Column: Tigers could still be World Series contenders
It's the first week of April. The snow is falling. Temperatures are flirting with below-freezing levels. That can only mean one thing: Major League Baseball is back.
Saying I'm a fan would be an understatement. Ever since I was able to hurl a bat half my size at a ball sitting stationary on a tee, I've been obsessed with the game.
My T-ball coach used to always tell me, "When you make it to the Majors, just remember that I was your first coach."
I would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to coach Marino. I don't think I'm going to make it to the show anytime soon, but maybe one day I will be writing about it.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, you probably have an educated guess on my favorite team. That's right, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Yes. Despite the fact that most people in the Chicago area and many of the people I have encountered at Grand Valley State (that includes you, unnamed sports editor at the Lanthorn) despise my favorite team, I still bleed Cardinal red.
And as much as it may pain you Detroit Tigers fans, the Cardinals and Tigers have something in common at the start of this year. Both teams are being overlooked this year despite having talented rosters.
Since my objectivity is a little too skewed to talk about the Cardinals, I’ll focus on the Tigers, giving an unbiased opinion as I'm indifferent about the team.
The Tigers are a squad that has been the perennial favorite to win the American League Central for the better part of a decade, but ever since the Kansas City Royals caught fire, Detroit has taken a backseat in the division.
As someone who only watches and listens to national sports broadcasts and avoids the local ones, I haven’t heard a single analyst talk about the Tigers as World Series contenders at all.
Granted, the team hit a low point last season selling David Price and Yoenis Cespedes at the trade deadline, but the holes left behind were filled in the offseason with a mixture of young and veteran talent.
Outfielder Justin Upton matches up with Cespedes’ skill, providing the Tigers with a solid glove to go along with an above-average bat.
The lineup is as scary to opposing pitchers as it was last year. The biggest question for the Tigers is the starting rotation.
Price is irreplaceable, but at the end of last season Justin Verlander looked to be back to his Cy Young self. The rumors of Upton being a distraction seemed to have subdued, and no, I’m not talking about Justin Upton.
The addition of Jordan Zimmerman helps bring depth to the rotation, although management is banking on Anibal Sanchez to be the pitcher he was a couple of years ago.
After the top three starters, the rotation gets a little shaky, but the organization has enough talent in the farm system to theoretically provide a savior if needed.
All I’m saying is don’t sleep on the Tigers. They arguably have one of the best lineups in the game and can provide enough run support any pitcher that takes the mound. Unless that pitcher is me, but my playing days are over.