Grand Cards: "Basho," The Grand Scheme Named Himself, "Banana Tree."

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Basho," The Grand Scheme Named Himself, "Banana Tree."

Basho!
Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Basho and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing. "Basho"

He named himself, "Banana Tree"
This, from "Impossible To Tell" by Robert Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate. It is worth noting that there is also a basho-bananatree.blogspot.com which may reveal that my intellect may not be as sharp as opening a blog post with poetry would indicate. It's really just the Simpsons. *sigh*

So why "Basho?"  Have you seen this kid?

image from the Detroit News

That's Brennan Boesch. He is awesome. He was called up to the Tigers to fill in for an injured Carlos Guillen and has set the world on fire in the meantime. As it stands now he is hitting a cool .380 and is third on the team with 19 RBIs. He's only played in 19 games. Also, he has come through in all sorts of situations--setting the table, with runners on, vs lefties, vs righties. The kid is good.

And he loves his mom:
He has contributed in every way, with clutch hits and aggressive swings and extra-base power. But, uh, no, he wasn't going to meld even further with a snazzy haircut.

"I couldn't do it -- I didn't want to see my mom cry," Boesch said, chuckling. "But it's so easy to fit in here because the veterans go out of their way to make the rookies feel comfortable. If I have a bad at-bat, Johnny (Damon) has something positive to say almost every time. Of course, I think you fit in when you produce."
So no team mohawk for The Banana Tree. Also, compliments:
Maybe once a year comes a hitter that really stands out to me, a rookie hitter. This guy is impressive.
That's from Mark Teixeira. Not too shabby.

Anyway, every time I hear his name, which has been often considering how well he has hit I think "Basho," and then in my head go "Banana Tree." So from now on, that's what I'm calling him. Get on it now, it's going to be a thing.

Switching it up As you might have noticed, something funny is happening with Carlos Guillen. Once he is healthy again, he will be the Tigers' starting second baseman, marking the sixth (!) position that he has played for the team since 2007.

This is the forced-hand that the Tigers had to play with The Banana Tree (it'll catch on) crushing the ball all over the place. Who cares if some nerd thinks that it's not going to last.
Long-term, despite the fast start I still see Boesch as a .230-.250 hitter with a weak on-base percentage, albeit with enough power in his bat to be useful if deployed properly in a platoon role. He has a decent throwing arm and can swipe a base occasionally, but isn't going to keep himself employed with his defense alone. Tigers fans should enjoy the hot start while it lasts, but eventually Boesch will come to earth.

Shove it, math. You can't keep The Banana Tree down.

Anyway, the Guillen move is the end result of a more seismic shift of the team's roster composition. Scherzer and Sizemore have been sent down to AAA. Armando Galarraga is back up, and pitched the team to a big win yesterday. Danny Worth fills in at Second Base, making him the Fifth position player to make his major league debut with the Tigers this season. I'm not in the mood to look this sort of thing up, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that has never happened before in Tigers history, September call-ups excluded. [Update: Bless You Boys tells us that the last time five Tigers made their major league debut in the same season was during the first five games of 1922.]

All of this caps off a convoluted few days that saw Ryan Raburn sent down Alfredo Figaro called up, the sent back down, Casper Wells up, presumably down, then not, then Sizemore and Scherzer down and Galarraga and Worth up.

Just keep winning, I guess, and I'll stop staring so hard trying to figure out what's happening.

Ernie v. Bo An eternal battle in heaven? Way back when I talked about an the old story that concludes with Ernie Harwell was fired by Bo Schembechler and the world imploded upon itself.

Some digging (and revisionist history?) may change things a little bit. In this version, both Bo and Ernie are the good guys, just the way it always was and always should be (Hat Tip to mgoblog:
…But it’s not true that he wanted Harwell fired — not even close. The Tigers — very stupidly, in my opinion — hired a Chicago consulting firm to analyze their marketing approach, and the firm recommended they fire Harwell to attract a younger audience. If hiring the firm was stupid, their advice was even dumber — and showed absolutely no understanding of Tiger baseball culture. One line I had to cut about Harwell was his remarkable cult following among younger fans.

Schembechler, against their advice, got Harwell an extra year, but he did not prevent the firing. He did, however, take the fall for Monaghan, et al, thinking such loyalty was expected and would be returned. He was wrong about that, too, of course, but that’s the sequence of events, and Bo’s (relatively) limited role in the story.
That quote is actually attributable to John Bacon, who commented on his blog, but I strongly recommend the MVictors summary.

The bottom line: Everybody knows that Ernie and Bo are great American Heroes and if you don't like you can just go and move to Stenchburg.

Where's Curtis? Once upon a time Curtis Granderson was the end all and be all of this blog. Then he was a Yankee and then he got hurt. We still love Curtis over here though, so we are saddened to learn that his recovery is not progressing particularly well.
Joe Girardi pegged Granderson's return in the area of 15-18 more days.

Granderson hit off a tee and threw in the outfield Friday for the first time since going on the DL May 1 after suffering the injury in that day's game. He won't try running until today.

"I haven't done any lateral movement," Granderson said. "I haven't done any starting and stopping and that's going to be the big test. Whenever we finally try that stuff out that will be a big evaluation in terms of how soon I can come back."

The sooner the better, I say. Baseball is a better game with Curtis Granderson in it. Also, I maintain that he will proceed to have an excellent season with the Yankees, despite his troubles prior to his injury. Baseball is a game of hot and cold.

What is this, High School? High school coaches are notorious for making roster and playing time decisions on factors other than how good a player actually is. If you played a sport then you know this. Well apparently, it extends beyond the halls of High School.
"I liked Jim as a catcher. He handled the pitchers well. It looked like he knew what he was doing, I was happy with him. In fact, I caught him more than I caught Gene Lamont until I got orders from Detroit to catch Lamont instead.
That was his former manager in AA. Jim Leyland was the victim, not so much of managerial politics or buffoonery, but by a decision by the higher-ups who liked Gene Lamont's upside more. Lamont is now Leyland's bench coach, FWIW.

It's sad, though. There have been numerous reports that indicate that Leyland would give up everything to have made it to the Major Leagues. In a different era he would have. As his former manager explains
"There were only eight teams in each league," he said. "He could have played in the majors later. Sure he could have. Nowadays you don't have to be a great hitter to catch in the majors. Just handle the pitchers -- and Jim could do that.
No wonder he sticks behind Gerald Laird.

Misc. Justin Verlander is too pretty for a Mohawk, I guess I need to apologize to Jason Davies for drawing him with such feminine eyes. Detroit is looking create an ordinance that would require teams to pay for the use of police and crowd control at games at events. The fact that this hasn't been in place for the last decade, at least, is indicative of the horrible mismanagement of city government. I've been a huge fan of just about everything Dave Bing has said since he took office. Michigan won the National Championship in (club) Lacrosse. This is their 3rd straight National Championship. Can we have D-I now plz? More Guillen at second base talk.

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