By: Kurt Snyder
I must say I have a new-found appreciation for baseball beat writers who have to write a daily article about the latest “news” in spring training.
Very little news is impactful out of spring training other than a trade, a new signing or some sad news about season ending injuries. A Texas Rangers reporter had to deliver that news this week about Yu Darvish, the latest star pitcher set to go under the knife in the name of Tommy John.
But other than these kinds of stories, writers are forced to share news about minor league batters who hit home runs off minor league pitchers, both trying to make their respective clubs.
And then we load up the comment sections with statements about how dumb they are for writing what they do. If these writers had their way, they wouldn’t even mention half of this stuff, because any news about someone doing well or not in the spring is really nothing special. It’s spring training. Most level-headed fans take it all with a grain of salt. No championships are won in Lakeland, Fla.
Writers are also forced to report to us how Joe Nathan and David Price got lit up on the mound over the last couple days down in Florida. Some yawn and some want to jump off a bridge, over reacting to news about a pitcher who probably just spent an inning or 2 working on his command or maybe a new pitch. In the end, again, it means nothing.
The stories I like to hear about in the spring are the ones about our new double play combination and how good they look together. Ian Kinsler, who looked about as good as a second baseman can look defensively last season, now gets to share the field with Jose Iglesias, who will be the best defensive shortstop we have seen around here in decades.
These two players have the potential to be the best set of middle infielders the Tigers have seen since you know who … Tram and Lou. Brad Ausmus, half jokingly, made the comparison the other day. And in case I have missed someone impactful since Whitaker and Trammell roamed the field, just let me know, and I will apologize profusely.
Iggy and Ian are really going to turn some heads together. Kinsler alone was fantastic last season. Iglesias alone could play the whole left side of the infield if you asked him to. God knows he would try.
A couple of weeks ago, I publicly wondered when the Tiger organization would finally break down and properly recognize their last great double play combination, the one who played 18 years together. Here’s an update: Nothing new on that.
So I have this idea for Opening Day. It’s quite dramatic and would probably bring this emotional Tiger fan to tears if it actually materialized. It’s a public relations move dreams are made of.
To start the season, it’s cool as they introduce the players on both teams from the lead-off hitter down to the very last player on the roster.
But sometimes, players are introduced by number, and I would on this day. The numbers 1 and 3 would be first as #2 has been retired in honor of the great Charlie Gehringer. So you would expect Iglesias (#1) and then Kinsler (#3) to come trotting out of the dugout, right?
Well not on this day. Instead, it would be Whitaker and then Trammell, both in uniform, running out and finding their familiar place on the chalk just as they did together for so many years at Tiger Stadium. The crowd would go nuts and wonder what was going on, but only for a moment.
Because at this point, the public address announcer would draw the crowds’ attention to the brick wall out in left centerfield, as the #1 and #3 are unveiled as the next retired numbers.
Close your eyes and just imagine it, because this would be pure Tiger baseball theatre at its finest. As Whitaker and Trammell wave to the roaring crowd, out would come Iglesias and Kinsler, shaking the hands of the former greats, replacing them along the third base line. What would their numbers be? I don’t know. Who cares! But, how great would that be?
The point is, once again, enough already Tigers! Get the numbers 1 and 3 out of circulation. And build the statue of Tram and Lou!
Now that’s an Opening Day. And who wouldn’t want to write about that?