Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Defense of Detroit's Most Hated Hillbilly



In 2009, the Tigers had a guy that hit .291/.359/.533 with 16 homers and an OPS+ of 130 in 113 games. In 2010, he hit .280/.340/.474 with 15 homers and a 118 OPS+ in, again, 113 games. In 2011, he got off to an awful start, but still hit 14 homers and finished with an OPS+ of 96 with some big hits down the stretch. In the playoffs that year, he hit .286/.375/.536 with 2 home runs in 32 plate appearances. In that time, he played six different defensive positions, despite only really being suited for the outfield. But he did what his manager told him. And he put up a 3.7 WAR combined over that time.

Does this sound like the worst player in baseball history? Well, it is if you listen to many Tigers fans.

Ryan Raburn had a terrible 2012. In 66 games and 222 plate appearances, he hit .171/.226/.254 with 1 home run. He battled injuries, the death of his grandmother, and a crowd that booed his every move as if he was named Casey Anthony rather than Ryan Raburn.

The Tigers released Raburn (spelled Rayburn if you’re a mouth-breathing idiot) this past week. Personally, I would have liked to have seen him given one more year in a bench role. A healthy Raburn has value. That has been proven. But I understand the move based off his poor 2012, the salary raise he was due, and that I think he needs a change of scenery from the CoPa boo-birds.

But I cannot agree with the glee that so many folks take in his departure. Raburn was an important part of the 2009-2011 Tigers and all the good he did is constantly ignored while his mistakes are magnified like he was A-Rod in the unforgiving New York spotlight.

Do Tigers fans really have that short or selective of a memory? Do they hate all people with a Southern accent? Or are there really just that many idiots among us? You be the judge.

From the pit of loathing and misery known as the mLive comment section of their article on Raburn’s release:

Raburn was truly great for the sport of baseball. No other player in the last century has made so many beer-league softball players certain they were actually better than at least one major-leaguer. For some reason, Leyland and DD has a fetish of keeping players that Helen Keller could see weren't worth a contract. Let's start getting rid of the excuses for losing and start winning ballgames consistently throughout the year without having to worry about some 4-A player making an error to give up the lead or striking out with the bases loaded again.

Yes. Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski secretly conspire to field the worst players possible. How hasn’t Mike Ilitch realized this? Bring back Randy Smith! Also, just for fun, I’d like to point out that Raburn hit .318 with 3 grand slams in his career with the Tigers with the bases loaded. Next one.

LOOOOOOOONG OVERDUE!

He played poorly in 66 games last year after three years of success. Should they have cut him after day one? Suuuuuuuuuuck on an exhaust pipe. And way to add to the discussion. Next.

Ryan Raburn was a below-avg. baseball player, talent wise. Raburn was what we call a 4-A player. A good minor-league player. But, not good enough to stick on a MLB roster in most cases.

Yeah, that 2009-2011 run never happened. Please continue.

Raburn parlayed his minimal skills into a 5 yr. run with the Tigers, and a hefty paycheck last season!

He made $2.1 million last year. After being paid the league minimum until 2011. Ryan Raburn did not exactly get “Oprah rich” off the Tigers.

No Inge + No Rayburn = No World Series chances... Sarcasm aside, this was a necessary move for both Rayburn and the Tigers.

In the article this comment was written in response to, “Raburn” was spelled out 13 times by James Schmehl. Not enough, I guess. Sarcasm aside, go fist yourself. Next.

The Tigers needed the roster spot. I expect in midseason the Tigers to resign Rayburn. No body else will have him.

“Nobody” is just one word, my friend. And "Rayburn" doesn’t exist. And obviously, Raburn won’t have any trouble finding a job. I hope he hits a game winning homer against the Tigers in 2013. Just one. Then shits on home plate and moons the crowd afterward.

It's all about "what have you done for me lately..." This isn't a feel good social program for player self-esteem......we'll beat up on anyone making that kind of money that doesn't produce......kind of like "work".

Were people under the impression that Raburn was making Prince Fielder money? Christ. And as for the “what have you done for me lately” bullshit, does that mean they should have dropped JV after his awful 2008? Trammell after his poor 1985? Chicago should have shot Adam Dunn after 2011? Countless other examples? Keep “beating up” anyone that slumps, asshole. Kick people while they’re down. Whatever makes you feel better about your pathetic fucking life in which you are perfect every day. And......what the fuck......is......this?

HOW IS LEYLAND GOING TO SLEEP NOW? He's lost Inge and now Raburn. I wonder who he's gonna ask Santa for this christmas.

HAHAHAHAHA! Because Jim Leyland is a doodiehead! And because he foolishly uses the players that are on his team. And he LOVES bad players! HAHAHAHA! Get it? Haw…sigh.

The Tigers would benefit from just not having 25 guys on the bench. Give leyland like 20 so he can't play the 23-24-25 guys every night.

Because this actually happens. Bill Simonson must be contagious over there. Is there an actual disease name for being absurdly ignorant? There should be. Simonsitis?

The best thing is...now that Inge, Kelly, and Raburn are gone, the lineup will be pretty much "Leyland proof" (stealing this from a below poster). Jimbo will be lost now that he does'nt have a .170 hitting scrub to insert in the middle of the lineup come pennant race time...man, this team should win over 100 games easy next year, w/out him bumbling the lineup at least once a week.

Because Leyland likes to bat .170 hitters cleanup now. People really believe this stuff. Also, “Leyland proof” is genius and worth stealing to some people. And apostrophes go anywhere in a word that you please. D'ie.

Raburn 553 games too many

Except for the ones where he got his 403 hits including 95 doubles, 8 triples, and 54 homers while collecting 216 RBI.

Anyway, there were 123 comments on this particular “Raburn released” column. I didn't make it through half of them. God knows how many on the News and Freep ones, too. It blows my mind.

“But Mistah Rogo, yous makes fun of Donnie Kelly!”

In 753 career plate appearances, Don Kelly has an OPS+ of 69. He is a dreadful hitter. Ryan Raburn is not. Also, it’s my blog.

/sticks tongue out in honor of Raburn

Deep down, I want to believe that the Tigers fanbase is a good one. But stuff like this drives me batshit crazy. Was Ryan Raburn a great player? No. But he wasn’t a bad one, either, until 66 dreadful games last season. I don’t get it and I guess I never will. Go to hell for being streaky, Ra(y)burn!

Good luck, Ryno. Thanks for the good times. You deserve better than this nonsense.

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