Tagged: Detroit Tigers

Thank you, Maggs!

The Tigers play so far this season has me disappointed beyond words, but that’s another post for another time.   Today I want to talk about something the Tigers’ front office is doing right.

Earlier today, it was announced, in conjunction with the Tigers organization, that Magglio Ordonez will officially retire from baseball Sunday; thereby retiring as a Tiger. I for one couldn’t be happier.

I wrote in an earlier post how the acquisition of Pudge Rodriguez was the front office’s first step in returning the Tigers to relevance.  That being said, the front office’s second step, and perhaps a greater step towards on-field improvement, was the signing of Magglio Ordonez.  That’s no disrespect to Pudge; but it was widely accepted that his best years of his career were behind by the time he signed with the Tigers.

The signing of Ordonez was at the time an even greater risk than that of Pudge.  After the injury that saw he and the White Sox part ways, Magglio was viewed as viewed as a player with loads of potential, whose injuries had made him something of a liability.  Through some brilliant foresight, the Tigers were careful to word Ordonez’s contracts with statistical benchmarks and performance incentives – protecting them should he fall victim to the injuries that plagued him through his White Sox tenure.    One trip to the World Series, one AL Central title (which should have been two) and one AL Batting title clearly illustrate the Tigers gamble paid off.  I’m sure Hawk Harrelson was shouting “Dad-gummit” on October 14, 2006 when Maggs did this:

That was quite simply the greatest moment in the history of Comerica Park and the the team’s wake up call to the baseball world.

I’m hoping the family has tickets for Sunday, and are planning to take a lot of pictures…

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My baseball book club – part 1

The Final Season coverAbout a month ago, I finally read Tom Stanton’s The Final Season, which chronicles the news writer-publisher’s plan to see all 81 home games during the 1999 season at Tiger Stadium.

Stanton’s record of all 81 home games is inter-cut with stories of his family; painting a picture of a multi-generational love affair with a sport, a team and of course, a stadium. The author spend much of his time at the stadium talking, both famous and otherwise.  He hears many of the same stories, before understanding how and why a place becomes more than just a ballpark.

I’m not sure how many fans outside of Detroit, or outside of Tiger fans more to the point, can appreciate a premise such as this.  However, as Michigan native and a lifelong Tiger fan, I instantly connected with this story.  Thousands, if not millions, of fans have been lucky enough to pass through the turn styles at Tiger Stadium, and therefore, can appreciate the full scope of this story.  For that matter, any fan with deep feelings of any team can at least relate and find his an enjoyable read.

Recommended to any passionate sports fans; but particularly to Tiger fans.

 

 

 

 

Of course the Tigers lost…they were televised in Charleston!

It seems anytime I’m able to watch the Tigers here in Charleston (and no, MLB Extra Inings doesn’t count) they lose.  Saturday night was no exception.

So far, it appears my worst fears about this year’s Tiger team are true.  A nine game stretch against Cleveland and KC did little to show us what this team is made of.  Seriously, how often have we been able to describe any Tigers team by saying “their hitting is soft, but their rotation is rock-solid”?

We all knew this West Coast road trip was going to be tough.  If these first two games are any indication, it’s going to be down right brutal.

Congratulations to  Ubaldo Jiminez and the Colorado Rockies on their first no hitter in franchise history.  My God, is this really their 18th season?  With tonight’s no-no and several near-no hitters already this season, is it too early to speculate that the post-steroid era will be one of pitching dominance?

Saturday was my birthday, and I spent much of the day at the South Carolina / Ole Miss game in Columbia  – my first college game.  Hopefuly, I’ll be recapping that tomorrow, along with whatever pics I can get from my Blackberry.

weighing in on the WBC

I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but if you’re not watching the World Baseball Classic, you should be.

Earlier this week, the Netherlands gave us the greatest upset in the history of international baseball.  The Dominicans get their rematch tonight.  i got a feeling this one won’t be pretty, but the Netherlands team has already shocked me once this week…

It was nice to see China get their first win and continue to embrace the game.  With population of over 1 billion, there have to be some great ballplayers out there, statistically speaking.  It will only be a matter of time before they are a world powerhouse on the diamond too.

Can ANYONE recall seeing Pudge Rodriguez playing with so much intensity?  Maybe the Tigers should throw him a one-year, league minimum, incentive-laden contract?  He’d probably still want to play everyday – which is the problem the Tigers had in the first place…

Where else but in the WBC do we as Americans get to see the Cuban national team (now that Olympic baseball is history)?  Or even the Japanese team for that matter?  Sure we see Ichiro, Iwamura et al all season long, but there’s so much that  we, as American fans, donlt know about Japanese ball.

I’ve noticed how intense the fans in other countries are about their sports.  The crowd at the Japan – Korea game reminded me of a European football/soccer crowd: rowdy, intense, passionate – they were making noise, lots of noise, for the ENTIRE GAME. The last time I recall hearing anything near that noise level in an MLB game was the Metrodome duing the 1991 World Series.

If you love great competition, you need to be watching – especially as the tournament rolls on and the weaker teams are eliminated.  What else are you going to do during Spring Training – wait for Manny to suit up?  Sit at A-Rod’s bedside while he recuperates.

 

Of course, if you’re planning to catch a game in Florida or Arizona, that’s good to spend your winter too…