Friday, September 28, 2018
Today is Saturday. It is the first full day of autumn and our fields are flooded once again. And Victor Martinez retired.
Baseball is my favorite sport. The Detroit Tigers is my favorite team (and I live in Sr Louis Cardinals country).
Of course, we have two more weeks of baseball left in the regular season. And I will watch. I pay an astronomical fee to be able to get the Tigers feed on my television.
The team is in rebuilding mode. That means a lot of players are gone. They have been traded to make room for newer, younger, and hopefully more energetic players. In some cases maybe better.
We expected a losing year. That is the way it is with a rebuilding team. It was a poor year but much better than I expected. Certainly it was better than the sports media gleefully predicted.
The thing is I get very attached to the players. From 1968 when we won the World Series to 1984 for another World Series win to being the American League champions in 2006 I was there. I was in the stadium to see Mark 'the Bird' Fidrych pitch in his first Major League game.
I loved Norm Cash and Bill Freehan in '68. Mickey Lolich belongs in the Hall of Fame. Al Kaline is a special player and special person. Willie Horton was not born in Detroit but grew up there. He still lives there and is still an avid Tigers booster..
Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker were the greatest up-the -middle team ever. Kirk Gibson had the most go-gettum I have seen. Sparky Anderson was probably the most beloved curmudgeon as our manager.
Jim Leland gave Sparky a good contest in the curmudgeon department. We have had such great players as Joel Zumaya, Max Scherzer, Maglio Ordonez, Placido Polanco, David Price, Rick Porcello, Gary Scheffield, Aurelio Lopez, Aurelio Rodriguez, Cecil Fielder, Prince Fielder, Pudge Rodriguez, J.D. Martinez... there is a long list.
I purposely separated Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. Each is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player. Miggy is still with us but has been injured all year. Justin Verlander was traded at the end of last season and helped the Astros win the World Series.
Now back to Victor Martinez. He was with the Indians for 7 years. Then he was traded to the Red Sox. He has been with the Tigers for 7 years. At the age of 39 he retired today from active playing. He will finish the season with his team but no more playing.
He is still an impressive player. His health has caused problems and he still has a lifetime batting average of close to 300... from each side of the plate. He is a switch hitter which means he bats both right-handed and left-handed. His batting average is almost the same from both sides which is almost unheard of.
Victor will be missed and at the same time we all wish him the best.