Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Monday, October 23, 2006

Moving past "The Smudge"

You guys have probably already heard or read this stuff elsewhere, but I hate deleting drafts unless I really have to...

♦ Following up on Bill Madden's report that Alan Trammell would be brought onto Lou Pinella's coaching staff in Chicago, it's now official, if you haven't already heard: Tram will be wearing the blue pinstripes of the Cubs as their bench coach next season.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Tram's been a man in demand this off-season. He was also being considered as hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies, and could've either joined Bruce Bochy's staff if he was to take the manager's job in San Francisco, or succeeded Bochy as manager of the Padres.

I think there will always be some argument as to whether or not he was a good manager in Detroit. Me, I think he was always hired as a fall guy, to buy Dave Dombrowski both time and good will while he put together his team for just the right manager. We'll probably never know the entire truth on that, though Jim Leyland's success with this year's team might just render all that speculation moot.

The point I'm trying to get to is this: Trammell ultimately had to go because it became pretty clear he lost the team. But it killed my inner child Tigers fan to see him booed and mercilessly criticized (to those who say they want Steve Yzerman to be Red Wings coach someday, think hard about that), and I'm glad to see him landing on his feet elsewhere in baseball. Giving him the honor of throwing out a ceremonial pitch before Game 2 was a nice touch.

♦ Speaking of nice touches, it was also fantastic to see Sparky Anderson back in Detroit. Comerica Park suits him well. Mike McClary invited me to another Daily Fungo Podcast roundtable, and at the end of the show (which was recorded last Thursday), I expressed my hope that this meant the Tigers and Sparky have finally buried the hatchet, paving the way toward giving #11 the ceremony he deserves. Put that man's number up on that wall with the other retired numbers, Detroit Tigers.

♦ A buddy of mine in the St. Louis area e-mailed me earlier today and asked if Todd Jones was always like that in the 9th inning. Oh, Dave - you have no idea. Booting a relatively easy ground ball? Hitting a batter to load the bases and bring NLCS hero Yadier Molina to the plate? Standard operating procedure this year in Detroit, my friend. I know I'm not the only Tigers fan who had trouble using the bathroom this morning and damn near ate his cell phone in anxiety last night.

But at least we got a good Leyland line out of it: "He'll be taking PFP - pitcher's fielding practice - before we get on the bus tonight."

To the rest of America: That is what we endure in Detroit - bad public transit and adventurous 9th innings with Todd Jones. Oh, and the Lions, but no one cares about them right now.

♦ How much of a role did agent Scott Boras play in the building of the 2006 Detroit Tigers? How much credit does he deserve for steering Pudge Rodriguez, Magglio Ordonez, and Kenny Rogers to Detroit? What did he say to convince Pudge? What did Mike Ilitch do to impress Magglio?

Here's an interesting piece by Tyler Kepner from yesterday's New York Times about Boras' relationship with the Tigers - especially owner Mike Ilitch.

And if the Tigers end up beating the team that Boras toiled in the minor leagues with? I suppose that's some tasty gravy.

♦ Also from yesterday's NY Times is a feature on Marcus Thames' mother, Veterine, who's been bedridden in Mississippi for the past 24 years as the result of an auto accident. It's quite an insight into Thames' upbringing, and if you ever wondered why he never gave up trying to make it to the major leagues, this should give you a pretty good idea.

And just in case you wanted to know, Veterine reveals that Marcus was nicknamed "Slick" as a kid because he sucked his thumb.

(Salon's King Kaufman, by the way, thinks Leyland might be looney for not putting Thames in the line-up.)

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1 Comments:

  • At October 23, 2006 11:31 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    Re: Thames in the line-up... I'm guessing it has to do with the number of right-handed versus left-handed bats he wants in the line-up against certain pitchers, or perhaps even against pitchers with certain types of pitches. It's hard to figure Leyland out, but he almost always seems to have some sort of good reason.

    I bet he shows up in St. Louis at least once though.

     

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