You can always tell.
It doesn’t matter what kind of team the Tigers are projected to be. The initial news at spring training is always very optimistic.
Everyone seems to look good. Before a single spring game is played, the stories out of Lakeland are glowing.
And without fail, it always seems to begin with Miguel Cabrera. So many times we have heard the same words.
He’s in the best shape of his life.
He really looks good.
The infectious smile.
It’s all back again in 2020 and he is ready to have a big year, right? How often have we heard it?
So many times we have heard all the right things and it was because he was in his prime and coming off hugely productive seasons and ready to put up another one.
But you know what we saw last season. A season like no other for Miggy. Career lows in almost every category. Virtually no power whatsoever. A slow bat. And what else?
Out of shape. And thus overmatched at the plate.
So the challenge was on for Miggy heading into the off-season. Lose weight. Get in shape and take the pressure off those knees and that back.
The reaction to the challenge and the promise from Miggy was mostly, ‘we will believe it when we see it.’
Well, challenge accepted and challenge met.
The pictures tell the story. Miggy is noticeably thinner. Maybe about 25 pounds thinner. And, of course, he is back to laughing and scratching and looking good in the cage.
That’s the message in week 1. The type of message we have heard so many times before.
But it’s a refreshing story. Sure, Cabrera and his health will continue to be concerns all season. The hope is that he can turn things around. The good news is that he has responded in a very positive way, by trying. Something he didn’t seem to do prior to last season.
Again, it’s refreshing, but with a different feel.
Typically, we’ve jumped all over the media in town for blowing smoke up our you-know-whats and spreading all the feel-good propaganda. You’ve read it. You’ve heard it. It’s been disgusting. And very typical.
But in Lakeland in 2020, so far, it does seem to feel good.
The difference? No one has hardly mentioned you-know-what. And I hope they don’t.
The stories have been about the Tigers. The new guys. The young guys. The guys who left Detroit and are now back.
And for now. That’s just fine. That’s good enough for now.
Because we have heard enough from Houston. And we have heard enough from a long list of players around the league denouncing all the reprehensible activity.
And I commend the Detroit press for not shoving a microphone into the faces of our players in Lakeland and asking them what they think.
This scandal isn’t going to die down all season. And we are going to have to get ready for it. But we can certainly start in Lakeland and in Detroit by not joining the fray.
Of course, Cameron Maybin had to field a question or 2, but it would be expected that the Detroit media would want to get a point of view from a new (and old) Tiger who won a ring in Houston in 2017.
But that’s enough. Please don’t take it any further. Let Lakeland be our oasis.
Hopefully, there will be some developing story lines that we can sink our teeth into and dissect. Cabrera is always a popular topic, and already the story line on Miggy is, well, familiar.
And this time? It’s ok. It really is. It beats all the ugliness we have endured all around us.
Spring training is underway in Lakeland.
Miggy is lighter.
The laughter is back.
And according to the Detroit media, he was “mashing” it in the batting cage. Doesn’t it make you laugh and shake your head at the same time? It does for me, but this time I’m ok with it.
I think everyone is ready for a fresh start.
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