originally published on February 25, 2010
There in my inbox was another email from the Tigers enticing me to purchase season tickets. There were some really affordable deals for small packages of fifteen games in not so bad locations.
I am not a rich man. My money is wrapped up in my little girls needs, the roof over our head, the wheels we drive to get us from point A to point B, and the food that goes on our table.
Not much left over for Tiger season tickets.
But I like to dream.
Just for fun I took a look to see what it would cost to sit in my favorite Tiger Den seats – the ones with two chairs and a table – like sitting on your own private patio watching the game from behind home plate. We like to get Tiger Den seats once a year as a special treat when the Yankees or Red Sox come in. Last year we were there for the final game of the season against the rotten White Sox – the game after the Miggy ordeal, and the day before the single game playoff in Minnesota.
I choked on my quasidia when I saw the eight thousand dollar price tag for a full season.
I couldn't get eight thousand dollars for my Jeep on a trade in.
The next email in my inbox was a list of the latest Tiger news coming out of Lakeland Florida.
"Zumaya Looking Great – Throwing Hard" read one headline.
"Cabrera Wowed By Healthy Bonderman" read another.
"Leyland Says Turner Could Be Special" read the third.
"Rayburn and Kelly Could Be Tigers Next Supermen" read the last one in the list.
I spewed the pop in my mouth all over my monitor on the last one.
It's spring training rhetoric rising up from Lakeland like the warm air of Florida rising up across the states between to the arctic temperatures of Comerica Park.
Hot air in deed.
Season tickets have to be sold. Eight grand for two seats in the Tiger Den for a season I would imagine is a hard sell.
But it gets a lot easier if Zumaya – the rock star of bullpens can resume his voo-doo-child anthem old form – lighting up radar gun numbers over 100 mph..
And easier still if Bonderman – who almost all Tiger fans have written off – can return to the form he had in 2006 when he still held the title of Ace over Verlander.
And my goodness, let me get out my checkbook right now if young rookie Turner is being seen as a new Porcello or Verlander too.
But then – the Tigers Marketing team had to take it a hair too far – proclaiming Rayburn and Kelly to have the potential to be rising supermen.
If Rayburn and Kelly can rise to be supermen – then what in the world would you classify Cabrera and Verlander as?
"Why Super-duper men of course" – would respond the Tigers marketing team.
This is a hard time of year for the normal working stiffs like me. It's Spring Training time in Lakeland, and it's been a long winter that our current snow flurries gives no hint of ending.
I for one am dying for the return of Tigers baseball.
And any news I can get of how spring training is going is like gold.
I am was in the minority earlier this off season in thinking the Tigers have a good shot at contending if not taking the AL Central this year. Signing Johnny Damon has made a lot of others jump on board my little bandwagon.
It's the AL Central. Hell, Cleveland has a shot.
Okay, not really.
I firmly believe Ordonez will not be in the same fog he was for the first three quarters of last season.
I firmly believe that Cabrera will take his game to the next level this year, having already developed into a skilled and proficient first baseman (which I didn't think possible a year ago), he will up his slugging average and will become a clutch player that he wasn't last season.
I am anxious and optimistic to see Austin Jackson assume centerfield – now that I am over my bitterness for losing Granderson to those rotten Yankees. And Johnny Damon in left field is an upgrade from Carlos Guillen – although I feel like a heel for saying so.
They have been waiting for Sizemore to come up from the minors to assume second base for over a year now – although I know he will completely fill the empty cleats that Polanco left behind.
And I am confident that Verlander and Porcello will step right back into the groove they left off in last year.
Watch this to be Porcello's breakout year. The dreaded "sophomore slump" will not infect Porcello this year.
Okay, I said it.
Adding a quality closer in Valverde is one of the most positive moves I have seen this year. Although I admit I was puzzled – hell I was frustrated to be honest – as to why that deal was made after failing to sign Polanco and trading Granderson.
I think we have tons of positive news to look forward to this season – coming out of Lakeland and carrying over into the first months of Spring and Summer.
And I think Season Ticket sales are going to do well, growing as the year goes on.
But telling me Rayburn and Kelly are rising superstars?
They both have decent bats – but they both are prone to fielding errors.
I'm glad we have both available for those situations when we can call upon them.
But don't try to snow me a week into Lakeland workouts declaring these two as potential "supermen".
I have enough snow already.