Today, baseball returns to us once again. The 2017 spring training schedule gets under way against the Tigers traditional foe. They’ll shake off the winter rust, and take on their ancient nemesis, the Florida Southern Moccasins, in the classic spring kickoff exhibition.
For their part, the Tigers will send righthander Myles Jaye to the mound. The Mocs have not yet announced a starter. Trying to play mind games with the Tigers already no doubt. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. from Joker Marchant Stadium. The Lakeland based, Division II college is 6-2 so far on the college baseball season. The Tigers better not expect a pushover.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another day for actual broadcast baseball as the Tigers will take on the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, with the dulcet tones of Dan Dickerson and Jim Price seeing their first action of the year. I don’t know what it will take for the powers that be to recognize that a tremulous 20-year old facing down Miguel Cabrera might actually be fun television, but we’re not there yet.
Instead, Thursday we will once again attempt to ruin the day for Florida Southern’s IT guys with our annual crashing of their website. To acquaint yourselves with this time honored tradition, you need only look at a previous season’s gamethread to get the gist. That’s right Tigers fans, an actual gamethread will be launched today. The gift of baseball is upon us. Make sure to get warm first and loosen up. Here we go.
The intentional walk is gone and we’re mad, but not really
I’m not going to get all upset about this, but the intentional walk is no more, for whatever reason. Commissioner Rob Manfred continues to tinker with baseball the way kids tinker with a magnifying glass and an ant colony. A lot of semi-malignant messing around with no real point but to pass the time. On the one hand, I appreciate the willingness to be open to change. On the other, too many of the ideas Manfred has floated just seem like meddling to no real effect.
Literally no one will watch more baseball because the intentional walk is now a formality. And because they most often occurred in tense situations when the viewer is most engaged anyway, and took only a few moments, it’s hard to see how the viewing experience is improved. We’ll see how it plays in April. The message from the league to the players is clear. Play faster. Probably a lot of them would be happy to oblige. Hopefully the slow pokes take it under advisement.
And while it’s no great loss, I’ll miss the intentional walk. I’ll miss pitchers mentally imploding once in a while, trying to do something that always seems so simple until it doesn’t. Another opportunity for weird things on a baseball field is now lost to history. Our friends over at Amazin’ Avenue have a compilation of the strangest, and most glorious and/or heartbreaking, intentional walk moments ever.
Tigers in Tigertown doing Tiger things
Honestly the thought of being in a room with a blindfolded JD Martinez swinging a bat seems like a terrible idea. Zombies be warned. Nice bat flip in there though!
Why is JD Martinez crushing pinatas while V-Mart does cage work? First rain delay of the season!
Despite the rain, there was a bit of Tigers’ news. Apparently Justin Upton is no longer being considered a potential #2 hitter for the Tigers. We took a look at some of the other options. Interestingly, Victor Martinez will bat second for the Tigers against Florida Southern. Probably this is just to ensure he gets his cuts in with the World Baseball Classic. Or Brad Ausmus is finally doing what Rob Rogacki tells him. Meanwhile Jeff Sullivan has his yearly crowdsourced assessment of baseball projection systems if you’d care to yell about the Tigers’ projection. He also delves into the death of a rule that was never enforced.
Around the world of baseball
Matt Wieters signed with the Washington Nationals, who once again look very formidable. Cory Seager, the Dodgers’ beast of a shortstop, feels like he’s just starting to swing the bat as well as he’d like. Mets’ pitcher Steven Matz played catch and release with sharks for whatever reason. No one can tell Brian McCann and Evan Gattis apart. And Rays’ OF, Mallex Smith, may wear the number “0” on his jersey this season, and also amusingly reminisced about the good times he had during his 77 minutes as a Mariner this offseason.
Some joker ran into Ichiro Suzuki, but he’s okay. Meanwhile, the 2010 A.L. MVP, Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton had pain in his knee again. Hamilton has already endured 10 knee surgeries during his career.
And now a peek at our rivals in Cleveland, not that we’re interested.
Not sure what’s happening here with Mr. Kipnis. Looks painful. Of course the past Olympic games introduced the world to the ancient practice of cupping. Things seem to have progressed to some kind of Matrix-level scenario. Good luck with that. Anyway, how’s about that big reliever we traded for Miguel Cabrera years ago?
Andrew Miller has developed a changeup and the movement looks FILTHY!— MLB Memes (@MLBMeme) February 22, 2017
H/t Rob Friedman pic.twitter.com/czaySO1lbd
OH LORD. Changeup confirmed via DH Carlos Santana.
BYB on the radio
Just a note that I’ll be doing a Tigers preview segment with Michael Spath on his Inside the Huddle program, Thursday morning around 11:30 a.m. I’m not sure how long it takes for clips to be posted on their podcast page after the show, but you can find those here. The station is WTKA the Ticket on 1050 AM out of Ann Arbor.