In case you missed it, baseball officially — like, officially officially — returned on Thursday. The Detroit Tigers beat the Florida Southern Mocs for the zillionth year in a row, and did so in tidy fashion, 8-0. Only those situated in Lakeland could actually see the game, but we were afforded a few more snippets than in years past.
It feels good to have you back, baseball.
Things only get better from here. The Tigers kick off their Grapefruit League schedule on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles at Joker Marchant Stadium. Michael Fulmer will start for the Tigers, with Mike Pelfrey coming on in relief. We still have a couple of weeks before the first televised spring training game — check out the full schedule here, if you’re curious — but Tigers Radio Network hosts Dan Dickerson and Jim Price will be around to tingle your earballs with their dulcet tones.
Speaking of the Orioles, let’s reminisce on that time they gave us one of the best baseball plays of all-time.
Let’s talk about the lineup non-stop for the next month
After manager Brad Ausmus said Justin Upton won’t be batting second in 2017, everyone and their brother has started to speculate on who will. One player it probably won’t be: Miguel Cabrera. Some thought Ausmus’ quote on the matter was a bit sheepish, but he made an astute observation.
"We really don't have a prototypical 2-hole hitter," Ausmus said. "I know the theories behind hitting your best hitter second. But I don't know if it applies if your best hitter's not really a runner."
“Fast” is not a word I would use to describe Cabrera. Also, this means that Victor Martinez batting second (as he did against Florida Southern) is probably just a temporary fix.
Today’s happy players in spring training
- Efren Navarro is happy to help out and play some defense
- Steven Moya is happy he ditched that leg kick
- A.J. Achter is happy to put on that Tigers uniform
- Ruben Alaniz is happy he throws really hard
Did we just become best friends?
"Wanna go do karate in the garage?" #StepBrothers pic.twitter.com/Q52Nk9RN86— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) February 23, 2017
Justin Verlander is not about that DH life
For some reason, Verlander wouldn’t mind hitting everyday.
Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y'all want to see changed, if anything, & why?— Chris Archer (@ChrisArcher22) February 23, 2017
.@ChrisArcher22 I'd like to see the AL and NL have the same rules. Same for everyone. I vote NL rules. #pitcherswhorake #noDHplease— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) February 23, 2017
Archer failed to remind Justin that he is a career .081 hitter with a zero percent walk rate. Of course, those numbers probably look great to Archer, who is 0-for-20.
For your free time
Kyle Schwarber might be the Cubs’ leadoff hitter this year, in case you didn’t think they could get any more frightening. High schooler Shane Baz has a Texas-sized fastball. Royals fans are OK with letting Eric Hosmer leave via free agency next offseason. Fans think statistical projection systems are too hard on the Tigers. PECOTA loves the Tampa Bay Rays, though. No, you cannot have Miguel Cabrera’s MVPs back.