For those cursed with having access to the MLB Network on your televisions, did you catch two monumental disses of the Tigers in recent weeks?
The network runs a series called “Prime 9,” in which it presents Top 9 lists in various categories. It’s sort of like the NFL Network’s “Top Ten” series, but in 30-minutes instead of 60, and done in a far less entertaining nature.
Two lists caught my eye as I thumbed through the on-screen guide: Top 9 Double Play Combinations of All-Time, and Top 9 Plays at the Plate in baseball history.
They caught my eye because of what I perceived would be heavy Tigers influence on each list.
Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, I knew, would adorn the Top 9 double play combos. I wanted to see how high they ranked, according to the wonks charged with compiling the list for MLB Network.
And as far as plays at the plate go, how much more important can you get than the one that occurred in Game 5 of the 1968 World Series, when Willie Horton nailed Lou Brock at the plate at Tiger Stadium, turning the tide of not only that game but of the entire series?
So I tuned in.
Tram and Sweet Lou couldn’t even break the Top 5 in MLB Network’s Top 9 combos, if you can imagine such a thing.
The two men who combined to turn the most double plays as a duo in history, the two who played alongside each other for 18 years, aren’t even in the top five?
They were placed behind the likes of Cleveland’s Robbie Alomar/Omar Vizquel and the network’s choice for #1 combo, Mark Belanger and Bobby Grich of the Baltimore Orioles.
As if “Prime 9” didn’t hurt its credibility enough with that sad display, it hit rock bottom in its episode about top plays at the plate.
The Horton/Brock/Bill Freehan play didn’t even make the cut!
Oh, but they included the post-season play where Giants manager Dusty Baker’s kid had to be pulled from harm’s way by J.T. Snow.
The Horton/Brock/Freehan play took place in a pivotal game of a World Series in which the trailing team rallied to capture the championship. It’s legendary, and its photographic images are iconic.
Who can’t see, with their eyes closed, Brock’s foot an inch away from the plate as Freehan applies the tag?
Yet it didn’t even make MLB Network’s list. Some of the ones that did, aside from the Baker incident, were suspect at best.
The 1968 World Series play at the plate should have been a no-brainer.
And putting Trammell and Whitaker in the top 3, or higher, was similarly a task that should have required little to no brain power.
Then again, maybe the disrespect is no surprise, given the pair’s obscenely poor showing in Hall of Fame balloting.
“Prime 9” is falsely named.