I have no idea where this BYB poster came from, or how he managed to develop so brilliant a style of prose without immediately getting a book deal, but these "Game Preview" comments by "TomduhB" have been responsible for several gallons of beverage sprayed through my nasal passages over the past week. For those who have been unlucky enough to remain unexposed to these wonderful vignettes (perhaps because you don't typically read the "Game Preview" posts, perhaps because you just haven't noticed these comments in those posts, or perhaps because you've been too preoccupied with the A-Rod scandal), I have collected all of them that I could find, and present them here for your enjoyment. Just don't drink anything while reading them. You have been warned.
Aug. 16, 2013
Today Brayan Pena will sit the first game after staying out way too late with the ice cream man last night, just talking about life and what it all means. He will nap in the dugout and almost get drilled by a line drive, waking him up and sending the NERTS into overdrive. Prince Fielder will hit a home run in back to back days, "for the first time since probably forever," the BYB comment board will chirp (hehe). JV will give the bullpen rest, taking advantage of the roomy Comerica outfield. Iggy sends a hit into the outfield in his first at bat, making him the greatest player of all time. Whoever this Duff-man is will fare poorly indeed, getting set up by Miguel early, only to have Miguel laugh and round the bases in his next at bat when it turns out, yeah, he can hit that change up when you throw it there, dummy. The Tigers win handily in the first game.
During the second game, Alvarez shows us further that having a success big league start or two doesn’t mean anything. He will be absolute garbage out there, really looking scared. He will become the first person in the world to actually wish they were in Ohio rather than Michigan. After four innings of that display, things only get worse dear BYB readers, because Phil Coke and AlAl steal the show, throwing multiple innings each and looking like they are in a duel to see who can be worse at throwing baseballs. AlAl walks people. Phil Coke pitches batting practice. Jim Leyland looks like he wants to kill someone. James Shields will cruise, but later on realize that his win is meaningless and his goatee is dumb. "They probably shouldn’t have traded Will Meyers for me," he mutters, "It isn’t working out for either of us." Will Meyers homers for Tampa today, confirming Shields’ darkest thought.
The Power House Royals will have the split they wanted all along. Yet, things are really only coming up roses for the Tigers. AlAl will be sent down, ending this whole charade (spoiler alert, we will never be lucky enough to get rid of Phil Coke). The Royals will likely only win one other game this series, thereby sealing their fate. "Oh shit," Ned Yost says flying back to Kansas City, "I should’ve played like we had to win ALL of those games. A split is the same as a loss for us. Why did I throw my best pitcher against Alvarez and whatever they called that coming out of the bullpen? Fuck me. Oh well, it’s Royals baseball, no one really cares right?" And sadly, he will be right, breaking young hearts in Royals nation everywhere. But, Royals fans, your team is young, fast and athletic, so at least that’s fun.
Aug. 17, 2013
Doug Fister has been listening to Bob Seger all morning. And it will pay off tonight. No longer content with being a beautiful loser, he will help turn the page after yesterday’s debacle. He will pitch quickly, give Iggy opportunities to bolster his highlight reel and mercifully stop the Royals running game. Don Kelly will sit today, even though he should be playing. This insult eventually gets to him, and he tells Gene Lamont that he "feels like a number, but damnit I’m a man. I’m Donnie baseball, heart and hustle." Gene Lamont knows what it’s like to be irrelevant, and says, "Son, can you keep a secret?" "I sure can, Mr. Lamont," the Wizard replies. Lamont reveals a flask full of Wild Turkey and the two take turns sneaking covert swigs of sweet amber release. Around the 8th inning, Lamont admits that "Yeah, I can get a little careless after a few drinks and maybe I shouldn’t have sent some of those guys, but I think Brookens just has the job because he’s so handsome and fit. Jim knows I have body issues and it’s just really hard to see Brookens out there every day, running up and down the third base line. It’s like they’re taunting me. I’m a man too, you know?" The Wizard will be in over his head. He will cough, say he has to use the restroom and bail. To his credit, he will feel bad and tell Gene the next day that he "looks really good in that jacket."
After the game, everyone is all smiles and Jim Leyland says, "The boys really played good out there today" and "That’s what you like to see out of your team." Lamont will be seen in the background, looking sad. He will go home and listen to "Night Moves," pouring a generous scotch, neat. He will drift back to his younger days and remember when he was a strong, virile young man. He will feel autumn closing in and feel naked before time and his own mortality. As he drifts to sleep, he remembers the Wizard and his company. "That Donnie Baseball," he says, "Now there’s a good guy." In the end, it is the good people that redeem this world and Gene thanks the baseball gods for bringing Don Kelly to Detroit.
Aug. 18, 2013
The Tigers will not care about the outcome today whatsoever. TWTW will not be something anyone even pretends to have. Even Don Kelly will say at one point "Yeah, I just don’t care today" and Lamont will pat his back, hungover, agreeing. Scherzer will lazily pitch a great game and strike out double digits. When asked after the game about his approach, he will say "Yeah, uh, I dunno, just tried to throw strikes, trying to get this over with honestly." And can anyone blame him? This five game series with the Power House Royals has been a roller coaster.
When Miguel comes out of the dugout to start the first inning, Royals players will audibly sigh. "Why would we pitch to him?" they wonder. "He can barely trot, we could’ve just intentionally walked him." Ned Yost gasps, "Holy shit, that is an excellent point. I didn’t even think of that. What would’ve happened if I had recognized that Miguel + 9th inning = home run?" Engaging with this type of "what if" and "if only we had" kind of logic speaks volumes about the season the Power House Royals are having. The Tigers will have such a large lead that Rondon will pitch the ninth, Leyland seeing if he likes how that feels. BYB readers will swoon about the "closer of the future," and they should, because it seems like he physically doesn’t know how to throw a fastball under 100 mph. After the game Justin Verlander will experience so much relief at seeing Billy Butler leave town that he buys drinks for every person he sees in the bar. He starts an "Eat em up" Tigers chant and is publicly intoxicated by 6 p.m. But when you’re finding your groove on the mound, everybody loves you and you’re the richest pitcher in baseball, sometimes you just have to live it up. Tigers take three of five and someone posts an article on the Royals’ SB Nation page about how good the team will be next year.
Aug. 20, 2013
Rick Porcello has been trying to listen to more alternative music lately and today his Pandora station will sing these lines: "All of our days are numbered/I’ve taken some comfort/In knowing the wave has crested/Knowing I don’t have to be an exception." Yet, these lyrics will not comfort the 24 year old right hander. He will recall when he was twenty, and people said things like, "golden arm," "can’t miss prospect," and one scouting report listed his potential as follows: "Ace, All-Star, Cy Young candidate, you name it. He’s been compared to Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt and Josh Beckett." The alt rock musing on accepting mediocrity really eats at him. He was bound to be an exception, but he seems more and more like the rule. He remembers his successful July and takes heart that there is still hope. "I am destined for greatness, not paper cuts," he thinks. "But who am I, July Rick Porcello, or that guy who pitches to the Angels?" Amidst this existential conflict, Porcello prepares for the game.
Meanwhile, Miguel does not meditate on these things — such is the luxury of true greatness, comfortable with its own prowess. Justin Verlander shines his MVP and Cy Young trophies. Max wakes up giggling, remembering he is 18-1. Anibal relishes the power of controlling all ice cream and striking out 17 Braves. Fister remembers that time he struck out nine major league baseball players in a row.
Porcello takes the mound filled with hope, but unfortunately, on today of all days, he is as lukewarm as ever. He scratches his way to a quality start, scattering 8 hits and a walk over 6 innings, giving up three earned. Despite having a lead and eventually another win, he is devastated. Justin Verlander asks him what’s up, feeling concerned. Porcello says "you just wouldn’t understand," explaining that "I’m just good at this, but everyone else is great." Indeed, this is an insult most of us thankfully do not have to endure, since our jobs do not require that we be the weakest link on a historic pitching staff. "C’mon Rick," Justin says, flashing that smile, "You’re 24 buddy, quit being so hard on yourself. Plus, I too know what it’s like to struggle. You can beat this, WE can beat this." Max Scherzer shows up, his timing impeccable. "Yeah Rick, it wasn’t long ago that I was sent down to the minors, deemed a disappointment. Look at me now! I will likely win a Cy Young this year and I’m 29." This last bit rankles JV, but he lets it go, more concerned about Rick. Taking a deep breath, Ricky thanks them and says he feels better. He resolves that next year will be different. Next year he will not be good, he will be better than that. Whether this bid at greatness is a good thing in the long run or just an impossible ideal that he cruelly sets before himself remains to be seen. Tiger fans everywhere should admire this guy and his difficult situation. None of us have our mediocrity constantly ridiculed, none of us are chastised for not being great, not being The ACE, and yet, we still expect the world from Rick Porcello. He will remember July of 2013 every day this winter and aim for that, though in truth, he shouldn’t have to. I salute you Rick Porcello, 58 wins before age 25 is pretty great, especially considering how I have spent those same years….
Aug. 21, 2013
Phil Coke will drive to Toledo in his Toyota Corolla with acceptance tears dribbling down his face, having long since replaced his rage tears. He will put aside his worn out Nickelback cd and try some Creed, only to find that the only god he ever worshipped was the high fly ball. He points to the sky through his sun roof, searching for his deity, but finds only azure emptiness and a few clouds, the high fly balls having long since turned into screaming line drives into the gaps. He will feel utterly alone. To his credit, he handles it like a man. He will, however, shave his goatee, shocking already very worried friends and family.
Anibal will miss NERTS, giving him "get well soon" ice cream on his day off and saying, "be sure and ice that foot NERTS, no matter how much it hurts. Te queremos de vuelta. No, te necesitamos." Brayan feels good, both wanted and needed. He will re-sign with the Tigers next year. Anibal will pitch well, making everyone wonder if he couldn’t have nabbed that Cy Young had he stayed healthy. Prince Fielder’s power hitting streak continues and the "WORST CONTRACT EVERRRR" comments mercifully subside. The Tigers win today and Jose Alvarez gets two left handed hitters out, adding insult to Coke’s injury.
Tomorrow I will drive to Michigan all morning and into the afternoon, but have luckily already seen into the future. It will be a pitching duel, JV coming out on top and the Tigers winning 2-1. Jim Price will be Jim Price during the drive, something I’ve come to accept and sometimes even enjoy. After the game, a media member will ask Justin if his first complete game of the year felt good. He will say, "Yeah, it felt great," and look at them as if they were all morons, wondering why he even bothers jumping through these hoops just to assure the fan base that indeed, success is fun and struggling is not.
It will be a tale of two pitchers this series, JV re-tasting the best of times and Phil Coke spiraling into the nadir of his career. "This is what baseball does," a drunken Gene Lamont tells the Wizard, "it lifts some guys up and throws others into the garbage pail, like a bunch of dead rats." He takes a pull from his flask. The Wizard does not understand the metaphor, having never thrown away dead rodents. He shakes his head, now grossed out on top of missing Phil Coke. He cannot accept that all tales do not have happy endings; that all wrongs cannot be righted. "He will be back," Donnie will say, "and the narrative will be brighter than ever." Lamont disagrees, but both the aged, jaded cynic and the clear-eyed believer in humanity and redemption wait eagerly to see what happens come September.
Aug. 24, 2013
Today, wins and losses will steal the show. Max Scherzer will wake up, nervous to face Matt Harvey, only to realize that it’s all a matter of perspective. The task at hand is not to beat Matt Harvey, but rather to beat a David Wrightless New York Mets. He laughs at the thought that he will have to bat, recalling little league days, big league chew and the first time he ever kissed a girl – it was after a ballgame and he remembers it all in vivid detail, her lips, the brilliant Missouri sunset sinking to the west over a landscape of nothingness and his desire to just hold this moment, to make it last, only to have it fall away into an endless stream that is his becoming, one present ceaselessly take the place of another. He shakes his head, "Wow," he says to his sleepy gray hotel room, surprised at his memory, "Playing in the National League is weird." Seeing as Dice-K pitched yesterday and Victor Martinez caught, his statement is undeniably true. Scherzer will pull himself together and hold the Mets to one run over 8 innings, because he isn’t 18-1 for nothing.
Meanwhile, Victor Martinez will wake up feeling healthy and will play with Little Victor all morning. Yes, it will be as cute as anyone could imagine. Miguel will strike out in his first at bat. In his second at bat, he will pull in his hands, drop the head of the bat through the zone and power a 98 mph into the bleachers. Tigers fans desperately hope that he does that mini moonwalk again, but we will not be so lucky today. The solo shot and vanilla Miggy trot will have to do. The Tigers will weirdly score three runs and "The Ballad of Scherzer’s Run Support" will be sung again, today at Citi Field.
Matt Harvey loses, Scherzer wins. This outcome leaves a 100% chance that the Win-Loss statistic will be discussed again. It will be annoying, but we have lived through annoying "discussions" about statistics in the past and that worked out okay. Everyone will agree that yes, it is too bad that Harvey doesn’t win more and you know, the kid does deserve better. Lost to these commenters is the fact that Harvey is a young kid in New York City and attractive enough to pose naked for ESPN, so maybe his life isn’t so bad, maybe the hurdles he faces are not so large. 24 years old, 98 mph heat, he will be the toast of the town. Justin Verlander will see him out at a new bar in Brooklyn without signage and pick up his table’s tab. Harvey will never know JV did this, as Verlander quickly leaves and gets in a cab. He directs the driver with a casual wave of his hand and looks out from the Brooklyn Bridge at Manhattan, thinking about Matt Harvey. He will mourn his own fugitive youth and think something he would never dream of telling Harvey: it does not get easier. He says to the taxi driver, "He doesn’t know that I was just like him – I was a winner too, even when I lost." Jim Leyland will not be the only Tiger overwhelmed by New York.