing. Along with that he also touches on a few things about the team.

I see JV bouncing back this season. I doubt he will be the Verlander of his 2011 Cy Young/ MVP season, but will bounce back to being a top of the rotation pitcher. If he can stay healthy JV will claim the title back of being the Tigers' ace pitcher. My prediction for JV he will win 15-18 games with a ERA right around 3.30-3.50 and will be back up around 200 strikeouts this season. Again its my predictions and maybe it is me being a hopeless romantic Tigers fan, but I think JV will bounce back as long as he stays healthy. Go Tigers!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wouldn't be surprised

In my 25 years in life I have always been a Detroit Tigers fan. Since high school I have followed their off season moves and the trades throughout the season, but it wasn't until I went away to school that I really start looking at the Tigers' farm system and kept an eye on who they drafted. The first person that I followed was their 2nd round draft pick out of the University of Arkansas, Drew Smyly in 2010.

I believe I have stated in a preview post about me being left handed and how I tend to follow towards left handed pitchers, so Smyly was a perfect choice for me. In his first season in professional baseball Smyly was one of the best pitchers for the Tigers in their farm system (I know that doesn't say much considering the Tigers rank near the bottom in farm system every year). Between high A and AA ball he went 11-6 with a 2.07 ERA. He struck out 130 batters in 126 innings pitched. After his successful first year in professional baseball it earned him a chance to make the Tigers team out of spring training in 2012. He started out in the rotation with 18 games started before moving to the bullpen where he came out of the pen 5 times. He had a good rookie season with a ERA+ of 107. The next year he would pitch strictly out of the bullpen for the Tigers where he would have a 2.37 ERA.

In 2014 he would be moved back to the the rotation. He started out the first half of the season with Detroit before being trade in a three team traded that sent him and prospect Willy Adames to Tampa Bay Rays for David Price. (Austin Jackson went to the Seattle Mariners and the Mariners sent Nick Franklin to the Rays). His time with Detroit in 2014 was average with a ERA of 3.93 and a ERA+ of 101, but with the Rays they worked with his locations. In a small sample size of 7 start his ERA+ was 220 (100 is average). Now this past week an ESPN writer wrote saying how Smyly could be a Cy Young Candidate and be someone like Corey Kluber coming out of nowhere to win the award.

I have always respected the pitching talent that has came out of the Rays system. Most of them have spent time in the minors before the majors. If they work with him enough I believe Smyly has enough talent to be in the running for the Cy Young and I wouldn't be surprised if he wins the award sometime in his career. I wish Smyly the best with the Rays and I will continue to follow his career.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Today I will look at a couple first basemen. I really just picked two random cards out of my relic box this morning and thought they would work for today's post. One is known for his power, but is coming off of an injury season while the other is a well rounded first basemen known for his gold glove.

Adrian Gonzalez is a consistent player throughout his career. He has played at least 156 games each year since 2006. His power might have peaked in 2008 and 2009 while with the Padres when he hit a combined 76 balls out of the park. What sets him apart from most first basemen is his glove. In his career he has four gold gloves to along with his two silver slugger awards.

Prince Fielder really left a bad taste in most Detroit Tigers fans mouth. I'm whatever with him. His first year in Detroit was great his second year not so much, but from the rumors of what was going on in the clubhouse could really play with a player's mind. Just like Gonzalez, Fielder seemed to play everyday until this past season. From 2009-2013 he only missed one game. Pretty cool feat for such a big man. Prince will always be best known for his power. If he can stay healthy I would expect to see him hit a bunch out Arlington.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Trade #3: They meet again

Back in 2009 the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the New York Yankees would do a three team trade. The Tigers would send Edwin Jackson to the D'backs and Curtis Granderson to the Yankees in return of Phil Coke from the Yankees, Max Scherzer, and Daniel Schlereth of the D'Backs. The Yankees would also send Ian Kennedy to the D'backs as well. Now going into the 2015 season these three teams would match up again to pull off a three team trade.
Didi Gregorius was part of a crowd middle infield in Arizona. With Chris Owing, Aaron Hill, Cliff Pennington, and Nick Ahmed, the D'backs needed to move someone. They flipped Gregorius to the Yankees. The Yankees needed another option at shortstop now with Derek Jeter's retirement. Gregorius is not known for his bat, but more for his glove. He has big shoes to fill in New York and it will be interesting to see how he handles it.
Robbie Ray was first traded from the Nationals to the Tigers in the off-season in 2014. He was part of the Doug Fister trade. A lot of Tigers fan were upset with this trade. The Tigers are known for having one of the worst farm systems and Ray going into last season was the highlight for their farm system. With injuries last year Ray made his debut for the Tigers on May 6th. After one season in Detroit, the Tigers flipped Ray to the D'backs along with Dimingo Leyba, a shortstop prospect.
The New York Yankees would part ways with their young back end of the rotation pitcher Shane Greene. He would have a okay rookie season with an ERA+ of 103. He best start was probably against the Tigers when he pitched 8 innings giving up 5 hits and no runs and lead the Yankees to a 1-0 win. I have heard comparisons of Greene to Doug Fister and even John Smoltz predicted Greene to surprised people this season.

I would say it is safe to say the Detroit Tigers won the trade in 2009 with what they got from Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, and Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. This trade the Yankees and the Tigers addressed their needs and the D'backs added depth to their rotation. It will be fun to watch how this trade plays out for all three teams.

Friday, February 13, 2015

It's been long enough...

Pete Rose, one of the all time greatest hitters and one of the best competitors in baseball has been banned from the game of baseball since 1989. He was questioned about betting on baseball games while he managed the Cincinnati Reds. It came out that he was gambling, but there was no evidence that he was betting that the Reds to lose games.
Pete Rose, the player, was one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game. He played the game to win and be the best player in the game. Even in the All Star game he left it all out on the field and that was clear in the 1970 All Star game when he ran over Ray Fosse of the Cleveland Indians to score the winning run.Yes, he did seriously hurt Fosse and pretty much costed him his career, but that was Rose's style of play. As a hitter he would finish his career with the most hits ever with 4,256 and a career slash line of .303/.375/.409. Add in 17 All Star appearances, multiple batting titles, a MVP and 3 World Series rings he should be in the Hall of Fame as a player.

Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. The All Star game is going to be held in Cincinnati this year. We have a new Commissioner of Baseball with Rob Manfred. This would be a perfect time for the MLB to lift Pete Rose's ban on baseball. He has apologized for his actions. My simple argument for Pete Rose is that he should in the Hall of Fame for what he did as a player. When he was betting on baseball he was managing the Reds. He did not have a Hall of Fame career as a manager, but as a player.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My Trip to Big D's

Being from Northern Michigan I do not have a local card shop that I can go to. There is one in East Tawas from what I found online, but that is still over an hour drive for me. I consider North Carolina my second home due to the fact I have two sisters, a brother-in-law, a nephew, and an aunt and uncle that live there. My brother-in-law Eric or better known as The Snorting Bull is the one person who reintroduced me into collecting cards. This past August I was down there for a wedding and Eric and I took a trip to his favorite card shop, Big D's before the wedding. Eric had let Jimmy the owner know that I am a pretty big Detroit Tigers fan and he had pulled aside some cool cards for me.
The first couple cards I looked at were some short print Miguel Cabrera cards. I tend to be pretty bad at collecting or paying attention to short print cards so I figured this would be a good start to looking for short prints.
The next card Jimmy sold me was newly acquired second basemen Ian Kinsler autograph. I had already collected a quad piece relic of Kinsler, but had not had a chance to add a Kinsler autograph yet.
My favorite Tiger's card that I picked up from Jimmy was this cool 2014 Topps Series 1 of Victor Martinez. I really like the parallels in theses sets. He also had the black one, but I had pulled that out of a pack that I had bought earlier in the year. I think I am going to try to collect all of the different color parallels of V-Mart for last year. Two coolest ones I can check off my list.
 My last card I bought kinda caught Jimmy off guard. Growing up in the 90's I was a huge Ken Griffey Jr. fan. I spot this card actually right away when I walked into the shop and started looking around. I would look at it then go on and look at some other cards, but always found myself going right back to this card. I finally asked Jimmy want he wanted for it and he gave me what I thought was a great price and it was mine!

With not having a local shop of my own I had considered Big D's as my own shop. After going there in August Jimmy would message me on Twitter about buying boxes he was selling and I found his prices were just as competitive as where I was buying boxes online. It was unfortunate news to hear that Jimmy had shut his doors to Big D's last week. It is always sad to see a local shop close. If you have a local card shop to buy from do your best and try to support them. The owners are fans of collecting cards just like us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


For my post today it is about to future Hall of Famers. One just retired and the other still has a few years to go. Both have had dominating careers highlighted with my accolades.
Albert Pujols was a 13th round pick in the 1999 draft to the St. Louis Cardinals. He wouldn't take long before breaking into the major league in 2001 at the young age of 21 years old. He would have a slash of line .329/.403/.610 in his rookie season to take home the Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger, and finish 4th in the MVP voting. He would spend 11 seasons with the Cardinals leading them to 3 World Series and winning 2 of the 3 series. After winning his last World Series in 2011 he would go on to sign a big off season contract with the Los Angeles Angels. His career has since been on the decline, but when he was with the Cardinals he was known as one of the best hitters in the game. Going into the 2015 season he has 520 home runs and over 1,600 RBIs to his name. As long as he can stay healthy enough for at least another 3-4 seasons (if not sooner) he should reach the 3,000 hit mark as he currently stands with 2,519 hits.
Derek Jeter aka The Captain has had what you could say a story book career. Drafted 6th overall in 1992 by the New York Yankees Jeter would work his way through the minors and play his first full season in pinstripes in 1996. Just like Pujols he would win the Rookie of the Year. The Captain has many accolades to his name 14 All Star appearance, 2000 MVP, 5 Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers, and 5 World Series rings. Jeter joined the 3,000 hit club on July 9th, 2011 with a home run and a five hit performance off of the Tampa Bay Rays. His final at bat came this past season and it would cap off a historical career when he would walk off the Yankees with a base hit over the Baltimore Orioles. Jeter was the face of baseball for many years and will also go down as one of the greatest Yankees of all time, right up there with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio. He will without a doubt be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Top Five Baseball Movies

Over this weekend I ended up watching my all time favorite baseball movie and probably a close second if not tied for number one favorite movie of all time for me. I know this list has been done many times before and you will see the usual movies in the list, but here are my top five.

Honorable Mention:
The Bad News Bear (1976) is about a group of misfit boys lead by their misfit manager who is played by Walter Matthau. The team would compete in the tough California little league with the help of a girl pitcher played by Tatum O'Neal.
5) The Natural
The aging baseball player, Roy Hobbs (played by Robert Redford) who came up as a rising star pitch who never found success until he went from the mound to the batters box. He would have help with a magical baseball bat that came from a tree that was struck by lightning.
4) Major League
Even with this movie being based on one of the Tigers rivals, the Cleveland Indians it is still a good movie. The Cleveland Indians new owner wants to move them out of Cleveland, so she decides to put together a team of aging players mixed with no named players hoping for them to finish dead last once again.

3) Bull Durham
An aging catcher Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) who is the all time minor league home run king is brought in to mentor the young immature pitcher Nuke (played by Tim Robbins). Of course this movie has to make the list when the Tigers have their own Crash Davis in Toledo with Mike Hessman.

2) 42
The story of Jackie Robinson. What more can you say about this movie. It shows what he went through while breaking the color barrier for baseball players.

1) The Sandlot
This movie ranks right up in my all time favorite movies with Home Alone. It is a coming of age story that takes places in 1962 when Scotty Smalls moves to a new neighborhood. Looking to make friends he stumbles upon a group of boys playing ball on the sandlot. They needed one more guy to make a team and Smalls is that guy after a little help from their leader Benny "The Jet' Rodriguez. They have a summer filled with baseball and the biggest pickle of their young lives.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

#TBT: June 26, 2011

Every year I try to make it down to at least one Tigers game. I live four hours north of Detroit, so unfortunately for me making it to one game a summer is an accomplishment. Back in 2011 I had bought tickets to see the Tigers take on the Arizona Diamondback with my Dad, my Grandpa, and my Aunt. It was a hot June Sunday day game. The stadium was packed with just over 41,000 fans. It was a special day for the Detroit Tigers. The Diamondbacks were being managed by former Tigers Kirk Gibson and Alan Tramell. They were also retiring Sparky Anderson, their former manager who lead them to the 1984 World Series number 11 before the game. It was an amazing ceremony to be at and see one of the great Tigers having his number retired. They also gave out this pretty cool picture to the fans.

Sorry for the blurry image. I couldn't get a good picture but the quote at the top says "The players make the manager, it's never the other way." Now the game started off pretty slow. You had Brad Penny starting for the Tigers and Joe Saunders for the D'backs. Jhonny Peralta hit a solo home run in the 2nd to give the Tigers and early 1-0 lead. In the top of the 7th the D'Backs put two on the board to take the lead. Then the bottom of the 8th inning happened. The Tigers put 7 runs across the plate. It was hit after hit and the crowd was going wild in Comerica Park. The final score would be 8-3 for the Tigers. A good way to honor the late Sparky Anderson. Click here to check out the box score.

 Sparky managed two teams in his 26 year career. He spent his first 9 years, starting in 1970 with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds were a loaded team during the 70's with Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez to name a few. He would lead them to four NL pennants and two World Series. The next 17 seasons he would lead our Detroit Tigers from the the dugout. He might not have had as much success with the Tigers as he did with the Reds, but he did lead the Tigers to our last World Series title in 1984. He would win over 1,300 games with the Tigers and have a final win total of 2,194 with 5 pennants, 3 World Series and would be the first manager to win a World Series in both the National and American League. He would be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 2000.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I'm going to try something new today. On Tuesday's I'm going to take the time to post about different baseball players that probably won't have any association with the Tigers. I will post about two players and I will try to do my best to talk about the actual baseball card.

Today my post is centered around two young pitchers, Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays and Shelby Miller, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals and now the Atlanta Braves. The cards are from the 2014 Topps Supreme Series. I really like the looks of theses cards. The things that I tend to look for is a nice autograph and I prefer on card over sticker. These are sticker autos but they will do for me. The other thing I like is a card printed on nice thick card stock. Topps Supreme has me covered.

Matt Moore is a young pitcher who will be making a comeback from Tommy John surgery and hoping to pitch as early as June this year. I remember first watching Moore pitch in the 2011 playoffs against the Texas Rangers. In his start he was dominating the Rangers. He went seven strong innings of two hit baseball. I was downstate visiting my sister at the time and was out at dinner when the game was on. I sat and watched his performance and thought this guy is going to be a star. Throw in the fact I am a fellow lefty, new favorite player to follow.

The first thing as a baseball card collector, when I am collecting autographs of non-Tigers players I like someone who has a nice clean signature or something special about their signature. Now Shelby Miller has a nice autograph. Great flow to his signature. This is a die cut autograph and the second oneof the Topps Supreme that I have (first being a Nick Castellanos). Outside of the Tigers I tend to follow the St. Louis Cardinals for my National League team. My brother-in-law (check out his blog here) is originally from St. Louis, so talking with him I adopted them as my other team. I am someone who also does fantasy baseball and with following the Cards I have drafted Miller in the past and have had some success with him. This off-season he was traded away from the Cards to the Braves for Jason Heyward. I will still have to keep my eye on him with the Braves

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Trade: Cespedes for Porcello

The big trade for the Tigers this off-season was with the Boston Red Sox. The BoSox needed pitching and had a surplus of outfield bats and the Tigers need help in the outfield. I would like to say Detroit had a surplus of arms, but I personally don't think they do. Detroit would end up sending Rick Porcello to Boston for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier. On paper this looks like a pretty even trade for both teams.

Rick Porcello made his major league debut back in 2009 as a 20 year old for the Tigers. Over the next 6 seasons he would go on to win at least 10 games for each year. He has shown signs of being a good middle of the rotation pitcher. He is known as a ground ball pitcher. He might not blow you away with a strikeout, but with a good defense behind him he can rack up the ground balls with a career rating of 52.1%. It seems for the past few seasons a lot of people were saying "this is going to be Porcello's breakout year." Well I would say 2014 was his breakout year. He had a career low 3.43 ERA and won a career high 15 games for the Tigers. The one thing I like to stress about Porcello is the fact he is only going to be 26 years old this season and has already 6 full seasons under his belt.

The centerpiece in trade that the Tigers received for Porcello is outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is a Cuban born player who was originally signed by the Oakland Athletics in 2012. He would make his debut that year at the prime age of 26. Last year before the trade deadline the Athletics would flip him to the Red Sox for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes. Now that trade didn't make much senses to me. In Boston they have a mind set of going to the plate and looking for a walk before a base hit. This is not Yoenis Cespedes. He is a free swinger that only walks 6.5% of the time in his career and has struck out 20.9% of the time. That is the downside of Cespedes. The upside of him is that he has averaged almost 24 home runs and 87 RBIs (with a career high last year with 100). Now the other plus side is the cannon of an arm he has in the outfield. He has a total of 35 outfield assists in his 3 years in the majors. He will be a deadly force for the Tigers in the outfield and hitting behind Miggy and V-Mart.