Archive for January, 2007

Cameron Maybin Gets Spring Training Invite

Cameron Maybin is going to get his first full taste of big league ball come February because the Tigers invited him to play with the major league players.  He had a chance to play in a few spring games last year but this year he’ll get the full treatment.

Maybin is considered the Tigers #1 prospect and he’s also considered by many as the best centerfield prospect in all of baseball.  At the ripe young age of nineteen, he hit .304/.387/.457 for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Tigers Low A minor league affiliate.  He hit nine homeruns and stole 27 bases.  If Maybin pans out in the next couple of years, the Tigers are going to have to move Curtis Granderson over to a corner to make room for this kid.  Maybin was also highly sought after at the trading deadline and he was the sticking point that prevented the Tigers from reeling in Alfonso Soriano down the stretch.

This will definitely be good for Maybin as he’ll get to train with the best.  Nobody expects him to come up with the team because he still has some seasoning to do and all signs point to him starting at Double A Erie next year.  That should provide a solid challenge for Maybin, who will turn 20 right around the time the minor league season starts.

Hall of Fame Time

It’s that time of year.  Every January, the balloting for the baseball Hall of Fame is announced and every year, I have a little bit of complaint.  Last year, Bruce Sutter got in when Goose Gossage is clearly the superior pitcher.  And don’t get me started on guys like Lou Whitaker who aren’t even on the ballot anymore.

In my opinion, there are five guys on this year’s ballot who I feel should most definitely be in the Hall of Fame.  That’s why when I read Joe Sheehan’s latest column at Baseball Prospectus, I felt like it was a look inside my own head because he feels the same five guys should also be voted in.

Odds are, all five won’t.  It looks like Mark McGwire will miss out as the media throws stones in their glass house and overlooks him even though his numbers clearly warrant he should get in, probably even above, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn.  I already talked about Gossage and the other no brainer who can’t seem to get the votes is Bert Blyleven.

My guess is, Gwynn and Ripken get in, and Blyleven gets a bit closer.  Then in 2007, without any big new names, McGwire gets in with Blyleven.  Gossage will probably get the shaft again in 2007 as well..

Florida Spring Training Book Review

The latest baseball book I read was Florida Spring Training: Your Guide to Touring the Grapefruit League.  Man did this book get me going.  I’ve never been down to spring training.  Being a CPA, it’s never really been possible to take time off to take an extended trip because it’s one of my busiest times of year and it probably won’t happen this year because we already have our vacation planned.  I do have a friend who’s moving to Tampa though, so the hope is to get down there next year and check out the Tigers and a few other teams and soak in the spring training experience.

I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to someone who plans on heading down to Florida in March.  It was a fun read and it gives you tips and suggestions to get the most of your spring training trip.

The first chapter has an interesting history of spring training.  It talks about how many teams have chosen to chase the dollar and it seems like every year, a team decides to find a new spring training home.  In some cases, they move out of the Florida completely and head to the Cactus League in Arizona.  It also provides a short glossary of terms that are used through out the book.

The next 17 chapters give the ins and outs of each of the 17 spring training stadiums in Florida.  Want to know what each stadium has to eat?  It’s in the book.  Want to know how much parking is?  Also in the book.  Want to know whether you should buy tickets in advance rather then on game day?  Well, that’s in the book too.  In fact the book answers just about every question you might have including which part of each stadium to sit at to get shade and the best way to get autographs.

Chapter nineteen ranks each of the spring training sites.  Dodgertown comes in first while the Tigers spring training stadium, Joker Marchant Stadium, is further down the list at twelve.  The rankings are determined based on a five factor rating which includes Intimacy, Autographs, Comfort, Food and Style.  Joker Marchent rated very high in Style (9) but very low in Autographs (3) mostly because of a net that protects fans on the first base side.

The final chapter maps out five week long spring training trips.  Want to stick around the Tampa area?  There’s a trip for that.  And there’s also a trip if you want to center your spring training trip around a visit to Disney World.

The only warning is to make sure you buy the most recent edition.  Spring training is constantly morphing and even the Dodgers will be leaving historic Dodgertown and the Indians are heading for Arizona in the next couple of years as well.  In addition, current facilities are being modified on a regular basis so if you have an old edition of the book, you might be showing up to a stadium that looks nothing like the description.

Change of Pace

Alright, there’s been little Tiger news and the Hot stove is winding down.  That means you get another sappy post about myself.  At least there’s news.

I lost my job today.  I would probably be more upset about but I’ve been pretty miserable there for quite some time so no sweat.  Now you’re probably asking yourself, “What does this have to do with me and with the Tigers.”  My loss is your gain because that means I’ll have a nice chunk of time to devote to the blog at least until the next thing.  I do taxes for a living and at this time of year, it’s not hard finding work so don’t worry about me because I’ll be okay. In the meantime, I’ll be touching up on Tigers history.

So expect a little more then what I’ve been posting over the past month.  I know, that hasn’t been much but I plan on continuing my season retrospectives which I haven’t done in quite some time and I also hope to put up a few more player retrospectives on the 1967 AL Pennant Race site.  And if you want to chit chat, feel free to drop me a line. I’ll be around for the next couple of weeks.

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