Wow, this is pretty big. From the Twitter feed of the Tigers’ media relations dude:
This isn’t big because Brandon Inge is big — he’s pretty insignificant, baseball-wise these days — but because he’s probably the single most polarizing player in the world of Detroit Tigers fandom. He’s one of those rare guys who is still beloved by many despite possessing little if any of the value he used to possess as a player. Which, in turn, makes more analytical fans go nuts. Wanna start an argument among Tigers fans? Just voice a strong opinion about Brandon Inge. He’s a player cum mascot about whom no one can be rational. If you don’t believe me, go check out this thread over at Bless You Boys soon. It’s bound to be nutsy within an hour or two.
But now he’s gone. As well he should be. He’s 2 for 20 on the year with no walks. He hasn’t had a useful season in a couple of years. He hasn’t had a good one in, like, seven. With Miquel Cabrera at third he has no defensive value on this team. He has been playing some sub-par second base because, well, because he has to be somewhere. Or had to, anyway.
You may remember Eldred from some brief time with the Pirates and Rockies a few years ago. At the moment he’s absolutely raking at Toledo: he’s 31 for 80 with 13 — 13! — homers in 20 games so far this year. Of course he’s also 31 years-old, has been at triple-A for seven years and plays first base, so it’s not like he’s going to change the season.
But he can hit. Inge can’t, and that’s why he’s now gone.
(Thanks to Michael M. for the heads up)
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.