Thursday, August 31, 2006

Who Says Monroe Is Replaceable? Not Moi

I've been waiting to do this, and I've even considered NOT doing this.

I don't take any glee in calling out my fellow bloggers -- okay, maybe just a little -- but I just can't hold it in any longer.

Craig Monroe hit a majestic homerun last night in Yankee Stadium, a homerun for the ages -- which in recent Tigers history isn't saying much, but it certainly should go down as one of the most important regular season homeruns for the team in the past 15, 20 years. No, that's not an overstatement -- because I said so.

I also said this, over at Out of Bounds back on February 22nd, about Monroe, who still doesn't have a long-term Tigers contract:

He should be, barring anything unforeseeen, the Tigers' everyday leftfielder. But contract-wise, he's locked up for this year only. The Tigers plucked him off waivers from the Texas Rangers in February 2002, and now have, in my eyes, a gem on their hands. Monroe has the ability to be a solid number five or six hitter in the lineup. He can even handle the cleanup spot on occasion. His power and strength are impressive. He's even cutting down a tad on the strikeouts, which never hurts. So Dave Dombrowski better stop fiddling around and keep Monroe in a Tigers uniform for years to come. He has the strength to muscle the ball over Comerica Park's distant walls in left and left-center field. He doesn't drop the ball with his glove, and can throw it with some accuracy and zip. He is also another rarity among Tigers players of late: he is not baseball stupid.

Okay, fine. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally -- I know that. But here's where some playful ribbing of my fellow blogger, Billfer at Detroit Tigers Weblog, comes into play. Here's his response, posted a couple days later:

Now I like Greg as a writer, and I like Craig Monroe, but I can’t agree here. Monroe’s production is fairly typical, not extraordinary. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility and there is no need to sign him to a long term deal. I love his work ethic, his attitude, and I have no desire to see him leave. However, he is probably also one of the more replaceable players on the roster.

If anyone would like to replace Craig Monroe on the roster this morning, they should have their Old English D torn off their shoulder.

With all due respect to Billfer, who's clearly one of the most well-informed Tigers bloggers on this planet (plus I'm seeing him Tuesday at Comerica Park for Tigers Bloggers Night and I don't want him to punch me in the face), Craig Monroe didn't have the reputation for being Mr. Cool Cat in the clutch back in February. But he did have the credentials to have that potential.

What Monroe did last night was nothing short of amazing. It was just the latest in a string of late-inning heroics for him, but it was without doubt the most stunning and important. He jacked a breaking ball (no, Mike Rosenberg of the Freep, it WASN'T a fastball) well over the wall in left field to turn 2-3 ninth-inning, two-out deficit into a 5-3 win over the Yankees. Storybook stuff, because it's been oh-so-difficult for the Tigers in the past few weeks. Not only do they need wins, they needed this kind of win in the worst way. Perhaps this can jump-start them back into their earlier winning ways. The team could use a little 6-2 or 8-4 stretch right now to keep the pesky White Sox and Twins at Tayshaun Prince-arm's length.

As for Billfer, I've been surpressing this kind of post for a while, my friend. But Monroe's homer last night beat it out of me.

Be nice to me on Tuesday.


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