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Spring is in the Air

Of course that doesn’t stop there from being snow on the ground this morning. The Tigers were busy this weekend, so let’s look at the highlights and lowlights.

Friday – Pirates 6, Tigers 5

You can’t them all. Probably the most embarassing moment of this game was when Chris Truby of all people took Al Levine yard. That’s never a good thing, regardless of whether it’s a spring game, or for that matter, a sandlot pick up game. Oliver Perez looked sharp for Pittsburgh, and I-Rod drove in a run.

Alex Sanchez was hit by a pitch, but it doesn’t look too serious.

Saturday – Indians 10, Tigers 8

Not much of a pitching dual. I got to listen to this game on the radio. Maroth did look well. Despite a strong breeze blowing out, Maroth gave up four runs in the second inning. Carlos Pena stayed hot by hitting another homerun. Looks like a rough pitching outing, unless you compare it too…….

Sunday – Indians 18, Tigers 10

And with this, the Tigers are mired in a 3 game losing streak, with each loss being more of a beating the previous game. They did score 10 runs, but the pitching has to improve. 5 errors and 8 unearned runs will never win you ball game.

One of the most encouraging lines in this game was Franklyn German’s. In 1 1/3 innings, he struck out 3 of the four outs he made, but he gave up a solo shot and another hit. No walks though.

And the Tigers go up against Houston this afternoon. Maybe Tram and the boys will be able to put together a win.

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Spring is in the Air?

Although the official start of spring is more then one month away, the more important spring, spring training begins in about a week for most teams.

As an avid Tiger’s fan, this spring, like most in the past, brings hope. The reason I say “like most in the past” is because of last year. You knew the team was going to struggle. I accepted it as part of the rebuilding of the team, but never would I have accepted what happened during the infamous 2003 season.

But, now it’s 2004. We have a clean slate, and in many respects, a new team. But there’s a few things I’m really excited about this year, not just as a Tiger’s fan, but as a baseball fan.

1) Probably the most obvious, the Tigers have fielded a team that, if you go to the ball park, probably has as good of a chance of winning as they do of losing. I’m not saying they’re going to finish .500, but they’ve put together a team where they should be able to compete every day. I went to four games last year. They lost them all, and frankly, that’s what I expected them to do. Although I could be singing a new tune in May, right now, if I go to four games in 2004, I expect them to win probably two of those games, and I’ll be able to walk into the ball park knowing they have a shot in all four.

2) I’m very interested in how the AL East is going to pan out. I’m not a huge fan of the unbalanced schedule, because we don’t get to see the Tigers go up against more of their traditional rivals, like the Yankees and the Blue Jays. But I’m very intrigued to see how the division ends up. Baltimore, which is probably the fourth best team in the East, would be favorites in the Central. And in the Central, the Indians have just as good of a chance to win the division as they do to finish fourth or fifth. It’s that wide open.

Boston is the team I’ll have my eye on the most. With the big names they picked up, on paper, they’re probably better then the Yankees. We’ll just see if they can finally get it done.

3) Having the chance to see history is always exciting. This year we have a chance to see the greatest player of our generation, and arguably the best player ever, come one step closer to topping some seemingly insurmountable records. Barry Bonds, barring some catastrophe, will pass his Godfather, Willie Mays, on the all time home run list this year, and he’s a mere 42 homers away from getting to 700 home runs. Passing Ruth this year would mean putting up some big numbers, but even that’s not out of the question.

4) Along the same lines, we’ll get to see the greatest pitcher of our generation, and like Bonds, possibly the best pitcher ever, come out to the mound for (at least?) one more season. Clemens isn’t chasing any milestones per se, but he came back to play with his good friend and to play close to home. Boston’s pitching staff looks great on paper, but Houston is right there with them.

So, the season, like all seasons, will be fun to watch. You’ll have some new starts develop, and then you’ll have some veterans begin to taper off. Either way, I’ll be at the ballpark, cheering on my team, and hopefully seeing them fight their way back to respectability.

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