The Tigers have been in Florida for weeks now, and as we continue to anxiously await the beginning of the 2007 MLB regular season, Jim Leyland’s club continues to prepare themselves for action. Coming into today’s scheduled matchup against the Red Sox, the Tigers were 5-3-1, and more importantly, just over three weeks away from their April 2nd date against the Toronto Blue Jays to open up the season.
- The offensive players usually take much less time to prepare when compared to pitching, and Spring Training is a great time to see some of the prospects take at bats. But as for the main players, the Tigers are beginning to get things together. Several interesting stats from The Detroit Tigers Weblog reveal that Ramon Santiago leads the team in home runs with two, Curtis Granderson has cut back on strikeouts thus far perhaps at a cost in overall production, and Placido Polanco is hitting .667.
- Struggling thus far, Carlos Guillen is batting just .211 and has five strikeouts in his 19 Spring Training AB’s. Guillen also appears as though he will not enter the 2007 season with a new contract.
- Mike Ilitch apparently enjoys winning. Unfortunately he also seems unable to correlate his horrible ownership for the first 12 seasons of Tigers baseball under his control. Still, he seems enthusiastic about winning:
“I guess the best way to word it is we’ll continue to keep the team up there. Whatever it takes to do. It’s so hard to get it to a point where you feel like you have a solid organization. It feels good, after you’ve been down so long, to have a good organization, and I want to protect it.”
Still one must wonder. Can the general manager Dave Dombrowski keep Ilitch in line? The last time he had a shot to win some games with the Tigers, things did not end up very well.
- Jason Beck says that Jim Leyland is very high on Omar Infante, despite the Neifi Perez trade towards the end of last season. However, behind such a first class depth chart in the infield, he probably will not see the light of starting baseball days any time soon. Even as a backup, he is beginning to fill the role of a utility player, putting in time from various infield positions, as well as center field. It would be great to see Omar stick around in Detroit, I have high hopes for him as well.
- Jim Leyland invited Al Kaline to be the honorary manager for the American League All-Stars this year when the contest is played in July.
- DirecTV and Major League Baseball have inked a seven-year contract worth $700 million that gives the satellite provider exclusive rights to carry the MLB Extra Innings package, which gives out of market games to viewers who purchase the package on several available channels. The move has been under understandable fire, as those wishing to view their team out of market (such as Tigers fans in Florida or BoSox fans abroad) must be customers of DirecTV to do so.
- Topps has agreed to a takeover that cost the group that includes an old Disney CEO Michael Eisner in excess of $358 million. Topps has been making baseball cards and other various trading cards since it was started in 1938. The company also produces Bazooka bubble gum and Ring Pops. The deal may close by as early as the end of the third quarter. Who said baseball cards were just for kids?