Knowing your role

Vance Living the life of a big league player is about as good as it gets.  Most guys in the big leagues realize how fortunate they are to be playing in a major league uniform.  The Tigers have a couple of back ups that truly appreciate coming to the park every day, even if they know they probably won’t be in the lineup.  It takes a special mentality to stay ready when you know you won’t start.  For the Tigers, Vance Wilson and John McDonald succeed at their roles as well as anyone in the league.

Wilson is no stranger to sitting behind a star.  In New York, he backed up Mike Piazza and here in Detroit, it’s Pudge Rodriguez.  The secret to performing well as a backup is coming to the park everyday expecting to play.  Even if you are not in the starting lineup, you have to expect that at one point you will get in the game.  "Especially at the catching position," WIlson told me earlier this year.  "Injuries happen and you have to be ready to play at any moment," he said.  So do suspensions.  Earlier this year, Wilson was pressed into duty when Pudge Rodriquez was out of commission.  Wilson started in eight of the Tigers nine games in a stretch in August as Pudge sat out with a suspension.  "Al Leiter taught me a lot about preparation and staying ready," Wilson said.  Vance is often seen in the dugout chatting with the starting pitcher even on night’s when he is not playing.  There is no question that Vance wants to start in the big leagues, but he also realizes that if he doesn’t have success as a backup, he may never get a chance to start.

Macd John McDonald is a baseball player. There is no better way to describe him.  When the Tigers acquired him in a trade with Toronto in July, the move was met with little fanfare.  Yet, with Carlos Guillen’s inability to remain in the lineup with knee problems, McDonald’s acquisition  gave the Tigers some depth.  A fan favorite in Cleveland, it’s not hard to see why.  Johnny Mac is not afraid to get the uni dirty.  With the ability to play all infield positions, his value is often unappreciated.  In the second game of a doubleheader in Kansas City on Tuesday, McDonald made an unbelievable catch.  On a short pop up to right field, McDonald sprinted to short right, and with his back to the infield, made a diving over the shoulder grab that may have been one of the top three catches of the year for the Tigers.  It was also a play that epitomized McDonald’s value to the club.

5 Comments

I don’t know how it could be, but it seems as though the Tigers need an attitude overhaul. I’m still po’d at the Farnswoth deal. If Dombrowski knew what he was doing-he’d try like **** to bring him back next year. Something has to be done to show an effort on our part- or the like of Pudge will be gone as well

Given the pervasive attitude of “it’s all about me” in today’s culture – and notably MLB- guys like McDonald and Wilson are wonderfully refreshing. Their work ethic and dedication are certainly noteworthy. Unfortunately, many Tiger’s fans forget that these men are on the team and that they do have something of value to contribute. Thanks for the reminder and well done!

Hello Mario,
Greatly appreciate your work on broadcasts with Rod Allen. I have one observation I would like to make. As I listen to all the games, I have noticed one comment you make when addressing the line-up. As you point out who is playing in each field, eg, “Monroe is in left tonight…, you always say when Wilson is in, “…and Wison is in for Pudge.” You never say, for example, Clevelen is playing for Granderson, etc., but always refer to Wilson is in for Pudge rather than “is behind the plate finishing the battery.” It does have its implications, but take it from there. Sincerely, Lee Cagle

Mario
You know baseball and we all appreciate that, but if you would be QUIET for just a bit we might be able to hearwhat Rod Allen has to say.

Sincerely,

Well, as Forest Gump said, “Stupid is as stupid does” and Rod you are becoming the CHAMP. What is this garbage that when Brandon Inge fielded a tough one with his bare hand then threw out the runner at first, that he learned this from Infanti and Guillen? Get it straight… Brandon can teach and has taught those teamates without bias how to do the job…. Now as to Tome hitting to the left of Brandon at third as this is what Tome does and will do… WOW, Tome struck out. What happened MR KNOWITALL? You make me sick. I have started my own score card on your “blather” and find that you are 72.6% wrong on your predictions…including all of the hype on Buehler and how you two spent so much time yaking about the great pitching of the Sox that we missed the first two pitches of Kenney Rogers. Thanks a lot. You two are so enamored with your schpeal and the tenorous tones of your voices it puts us to sleep… Give me Mr. Price any day!

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