I was quickly glancing through the stream on my Twitter program this morning and came across an MLive story headlined "Detroit Tigers' Prince Fielder: 'I'm just ready to get out there playing'" and it stopped me for a moment.
Maybe I'm not quite over that shock from a month ago. Maybe it's just that we haven't done a lot of stories on Fielder during the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure.
But it's still weird seeing those words bunched together. Detroit Tigers. Prince Fielder. Months ago I never even considered the possibility. ... Hours before news snuck out, I considered the notion crazy. Then out of the blue, it happened.
I suppose I go through with this in some way with every new addition. It's kind of like driving a new car. For the first couple of weeks, it's like you're in a rental or just keeping watch for a couple of days. Next thing you know, you're leaving receipts all over the place and there's a McDonald's bag under the passenger seat. Last August, Doug Fister was not yet a Tiger, he was a Seattle Mariner wearing the Tigers' uniform. By the time the season concluded in October, he was a Tiger.
So, we start of spring training this way with Fielder and a couple of others. They're Tigers, but they are yet to feel like our Tigers.
The focus may be on the big guy, but I feel like we need to give an extra spring welcome to Octavio Dotel and Collin Balester. (Gerald Laird is like he never left. He was just loaned out for a year or two.) You can extend that to Chris Bootcheck and other veterans in camp competing for roster spots, too.
No pressure, guys, but first impressions are everything. Just ask Joaquin Benoit. I don't think he shed his with some fans until the postseason.