Thursday morning opened with an event many thought might never come, and even more wish hadn’t happened at all, as the Houston Astros finally made their first public apology for... what are we calling it? Trash Can Gate? The Big Bang? Regardless, apologies were issued, and then the press were given access to the Astros clubhouse to speak to players who had not attended the press conference.
Among the players interviewed about the scandal was former Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander. It was not that many weeks ago that Verlander poked fun at the scandal in his Cy Young Award acceptance speech, touting the Astros “technological” prowess. During the apology gauntlet, however, his tone was more subdued.
Justin Verlander: “I wish I had said more. Looking back, I can’t go back, I can’t reverse my decision. Like I said, I wish I had said more and for that, I’m sorry.” pic.twitter.com/JptPemq6Hs— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 13, 2020
Verlander did have more to say when a reporter pointed out his past statements and how hypocritical they appear in retrospect. When Verlander was reminded that he had previously suggested that players like Dee Gordon and others accused of PED use should not be allowed to play while contesting their suspensions. At the time, he said something pretty interesting.
”We’re fighting and clawing for 162 games. You’d hate to see something happen here at the very end, you lose by a game or something, and you say ‘What if?’ You know, ‘What if that guy hadn’t been on the field?’”
This was in 2016, just a year prior to his move to the Astros and a trip to the World Series. When reporters made the comparison to this statement and asked how his opinion was different in regards to the Astros scandal, he said, “I guess my only answer would be that was individual and this was a team.”
So there you have it, when a whole team cheats it’s... less bad than an individual doing it.
Celebrating 100 years of the Negro Leagues
The Tigers have always done a great job of honoring the past, with their regular homages to Detroit’s Negro Leagues franchise the Detroit Stars.
This season things will expand across all of Major League Baseball with a league-wide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues. In addition to a commemoration day on June 27th, MLB and MLBPA are jointly donating $1 million to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO. The donation will go a long way to help the museum which experienced heartbreaking vandalism in 2018 in the form of a flood.
With the donation the museum will be able to continue their efforts to build the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center, which aims to be a state-of-the-art, 40,000 square foot complex for exhibits, research, education, and more. If you want to donate directly, go here, and if you want a tremendous Twitter thread on the impact of the Negro Leagues in baseball, click here. Today, February 13, marks the actual 100 year anniversary of the beginning of the Negro Leagues.
If you’re ever in Kansas City is cannot be overstated how worthwhile it is to visit this museum.
Alex Wilson, the new Van Man
Way back in 2015, Daniel Norris caused an online sensation when people realized he was living in his van for spring training. This time around, Alex Wilson appears to have taken notes, because he decided to spend spring camp living on site in Lakeland in an RV.
Around the horn
The Tigers posted some sexy footage today, enjoy.
And while they were doing some spring cleaning they came across some VERY OLD BATS.
Really emptied out the bat closet this spring... pic.twitter.com/4SM4fniZA6— Ben Fidelman (@bfidelman) February 13, 2020
And hey remember how the Tigers signed Ivan Nova?
It's Day 2. Slightly cooler than yesterday, but we're persevering. Here's Ivan Nova warming up... pic.twitter.com/ZOVlt4916U— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) February 13, 2020
Spring spraining - Injury updates
Taiwanese right-handed pitcher Shao-Ching Chiang may be the season’s first injury, as Ron Gardenhire told press on Thursday the pitcher wasn’t able to throw yet due to oblique soreness. Chiang was signed by the Tigers in December to a minor league deal and was formerly in the Cleveland Indians organization.