Notes: Granderson won't blame turf
Center fielder says grass at Busch not responsible for his slip
ST. LOUIS -- No matter what happens, Curtis Granderson tries to learn from experience. If nothing else, thanks to his slip Thursday night, he now knows plenty about Curt Flood.
Considering Granderson wasn't born until 1980 and grew up a White Sox fan, he didn't have much of a chance to learn about Flood and his dramatic moment in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series, when Jim Northrup tripled over Flood's head. While Cardinals fans call it a slip, Tigers fans call it a misplay.
Granderson calls it history. A day after his own moment falling to the turf in center field in Busch Stadium, he could look at it.
"I found out more today about it," Granderson said prior to Game 5 on Friday night. "I guess it was more of a misjudge than a slip. Similar, but a little bit different at the same time. But we both have the same time, so maybe that's part of it."
He didn't have to search far and wide to learn about the play. It was referenced all over in print, and some television outlets played it as often as they did other highlights from Thursday's game. Granderson could've tried to hide from it, but he didn't.
He was feeling fine a day after his moment in World Series history. Judging by the 10 phone calls and few text messages he received after the game Thursday night and Friday morning, most everybody else expected he'd be fine, too.
"A lot of people expected me to have a bunch," Granderson said, "but I didn't."
Most of his teammates didn't expect anything different.
"He should never feel bad about that," Brandon Inge said. "The ground giving way underneath you, there's nothing you can do about it. You know how many plays I've gone for a line drive that my footing has blown out? You can't even get mad about that. He shouldn't [get frustrated]. I wouldn't let him, anyway."
The part about the ground giving way seems to be a pattern here. When asked about the play Friday afternoon, Jim Edmonds said it seems to be an issue with the surface at this first-year ballpark.
"Guys have been slipping in the outfield all year long," Edmonds told reporters, "and some balls have been taking some bad hops on infielders and outfielders. The infielders and outfielders, our third basemen, both Scotts [Rolen and Spiezio] have gotten hit in the chest and face. I've seen [David] Eckstein take balls off the face. With the turf and it not really sticking well this year, it's been tough. So hopefully it doesn't happen too many more times on a big stage like this, but it's been a tough field to play on at times."
That was news to Granderson, who said both Thursday night and Friday that the ground wasn't an issue.
"Actually, I thought it was pretty good," he said. "The grass was really slow in terms of being full everywhere. It wasn't choppy, no crazy hops out there. The big thing was I remember [outfield coach] Andy Van Slyke saying it's a great surface to dive on, because it's so soft. I didn't really notice too many problems with it."
Nor did he plan to change his tactics Friday night because of it.
"If I go ahead and try to be tentative, I'll probably put myself in a situation to make more mistakes," he said. "I try to stay aggressive and try not to think about it. It's pretty much over with."
Big month for Bondo: The debate over the Tigers' starting pitchers in Games 5 or 6 can rage on. Jeremy Bonderman's postseason job is done. And no matter what happens between now and next spring, he won't have to be looked at as weak link in the rotation.
Of all the Tigers who have gained experience this postseason, nobody likely benefited more than the 23-year-old would-be staff ace. Without the postseason, his year would've probably been summed up by two six-run leads lost in the final six weeks of the regular season. Now, other than Kenny Rogers, Bonderman was arguably the most effective starting pitcher on the team.
He helped clinch two postseason series, gave the Tigers a chance to even the World Series on Thursday night, and generally showed he could be a big-game pitcher.
"I think for his first postseason, I think he did fine," manager Jim Leyland said.
It would qualify as redemption, except many of the Tigers didn't think he needed to redeem himself. What they saw was a young pitcher going through a learning process.
"He's had a real good postseason," Mike Maroth said. "I think it's going to give him confidence for the rest of his career here. But all year, he's done a real good job. For him to go out there and have some success in the postseason, that proves to yourself that you're able to continue to get better. So much of this game is mental, and it has to do with confidence, your belief in your ability."
He's not the only one with belief in Bonderman's ability. For Leyland, it's even moreso now than he might've thought a month ago.
"I think he's about one Spring Training and about two months into the season from having a real good changeup," Leyland said. "He's got two real good pitches. Come up with a real good third pitch, it gives you more ammunition for left-handed hitters."
How good will he be once he gets that?
"Dynamite," Leyland said.
Down with PFP: You knew the question would come up, and so did Leyland. And yes, after a record four errors by Tigers pitchers in this World Series -- three of them on fielding plays -- pitcher's fielding practice will take on some added meaning when the Tigers begin Spring Training next February.
"The bright side is nobody's going to be complaining about PFP next spring," he said.
After Fernando Rodney's throwing error on So Taguchi's sacrifice bunt attempt Thursday night, however, Leyland plans to add a little twist. He hopes to have at least a few sessions with the infield watered down in front of the mound, forcing pitchers to handle a wet ball.
No radar love: While Joel Zumaya continued to have trouble locating his pitches Thursday night, the Busch Stadium radar gun again had trouble pinpointing his velocity. While the FOX network radar readings showed Zumaya hitting 100 mph seven times, only two of his pitches reached as high as 99 on the stadium gun.
Though the difference was generally less than in Tuesday's Game 3, usually about three miles per hour off, the discrepancy still widened on occasion. One Zumaya fastball clocked at 99 mph on television and on MLB.com's Enhanced Gameday registered at just 91 in the ballpark.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.