Tagged: Ivan Rodriguez

weighing in on the WBC

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but if you’re not watching the World Baseball Classic, you should be.

Earlier this week, the Netherlands gave us the greatest upset in the history of international baseball.  The Dominicans get their rematch tonight.  i got a feeling this one won’t be pretty, but the Netherlands team has already shocked me once this week…

It was nice to see China get their first win and continue to embrace the game.  With population of over 1 billion, there have to be some great ballplayers out there, statistically speaking.  It will only be a matter of time before they are a world powerhouse on the diamond too.

Can ANYONE recall seeing Pudge Rodriguez playing with so much intensity?  Maybe the Tigers should throw him a one-year, league minimum, incentive-laden contract?  He’d probably still want to play everyday – which is the problem the Tigers had in the first place…

Where else but in the WBC do we as Americans get to see the Cuban national team (now that Olympic baseball is history)?  Or even the Japanese team for that matter?  Sure we see Ichiro, Iwamura et al all season long, but there’s so much that  we, as American fans, donlt know about Japanese ball.

I’ve noticed how intense the fans in other countries are about their sports.  The crowd at the Japan – Korea game reminded me of a European football/soccer crowd: rowdy, intense, passionate – they were making noise, lots of noise, for the ENTIRE GAME. The last time I recall hearing anything near that noise level in an MLB game was the Metrodome duing the 1991 World Series.

If you love great competition, you need to be watching – especially as the tournament rolls on and the weaker teams are eliminated.  What else are you going to do during Spring Training – wait for Manny to suit up?  Sit at A-Rod’s bedside while he recuperates.

 

Of course, if you’re planning to catch a game in Florida or Arizona, that’s good to spend your winter too…

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a knee-jerk reaction to the Pudge-Farnsworth trade

Thumbnail image for pudge.jpgUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Pudge Rodriguez has been traded to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth.

I think this was a mistake on the Tigers’ behalf.

There’s little doubt that Pudge’s offensive skills are fading as he approaches the end of his career.  On the other hand, he is still one of the best defensive catchers in the game – a fact that defies logic, given his age and the wear and tear typically associated with playing behind the plate.

Apparently, the Tigers felt that Pudge was expendable.  His contract is up at the end of the year, so it would appear that they had no intention of re-signing him. 

Tiger fans know that Pudge was just more than a 13-time all-star catcher and future Hall of Famer.  When he signed with the Tigers following the disasterous 2003 season, it made the Tigers relevant again.  In the years that followed, big-name free agents like Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez signed here.  Trades both big and small for players like Placido Polanco and most recently  Miguel Cabrera brought Detroit an AL pennant in 06 and instantly place them in the same breath as the Yankees and Red Sox.  This stunning three-year transition, from the outhouse to the penthouse, would not have been possible without Pudge signing.

I got to hand it to the Yankees though; this trade made pefect sense for them.  With Jorge Posada out with a season ending surgery, they NEEDED a catcher.  At this point, Farnsworth was expendable.

Are the Tigers really a better team with Farnsworth than with Pudge?  Is Kyle Farnsworth REALLY the answer to the Tigers bullpen woes. (SEE LAST POST).  Is Brandon Inge ready or even willing to be the everyday catcher?  My gut says “No” to all of the above, but only time will tell.

I will miss Pudge.  For the last 4 1/2 seasons, he has been the face of the Tigers.  I hoped he would retire as a Tiger, but you never know what the future holds.  Besides, I’m just counting the days until Farnsworth get into another one of his infamous brawls…