Sunday, June 04, 2006

Buy That Man A Lunch! Dombrowski's Signing Of Rogers Oh-So-Important

If Kenny Rogers never wins another game for the Tigers this season, I'll still buy Dave Dombrowski lunch for signing the veteran lefthander.

Every time the TV cameras show Rogers in the dugout on his off day, he's talking. And who he's talking to is one of the team's younger pitchers: Jeremy Bonderman. Nate Robertson. And, last night, Zach Miner.

Miner, just called up from Toledo, will start today's game against the Red Sox, subbing for the injured Mike Maroth. And during last night's 6-2 win, the kid seemed to be picking Rogers' 41 year-old pitching brain. At least that's what it looked like, everytime the telecast showed us young Miner, who was huddled next to Rogers, charting pitches.

Rogers seems to revel in the brain-picking. He appears to speak with a matter-of-factness that can't be taught -- it can only be learned, and from years of experience. You can't tell me that Rogers' influence hasn't been a big reason why the Tigers' starters are key to helping the team possess the major leagues' lowest ERA.

That was all part of the plan, of course. DD's signing wasn't only for what Rogers can bring to the mound every fifth day, but what he can bring to the clubhouse -- specifically the pitchers -- everyday. He is a Yoda of pitching, and no wonder the kid Tigers hurlers hang on his every word. Just about all of them have raved about Rogers' taking the time to fill their heads with tales of wisdom. And it's working.

The Tigers haven't had this sort of combination pitcher/professor since...wait a minute, it'll come to me...umm...

Come to think of it, maybe they never have had this in the past 38 years -- since 1968 when Elroy Face spent the autumn of his career in Detroit. But Roy was a reliever, and the Tigers were already well on their way to the pennant when he came aboard in September.

To have a guy like Rogers, who can tell you how to do it one day, and then go out and actually do it the next, is a rare luxury. And he's one very big reason the Tigers sit atop their division this morning -- in June, no less.

What are you waiting for, DD? I already said lunch was on me.


Blogger Ozz said...

I was somewhat skeptical at first, but decided to keep an open mind. KR was definitely a good pickup.

3:14 AM  

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