May 13, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) makes a play on a ball hit by Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (not pictured) in the second inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers Quick Hits

Last night the Tigers rebounded to take the first game of the series with the new AL whipping boy, Houston Astros. In between the MLB.TV buffers, outages and lots of swear words, I had a couple observations on some Tiger-related topics.

Miguel Cabrera

It amazed me that Miguel Cabrera winning the Triple Crown was not a huge story outside of Detroit. Perhaps that’s due to the rise of sabermetrics, and a segment of baseball fans and media valuing the new-age stats over the traditional numbers. It could also be because the accomplishment happened to a player with Detroit. Had it been New York or Boston, it may have been a bigger deal. Either way, one thing is certain, Miguel is on a similar pace as last year.

Through 36 games in 2012: .308, 8 HR, 31 RBI; Through 36 games in 2013: .385, 6 HR, 36 RBIs

Friday night, almost on cue when Fox Sports Detroit put a graphic up about his unbelievable numbers with RISP, he hit a three-run bomb. He is so good that its actually more newsworthy when he fails, as was the case when he grounded out to end Saturday’s game with the tying run in scoring position.

There is no debate that Miggy is the best player in the game today. It is not out of the realm of possibility that he could win another Triple Crown and become the first player to ever achieve the honor two straight years. If that happens, perhaps sabermetricians and ESPN will finally give him his due.

May 7, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) reacts after striking out to end the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Avila

No one needs to be reminded of the struggles of Alex Avila. Perhaps his lone highlight of the year was the clutch home run in Houston. Other than that, he has struggled at the plate and is average behind the plate (including looking awful on a couple of throws in last night’s games). Which leads me to wonder if the Tigers are stuck with Avila. Brayan Pena‘s productive Sunday should lead to questions of if he should be starting more often, at least until he cools off.

Avila has plenty of supporters. Justin Verlander likes having him as his catcher, and, more importantly, his dad is the assistant GM. A major change will not happen during the season, but if Avila struggles this year, giving him two straight subpar years (and three out of four), should the Tigers think of upgrading the position? Will that be a problem because of Alex’s relationship to the front office?

The Jim Price Drinking Game

Because of my battles with MLB.TV’s crappy reception for the last week, I’ve been listening to more of the radio feed, which has renewed my astonishment that Jim Price is still employed. The Rod Allen Drinking Game has nothing on a possible Jim Price Drinking Game, except everyone would be passed out by the third inning.

Price relies heavily on gimmicks. He describes any location that Dan Dickerson talks about during an advertisement as, “what a great place, I love it there,” even though you know he’s never been there. I almost wish DD would trip him up one time and say, “We have a young man attending his first Tigers’ game from Fallujah,” only to have Price utter, “oh what a beautiful city that is!”

Aside from the constant eating on the air, the other thing that drive me insane about Price is his constant use of the talking point “the art of pitching.” It is like nails on a chalkboard. Dickerson is a very good broadcaster, but his partner is so awful that it brings the entire broadcast level down.

Price is getting to the Hawk Harrelson level for embarrassment, and this needs to be his last season in the booth.

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Tags: Alex Avila Detroit Tigers Jim Price Miguel Cabrera

  • Kenny

    Disagree on Price. He’s a lovable old guy. He wouldn’t fit in very many other places than Detroit, which is probably why I like him so much. His idiosyncrasies are no more annoying than Rod’s.

    Nice area.

    • Matt Pelc

      I don’t wish him any ill will, and I know he’s had health issues before, but I am just eternally put off by the eating on the air, and the redundancies. I liked Jim when he first started broadcasting games for PASS way back in the day. He brought some energy that was missing with games on that channel, but he has clearly reached the finish line. I wish the Tigers would give him an emeritus position of pre- and post-game shows and bring in a new color guy.

      Thanks for the comments!

  • bsand

    Jim Price is wonderful. You are literally the only person I had ever heard complain about him. You know he eats a lot because he had throat cancer right?

    As far as having talking points, he’ll probably broadcast over 200 games this year, what with spring training, regular season, and playoffs. Can’t reinvent the wheel that often.

    • Rick Simms

      I guess I’m a Tigers slappy cause I love Jim Price. He just screams Tigers baseball when you hear his voice. My favorite quote from him is when he talks about Fister and his yellow hammer. Classic stuff. Here’s to hoping he sticks around another decade. Go Tigers!

  • louwhitaker

    My wife loves Price, and I have warmed up to him over time. He actually has a pretty good low-key sense of humor, and an appealing presence. I agree that his content is hardly consistently brilliant–he vamps a fair amount, and falls back on a few recurring themes more than you might need to hear them. But who could talk for three hours a night and not hit some lulls? What I miss is the old days when Ernie would do the first and last thirds of the game unassisted and whoever was spelling him, Paul Carey or Frank Beckman or whoever, would do the middle three innings solo. Only one guy talking, and when he stopped…SILENCE! I loved the silence, a moment to be alone with your own thoughts about the game, and to focus on the ambient ballpark sounds coming out of your radio.

    • Matt Pelc

      Totally agree. When the guy in Texas had his perfect game broken up earlier this year with a hit up the middle, someone made mention of it was the same way Milt Wilcox lost his with two outs in the ninth against Chicago in ’83 and posted Ernie’s call of the ninth inning. It was music to my ears. He just let the ballpark noise flood in.

      For the constant yapping, I can’t really blame Jim or D.D., everything they do is “sponsored,” so they spend the time when Ernie would let the crowd noise come through plugging some product or company.

  • Evan

    Jim price knows more about pitching than mario, rod and dan combined. He’s a living piece of the 68 team. I know his lip smacking is weird but grow up he had throat cancer and needs them. I’m glad to hear his gimmicks and laugh a bunch each game i listen to him broadcast. But hey, he’s not for everyone.

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