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Afternoon Prowl: Friday was bloggers day in Lakeland

Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium hosted not one, but two writers from national web sites on Friday when John Perrotto from Baseball Prospectus and Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew dropped by for visits.

Perroto wrote that reliever Joel Zumaya looked much more like his 2006 self than in the past years, despite giving up some runs. And why doesn't it matter if Zumaya gave up runs?

"You can’t really look at stats down here," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You can see more balls get taken by the wind or lost in the sun in one day in spring training than you will all season. On days like this, it really isn’t baseball. All you want to get out of it is for guys to get their arms and legs in shape."

And not to get in the face, he didn't add but probably should have.

Meanwhile, 'Duk arrived too late to check into a minor detail that has been on many Tigers fans' minds: What are Johnny Damons' plans fans for his facial hair?

Fortunately, 'Duk found his answer at MLive yesterday. Damon told Tigers' flagship radio station 97.1 FM The Ticket:

"You will probably see the beard, but it might take the whole season for the hair to grow back. I went into the offseason not knowing if I had to keep my hair short, but I can pull out a wig. "

But that wasn't the only reason 'Duk was in Lakeland, so he posted his Grapefruit Getaway spring training report this morning. He's been waiting to make this stop ever since he got to Florida, he writes.

Now that the Dodgers have fled Vero Beach for their ultra-modern setup in Arizona, there's no better place in either state to experience the old-time spring training feeling.

He wrote the sight lines are perfect and cozy, yet the stadium and facilities are modern and Joker Marchant Stadium is "as good as it gets."

Yes, every day in Lakeland is a good day, because you always get to experience spring training when it was mostly a well-kept secret, before it was commercialized and turned into a major cash cow as soon as the owners figured out such a thing was possible.

How good are the bengals looking in camp? Tigers hall of famer Al Kaline says they have the best talent he's seen come through Lakeland during all his spring trainings attended

Tom Gage of the Detroit News quotes:

"From the guys who'll be on the team this year to the prospects," he said, "it's the best overall talent I've ever seen here."

And other news:


"Totals for his two-inning outing: one hit, no runs, no walks, one strikeout, with a fastball clocked between 89 and 93 m.p.h."


"I was anxiously waiting to see him pitch, and I was very impressed," Leyland said. "He doesn't show a lot of emotion. He looks very confident, like he knows what he wants to do and how to do it. He has a pretty competitive, calm demeanor."