For the past three years at Detroit4lyfe I've chosen a different TV/movie celebrity to preview the Detroit Tigers upcoming season. In 2008, it was sarcastically done by Principal Richard Belding. In 2009, Tom Selleck a/k/a Jack Elliot, a/k/a Peter Malloy, a/k/a Monica's boyfriend in several episodes of 'Friends' correctly foresaw that the Tigers would get edged out in the Central (even though he did not explicitly say it would happen in Game 163). Last year, Kenny Powers brought the thunder, but was way off in his World Series prediction. This year I'm bringing this special preview to SB Nation Detroit and, this year, the preview is in the hands of Jeffrey Lebowski a/k/a The Dude, and he abides ...
Look, nobody calls me Lebowski. I'm The Dude, man, so that's what you call me. That, or Duder. His Dudeness. Or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing [takes out joint and lights it].
So, man, I was asked to do this preview of the 2011 Tigers because all these other nihilists are coming out with boring, uh, unDude-like previews. It was this or watching my landlord perform his dance quintet at the Jackson's Fountain Street Theatre. Plus, this will, like, help pay my rent, you know. By the way, this is quite a pad you have here at SB Nation Detroit. Completely unspoiled.
A little background info on me: I was, uh, one of the authors of the Port Huron Statement. The original Port Huron Statement. Roadie for Metallica. Speed of Sound Tour. For recreation, I bowl, drive around ... the occasional acid flashback.
So, let's put The Man in Me on the Walkman, man, pour ourselves a White Russian, lay back, and preview the 2011 Detroit Tigers as we'll, uh, likely see them on Opening Day in New York.
This is a really complicated team, man. Lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of what have yous, and a lot of strands to keep in my head, man. Lot of strands in old Duder's ... fortunately, I'm sticking to a very strict drug regimen to keep my mind limber ... [grabs the Kahlua]
1. Austin Jackson, CF
Nobody, except maybe Kenny Powers, expected Jackson to definitively replace Curtis Granderson, man. Yeah well, that's just, ya know, like, your opinion, man. Jackson hit .293/.345/.745 last year with 27 steals and made, uh, a lot of really cool plays in the field ... all enough to make everyone that matters forget about the league-high 170 strikeouts. The nihilists didn't pick him as the Rookie of the Year, but he was, man. I know that.
This year, Jackson added some muscles and wants 40 steals. But, hey, cool it, man. We'll probably see his average dip a little, but he'll still be a really cool lead off hitter, and will make a strong case for one of those, you know, gold glove things, man.
2. Ryan Raburn, LF
The perception is that Ryan Raburn is not very good. Well, that's your perception and, well, you're usually right, man. But Raburn has taken it upon himself to make the unspoken message "Fuck You" and "Leave me the fuck alone." Yeah, he'll misjudge a few fly balls, probably drop a couple others, and make a fool of himself at the plate at times, but he's really trying to prove his worthwhileness, man.
Last season he hit .333/.382/.967 with 13 round trippers from August, uh, onward and has continued that hot-hitting through Spring Training this year (.321/.390/.994 with four bombs), man. He's added some muscle this year and clearly shaves his forearms, so, uh, yeah, he's got all that going for him. I'd say expect 20-25 home runs and a batting average around .275-.285 range, man.
3. Magglio Ordonez, DH/RF
Fucking fascist! ... Okay, calm down, man. Magglio is, uh, like, coming off a season in which his toe was cut off and he missed half the season (Okay, I'm being nudged and told that he broke his ankle, man. But whose toe was it then?) Anyway, Maggs has 109 RBIs combined over the past two years, but he's, uh, going for 147 this year. Look, man, he's now a one-year goon who will get you 100 RBIs while hitting close to, if not over, uh, .300. But let's not forget that he's 37-years-old and he's flunking social studies.
4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
A wiser man than myself once told me that sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, uh, eats you. Here's the thing, man: Cabrera likes to go out and mingle, and mixes one hell of a Caucasian. Does the Pope shit in the woods? Everyone assumes Cabrera has this serious, debilitating drinking problem and, well, you're not wrong, man, you're just an asshole. Cabrera had a beverage, man. I know his rights, man. He was innocent. Not a charge was true, and they say he ran awaaaay. So, Cabrera had a rough night and he hates the fucking Eagles, man. They gave dude a beeper, he has a fucking lawyer, probably Bill Kunstler, man.... And, you know what, man, he'll still hit 30-plus home runs, knock in over 100 runs, and bat over .300. He'll win the MVP, man. No funny stuff, Jackie.
5. Victor Martinez, C/DH
6. Casper Wells, RF
Man, I really thought three men in red onesies with giant scissors were going to be chasing this guy back to the minors, man. But here he is as the likely starting RF on Opening Day (and any other game against lefties in which Maggs DH's). I dig the way the Tigers do business. You throw out a ringer for a ringer. He won't see too much action this year, but he could be marking an eight in the home run column. Same goes for that Brennan Boesch guy, man.
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
Did you know that Peralta, uh, claims he's the only person in the world to spell his name CORRECTLY!? Man, he thinks every other John or Johnny spells their name wrong! Uh-huh. Come off it, Peralta. What the fuck are you talking about, man? Everyone spells it John or Johnny for a reason, not because they're all dipshits. Next you'll tell me Lebowski wanted to cut off my Jhonson and not my Johnson. You've got nothin' on my Johnson. But go ahead and have your 77 RIBs and 16 RHs anyway, man.
8. Brandon Inge, 3B
The Donny of the squad, man. Always there, since 2001, and, like, you know, making really great plays at third base while also not making great plays, man. I'll let Walter take this one: Ingey's a good athlete and a good man. He's a man who loves helping needy children, and baseball. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia to that college in the Final Four, and up to Detroit. Ingey is an athlete. And a good friend. In your wisdom, you took his knees during his best season, Lord. As you took so many flowering young men, at Khe San and Lan Doc and Hill 364. Those young men gave their lives. And Ingey, too ... Ingey who ... who loves baseball.
9. Will Rhymes, 2B
If there was a Dude on the Tigers, Will Rhymes is the dude, man. Now, second base for the Tigers, yeah, well, right man, there are many facets to this position, uh, you know, lot of interested parties. Rhymes won it out, but this will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man. Does Rhymes look like a guy the Tigers are married to? He leaves the toilet seat up, man. At least he's house broken -- he hit .304/.350/.763 in 213 plate appearances last year, man. If he hits anything close to that again this year he'll be the guy who really ties this lineup together.
1. Justin Verlander
Fuckin A. This creep can roll, man. He treats hitters like women, man. Man, I'm not trying to scam anyone here, you know, I'm just trying to tell you that Verlander will figure out April and win that Cy Young award thing. I'm just gonna go find a cash machine. ... That's my robe. And stay away from my special ... my fuckin' lady friend, man.
2. Max Scherzer
When somebody told me Max Scherzer has two different colored eyes, I thought, that's fucking interesting, man; that's fucking interesting. Far out. Some people say he's part man with a pair of testicles and part machine. And everyone's using something called sabermetrics, this wave of the future, to predict how he'll fare this year. Well, I still jerk off manually. Scherzer will have a cool season, man, but he, uh, you know, won't be as good as he was in the second half last year.
3. Rick Porcello
This real fuckin' brat has movement on all of his pitches that won't necessarily make hitters miss, man, but will frustrate them enough to make them hit it into the ground or, you know, uh, charge the mound and then get tossed. Mostly a pacifist like myself, the Tigers' fate is in Porcello's hands, man. If he doesn't step up, he'll fuck it up. I think he will step up, man.
4. Phil Coke
The problem is ... what do you mean what's the ... there's no ... Okay, so Phil Coke has one start in the big leagues despite being a starter in the minors. But it's possible he's the next C.J. Wilson, man. Oh yeah? Or not. Can't be worried about that shit, man. Life goes on.
5. Brad Penny
Strikes and gutters, ups and downs. Brad Penny was once a stud pitcher and then he started having, you know, shoulder problems and shit. If you don't know that Penny could be a more than serviceable fifth starter for the Tigers this year, assuming Penny stays healthy, then obviously you're not a golfer.
Alright, I'm out of here. ... What? I have to make a season prediction? *sighhhhhhh*
This ain't a First Amendment thing, man, but I'm going to put on Song of the Whale and predict that the Tigers are going to win the A.L. Central this year. Far fucking out.
You don't believe me? Ohhhh, nice marmot.
Who you gonna believe, those guys or ... ? We... I. The royal we, you know, the editorial. Look. Man, I've got certain information. Alright. Certain things have come to light. And, you know, uh, has it ever occurred to you, that instead of, uh, you know, running around, uh, uh blaming me, you know, given the nature of all this new shit, you know, this could be, you know, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, complex. I mean, it's not just, it might not be, such a simple, uh, you know? I'll tell you what I'm blathering about! I got information.
Hasn't that ever occurred to you, man? Sir? Okay, well, you know, you guys aren't privy to all the new shit, so, uh, you know. But that's what you pay me for. Speaking of which, do you think you could, uh, give me, my 20-grand in cash? I'm thinking, and I've got to check with my accountant, but I think this might bump me up into a higher tax, uh...well, if you already got the check made out, well, that's cool.
Thanks to the Dude for stopping by and giving us our Tigers preview. Maybe he'll do it again for us next year ...Just one thing, Dude: do you have to use so many cuss words?
What the fuck you talking about? No problemo, man. I'll come back if I'm ever in the neighborhood ... and need to use the john.