Posted on: May 4, 2010 8:40 pm
Ernie Harwell passed away today after a year long battle with cancer. Ernie was the voice of Tigers baseball. He was the commentator to my summer and a nighttime companion to my youth.
When I was in 4th grade, I was given an AM radio. I never listened to much music on it, but I did listen to Tigers games at night. Huddled under the covers of my bed I would tune the radio to ear the familiar twang of Harwell's voice.
Ernie got as excited for a good play as the fans did. Conversely, don't recall him ever saying anything bad about the home team. In life, he was the same way. Always a kind word; never speaking ill of anyone.
Ernie was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor early last summer. He made a point of attending a Tigers game and speaking to the fans while he was still able. Ernie thanked the fans for the kindness they had showed him over the years. The ovation that Harwell received was long and genuine. I think it even made him a bit uncomfortable.
I was lucky enough to meet Ernie in the 90s. I babbled something incoherently about my AM radio and listening to him. I'm certain it was story told by hundreds of other kids, now grown men, over a lifetime.
Thank you, Ernie. Thank you for a childhood of memories. Rest in peace.
Posted on: December 9, 2009 10:49 am
Edited on: December 9, 2009 10:57 am
Curtis Granderson was more than a rising star in centerfield. Granderson was one of the good guys. Major League Baseball recognized him as the Man of the Year for his work with the GrandKids Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “to enforce educational initiatives to youth and to help bring the sport of baseball back to the nation's inner cities.”
In a year where his batting average dropped 20 points, his power increased dramatically. In the process, Granderson went from being a lead off threat to a solid hitter in the 3rd spot. Granderson was not without his faults. His strikeouts increased and he flailed against left-handed pitching.
Still, he provided Detroit fans with a stunning glove and command of the spacious Comerica Park center field.
Detroit did not have much choice but to deal Granderson. Granderson was scheduled to make over $5 million this year and over $8 million the next. Attendance in a season where the Tigers were contenders until the very end was down significantly. No one blames the fans. Unemployment in the state of Michigan exceeds 15%. Household discretionary spending was at a premium so spending a couple hundred dollars on a trip to Comerica Park was not realistic for many families.
As a Tigers fan, I’m hopeful about the trade. There seems to be equal amounts of outrage on all sides of this three-way swap. Yankee fan and D-back fan are thinking they got screwed out of prospects as much as the average Tiger fan is thinking they lost the two of the best players in the franchise.
I have to give Tigers Head Honcho Dave Dombrowski some credit. He traded for Edwin Jackson who had a career year in Detroit. Dombrowski has had the magic touch most of the time. This fan will give him the benefit of the doubt while I hope these prospects pan out sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, I’ll be rooting for Curtis Granderson’s continued success on and off the field. Thanks for six great years in MoTown, Curits.
Posted on: February 25, 2009 10:00 am
For, lo, the winter is past,
Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Spring ball begins at 1:05 when Justin Verlander takes the hill against the Atlanta Braves. Of course, this game will mean little, but spring is at hand. PLAY BALL!
Posted on: February 23, 2009 3:37 pm
When I was a kid I used to have the worst time falling asleep the day before birthdays and Christmas. I know the phenomenon was not unique to me. I would still get restless before a big vacation or some other event. As I aged, my friend Mr. Scotch and Uncle Labatt would lull me to sleep and my fidgeting would end. How is it then that this grown-ass man can look upon something like Spring Baseball with such childlike anticipation?
I should be hardened by A-Roid's outting as a cheater. I should be disappointed that my beloved Tigers didn't pull in a much-needed starting picther or some closer of note. I should be incredulous that baseball could be played while the snow was on the ground and temperatures in Motown were below freezing.
But I'm not.
Instead, I can't wait to see how A-Rod's performance is impacted by the extra attention in these essentailly meaningless practice games. I want to know how the Tiger's acquisitions of Brandon Lyon will fit into the bullpen. Will he be the clown that Diamondback fans were happy to see leave the desert or is he Detroit's new Willie Hernandez? Did Detroit get anything for Matt Joyce when they got Edwin Jackson? Was I really on crack when I elected to keep Jonathan Papelbon as a keeper?
Until then, I'll play Eric Hutchinson on the iPod because the missus likes it. I must suck up while I can. Baseball begins in less than 48 hours. Give a listen.