Waiting to put it all together

Just to get off the bat and answer a question, no come-out songs here. People were asking what kind of come-out songs do we as starters have, and none of the starters have songs. I’d like to say that we’re a little less maintenance, but what we do and why the bullpen guys do have come-out songs is because what the bullpen guys do is so much more of a high intensity that I think they need their moment to get locked in and music obviously helps some of these guys. We just go out there to whatever the stadium plays to get the game going.

Moving on to this past week, week and a half, I think the biggest thing, obviously in the paper and on record, our head’s right above .500 and we really haven’t caught stride yet. We’ve got a great team here. We just haven’t all put it together. I think the guys in here, nobody’s lost any faith in anybody. Again, we do know how good we are. We’re just waiting for us to all put it together. Baseball’s really kind of a funny game. You look at our team and last year, this team with less talent went to the World Series, and now we’re really an upgraded team and just haven’t caught stride.

But also, keep in mind, so that nobody’s discouraged, that this division is the toughest division in baseball. Now, certain people won’t get into that. I think every team in the Major Leagues is a quality team. You’ve got to have talent to be here, but I think that man for man and player for player, this is the toughest division. I don’t want to say it’s the most talented, but it is the toughest division. You’ve got really good ballclubs. And what makes a good ballclub is how guys fit together, how guys mesh and the chemistry. It’s not necessarily the talent on the team that wins. But this team right here, the reason we went as far as we did, we have talent, but we work well together and we have a manager who has a system that he put in play and we followed suit. And that’s what makes good clubs.

You look at the managers in this division: Eric Wedge, I know Eric Wedge, and Eric Wedge is a no-nonsense kind of guy. Ron Gardenhire, his track record speaks for itself. Ozzie’s had success over in Chicago. And Buddy Bell, I’ve heard nothing but good things about him. He’s earned the respect of his players, and I think that’s the biggest thing, how players play for their manager and how they play together. They all have to believe in something, so that’s why I want to reiterate the fact that everybody in here believes in each other and they believe in the system. That’s why we know we’re going to be fine. We just need to put some things together. We’ve had some dramatic wins and we’ve had some dramatic losses, and that’s just really kind of where we’re at right now.

The funny thing is I think even with losing a couple games here and winning a couple games there and just kind of floating around .500, we’re only a couple games out of first place. And everybody’s beating each other up. That’s not only just in this division. Really, it’s across the league. Eight days ago I looked in there, and every team in the league except for one team was within two games of .500 on one side or the other. So there’s nothing to be concerned about. I think there is concern.

I’ve read a couple blogs where there’s concern about players and why guys are starting slow, and that’s the toughest thing about the game. You go out and you’re successful and there’s the expectations in the following season and going out and repeating. I said this before, in Spring Training, that so many things have to happen in order for us to get back to where we were. Guys have to perform at the same level. You have to stay healthy, and you have to have those guys who come in and produce when the other guys are down that you weren’t expecting to produce. You’ve got a couple of classic examples, and we were talking about this the other day on the starting pitching staff. When Mike got hurt last year, Zach Miner came in here and won six straight games. It was huge. At the end of the year, he was 7-6. But at that point in the season, when he came in and did the things that he did, that was a heck of a rookie year for him. What he did was huge, and that’s the kind of stuff that has to happen.

You have to have guys perform at the same level. Kenny’s gone right now. We’re going to have to have guys step up. That’s the kind of team that we need to be. The Minnesota Twins have been doing that for years. The Minnesota Twins have guys go down and they have some player come up and fill a hole. You never heard of him and he’s great, he’s scrappy and he gets the job done. And that’s what it’s going to take for this team to be successful. When we do lose some of our key players, we’ve got to be ready to go. Our key players need to go out and do what they’re capable of doing. And we’re going to be fine.

I think for the most part, this team’s got everything in the world to be proud of, because where some guys aren’t necessarily performing to their level, other guys are picking them up. I mean, we’ve picked each other up pretty good so far. So that’s just shedding some light on where we’re at right now for anybody that’s reading in. We’re going to give the fans and everybody around the city plenty of dramatic comeback wins. We’ve done it already. And I know that this city is still every much alive. I had some kids Saturday yelling at me. We were down 11-3 in the ninth, and I’ve got some kids screaming at me because they’re telling me it’s gum time. Eight runs. I’m a big believer that anything can happen, but we’ll just keep gum time down for right now. But, you know, what’s awesome about that is people believe that we can do it, even at 11-3. They believe that we can put it together, and they’re all up there in the front row behind the dugout at yelling at me to get it going.


  1. ty_schwamberger@yahoo.com

    I agree with what you are saying Nate. I think you have a very strong team. You can tell how the guys are around each other and playing together – that you all believe in each other and as you said, that is important.

    I also agree that it is just a matter of time before all guys in the lineup ‘click’ and then it will really get exciting! I know the bullpen with its struggles in April will also pull together as the months go on.

    Don’t think us fans aren’t behind you anymore, because we are and always will be. I have been a Tiger fan for 29yrs and finally celebrated it a few weeks ago by getting the “D” tattooed on my arm. 4-Life, as I like to say!

    Good Luck and keep it up!

  2. thisjobrocks@yahoo.com

    Hey Nate,

    Since you brought up come-out songs….What can we do to help some of the latin guys pick out some stronger songs? No offense to them, but when you’ve got this studly baseball player coming up to bat, and his music sounds like he might just break out into a Mexican Hat Dance, it’s a real bummer…..sorry to sound like such a girl (I am)… I know it’s not the most important thing in the game of baseball, but it’s what’s on my mind today.

    Keep up the good work-


  3. gkgruden1@comcast.net

    To me it is pretty clear, you guys provided us with a lot of great memories last year, and we are spoiled here in Michigan. We are used to some pretty good sports teams, but the Tigers took us all by surprise last year. And good or bad we are expecting the same.

    To me there have been a few really encouraging things.

    There has been some really great starting pitching and unfortunately very few wins for the starters (even though we won the game) Curtis is doing much better at the plate, not striking out nearly as much. Magglio, Polanco, Pudge and Carlos as now swining the bat very well. And I see signs of the other guys starting to come out of it.

    The bull pen with a few exceptions has been hit or miss. Rodney is doing better and I think that Joel will be fine. But if they can do what they did last year, I think that the Tigers will be major contenders.

    I am expecting to spend a lot of time at the ball park this year and looking forward to every game. Hopefully it will get better because so far the 3 games that I have gone to we have lost. Hopefully I am not a jinx.


    Congratulations Magglio on being player of the week.

  4. tffmss@comcast.net

    Nate – You’re absolutely right. People tend to get worked up when things aren’t going perfectly, and it’s just not possible all of the time. Things will come together, and there are a lot of great things happening in the meantime.

    Just keep up the great pitching and keep believing in each other. You’re amazing!



  5. l1belle17@netzero.com

    Hey Natey,
    Great Blog, I never give up hope on my Tigers I watch all nine innings not matter how late the game stays on, even if I have to work or go to school the next day. Because with all the talent on the team we could come from 8 runs behind in the 9th and I would not want to miss that for the world.

    It is also really exciting for this team because with all the young talent in Toledo, and all the amazing young talent we have on the roster right now, the Tigers will be contenders for years to come!

    I am also glad to see Kenny hanging around the dugout lately, I know how much he means to all the players and the fans and it is great to have him back in Detroit. You can tell him I said he looks better than ever too! 😀

    Your Loyal Red-Head in Midland,MI

  6. jess@kafloom.com

    Big Nate!

    My wife is constantly trying to figure what song goes with which player. And it’s true about some of the Latin songs, they sometimes sound like a thugged out version of the Mexican hat dance. But if Daddy Yankee gets those guys pumped up like, “The Eye of The Tiger” did for Rocky then who am I to say squat.

    I ditched the sign that read, “Gary Hit The Ball”. I should probably put something together that says, “Hit Gary with the Ball”. Looks as if you get that guy fired up he’ll knock the skin off the ball.

    BTW, I about cracked up watching Zumaya getting all fired up during the bench clearing with Baltimore. I’m thinking to myself, hey worry about your fast-ball and less about your upper-cut. I have to say I was completely surprised that Bondo would dare run at someone holding a bat (Tejada). I’m glad no punches were thrown because it could have screwed up the game and ruined someone’s image. I let my 6 year old who’s going into tee ball watch you guys… I don’t want him charging the mound if the kid laughs at him when he misses the ball and hits the tee.

    Hey, I’m doing my best to get Curtis Granderson as a write-on for the All-Star game. See if you can use your media influences to do the same (please). You have to admit that kid is star material and a perfect role model… What parents wouldn’t want their MLB-star son living at home!

    Any tips I can give to a group of 6-7 year olds? I mean, something in your mind you wish you would have known from the beginning that you do regularly. We’re nailing down the basics like, batting, catching, throwing, and having fun. Occasionally, we’ll have to tell a kid to slow up on the throw to the other kid standing 2 feet away. But it makes for good times and my son loves pretending that he’s Zumaya in the outfield. He said he’d like to be Magglio, but he’s got too long of hair.

  7. cat_mansion@hotmail.com

    I really enjoy your blogs. You just hang in there. I wish you the best tomorrow in your start. I have no doubt you will give it your all.

  8. hokeygurl019@yahoo.com

    Hey Nate,

    Just sitting back on this great Wednesday watching you pitch. Good outting. I liked that everyone gave you a standing when Grilli came in for you…I was clapping at home. I do that all the time for you at home 🙂

    I liked your latest blog here the best out of all of them. I can totally understand where you are coming from. People that I talk to keep saying “They just aren’t the same” But you have to believe in the team as well as the team believing in themselves. I can see from watching on tv and being at the games that this team is so bonded and strong that you WILL come together. And, when it all comes together, you guys will soar like always. I think the team is wonderful, win or lose. We have had some tough loses but some rememberable wins. Keep your heads up..

    As for songs, I think it would be awfully cool if the starting pitchers got some type of start me up. You’re in there for the long hall…6-7-8 innings..you need something…I was thinking some sort of rock-country thing for you. What do you think? (ha ha). Anyhow, I will be watching every game and always be a Tigers and Nate fan at heart. You’re the best!

  9. lfbyrne@keyconstruction.com

    Did you have a “song” with the Shockers? I can’t remember….the seasons start to run together. There was an article in the Eagle this week about the WSU players and their songs, so I thought it was interesting that you mention it in your blog. It always entertains me to see what song the player is going to pick. Earlier this year Connor Gillaspie (3B) had the oddest song choice….some girlie song (and I’m a girl). Thank God he changed it. Great game today, by the way.

  10. nrtigerfan@yahoo.com

    Congratulations on the WIN today…this is your year! I stayed home to watch the game (the joy of being self employed) and of course had my lucky tiger slippers on (I didn’t have any rally gum on hand:-(.Keep up the great work, you’re *always* in our prayers.

  11. smg3d@aol.com

    Congrats on win #3! Sheff and C-MO came in huge with those homers! Good team effort all around. I also agree with what you are saying. You guys are a strong team and nothing can change that. There will be stumbling blocks here and there but, like you said, the Central division is one of the toughest in baseball right now. Many continued success!!

  12. grandyfan28@aol.com

    you guys are doing great. a bad start would be starting
    0-9 (i.e the year 2003) and you, personally, are off to an AWESOME start. you can definitely win around 17 games..its just that **** run support! lol. congrats on your 3rd win yesterday…keep it up:):)

  13. deezink@gmail.com

    Hi Nate
    As I read your responses to your blogs, everyone claims to be the Tigers #1 fan. But I would like to take claim for that. I remember in ’68 coming home from kindergarten and watching the Tigers win the World Series. I was present at every playoff and World Series game in ’84. I have a Trammell and Gibson bat from those games played and a World Series ball. Actually we are neighbors, well kinda sort of we live in a close neighboring sub (I could actually walk to your house). I make my husband chew Big League Chew to the point that his jaws are sore! He actually bought me a jersy to wear to one of the World Series games last year, which I hope one day you will be able to autograph, the only bad thing is–it isn’t yours SORRY:( But will you still autograph? PLEASE!

    I would like to THANK YOU and the team for a very fun ’06 season and continued sucess for a fun ’07. Go Get’em Tigers! Denise

  14. l1belle17@netzero.com

    Hey Natey,
    Just wanted to say congratulations Mr. Tigers Pitcher of the Month. 😛 I think that is really cool, and I am soo happy for you.

    Your Loyal Red-Head in Midland,Mi

  15. gum.time@gmail.com

    Good work so far this season, Nate, I’m really impressed by your performances on the mound as of late. And I’m glad you’re finally getting a little run support behind you to put some in the Win column.

  16. donnybrascofbi@yahoo.com

    Congrats on the great start you’ve had in the 2007 season. Pitching behind Bonderman and Verlander it seems that you don’t quite get the recognition you deserve. It’s been a real treat watching you grow as a pitcher. You appear to have gained so much confidence…a couple baserunners getting on 2 years ago was a sign of sure danger, and now, well, you just seem to dig down and get the job done. Good luck in KC over the weekend…tell the guys to watch out for Teahan, he’s starting to hit again.

  17. cougarertel@hotmail.com

    hi Nate
    congrats on a great start. what you have said was bang on. it is the truth. the al central has the teams. and most of the talent. I do have a question for you. how has bondo stood up to the fact he has had 6 great outings yet only 1 win? i was at the toronto game and that was the best game i have seen in a long time. your sunday game against towers was a freak, towers has not done that agian. is bondo getting ticked at the run surport? i am glad sheff. is starting to come around. I am just a little worried about bondo

  18. janweber@mchsi.com

    It’s interesting how a good team can lose to a poor team on any given day. Any thoughts on this? Is it just dumb luck that a last-place team wins a series from a first-place team, or are there other factors, such as lack of intensity or concentration when you’re facing a poorer team? Looking forward to seeing you play at Minnesota next week, but I’ll be cheering for the Twins. The Central Division is the best for sure!

  19. venessa_fels@yahoo.com

    Hi Nate
    Great start for the 2007 season. You are all taking your turns pulling the team through for a win. Gum time seems to still be working and a big hit with us fans!! Keep up the positive attitudes and keep going strong!

  20. briansprung@yahoo.com

    Thanks for taking the time for us fans again!! It’s good to see you are off to a great start this year and getting some run support. You are right about the Central being the toughest division in baseball. But I think when the dust settles you’ll be pitching well into October if all goes well. And as for a song for you to come out to check this song out!! http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1177379487948212037

    hahaha Now that would be funny to see you running out to that song!! Look forward to seeing you soon at the park!! Go Tigers!!!!

  21. berri4cmu@gmail.com

    Hey Nate,

    GREAT come-from-behind win yesterday. I am so happy to see the Team seems to have hit their stride.

    I am go glad to see players like you and Curtis have online blogs – it really helps us fans connect.

    Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing you guys again on the 19th for the World Series rematch weekend 😀

    Tell Zumaya we’re pulling for a speedy recovery.

  22. seano32b@yahoo.com


    Well, if there is a team out there that can pull of a come-from-behind win it’s the Tigers. As for the team’s “stride.” I’d say you’re definitely building up steam.

    Late. . .


  23. tori7748640@yahoo.com

    HEY NATE! Congrats to you all seven straight. The team is looking stronger and stronger, got to love it. Looking forward to your pitching Wed. good luck. I know your family is still in Kansas I hope with all the storms down there all is well with them. Keep up the great work. Also, I am here in Midland, do you have any plans on seeing a LOONS game at all this year? We’d love to have you stop on by. PS.. any plans on shaving anytime in the near future? :)TORI in Midland

  24. neednspace@aol.com

    hey nate,

    just wanted to say hi. saw you on tv the other night and loved the “hairy man” look. its such a reflection of your great, fun-loving personality i remember so well. i find myself yelling out at the tv, “Atta-boy Nate!” just like the good ol days at the Brevard Manatee stadium. i hope you and kristin are doing well. God bless you and have fun!


  25. tori7748640@yahoo.com

    EIGHT STRAIGHT!! Looks like you guys found the “groove”. Each game I watch it gets more and more exciting. Looking forward to seeing you pitch tonight. Lets make it NINE, I know you can do it!! Here’s to you big guy………hugsss TORI

  26. philip.taylor@lfg.com

    Just wanted to say, I always read you column and have followed you for awhile now! You’re the pride of my Fantasy team and a talented writer as well. I just wanted to drop you a line and wish you a great outing tonight, not that you’ll read this in time but I hope you take us to 9 straight! I’ll be chewing a mouthful of gum the whole night!

  27. hopwoods@toast.net

    Hey there Nate,
    My daughter thinks your the best. She would love to have one of the t-shirts that you’re wearing in a commerical for the games. It reads: “IT’S GUM TIME”. Where can we get one?? We watch every game and can’t wait to see when you break out the gum, so we can too!!

    Keep up the great pitching. We’ll see you at the game on May 27.

    GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. l1belle17@netzero.com

    Hey Natey,
    Well it is nice to see you are human,cause the way you were pitching I was starting to wonder if you had super powers are something. I just love to watch you pitch, it makes me smile after a long day of work & school. I can’t wait for your start against the Red Sox, that should be a great game. Well, not for the Red Sox of course, I imagine they dont like to lose. 😉

    You remember when you did that interview about if you had to pick a famous actor to play yourself in a movie, who would you pick? Well, you said you couldn’t think of anybody. Ever since then I have been trying to come up with an actor who would be suitable for the job. It wasn’t easy…. and after a lot of thought I have decided that Richard Gere would make a good candidate, even though he is lil older than you. You both have that classy, soft spoken, intelligent, down to earth thing going on. 😀 I hope you boys have a safe road trip and bring home some more victories!!!

    Your Loyal Red-Head in Midland,MI

  29. starkyshark@nerdslut.net

    Nate… I don’t know if this is completely inappropriate, but I don’t know how else to get a message to Jeff Weaver. I know this may be stretching the boundary of what I should post as a comment, but as a former Tiger, I became dearly attached to Jeff during his time in Detroit and have continued to follow his career. Thanks so much for read.

    Dear Jeff,

    You are a great pitcher–and even with your current 14.32 ERA: you still have fans and You. Still. Are. A. Great. Pitcher. I have watched you since the year 2000 and remember thinking to myself, “Wow. That guy’s hot,” and by hot I mean totally hot–you’re insanely tall at 6’5″ (God knows I like ’em tall), but you are gorgeous, too (I particular love your hair)–but your arm is hot. When you pitch, it’s a thing of beauty. Your arm is, at once, rubber and rock–which is the stuff of great pitchers.

    But when I watch you play, and you start to get upset because the beautiful arm of yours is going a little rubbery-out-of-control, your emotions fuel the pitching. Which tends to either: a) Completely focus you, making you a scary man to watch dominate or b) Completely unfocus you, making you a scary man to watch being dominated. When it’s Option A, it’s so much fun to watch and I’m rooting for you to sit those ******* down. When it’s Option B, it makes me want to give you a hug and a cup of Celestial Seasonings Honey, Chamomile and Green Tea to calm you down.

    You’re a rock star, what with the arm and the hair and all. But that broody rock star thing can only last so long before it starts to overtake you.

    I don’t know if Nate Robertson (also total hottie, but in a sexy-bearded-hottie sort of way) is going to be able to get you this message, but I hope he does: Your fans still follow your career–no matter how many teams you transfer to, even if that means keeping tabs on the Evil Empire. Please don’t give up. We have not given up. And please give us the Jeff Weaver of Old.



    P.S. I think Jered’s a total copycat.

  30. seano32b@yahoo.com


    Go get ’em tomorrow and give Jonsie some Big League chew. It seems like ever since he had that run in with the Angels, in that afternoon squeeker, he has had a little bit of a rough time. I know Jonsie has it in him, like all you guys, to buckle down. This is just a bump, on the road to destiny.

    Man, I have been there with the Tigers since 1975 and no matter where I live in the World, you guys will always be the NUMERO UNO!

    Late. . .


    aka: the ICE Man

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