Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Tigers Amateur Analysis Glossary

NOTE: You’ll have to forgive me for the tardiness. I had the glossary all nice and updated, but when I loaded it onto a computer at school to add one more thing, I neglected to notice that somehow, my pen drive had been accidentally switched to write-protect. Obviously, when I tried to save it, I got a message from Microsoft Word saying that I couldn’t, so I decided to exit out of the program, eject the drive, turn write-protect off (so to speak), and try again. Well, for some reason, doing that resulted in the entire file vanishing from my pen drive. Any of you computer geeks out there know why? Anyways, I’m less than enthusiastic about updating the glossary AGAIN, so it’s not as complete as it should be. You’ll have to live with it.

During the 2007 season, I had a tendency to kind of coin my own phrases to describe certain situations. I expanded on the list in 2008. Not wanting to leave you newcomers in the dark, I’ve helpfully decided to compile my terms into this short glossary, so enjoy.

[Name] Also Swears in English: During every television and radio broadcast of baseball games, there are microphones set up all over the park. Some of those microphones are near home plate or the dugouts, which means that sometimes they pick up someone saying something you’re not supposed to say on television. It’s kind of amusing because it forces the broadcasters to make awkward apologies and hope they’re not fined by the FCC. Anyways, the catchphrase originated one day when Pudge Rodriguez (a native Spanish speaker) struck out or popped up or did something he didn’t want to do at the plate. As the microphone near home plate picked up his frustration, I observed, “Hey, Pudge swears in English” (Granted, perhaps I should not have been surprised by this, given that he’s lived in the United States for, like, 20 years and speaks English fairly well). Shortly thereafter, I noticed that a great deal of the non-native English speakers still chose English as their profanity language of choice. The phrase has now expanded to include any incident of obvious swearing, either by lip-reading or being picked up on the mic, regardless of the player’s country of origin.

Fashion Police: This is the unavoidable tendency I have to comment on someone anytime they look “different” in some way, shape, or form, be it wearing their pants differently, new shoes, or a change in facial hair. I also do a Fashion Police report anytime there’s a fan wearing some sort of wacky outfit. It can end in either a positive or negative assessment, but it’s not a feature I particularly enjoy, mostly because I end up completely rambling about the subject and losing all credibility whatsoever.

Human Voodoo Doll/Sympathy Pain: I kind of alternate between these two terms, so I’ve put them together in the glossary. Back in 2007, I seemed to frequently come up with little bumps and bruises that oddly coincided with the players suffering similar injuries. It started one day at work when I was telling one of my co-workers about the time I pulled my hamstring while fencing. I got home that night and turned on the game, only to learn that Pudge had had to leave with a hamstring injury. And so it continued for most of the season. Magglio got hit in the hand by a pitch, and then my hand was really sore for about two weeks (to the point where it was excruciating to open stock bottles). I had a sore back one day, and Brandon Inge missed the game with back spasms. Pudge and I had issues with dizziness around the same time. The reason it has two different terms is that the timing of these coincidences was never consistent. Sometimes, the “real” injury would happen first, and then I would feel it, and sometimes it was the other way around. My co-worker was the one who coined the “sympathy pains” term. My best friend Laura, mistaking one of my posts to mean that I always suffered the injury before the players, suggested the Human Voodoo Doll. I guess the term I use is gonna depend on the timing, but hopefully I won’t have to use either. This was not as prevalent in 2008.

It’s a West Coast Thing: For some reason, games that the Tigers played in ballparks on the west coast are prone to really strange things happening, be it fan interference, kissing, broadcasters focusing more on the cotton candy vendors than the game, pitching meltdowns, blown saves, highlight-reel plays, ejections, balls taking weird hops, a series of bad calls that turn out to be the deciding factor of the game, you name it. Angel Stadium and Safeco Field are more prone to strangeness than McAfee Coliseum, but it has its moments as well. Usually the weirdness is either bad (see “Twilight Zone Hell”) or funny, but every once in a while it will help the Tigers out. Occasionally, one of those west coast teams will bring the weirdness with them to Comerica Park.

Reyes Effect: This is my term for the phenomenon of the Tigers offense being absolutely stymied by a normally so-so, unremarkable, or unknown opposing pitcher. It’s named after Anthony Reyes (formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, now with the Cleveland Indians), who completely handcuffed the Tiger batters in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series, retiring 17 guys in a row at one point (and going into this matchup, the odds were dramatically in favor of Justin Verlander, who ended up struggling and began the parade of pitcher errors that became the theme of the entire World Series). Reyes went on to have a rather dismal 2007, finishing 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA, and one of those losses did come against the Tigers. The Indians somehow ended up with him in 2008, and to his credit, he did make a couple of decent starts for them. Pitchers who turned in a Reyes Effect performance on the Tigers in 2007 include Josh Towers of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jorge De La Rosa of the Kansas City Royals, Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics, Cha Seung Baek of the Seattle Mariners, and Kameron Loe of the Texas Rangers. Now, occasionally I branded a performance as a Reyes Effect, only to reverse my diagnosis further on down the road, usually because that pitcher turns out to be consistent and effective in most of his starts regardless of the opposing team. James Shields of the Rays and Brian Bannister of the Royals are two examples of this. The Reyes Effect did rear its ugly head in 2008 as well, but I’m not gonna look up who the pitchers were cuz I’m just too lazy.

That F**king Drum: I really hate that drum that they play incessantly during the late innings at Jacobs/Progressive Field. It’s incredibly annoying (which is a shame, since I’ve been kinda curious about seeing the Tigers on the road, and Cleveland would be the most logical choice, geographically speaking). Also, if I’ve got the TV playing too loud, that drum is always at a different rhythm than what my heart is beating at, and that hurts (It’s kind of like standing next to a large subwoofer that’s blaring out hip-hop music).

There’s That Bear Again: This is a line from an Animaniacs short called “Hollywoodchuck” (you can find it quite easily on YouTube). In the cartoon, the woodchuck would keep running into the bear, who would then pummel him in some creative fashion while the narrator would dryly observe, “Oh, there’s that bear again.” Back in ’07, there was a game that the Tigers were playing against the Indians in which one of the Indians was hitting Tigers pitching particularly hard (I think Travis Hafner). At some point late in the game, said Indian was coming up to the plate with some runners on and Mario Impemba commented “There’s that guy again” in the exact same tone. Since then, that line has popped into my head anytime an opposing player is hitting the Tigers particularly hard.

Total Amateur Analysis: This is what the site used to be called, and I’m sure I’ll screw up sometime and use the old name, so now you know.

Twilight Zone Hell: This is a game in which strange things happen that turn out to be bad news, and the Tigers end up losing. More often than not, Twilight Zone Hell makes its home on the west coast (see “It’s a West Coast Thing”).

Umpires on Crack: I’m not one to blame umpires for Tiger losses. That’s not my thing, and it smells largely of scapegoating to me, since no one’s perfect. That said, there are a few games where umpires either make consistently bad calls, or one whacked-out call turns out to be the deciding factor in a game. That’s where Umpires on Crack comes in.

Wardrobe Miscues: This is similar to Fashion Police, except Wardrobe Miscues are almost always negative.

I’m sure I’ll be coining more phrases this season, but this’ll do for now.

Next Week: The Tigers Amateur Analysis Guide to Baseball Fashion.

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