ChildhoodBaseballPassion

On Sunday, October 14, 1984, my 7-year-old self sat Indian style on the floor in the living room of our modest, happy, fun, family home with my pillow and blanket just feet from the television. I wasn’t riveted to the TV for the newest cartoon though. Care Bears, My Little Pony and Barbie would never even be in competition to hold my attention.  I didn’t realize it at the time but this would mark the beginning of my passion for the game of baseball.

It was early afternoon and the Detroit Tigers were in game 5 of the Major League Baseball World Series versus the San Diego Padres. I don’t remember everything about the game but I do recall much of the major plays from the Tiger’s first World Series victory since the unforgettable 1968 team. I vividly remember those last moments, specifically the last couple of innings.

I mean who can possibly forget Kirk Gibson up to bat against Goose Gossage in the bottom of the 8th inning with 1 out, the Tigers leading 5 to 4? Tiger’s manager, Sparky Anderson, mouthing from the dugout, “he don’t want to walk you.” Gibby was already 2 for 3 with a homer, a walk and a single in the dramatic game so Goose convincingly argued with manager, Dick Williams, to not intentionally walk him.  Gossage believed he had Gibson figured out this time, he could beat him like he had since his rookie year with the Tigers. Gibson’s very first fastball in the major leagues came to him courtesy of Goose and Gibby would be retired many times from the batter’s box by him after that initial face off. This time though, the first pitch was a ball and the 2nd pitch would end up in the right field seats in the upper deck.

Now I didn’t know the history between these two phenomenal baseball players when I was a young girl watching this game so intently but this moment sparked a passion within me. Since this moment, I would read, study, play Little League and high school softball, attend Tiger games, play neighborhood home run derby, watch any MLB games on TV, analyze this game with the best of them, participate in fantasy baseball leagues, sketch and paint baseball art-all amazing memories for which I am eternally grateful.

That being shared, what I hold most dear is the connection baseball has given to me with those I love. Even if a family or friendship was difficult, we could always relate to baseball together. And on the other side of that it somehow strengthen the relationships I have presently with family and friends. This passion unites people and tends to bond you in ways I cannot describe.

Yes, I love my Detroit Tigers. However my love affair with baseball began in my early childhood sparked and cultivated by family. Forever grateful.

Players With Tommy Johns Surgery Is Becoming A Club Within A Club For MLB Teams

Tiger’s Putkonen Has Scheduled Appointment With Tommy Johns Doc

Luke Putkonen

Several MLB teams have had pitchers that underwent Tommy Johns surgery just this year. The Detroit Tigers potentially have another candidate to add to this list with relief pitcher, Luke Putkonen.  Though he merely has just an appointment next week, the fact that he is seeing Dr. James Andrews, the premiere Tommy Johns surgeon is a bit telling.

It is certainly no secret that one of Detroit’s weak areas on the team has been the bullpen during this 2014 season thus far. The Tiger’s young manager, Brad Ausmus, has been well aware of the areas the team needs improvement and has been making decisions to improve the questionable bullpen with Dave Dombrowski, CEO, general manager and president of the Tigers organization. One of the moves they decided upon came when they acquired another players who is yet recovering from Tommy Johns, Joel Hanrahan. The Tigers signed him in very early May for a one-year contract, knowing he would be placed on the DL right away and hopefully be ready to pitch in mid-June 2014.

Putkonen, 28, is only four years younger than the newly acquired Hanrahan. The next couple of months Tiger’s staff and fans will be able to witness Joel’s comeback after his surgery. If and when Luke will need the same surgery remains to be decided but perhaps it will be an encouragement to the younger ball player if Hanrahan bounces back successfully for the Tigers bullpen needs this season.

 

 

 

17  MLB pitchers  have underwent Tommy Johns surgery this season:

Jose Fernandez, A.J. Griffin, Ivan Nova, Josh Johnson, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Cory Gearrin, Patrick Corbin, David Hernandez, Matt Moore, Jarrod Parker, Bobby Parnell, Cory Luebke, Brian Moran, Luke Hochevar, Bruce Rondon, Jamison Taillon.

Alarming? Bud Selig this month has even called Tommy Johns surgery for this list above for young pitchers an ‘epidemic.’

“We have committees with doctors and athletic trainers working on this now,” Selig said. “We’ll have reports out. It’s a problem. There’s no question about it.

“The fact that it’s happening with so much regularity, over and over, is deeply troubling. That’s why I said to all of our guys, ‘Hey, we’ve got to find out.’

“It bothers me a lot. I’m very worried. Let’s see if we can find out some answers.”

And hopefully, the Detroit Tigers will have solid, dependable answers when it comes to the solution for their bullpen trouble. Stay tuned for news on Luke Putkonen as he visits the doc next Wednesday. This next month for the Tiger’s season will be a revealing one I believe in regards to the stability of the bullpen.

 

 

 

The “Bare” Facts On MLB Managers Buck Showalter And Brad Ausmus

I love the game of baseball. I love history. Hence, I love baseball history. 

Speaking of baseball in the past, the Detroit Tigers are playing in a 3 game series versus the Baltimore Orioles in Detroit presently with Tiger’s winning the series opener yesterday on a rainy afternoon. Earlier today (a sunny day), the Tiger’s held onto  the victory that nearly slipped through their paws in the ninth inning.  The opposing managers, Baltimore’s, Buck Showalter and Tiger’s, Brad Ausmus, both have baseball history in the MLB and have some major career differences.

buckshowalterpic1oriolespresentday Age: 57 (turns 58 in May)

Bats/Throws: Left

Position: 1st Baseman

Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1977

MLB Debut: NY Yankees farm system for 7 years-mainly due to Don Mattingly playing 1st for the Yanks

Managed New York Yankees (1992-1995),  Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000), Texas Rangers (2003-2006) & Baltimore Orioles (2010-Present)

AL Manager of the Year in 1994 and in 2004; Manager of the Year in 2012

ESPN Analyst in early 2000’s and later again in 2008 full-time

 

 

bradausmuspicdugoutleanAge: 44 (turns 45 on the 14th of this month)

Bats/Throws: Right

               Position: Catcher

Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1987

MLB Debut: 1993  

Last MLB Game: 2010

Played for San Diego Padres (1993-1996), Detroit Tigers (1996; 1999-2000),  Houston Astros (1997-1998; 2001-2008), Los Angeles Dodgers (2009-2010)

Manager of the  Detroit Tigers  2014

 

You can see some career similarities and differences between these two baseball bosses. I find the history of baseball fascinating and this includes the player’s, staff, manager’s, announcer’s etc paths to being a part of Major League Baseball.

Anyone who knows me, knows of me, likes me, doesn’t like me, follows me on any social media, has worked with me, went to school with me…knows I love the game of baseball, in particular, the Detroit Tigers. I was born into and raised by a passionate group of Tiger fans. Truth be told however, I have a passion for the game of baseball. I’m not even certain how to explain this passion but ya’ll who have the same within, you know exactly what I am referring to. We get a rush when a “6-4-3 double-play” is made, when an outfielder overextends himself and makes a ‘web gem’ worthy diving catch, etc.
As much as I love to watch the boys of Motown make these plays, I get this same rush when any team’s players make great defensive plays or has a great at bat whether he crushes the ball someplace or works the count from 0-2 to a full count and then continues to foul off pitches until he finds his pitch to hit.
The same goes for the coaches and managers of baseball. It’s pretty easy to sit back and watch or listen (I do love to listen to a game on the radio), criticizing the manager’s decisions or blaming them for a player’s poor performance. There is no doubt about Showalter’s resume when it comes to turning a team about to a solid championship team. Impressive indeed.  We have yet to see how young Ausmus will fair this season, but I’d say an undefeated record thus far 4-0 is a great start.

So the surprising similarity between these guys? Well, if you Google “Brad Ausmus” (typed Google here ladies, not oogle), you will notice the Google’s suggestions are (in this order): “Brad Ausmus stats”, “Brad Ausmus married”, “Brad Ausmus shirtless”. I find it funny that Google likes to remind you first that he’s married but then says, “go ahead, here is him shirtless”. Haha.

How does this relate to Buck Showalter? When I Google him these are the searches that come up: “Buck Showalter gif”, “Buck Showalter salary”, “Buck Showalter family”. Yeah, nothing about him being shirtless.  However, I did come across a nickname. In fact, his given name is actually William Nathaniel Showalter III. Ever ponder where he got the name Buck? Yep, you guessed it…he was allegedly given the nickname “Buck” due to his tendency to hang around the clubhouse “buck” naked during his days as a minor league ballplayer in the New York Yankees organization. When he played baseball in college he went by the name “Nat”. No one truly knows for certain about the origin of the nickname, except for Buck. I found it interesting that these men were both drafted by the Yankees organization 10 years apart and found it amusing  that both of these managers were at times without a shirt…or more though.

Good luck to both managers this year. Detroit and Baltimore have excellent teams this season.

Brad Ausmus, Quite A Catch As Detroit Tiger’s New Manager In 2014

Brad Ausmus, Quite A Catch As Detroit Tiger’s New Manager In 2014.

Brad Ausmus, Quite A Catch As Detroit Tiger’s New Manager In 2014

 

ausmusbacknamefield

As the lights of the stadium begin to dim, the ball park staff and boys in uniform wrap up their last-minute Opening Day preparations. Most likely the Motown Boy’s pitching ace, Justin Verlander, has ‘ran for the border’ to order his traditional Taco Bell meal the day prior to taking the mound. Somewhere, two-time MVP and 2012 Triple Crown Winner, Miguel Cabrera, is joking around with a teammate.

One by one they retire for the evening, leaving with high hopes for a game one victory in the series opener the following afternoon. Lighting from the concourse surrounding the ball field and the soft glow of stadium lights greet the reflective thoughts of Detroit Tiger’s new manager, Brad Ausmus, as he steps just inside where thousands of fans will be seated tomorrow. He slips his hands under his untucked, recent wardrobe addition, an official MLB #7 jersey, sighs and puts both hands in his pants pockets. Looking across the field into the fan’s seating behind the bullpen, he sees one of his boys, Torii Hunter, veteran outfielder, a family man and a man of faith, taking the time to send up prayers for his ball club as they begin their 2014 season.

This is how I imagine the photo above, as I sit here awake about 10 hours before game time.  Admittedly, this past season of life has been a tough one. Furthermore, today has been a trying day for this gal who has a passion and love for America’s favorite past time that we call baseball. I let out a few sighs myself as I similarly look out onto my own field of life and wonder what this next season will bring. I am blessed with a support system which is made up of encouraging and supportive family and friends who play different roles in my life.  Putting myself into Ausmus’ shoes (or cleats if you are Tiger’s former manager, Jim Leyland, who always chose to wear them), I can only imagine what this former MLB catcher’s thoughts might be the evening before Opening Day.  By this point with spring training finished, the team should have mostly adapted to how their new skipper plans to guide them to success.

Ausmus, 44, is not much older than some of his veteran players he is managing for Detroit. He brings a fresh perspective on how to play the game and in particular, aggressive base running. Tiger’s have not been known for much speed in years past but smart base running does not have a need for speed. One of the sharpest baseball minds actively playing, undoubtedly belongs to the aforementioned joker of the team, Miguel Cabrera. Yes, Miggy. This Venezuelan-born phenomenon (yeah I said it), has incredible base running instincts. If you get to actually watch him play at the ball park, keep your eye on him (he’s also comical on and off the field, kid at heart) I don’t think I can fully appreciate his wisdom and natural instincts for baseball without actually being out on the field playing along side of him. His teammates, Torii Hunter, specifically speaks about this in an article about a year ago. I will repost it soon for all of your benefit. Hunter is amazed at how Cabrera adjusts when hitting off a pitcher, each pitch, he calculates and adjust his own arms, legs, stance…he is in awe. And remember, Torii, has played with some of MLB’s greatest. He has never witnessed anything like Miguel. And I am betting that neither has Brad Ausmus.

Brad was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1987 and his major league debut came in 1993 with the San Diego Padres. Detroit not only welcomes him presently as manager but he also played for the Tiger’s in 1996 and from 1999-2000. A significant part of his MLB career he played for the Houston Astros in 1997-1998 and then once again for his longest duration for the same team from 2001-2008. He finished up his playing days in 2009-2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The long-standing assumption is that catchers make good managers because they are involved in both the offensive and pitching facets of the game. Whether for their handling of a pitching staff, or their captain-on-the-field duties, or their ability to see the entire baseball diamond from their position, or their knowing the intricacies and strategies of the game.

A canvas of 30 big league dugouts found 32 men who managed in 2012. A dozen were catchers at some points in their careers: Sandy Alomar Jr., Bruce Bochy, Tony DeFrancesco, Joe Girardi, Clint Hurdle, Jim Leyland, Joe Maddon, Mike Matheny, Bob Melvin, Mike Scioscia, Eric Wedge and Ned Yost. The Marlins appointed Mike Redmond as manager in early November 2012 and he was given a 3-year deal. I researched and researched until I believe I got these facts correct for you folks regarding former catchers that are now managers. Since 2012 season to present, three more can be added to this list: John Gibbons, Fredi Gonzalez and of course, Brad Ausmus.

newausmustryonjersey

The ladies who follow baseball (for whatever reason), will definitely be keeping their eyes on Detroit’s handsome manager. It is my humble prediction to you fellow baseball fans, that we will see many females wearing AUSMUS jerseys. Just FYI ladies: Brad is a (seemingly happy) married man with two adorable little girls-look but do not touch 🙂

Whether you’re watching Detroit Tiger’s baseball to see what the young manager can do this season for the team or to check out the men in uniforms, I think we can all agree that Brad Ausmus is quite a catch.

Torii Hunter Part of the Detroit Tiger’s Pack As They Hunt to Become World Series Champions

I thought I would share this excerpt from Torii Hunter by Yardbarker.com regarding playing with the Detroit Tigers and the chance to get his much sought after World Series Championship. Enjoy!

 

“The whole season, I knew I was playing with the Tigers if I left (the Angels),” said Hunter, who was eventually replaced in Anaheim by free-agent slugger Josh Hamilton.

Hunter said Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski was pleasantly surprised to discover the level of interest Hunter had, and they quickly came to terms.

“People thought I was crazy,” Hunter said. “But I want the ring … I’ve been searching a long time for the ring.

“I’m tired of sitting on the couch and watching other guys celebrate (a World Series triumph). I want to win the World Series, and I want to win it with Detroit. This is my last push.”

Hunter will be 39 when this contract runs out.