Jason Johnson to pitch in Japan

One former teammate the Tigers will not face is Jason Johnson, who according to FOXSports.com has signed a one-year contract with the Seibu Lions. He’ll be trying to help the Lions replace Daisuke Matsuzaka. Much as he could struggle at times with the Tigers, I’m not sure how many people imagined he’d bounce around three teams last year.


Best of luck to Jason. I always thought he was a fairly dependable starter during a time when they’re hard to come by. He sure had some wicked stuff when he could control it.

My favorite Jason Johnson story involves a game I attended in Baltimore, May of 2005. He had pitched a decent game and a homer by Infante got him the win. This was during the days when there weren’t many Tiger fans at away games, and the entire crowd had deserted Camden before the guys even finished their high fives on the field. As they walked off, I stood up and yelled something inane, “Good job guys!” or something of that sort. Jason looked up and spotted this lone dude, high in the upper deck, wearing Detroit whites in a nearly empty stadium, and started nudging the other players in sort of a “Look we’ve got our only fan up there” kind of way. So Trammell gives me a wave then most of the team started waving as they walked off. That was cool, as I doubt I’ll ever be the lone Tiger fan anywhere anymore.

That is cool Rich.
Reminds me of the times I use to go see the Tigers play in Oakland in the late 70’s. before they began to play “Billy Ball” in the East Bay. In 1979 the A’s won about 50 games and the crowds averaged under 4000 per game. I think I remember a game with the Tigers that attendance was about 900!

The Tigers made a couple of road trips in every year and I would always get fabulous seats over the dugout or bullpen. There were seemingly more Tiger fans than A’s supporters. we certainly were more vocal. I used to bring placards with older Tigers’ names written on them to hold up for the other Tiger Faithful behind me. The biggest round of applause would go for guys like Orlando McFarlane, Jake Wood, Purnal Goldy, Charly Maxwell, Rocky Bridges, Reno Bertoia, Chico Fernandez, etc

That was in the days of Tram, Lou, Rooftop Thompson, Parrish, Fidrych, Rozema, LeFlore, Kemp et al.

The players, especially Rozema, got a real hoot out of the proceedings. The Bird kinda liked it too.

Boy, was LeFlore ever fun to watch. One could draw some comparisons with Granderson but I think Grandie will be a much better player, all round, than the troubled Ronnie LeFlore.

I see the Yanks took Josh Phelps from Toledo. Does that open a spot for Big Red??

Yes and no on that last question. Phelps left as a minor-league free agent and signed with Baltimore before the Yankees took him in the Rule 5 draft. His departure opens a job for Shelton at Toledo, but that’s about it.

Dave Rozema was a FUN guy. Remember the fight with the Twins in ’82 when Dave ran out there and threw a flying dropkick, injuring his knee and nearly ending his career? Things were never dull with Rozie.

The Yankees have quite the traffic jam over there at firstbase now. Phelps, Phillips, Mientkiewicz, Giambi, and Miranda.


The Rule 5 draft? Does that mean Phelps has to stay on the ML roster this season, Jason?

I see Shelton in Toledo for most of this season, at least. I still think there’s a future in Detroit.


I guess my sarcasm is not perfectly obvious all the time. I actually did mean that Phelps going to NY does mean that it clears a job for Chris in Toledo and not the big club.
I hope he is not so down on himself that he can’t regain his confidence. What a shame.

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