Tigers underwhelm with Joba signing

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist

DETROIT - In honor of the late, great Joe Falls, it's a Fish Fry Friday!

If this were a few years ago, the Tigers' signing of reliever Joba Chamberlain on Thursday would have been big news.

Back then, Chamberlain was a big deal with a big arm.

But a few injuries and a few years later have left the once phenom more of an average pitcher than anything.

Worse, Joba, 28, had a bad year with the New York Yankees last season. He was 2-1 with a bloated 4.93. He also had a poor strikeout-to-walk (38-26) ratio in 42 innings of work. His WHIP was 1.73, again not good.

The Tigers signed the right-hander to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Chamberlain will pitch out of the Detroit bullpen.

For sure, it's just a cheap flyer by the Tigers. They hope Chamberlain can rebound and give them something. If not, the gamble didn't cost much and they could easily cut him and move on.

It's another move this offseason where it appears the Tigers value the cost more than the talent. It seems as if they are in payroll reduction mode.

Blue Out @ Ford Field

The Lions play the biggest game of the season on Monday night when the Baltimore Ravens visit Ford Field.

The Lions have lost a three of their last four and are in a three-way dogfight to win the division and make the postseason.

Fans are being asked to wear blue for the nationally-televised game.

For sure, it will look good on TV. But none of it will matter if the Lions can't play better than they have the past month.

It was like the division was gift-wrapped for them when the Bears' Jay Cutler and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers were both injured.

Instead of running away with the NFC North, the Lions have floundered.

A loss on Monday night could be fatal. And make fans, well, blue.

Hall of Fame Voters Off Mark

The Baseball Hall of ballot for the Class of 2014 was mailed out a few weeks ago. Voters have until the end of the month to make their selections. I have a vote.

Sadly, however, it seems as if some of my brethren have lost their way.

Yes, they have taken the proverbial wrong turn in Albuquerque.

They no longer vote the best of the best in. They are so caught up on punishing this Steroid Era that they have overvalued previous players that simply don't belong.

In doing so, they are almost doing more damage to the American Pastime than the players who used performance enhancing drugs.

In the sense that they've blurred the lines, skewed the facts.

They are wrong, dead wrong.

They only thing worse than not putting in players that clearly belong - Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa - is putting in players that don't belong - Jim Rice, Andrew Dawson, Bert Blyleven and Goose Gossage.

It shouldn't take you 15 years, the full length of your eligibility, to be voted in. You're numbers don't change after you retire, so how in the world could writers votes change over the years.

It makes no sense.

Either you're a Hall of Famer or you're not.

The first ballot, second ballot, third ballot stuff is dumb.

My way of voting is simple: If there's a debate about you being in the Hall of Fame, you AREN'T a Hall of Famer.

Go ahead. Debate me on Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ted Williams or even Tom Seaver.

You can't. There is no argument. Their careers weren't very good. They were great.

It's not the Hall of the Very Good. But that's where some voters have taken it.

The Steroid Era can't be ignored or treated as if it didn't happen. It did.

Check the record book. Bonds is the all-time home run hitter. He also won seven MVPs. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs.

A skinny McGwire still has the rookie record for home runs with 49. The same McGwire who once hit 32 HRs in 67 games in a single college season. Yes, he was a slugger long before he bulked up.

Some writers want to be judge and jury. They want to vote on suspicion, not based on facts.

It's not our job.

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