The Super Bowl slate is set, and I care enough about it to tell you that two teams are definitely going to play each other at some date in the near future in a stadium that exists in the United States.
In news that is far more important, pitchers and catchers report in 22 days. Hurry up, baseball. We miss you.
Now that the Fox Sports Detroit broadcasting line-up has been solidified with the announcement of Matt Shepard as the new play-by-play man, it’s time for the takes to pour forth. Chris Monarrez of The Detroit Free Press has weighed in with his analysis of the new set-up for the Tigers. He is of the opinion that the organization hit a solid double. Apparently, Monarrez would have preferred the team hire Bob Costas or Mike Tirico. I would love to know what makes anyone think that a broadcaster of their caliber would take the step backward required to to call games for a 65 win team.
What Monarrez seems even more disappointed in is the fact that FSD is bringing Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris back as analysts. I’ve grown partial to Gibson in the booth, and hope, as do we all, that with enough time the crew turns into something the fans enjoy.
Ending the streak
Sometime in February, the Tigers might enter into an arbitration hearing with starting pitcher Michael Fulmer. It would not just be the end of a streak the team has held by not going to arbitration with its players since 2001, it might be the beginning of a new overall philosophy. There appear to be a few factors at work behind this new path forward for the organization and its dealings with arbitration-eligible players.
The consideration of the impact on future contracts, not only for the current player in arbitration, but for those players to follow could be at work here. An ongoing belief that agents were taking advantage of teams they knew were more willing to settle than go to a hearing has also factored heavily in the decision. The effect on relationships with the players that have to go through these hearings will show how sound this new philosophy is. That seemingly united front from teams could be a key piece in complaints from the MLB Players’ Association as the next collective bargaining agreement in 2021 draws nearer.
Goodbye from Henning
Well, folks, it’s the end of an era. After 40 years of working for the Detroit News, Lynn Henning is hangin’ em up. With the current state of the News and the media industry overall, it’s difficult to see any reporter go, let alone a talented and seasoned one like Henning. But when it’s time, it’s time.
Congratulations to Lynn on a great career. I’m sure he knows it, but it should still be said that he will be missed.
Believe it was on that ancient website Ecclesiastes where they said there was a "time to gather and a time to cast away." The time to cast away has arrived: I'll be retiring Feb. 1 from the Detroit News. It has been a marvelous 40 years there, 45 years overall. Thank you to all.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) January 20, 2019
In the latest iteration of the “Jake Rogers is good at defense but can he hit?” article, Henning takes a look at what the young backstop has to offer coming into the 2019 season. In describing Rogers’ bat, Henning says “there’s mystery and promise and ominous stuff all happening at once.”
If you take a look at his home runs and his isolated power (ISO) there is some reason to be optimistic. I’m not sure there is much else. There’s the normal talk of what Rogers is working on to improve his swing for next year, namely the leg kick. Whether these tweaks and the isolated metrics show promise of something to come or are just reasons to find hope in a hopeless place remains to be seen. I think we’re all on board with the former.
Tigers Caravan News!
In yet another indication that the season is close at hand, the Tigers have set the winter caravan schedule. If you are in Michigan and want to see if the Tigers are coming anywhere near your location, you can check the schedule and make your necessary arrangements.
Spring broadcast schedule
While we’re out here setting schedules, we have an official broadcast schedule for spring training. The first television game will be aired on February 25, and the first broadcast with Matt Shepard will occur on March 14. Your season with Dan Dickerson and Jim Price kicks off a bit earlier, with the first radio broadcast set to air on February 23.
Around the horn
A look at the minors’ most consistent franchises. Nine reasons why Larry Walker should be in the Hall of Fame. The next Hall of Famer for all 30 MLB teams. Is the NL Central baseball’s toughest division?