Welcome back to another news and links roundup! We’re only a couple weeks out from the return of the regular season and we’re slowly starting to see a version of what the Opening Day roster for the Tigers might look like when they head back to Comerica Park. Of course, in the meantime, there’s a lot going on, so let’s get into it.
There are plenty of good links and content to share from this week, but more than any of it, I think you guys really need to see this video that includes Spencer Torkelson wearing a photo of his own dog Bubba on it. “Bubba Tork” is a French bulldog, a breed which seems to be incredibly popular among baseball players. Anyone remember David Price’s beloved pooch Astro? And Sergio Romo got himself a Frenchie named Chuco during his stint with the Rays.
If that quick shot went by too fast for you, here’s a better shot of Spencer and Bubba with Spencer’s girlfriend Makenna.
And we had to throw in this baby photo as well.
If you missed it from his Offseason video for the Tigers’ YouTube, Bubba is currently being spoiled by Spencer’s parents during the season. Spencer lamented his absence in the video calling him “the best dog ever” then adding, “I want another dog, but it’s just not realistic.” So he’ll wear his furry bff on his sleeve, or more accurately on his chest.
Speaking of the Offseason content on the Tigers YouTube, there’s a new episode to enjoy! Casey Mize got his own video, and it turns out he’s more of a cat guy:
Moving from the Tigers’ future with the new crop of up-and-coming stars, there was a bit of a blast from the past spotted during a recent spring training game as Jim Leyland made an appearance in the crowd. Leyland was a beloved Tigers manager during some of their best years in recent history, serving as skipper from 2006-2013, and currently serves as a special assistant to the team, so his being at games certainly isn’t a surprise, just nice to see a familiar face.
It was great being at the ballpark again, took in a little Riley, a little Baddoo, a huge Grand Slam for Kreidler and of course a Leyland sighting. #SpringTraining2022 #DetroitRoots pic.twitter.com/CjSJgP7JgI— Sherri (@sherricousin) March 24, 2022
On a somewhat more somber but still uplifting note:
Cool thing today: Kimera Bartee's father Jerry and other family were in Florida today. Stopped by for the Tigers game.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 23, 2022
"It was a cool experience to be able to hug him," A.J. Hinch said.
Kimera Bartee, the Tigers' first base coach, who passed away in December at the age of 49 has been on everyone’s mind over these early days of the pre-season. The team already took a moment to remember him prior to one of their first spring training games, and the presence of his family at the games must certainly make it feel like he’s still connected to the team.
Onto a bit of lighter content, this Kreidler kid is pretty good, eh?
And now that Don Kelly is a bench coach for the Pirates, it seemed only fitting his old boss A.J. Hinch would get in some good jabs when the two teams faced each other earlier this week.
No video tribute for Pirates bench coach Don Kelly today in Lakeland, but Tigers manager (and Kelly's old boss in Houston) AJ Hinch honored him by printing a lineup card with a background photo of him crashing into wall at Comerica Park.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) March 23, 2022
And it looks like hitting the foul poles at Comerica is about to become a bit more charitable.
Tigers have some new foul pole signage as a result of a partnership w Rocket Mortgage.— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) March 22, 2022
If a Tigers player hits a HR off the poles, Rocket Mortgage will contribute $5,000 to the Connect 313 Fund. $20,000 for a grand slam. pic.twitter.com/IHu1jtkKyk
The Connect 313 Fund aims to help make it possible for all Detroiters to have access to stable internet and technology by offering rebates for monthly internet services, and financial assistance towards purchasing electronic devices like home computers to ensure that everyone in Detroit is able to stay connected in our increasingly digital era.
Here’s a roundup of some news stories you might have missed at other sites this week:
- Over at Motor City Bengals, Rogelio Castillo looks at which five players might benefit from April’s new roster expansion.
- With Kody Clemens playing for the Tigers, it stands to reason his dad Roger Clemens would come to spring training to see his son in action. The Tigers took advantage of Roger’s presence as a guest speaker to the team ahead of the game by showing off old footage of Miguel Cabrera hitting a World Series home run off Clemens back in 2003. Jason Beck has the full story.
- Sam Dykstra has the Tigers' top 30 prospects, and naturally, number one is Bubba Tork’s dad.
- Chris McCosky spotlight’s Casey Mize’s 4-seamer.
- Evan Petzold shares some of the comments made by Tigers’ owner Chris Ilitch about the lockout negotiations. ($)
- Evan also has some more details on Spencer Turnbull and the Tigers heading to an arbitration hearing as the two sides are about $700,000 apart on where they think his pay should be in 2022. ($)
And of course, our Tiger of the Day. Since it’s currently snowing where I live, this one feels appropriate to my mood.