Where to begin? Well, I would say those first-inning rallies were completely without gum. But you know what? I don’t think there’s ever a time that is without gum. I’m pretty sure somebody in the stands somewhere opened up their pouch and said, "This is my rally chew. These are my five runs." Whoever’s doing it early on like that, it’s working pretty well. First time since 1891, that’s unbelievable. That was incredible. So it’s working early just as well as it’s working late in games.
It’s funny, when we got into town in Cleveland on Sunday night after the Oakland series, we were walking through the lobby of the hotel and I realized we aren’t the only ones recognizing this. I had a Cleveland fan sitting there in the hallway as I’m walking by saying, "Don’t be bringing any of that gum here." Somebody I’ve never seen before, had no idea who they were, but obviously a Cleveland fan. Also on the blog, there was a Cleveland fan who was skimming web sites and saw that we had this blog, and wrote in on it. They stated their loyalty to Cleveland, but felt pretty threatened by the gum, knowing we were coming to town.
Now, when we’re still leading those games, but it’s close, do we bring out the gum? Absolutely, and there’s another story. In the Oakland series on Sunday, it was 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Guillen had come up to the plate with a single, double and a triple. Obviously, everybody’s pulling for him to maybe hit for the cycle. So I look down, and there’s Craig and DY sitting right there, and everybody knew what would happen if he were to hit the home run. So I told them to throw in a pack, and DY took his first try at it. And DY isn’t afraid to tell you he’s got a big mouth. He can pack quite a bit in there. I don’t know how much he had in there, but it looked like it was over a pack. He threw in the big wad, and Guillen didn’t get the home run, but he rallied out a walk right there. So something good happened, but we can’t dictate quite yet what we get out of the rally.
It’s been good. The biggest one of the week was the only time that we did it last Wednesday in the sixth inning against Chicago. For the first time, we actually saw it flash up on the boards in the stadium. You know when they say, "Make some noise," or whatever? Well, they said, "It’s Gum Time." We had bases loaded and Craig was up. All the starters and a couple of the guys on the bench had the gum in, we all decided that was the inning. And Craig hits the grand slam.
If we do it on the bench, we’re going to get a majority of the starting pitchers, because we’re sitting around and we’ve got to stay in the game, too, do our part. But from time to time, some of the bench guys will join in, just like DY and Craig Sunday. Gomez has done it. Even if they’re in the game, some guys are jumping in on it. We’re having fun.
The thing is, it keeps things loose in tense situations. You’re talking about big-time moments — big, big moments. You come up in those big situations, and if you don’t have something that keeps you loose, you’ll tighten up to the point of focusing too much on the moment to relax. Enjoy the moment instead of letting the pressure overcome what you’re supposed to enjoy about it. So we’ve had some great moments, obviously. We did it again in the sixth inning of the next game [Thursday] against the White Sox and we tied it up in the sixth and eventually went ahead in the seventh. The only time I put it in was the sixth inning. It’s been a pretty good spot for putting it in.
Again, we’re getting the early rallies, too, that have certainly helped us. I looked at Vance on Monday said, "Dude, that’s three straight games where we’ve scored at least five runs. That’s not easy to do." Early in the game, the pitcher’s pretty fresh. Now that also means he can be a little anxious, getting the ball up in the zone, things like that. But some things have to happen. We’ve gotten some errors to extend innings. You’ve got to have the other team help you, or you’ve just got to be crushing the ball, and we’ve had a little bit of both.
Even now, with the footage that gets on ESPN on the highlights, our camera crews have been switching back and forth to our guys on the bench during a rally. But when ESPN shows it, I’m not sure the people at ESPN know about it. I know ESPN the Magazine had a mention, but the people who are actually doing the highlights, they don’t necessarily know what we’re doing. They probably just think we’re a bunch of nuts chewing a bunch of bubble gum. But it’s definitely popular in Detroit, and it’s not just in Detroit anymore. That’s what I want people to know. Everywhere we go, now it’s not just Detroit people saying, "Hey man, will you sign this gum." Now it’s, ‘Hey man, don’t bring that gum here." Again, it’s the team making this what it is. It’s been great.
Beyond all that, it’s still good to see people from back home on the blog writing in. It’s hard to respond to everyone, but I am reading them all. I want people to know that I read every entry. The poems are still coming. They’re getting longer, more imaginative. But on the next entry, we’ll definitely talk about some of the more interesting entries. And we’ll continue the stories.
As for this weekend, we need some gum. We need some gum. That’s going to be tough. It’s going to be Liriano, Radke and Santana. I had a feeling they were going to do that.