Last night I got back from an 8 day trip to Lakeland Florida. For Christmas this year, my mom gave my dad and I a trip to participate in the 2008 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Baseball Camp. 2008 also happens to be the 40th anniversary of when the 1968 Tigers united the city of Detroit from all of the riots and wont he World Series over the proven and formidable Cardinals.
My mom had been planning this trip for us to play baseball with the 1968 Tigers for a year and a half, pretty amazing. She got Sarah involved, and both she and Sarah went to the respective bosses to ask for the extended time off in advance. There were no details spared.
Christmas day, when my dad started to open our special gift, I was pretty clueless as to what was happening. It was kind of like a clue hunt, but the hunt didn’t take us anywhere, we stayed situated in the living room and filled in the word clues with individual wrapped gifts that served only as hints to missing words in the big puzzle.
We opened the final gift, and it was a pamphlet for the camp. I didn’t understand at all what was happening, still…and my dad was shocked, couldn’t believe it, and was getting misty eyed.
So, for me, I don’t know that I had time to let it all sink in. We had the tragic personal events happen over Christmas, then upon our return I worked two long weeks and started classes so my first couple of week in January went by in the blink of an eye.
But once we were down there, I could relax, and it was an amazing experience. I got to talk to some of the stars I watched when I was growing up, and talk to some of the guys that I didn’t know and hear their amazing stories.
I have an album of 150 photos of us in our full away and home Tiger uniforms spanning the whole week, from the initial drills, to scrimmaging and nightly activities, to the tournaments and finally playing the Tigers on the last Saturday.
If you are interested, check it out, click on the photo below. It’s in my public Picasa Photo album, and henceforth, is being pulled into the blog.
Thanks again to my mom for such an awesome gift, to my dad for some great memories and to baseball and the players who play the game and have rejuvenated my interest that sometimes gets shuffled aside when live comes along.
It came down to almost the end of the season, except it went in the opposite direction of 1987.
In 1987 the Tigers swept the Blue Jays at the end of the season to go up for the divisional lead and go on to play the Twins in the playoffs. This year, the Tigers had a crucial set of games between the Yankees and Indians and came out hobbling. They came back to within 2.5 games behind the Yankees in the wild card going into their last series against Cleveland.
This time, they go swept, and didn’t really have a chance. That ended up being the deciding series.
So, a decent season. Their second half record was absymal, so hopefully they can change that next year. They need to go out and get a really competent middle relief man, and they need one more production man. I think that their pitching is still solid, they just need to get everyone healthy. If Kenny Rogers comes back for another year, that would be a huge plus and they need to get Jeremy Bonderman healthy and some of these young guys consistent.
We saw some more awesome young arms at some point this season. Andrew Miller still has potential and can’t be labeled erratic just yet. Jair Jurrjens, Yorman Bazardo, and even Chad Durbin at the beginning of the season. And Zach Miner really has settled in. Durbin, he kind of has a history of bouncing around, so I am not sure he will ever be much of anything. But look at Timo Perez and what he did in the last two months of the season. He’s been everywhere. Ordonez finally earned his money, let’s hope he can put up those numbers next year too. And above all else, we have to keep Verlander. Middle relief guys who throw smoke are highly overrated *cough* Zoom Zoom Zumaya, but Verlander is the real deal and proved it again this year. He is in the books with the likes of Jack Morris, and we all know what a heck of a pitcher he was.
So, don’t pay Sheffield much of anything if his salary is up. He still was riddled with a ton of injuries. Same with Rodriguez, try to keep him, but he is a defensive man more now and balance for the staff than anything and a little overpaid.
Let’s now become the Chicago White Sox of 2007 in 2008.