The case for Alex Avila

What’s in a beard? If you’re a hockey fan (as I am) you know that a playoff beard is part of standard lore, and you probably looked forward to seeing the usually clean-shaven Steve Yzerman slowly become a bit scruffier, or the perpetually stubbled Brendan Shanahan turn into a grizzly bear overnight. The Tigers are … Continue reading


Last night, my Monday team, the MIRS Muckrakers, played like the Detroit Tigers. By that I mean the Detroit Tigers of the Alan Trammell era—the Alan-as-manager era, when I just wanted to hug (and gently smack) him when he would lament, post-game, “We just had that one bad inning.” For us, it was the first … Continue reading

What you should be reading

Or, more accurately, some things I’ve been reading. Did I miss something? Leave me a link in the comments. Five of the 13 most overrated players in baseball are Yankees/Red Sox. Try telling that to the gushers over at ESPN (i.e., every one there aside from this author). Is Cliff Lee back on Earth with … Continue reading

The perfect pleasure of Rod Allen

Texieria is a good defensive third basemen. He has won a gold glove. . . mainly because of his offense. —Rod Allen, Tigers color commentator You know how I feel about sub-par broadcasters like Joe Buck. But perhaps my harsh review of Buck’s lack-of-excitement cliché-ridden brand of sport-calling is partly due to having had a … Continue reading


It started when Joel Zumaya faced another setback. Which would seem to be just a very Zumaya-esque form of horrible, gut-wrenchingly unfair luck for a kid who just seems so deserving of success—until I remembered reading this wonderful Sports Illustrated piece about Zoom Zoom’s mechanics. What? What? You mean to tell me that in the … Continue reading

A night without #winning

Angela Vasquez-Giroux live-tweeted the Tigers’ second game of the season in New York. Which, sadly, was carried on Fox with the painfully inept Joe Buck behind the mic. Read all about it in “A night without #winning” on Storify

“Baseball is a turn-based tactical role-playing game”

If you read The Idler, then chances are a bit better than average that you enjoy both baseball and video games. If so, you will love, love, love “The gamer’s game” from The Brainy Gamer, in which he makes the case for why video game fans should love baseball. As I did. And do.

If you are a fan of either but not both, then you should definitely go read. I’m having a hard time not quoting the whole thing, but I’ll give you one salient and juicy point:

Baseball is a 9-stage boss battle, and the pitcher is the boss. To defeat him, you must hit him repeatedly or gradually wear him down. He has strengths and weaknesses you must identify and exploit. If you can successfully guess what he’s about to cast, you can use it against him and deal damage. Near the end of the game, he may be replaced by an even stronger boss with a higher ATT, but much lower HP.

And if you don’t love either baseball or video games, um, I’m not entirely sure why I’m talking to you. But go read it anyway, just for the joy of such unexpected but well-reasoned connections between two such wildly divergent pursuits.

In which I cannot contain myself any longer

Sure, it’s still barely above freezing in Michigan. And, yes, were I still in high school (and not just the same height I was in high school) we’d be taking grounders off the basketball court because no one practices outside in this bullshit weather. But it’s sunny. Clete Thomas has been sent back to the … Continue reading

Prime time presentation

Like many fathers with an artistically-inclined son, mine made great efforts to transform me into an athlete. He signed me up for a flag football league, in which I barely played. I wasn’t quite fast enough and my hands and brain were not on speaking terms.  Besides, the team was terrible enough without me. We … Continue reading

Why I watch baseball, or, falling in love with Jim Leyland

(spoken in Boyz II Men mid-song-“talking-to-you-girl”-voice) Baby, there’s something I need to tell you. I cheated. This column idea wasn’t mine—it was actually equal parts suggestion from Joshua Pugh and Brett McDonald. I know, I know, baby, it is worse that I mashed them together. But hear me out. I don’t remember watching my first … Continue reading