Java Ideas

Hockey + Baseball + Update

I haven’t been around here much.  I think in part that’s due to the fact that I need to find a better organization for the tags and categories, partly because I’m still a bit hazy on what exactly I want this blog to be, and partly because I don’t have a loyal fan base.

I do come baring a new article though: NHL: Brendan Shanahan as Disciplinarian Bodes Well for Consistency in the NHL.

I’m interested to see how this pans out.  Obviously I’m a fan of Shanny, and I trust him to do well in the higher roles of the NHL.  What I like though, is that by putting him in this position, there will be someone who understands the marriage between fighting and hockey, someone who in the past has been disciplined by the NHL in the role.  Normally this role seems to be given to someone who has never played the game, someone who just doesn’t seem to “get it”.  Hopefully Shanny will be able to bring his NHL experiences with him to the job, to help him determine which actions should be punished and whicht shouldn’t.

The Tigers won’t be setting a new club record for consecutive wins this season.  But, that doesn’t mean that they are over or bad or anything.  I think this team has fought to get where they are, and should be congratulated, not ridiculed, for what they have done.  I just wish the media would stop trying to make something out of nothing, and realize the Tigers are a competent competitor in the post season, and quite often a team has to beat up their own division to be able to go very far.  It happens in the NHL quite often; even with 8 teams making it out of 4 divisions, the teams are not evenly divided.  For example, in the 2010-2011 season, in the Eastern Conference, the teams which made it were as follows: Washington (Southeast – 107 pts), Philadelphia (Atlantic – 106 pts), Boston (Northeast – 103 pts), Pittsburgh (Atlantic – 106 pts), Tampa (Southeast – 103), Montreal (Northeast – 96 pts), Buffalo (Northeast – 96 pts), New York (Atlantic – 93 pts).  Each division had 1-2 teams with 100+ points, and one team with 70+ points.  Teams don’t make the playoffs without beating up on at least one team in their division.  You have to be able to beat your division to be able to advance, because in both hockey and baseball, that ‘s who you play the most.  And in baseball, if you  have dominant team in your division, chances are the rest will be around if not below .500.  That’s how it works.  Still don’t believe me?  Vancouver made it the last round last year (hockey).  They had 117 points, making them the top team of the league.  The rest of the their division had points ranking 94-62 (the worst team in the league).  Did they beat up Edmonton to get them to the top?  Of course they did.  And did they have troubles in the playoffs?  Not in the grand scheme (which is what people are saying will happen to the Tigers; they argue they have so many wins playing against below .500 teams and the playoffs will be their first time playing above .500 teams).

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Country Music in Sports

I’m sure I’m not the only one who enjoys seeing two of my loves come together. The 2011 NHL Awards, which aired June 24th, featured country musician Dierks Bentley. Bentley not only watches hockey (keep an eye out for him and other country musicians at Nashville Predator games), but also plays for the Nashville Iceholes.

While watching CMT, I also learned that this year’s MLB All-Star Game’s celebrity softball feature will include Jason Aldean!

Others who will play in the celebrity game include:
Nick Jonas
Jordin Sparks
Chord Overstreet
Tim DeKay
Jesse Williams
Paul Dimeo
Tom Papa
Larry Fitzgerald
Jennie Finch

Source: All-Star celebrity softball rosters taking shape

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Tonight’s Starting Lineups

Teams: Detroit Tigers (66-68) @ Kansas City Royals (56-77)
Pitchers: Jeremy Bonderman (7-9) v. Zack Greinke (8-11)
Time: 8:10PM
Stations: TV – FS-D HD (Detroit), FSKC-HD (Kansas City), Radio – WXYT 97.1 FM / 1270 AM (Detroit), KCSP 610 AM

The Tigers are coming off a long night (13 innings), while the Royals are coming off a day of rest (they lost their last game 4-3 to Texas two days ago).  Statistically, it looks like a series with Kansas City is just what the Tigers need to boost themselves over .500.  However, Kansas has won 56 games against someone.  Therefore, the Tigers cannot sit back assuming they already have this series in the bag.

Source(s): MLB Game Day Preview

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The 13th Inning (Tigers 10, Twins 9)

Did you remember how to breathe again?

Sometimes it doesn’t come down to the ninth inning.  Sometimes it doesn’t come down to the tenth inning.  Sometimes it comes down to the 13th inning.

The one thing you have to say for both sides: the fans got their money’s worth.

Games like this make you thankful that the Internet exists: at least for those who went to bed before the game ended.  Newspapers have deadlines, and the late night scores cannot appear in the next day’s paper.  However, the Internet has no deadline.

I said that this game would be a one run game; I also dared to hope that the Tigers might actually take this one.  I, however, incorrectly assume it would come down to the extra inning in which one team got two runs.

The game ended on a homerun by Gerald Laird; and by the enthusiasm by Mario Impemba and Rod Allen on the hit, you would think the game had literally ended then, instead of five outs later.

It was by no means a pretty game (Hits: 19-15 (Detroit), Errors: 2-2, Detroit team RISP: 4-for-18, Detroit team LOB: 15, Minnesota team RISP: 5-for-17, Minnesota team LOB: 10, 1 double play, 1 passed ball).  But in the end, a win is a win and a loss is a loss (depending on which side you’re on determines if you breathe a sigh of relief or think “Not another”.)

I think this win was long deserved by the Tigers in this series; their previous two losses had been too close for them not to come out on top eventually.  It wasn’t like they were losing as big as the statistics would have it seem like they should.

Congrats to the Tigers and Twins on another hard-fought, albeit sloppy, game.

Complete Box Score
MLB Wrap

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The follow up

It’s too bad that in the stats a loss is a loss.  I think the Tigers have been playing hard, and the final scores echo that: twice they’ve taken a team that is by far their statistic superior (Minnesota) to one run games, one of which went to extra innings.

Articles:
MLB Wrap
-Detroit Free Press: Tigers’ Max Scherzer masterful — but unlucky in extra-inning loss, Perseverance pays off for Tigers catcher Max St. Pierre, Jackson’s approach helping in late innings, Tigers notes, quotes from Wednesday’s loss to Twins
-Detroit News: Max Scherzer marvelous, but Twins still beat Tigers
-Star Tribune: Valencia’s RBI single was worth the wait
-Pioneer Press: Danny Valencia’s walk-off, RBI single in 10th gives Twins a playoff-like win over Tigers, Minnesota Twins earn a painstaking victory over Detroit

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Pregame: Tigers @ Twins

Teams: Detroit Tigers (65-67) at Minnesota Twins (76-56)
Pitchers: Max Scherzer (10-9) versus Francisco Liriano (12-7)
Time: 8:10 PM
TV: FS-D HD (Detroit), FS-N (Minnesota)
Radio: WXYT 97.1 FM/1270 AM (Detroit), 1500 ESPN (Minnesota), BOB FM (Minnesota), KBGY 107.5 (Minnesota – Spanish)

MLB.com preview of the game

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The Morning After: Postgame Articles

I was able to watch a majority of the game, but I’m trying to avoid blogging during the game if I’m not watching the whole thing/in one sitting (versus, the TV being flipped during the game).

I think that while the Tigers did wind up losing 4-3, it was as close as the score lets on (after all, how many one run games are there in baseball?) The Tigers had a 2-0 lead at the middle of the first, and a 3-0 lead at the middle of the second. They held this lead until the bottom of the sixth, when Minnesota got two runs making the score 3-2, and then the bottom of the seventh Minnesota got two more runs, making the final score 4-3.

Other stats of interest:
Hits: 10 each
Errors: Detroit 0, Minnesota 2
Team RISP: Detroit 2-for-12, Minnesota 3-for-10
Team LOB: Detroit 11, Minnesota 8

Articles:

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As bad as it is, it’s as good as it gets when you’re only one game better than the ’62 Mets

At least the Cubs and Boston have got a curse. We’re just bad, and then we get worse.

Coming off a win, the Tigers are headed to Minnesota.

Teams: Detroit Tigers (65-66) @ Minnesota Twins (75-56)
Pitchers: Armando Galarraga (4-5) v. Brian Duensing (7-2)
TV: FS-D (Detroit), FS-N (Minnesota), MLBN
Radio: 1270 AM/97.1 FM WXYT (Detroit), 107.5 KBGY (Minnesota)
Time: 8:10pm

Looking at the statistics, the Tigers will be lucky to split this series.

Source(s): MLB.com. Lyrics from “Lifelong Tiger Fan Blues” by Jeff Daniels.

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8/29 Game Day: Tigers @ Blue Jays (Game 4/4)

Sorry y’all, but I coudn’t get something out sooner. 

Anyway, I did get to listen to most of the game on the radio, and was able to see the final out. 

Summary:
*Detroit led 1-0 after one.
*Detroit led 2-0 after four.
*Detroit led 4-1 after six.
*Detroit led 7-1 after seven.
*Detroit led 10-1 after eight.
*Toronto had three runs in the ninth, leaving the final score 10-4.
*The score board has only one error listed, however there is debate that it should be as high as three.
*The reason Detroit was able to be so successful is they had 12 hits (compared to Toronto’s 7).  If a team can get hits, they tend to be able to get runs.
*Detroit kept their LOB down, with only 8 stranded men.  Toronto had 3.

And with that, the Tigers split the series.

Source(s): MLB.com  Boxscore

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A moment for rebuttal please?

I’m trying something new, so let’s see how this goes.

I recently read an article in The Boston Globe titled, “The most boring moment in all of baseball.”  As someone who once found baseball boring on television, but then wound up changing their mind, the article piqued my interest.

However, as I read it, I became more and more displeased.

For starters, the article begins with, “The question [What makes baseball boring?] is largely ignored among lovers of the sport.”  I don’t think that baseball lovers ignore what makes baseball boring, but that they don’t think it is.  After all, how many people love something they find boring?

Secondly, the meat of the article begins with “When it comes to the game itself, fans prefer to focus on the exciting moments.”   This seems to me a “well, no duh” statement.  After all, people tend to focus on exciting moments in life; the fact they draw your attention is why they are labeled “exciting”.   

Despite being a bit skeptical, I continued to read, intrigued by what this writer could view as the most boring part of baseball.  The punchline?  Ball number two.  That’s right, when a batter’s ball count goes from one to two, that’s the most boring part.  I understand the argument that it doesn’t really do anything.  A 2-0 count, a 2-1 count, a 2-2 count: none of those are truly the pitcher falling behind the batter.  There is still a lot of baseball to play with this batter.  However, I disagree that this makes the play boring.  After all, it doesn’t explain why ball number two is more boring than ball number one.  I feel that any individual pitch isn’t going to be amazing.  You have to look at the pitches together.  Balls one, two and three are all necessary to get to number four.  It’s the same with getting that third strike: you need strikes one and two before you can get to number three.

According to the article, I am a minority in this thinking.  So be it.  However, I will offer up another possibility for what could be the most boring part of baseball.  I may not have statistics to back it up, but “boring” is only a matter of opinion.

If you have ever watched a baseball game, you should have noticed the time span between pitches.  There’s nothing like it in the other three professional sports.  The rest of the play, you are wondering “Will he swing or will he not swing?  Will it be a ball or will it be a strike?”  If contact is made, you wonder if a fielder will catch it or if the batter will get a hit.  If the batter walks, there is another man on base. 

That lapse of seemingly nothingness, actually has a purpose.  One purpose is to give the pitcher time to communicate with the catcher to decide what pitch to throw.  Then it gives the pitcher time to concentrate so he doesn’t rush his pitch.  Rushing a pitch will more times than not lead to a wild pitch, and in a worst case scenario, a wild pitch can lead to an injury.  Another purpose it serves is to try to get the batter off his game.  By postponing the throwing of the ball, the batter could get antsy and swing early or relax too much and swing late.    The league has realized this, and in 2007 changed the ruling so that a pitcher could take no more than 12 seconds in between pitches with no runners on base.

Being bored in baseball, I think, is not a matter of labeling one moment as less bearable than all the rest, but a matter of not realizing how important each moment is to the overall game.  Not every moment will be worthy of fireworks, but a team doesn’t get to the end without everything that precedes.

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