In April 2006, I was sitting in the right field seats at Comerica Park with my girlfriend (now my wife) watching the Tigers take on the Cleveland Indians. She knew little-to-nothing about Major League Baseball, and hailing from the suburbs of Philadelphia, she knew even less about the Tigers. The marketing campaign at the time was, as I’m sure you know, “Who’s your Tiger?” So I asked, who would her Tiger be? She pointed to a player standing in the outfield and said, “him.” I let her know the Tiger she had chosen played for the Indians. She laughed. Later in the inning, she chose Curtis Granderson. I chose Gene Lamont.
I don’t think anyone had an inkling of what was in store for the 2006 season, but Granderson — and the team — turned out to be an overwhelmingly pleasant surprise both that year and beyond. I don’t know if Granderson was the sole reason my wife became a Tigers fan, but I do know she couldn’t have picked a better player. We were deeply invested in the 2006 season. She learned to like baseball, and that foundation has lead to many enjoyable memories with her and our daughters at a variety of ballparks. She doesn’t track the team as closely as I do today, but she does count the Tigers as her team, and routinely asks me who Curtis is playing for and how he’s doing.
I told her on Friday that he was retiring. She smiled and said how great she thought he was. It’s a feeling we all share. If I could say anything to Curtis at the close of his career, I would just thank him for playing baseball in a fun and infectious manner. He was a big part of making my wife a fan of the game, and I would guess she wasn’t the only person he had that effect on.
Lynn Henning’s top 50 Tigers prospects
It’s prospect ranking season, and Lynn Henning of The Detroit News is not going to let himself be left out of this process. Throwing his offering on the pile, he slates Matt Manning in at the number one spot. Some other notable rankings are Tarik Skubal at No. 2 and outfielder Bryant Packard at No. 8. Check out his full list to see how it stacks up.
Spring training TV stuff
The spring training broadcast schedule is out. The first televised game will be on February 23, and Dan Dickerson and Jim Price get back to it on the radio on February 22nd. That’s less than three weeks from now!
Anthony Fenech of The Detroit Free Press ran through a mailbag over the weekend where he touched on some interesting news. First out of the gate is Franklin Perez. It would appear that Perez is in camp and is — wait for it — healthy. In other areas, Fenech expresses his fandom for prospective No. 1 pick Spencer Torkelson, talks about how much money Chris Ilitch may be willing to spend when it’s time to start buying, and, as one might expect, takes a paragraph to illustrate how things fell apart with Nick Castellanos.
Getting ready for something big
Speaking of spending, Tony Paul of the Detroit News is of the opinion that next year is the year the organization should be looking to open up the checkbook. Paul details the amount of money coming off the books — looking at you, Jordan Zimmermann — and has some thoughts on who the Tigers might be looking for, if Chris Ilitch is indeed willing to spend. With some help from developing prospects and a strong crop of arms, Paul is assuming the organization should be looking at bats. It’s a range of names at a variety of positions ranging from old friend J.D. Martinez and his current teammate Mookie Betts, to Kris Bryant, D.J. Lemahieu, and J.T. Realmuto.
Rogers making adjustments
David Laurila of FanGraphs talks a bit with catcher Jake Rogers. It’s an interesting look into what Rogers is doing to improve his swing, and the relationships between catchers at the major league level and how they deal with each other. Oh yeah, they also talk feral hogs.
Around the horn
Should the Tigers look to continue the three-inning start with Daniel Norris? Francisco Lindor addresses his future with the Indians. How MLB should approach a controversial rule change. Dusty Baker takes over the scandal-marred Astros saying it’s his last hurrah.
Baseball is awesome
This scouting report on Patrick Mahomes seems pretty accurate.