Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thank You Ivan Rodriguez

Yankee Stadium is known as the 'House that Ruth Built".

And Yankee Stadium is coming down after this 2008 season is over. A newer version being built right next door.

The core of the Detroit Tiger's current roster could be known as the "Team Pudge Built". And now this team may come down just like old Yankee Stadium.

Wednesday, in a very sudden move, was traded to the New York Yankees for relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth.

Farnsworth is a mediocre pitcher at best – recently pitching well, but much like the Tigers own closer Todd Jones – Farnsworth is unstable at times in the role. Yankee fans had dubbed him "Krazy Kyle".

Great. Just what our bullpen needs – another flakey unstable bullpen pitcher.

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez is in my opinion the greatest catcher to play the game during my generation. During his eighteen years of major league play he has attained a lifetime average of .302. When men are in scoring position his lifetime average rises to .382.

But while Pudge's bat is potent (perhaps waning in recent years) and still a threat, his prowess as a catcher is even more threatening. His laser like arm has so far thrown 597 runners trying to steal bases.

Pudge was named to the All Star team 14 times. He was the American League MVP in 1999. He was the MVP of the 2003 National League Playoff Series (NLPS) in 2003 as a Florida Marlin – the one of few years he was not named to the All Star Team.

Catchers have often been called the known as the "Quarterbacks of Baseball" calling pitches for most pitchers, and as the only player to fully view the entire field, leading the defense as each unique situations evolves in a game. And this is where Pudge is a master. He is a leader. In the locker-room he is known to inspire, and discipline his teammates with command and respect.

And the Tiger's will surely miss Pudge. Acquired during the offseason in 2004, on the heels of his 2003 NLCS MVP title – Pudge miraculously appeared in Detroit and donned the old English D. In 2003 the Tigers had lost 117 games – tying the worst record in Major League Baseball history.

And then came Pudge. He came to Detroit, and the fans took notice. And they realized the Tigers were about to get a lot better.

2004 saw some improvement as they lingered around the .500 mark. In 2005 a couple more moves were made as more and more players wanted to come to Detroit to be in Pudge Rodriguez team.

In 2006 – a season they thought was still one of building – the Tigers went to the World Series – led by Pudge Rodriguez. Unfortunately they lost that series to the St. Louis Cardinals – an inferior squad who for that series played superior ball.

These last two years have been spent tweaking the team to get back to the post-season. This 2008 season is still in question as the midway of the season behind us and the Tigers still five to six games behind the Chicago White Sox for the American League Central Division.

But our bullpen these last two seasons has been poor. More games lost by the bull pen than any other cause. So relief help was considered a top priority of the Tigers would make a push in the end here to make it to post-season ball.

So Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland – two baseball minds I have absolute respect for and trust in – deemed the best move to be a trade – even up – Pudge for Farnsworth.

It's a hard one to swallow.

But in Pudges defense – he deserves to be a member of the most storied team in Baseball – in a the last season of the house that Ruth built – before it comes down.

But it stinks if you're a Tigers fan.

Adios amigo Pudge – Tiger fans love ya – and we wish you the best – unless it comes down to the Yankees and Tigers in American League play.

Can somebody please show Mr. Farnsworth to bullpen. And tell him he owes this team some amazing pitching after what he has cost us. He had better get the job done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess now I have to be a Yankees fan.

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