The Tigers rescheduled a game to accommodate the NFL

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Now: watch the football people act all dumb about it.

You’ll recall last year that the NFL and its water carriers in the media got all huffy when the Baltimore Orioles would not reschedule a game that conflicted with the Baltimore Ravens’ desired Thursday night home opener.

This angered them because the Super Bowl champion opening at home on Thursday night has a long rich tradition lasting at least, like, a couple of years. And because baseball is dying and the NFL rules and why don’t you pencil neck baseball people just do the right thing and get the hell out of the NFL’s way even though your game was scheduled months before ours?

Really, go back and read that Michael Silver post at Yahoo. It was one of the more obnoxious and, ultimately, more wrong things written by a professional sports talking person in several years.

Anyway, we have a baseball-football conflict again. Or at least we had one. The Detroit Tigers had an evening game scheduled against the Royals for Monday, September 8. The Lions were granted the Monday Night Football Game that night, however, and since the Tigers and Lions stadiums are literally right next to each other it would’ve been a mess for both to play that night. The Tigers rescheduled their game to a 4PM start, though, solving the problem before anyone could get mad about it.

While that conflict lasted approximately five seconds before being resolved, there was already room for some snark from our NFL friends and commenters at PFT, saying things like “see, that wasn’t so hard, take note Baltimore” and the like. What our NFL friends and commenters are missing, however, is that the Tigers and Orioles were in very different situations with respect to the conflict, making the resolution of their respective scheduling problems totally different things.

The Tigers game is smack dab in the middle of a six-game homestand and the game against the Royals is the first of a three-game set. It’s the simplest of all things for the Tigers to unilaterally move the game up and, because the Lions and Tigers play well together for the most part, they did so willingly. A totally easy call and a totally right call.

Last year, however, both the Orioles and their opponent, the Chicago White Sox, were are coming in to Baltimore off the road following night games and thus weren’t even getting into town until the wee hours of that Thursday morning, making a day game a pretty unreasonable proposition. Likewise, rescheduling that game as a doubleheader would’ve required union, league and Chicago White Sox signoff, and there was resistance to that. While, in an ideal world the Orioles make way for the Ravens, if doing so is not a simple proposition it’s not reasonable to expect them to do it.

So, different situations resolved differently and, in both cases, quite reasonably. Especially considering that baseball set its schedule months before the NFL did. If that inspires you to throw shade at the Orioles over what happened next year, well, I suppose you have the right to. You’re just misapprehending the facts of the matter. And, in all likelihood, operating from an assumption that the entire world lives to serve the NFL’s interests.

That’s not the case. Not yet anyway.

Victor Martinez played his final major league game on Saturday

Victor Martinez
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After 16 years in the majors, longtime Tigers DH Victor Martinez capped his career with one final start at Comerica Park. Although there are seven games remaining in the club’s regular season schedule, Martinez said he felt he owed it to the fans to record his final at-bat at home. He’ll still cheer the rest of the team on from the dugout when they hit the road for their last six-game stretch on Monday, though he’s not expected to slot into the lineup at any point during their back-to-back away series against the Twins and Brewers.

In order to commemorate the occasion, the Tigers arranged a pregame ceremony to celebrate the veteran infielder’s seven years with the team, during which they presented him with Topps baseball cards, a recliner, a pair of boots, and a saddle, among other honors. Martinez also put in a special request to play first base, a position he hadn’t manned in over two years.

The 39-year-old didn’t waste a single minute of his final start in the majors. He deftly handled an inning-ending out in the top of the first, then laced a rare infield single to short in his first and final at-bat of the afternoon, beating the throw to first and advancing Nicholas Castellanos to second base in order to set up the Tigers’ first run: a two-out RBI single from Niko Goodrum that brought Castellanos home to score.

“I think that at-bat was the perfect at-bat to describe my career,” Martinez told reporters after the Tigers wrapped a 5-4 win over the Royals. “I had to sweat it out. I had to sweat it out the whole way. I had to grind it. That was my whole career.”

Following the hit — and the standing ovation that greeted it — the switch-hitter was promptly replaced by pinch-runner Ronny Rodriguez, who subbed in at second base in the top of the second while Goodrum shifted from second to first base. Taking Saturday’s performance into account, Martinez polished off his big league career with a lifetime .295/.359/.455 batting line, 423 doubles, 246 home runs, 1,178 RBI, and 28.4 fWAR across 1,973 games and three separate stints for the Indians, Red Sox, and Tigers. His accomplishments at the plate have been decorated with five All-Star nominations, two Silver Slugger Awards, and the designated hitter-exclusive Edgar Martinez Award following a career-best campaign in 2014.