Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hey, Tigers Media: Don't Feed Us Nonsense

Between Tigers games on FSD, the Tigers Live pregame and postgame shows, The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, MLive, blogs like Bless You Boys, and numerous other media outlets, Detroit fans have a lot of information on our baseball team readily available. While we, and myself especially when it comes to certain writers, don’t always like the stuff we read, I think we have the opportunity to always be informed about what’s going on with the team.

I don’t ask much, in my opinion. I prefer that what I read or listen to makes sense. I’m a happy camper when information is presented with relevant statistics or data to back it up. And I want the person presenting me news or opinion to be honest.

Honesty is a big one with me. If I can’t trust my news source, what good are they? That’s why there are two instances in the past couple days that have really ticked me off. One came from television and one from a Detroit paper. Maybe this stuff isn’t a big deal to some, but it is to me.

Let me start with Tuesday’s Tigers/Twins broadcast on FSD and the load of complete horseshit Rod Allen dropped on the viewers. I’m not a big fan of Rod’s work. I find his catchphrases tired and annoying. I rarely find that his analysis adds anything intelligent to the broadcast. And his infatuation with the bunt goes against everything I believe in. But he seems like a nice guy and lots of folks like him, so I tend to ignore him most of the time. Honestly, I’m not a fan of 90% of announcers, so maybe it’s just me.

But in the pregame yesterday, he outright lied to the viewing audience and I couldn’t believe it. Rod made the comment that since Jim Leyland took over the managerial job of the Tigers, the team has saved their best for after the All-Star break. I’m sorry, Rod, but unlike the eight year old at the park in the Prince Fielder shirsey asking his dad how many points the Tigers have, this isn’t my first time watching Detroit baseball. To refresh all of your memories:

First Half: 59-29
Second Half: 36-38

First Half: 52-34
Second Half: 36-40

First Half: 47-47
Second Half: 27-41

First Half: 48-39
Second Half: 38-38

First Half: 48-38
Second Half: 33-43

Yes, the second half collapses stopped in 2011 and 2012. But that doesn’t change the fact that, for whatever reason, the first five seasons that Leyland was in Detroit, the team fell apart each year after the break. It was a talking point in the Detroit media for years that Leyland would lose the team in the second half each season. I don’t necessarily think it was always a Leyland issue, but nonetheless, you couldn’t help but read about it, especially from 2009-2011.

Rod Allen was sitting there calling each and every game from 2006-2010. Moments like Game 163 have not disappeared from my memory quite yet, nor many of yours, I’m sure. But there he was yesterday, pretending it never happened, and carrying on whatever mission statement the Department of Propaganda at FSD set forward that day.

It disgusted me. I see you, Rod. And you suck.

The other thing that had me banging my head against the wall was this article from the Free Press. It’s yet another puff piece telling us all what a great guy Don Kelly is. We usually get a few of these every season on Kelly because reporters love him. That’s fine. I don’t like them, but I realize that many folks like these underdog pieces and even more like Don Kelly. Great. Donnie’s even got a couple t-shirts out that showed up in my timeline on Tuesday.
Sigh. Whatever. I was a Ryan Raburn fan…we all have our weird favorites. But this Freep story that irked me quoted the man that originally scouted Kelly with this beauty:

“This kid is a winner,” Liberi said. “You give me nine Donnie Kellys on the field and you’re going to win. He comes to play every day. He gets after it.”

Look. I make fun of Don Kelly. It became a gimmick that a lot of people began to enjoy, so I’ve gone with it. But he’s a nice guy, he’ll do anything for the team, and he can play anywhere. That’s great. He has value and I have no issue with him being on the Tigers in a utility role.

But I do have a problem when Leyland bats him first, third (!), or anywhere else in the top six of the lineup. The man is a career 75 OPS+ hitter and that is including 2013’s “career year” for Donnie where he has hit .244 with a .384 slugging percentage. Don Kelly flat out sucks on offense, unless he’s facing Justin Masterson, for some reason.

I can live with that, though. LOLeyland…I’m used to it. What makes me insane is when I read stuff like the garbage above. Yes, it’s a quote and not from the author himself. But I doubt a reporter would quote a scout that said Kelly was a possible serial killer since he’s so quiet. I don’t think a reporter would quote someone that said they think Kelly might secretly be the Tooth Fairy.

Are those things unrealistic? Yes. So is saying a team of nine Don Kellys could win against anyone except possibly a squad of ten year olds. 

Continuing on…

He won a state championship his senior year in high school at Mt. Lebanon. He won a collegiate summer league championship a few years later, and in 2006 was part of Toledo’s International League championship team.

“It really comes down to winning,” Kelly said. “Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to play on winning teams.”

See, Donnie gets it. This isn’t his fault. He was part of some teams that happened to win. They did not win because of Don Kelly alone. Any writer trying to present the story as anything other than that is misleading the reader.

Also, in need of a proofread:

And in the off-season, despite hitting .186 last season, winning teams were after him, with offers from the Giants, Reds, Nationals and Marlins.

Oh. Winning teams like the Marlins, who went 69-93, dead last in the NL East. Well done.

And this scout?

Of the approximately 50 players Laslo signed, Kelly is the only one who was a consistent major leaguer and the only one still playing.

“Every time I see him play or talk to people, I say, ‘Hey, that’s the kid I signed,’ ” he said. “He’s the last one standing.”

Wow. What a great scout. Of course the Tigers have scouts like this. Look at the farm system.

Am I overreacting to Rod Allen’s lying or Freep writer Anthony Fenech’s puff piece on Kelly? Probably. I often do. I’m a cranky person. My apologies to Anthony, who follows my ramblings on Twitter, but how do you submit that article with a straight face?

I can put up with a lot. I’ve been a Tigers fan for 28 years, after all.

Just don’t feed me bullshit, guys. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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