I am on vacation. We decided to take a little trip down to Florida. We built our vacation around the fact that the Detroit Tigers are playing spring training games. Today we headed over to Joker Merchant stadium to see the boys of summer take on the New York Yankees.
Spring training is an exciting time. We get to see a brand new team. We see many young guys hoping to make it to the roster for the regular season. Some will make it, some will not. In the air excitement for the season ahead.
One thing is for sure, the rich history of the Detroit Tigers is alive and well. In the store, there were T-shirts with Alan Trammell’s name on the back, others had Al Kaline’s, and more had Willie Horton’s. Famous Tigers of the past were on banners hanging from the ceilings. The fans in the stands also had names from the past, too. I gotta admit, it was awesome to see someone wearing a jersey with Sparky Anderson’s name and number on it.
Next to me a guy was talking about how hard it is to listen to the games on the radio because the late Ernie Harwell is not around to do them. He also was talking about how great the games were to watch and hear George Kell and Al Kaline do the play by play. I remember listening to the Opening Day game in 1984. Who knew that those guys were on their way to winning the World Series?!
This is the first spring training game I have ever been to. The rain got us a couple of times and they walked away with a win. I don’t recall how they did in spring training in 1984, but I am sure that those fans who attended those “grapefruit league” games had that same hope that I had today. I hope that a World Series Championship is ours at the end of the season. I ran into a Yankees fan in line to get something to drink and he said, “Looks like you got a good team this year.” I told him I heard the same about the Yankees. He said, “I hope it’s the year for one of us.” I agreed.
The 1984 Tigers were a well oiled machine! Nobody could pull double plays like Trammell and Sweet Lou Whitaker. The pitching staff was one of a kind! Jack Morris, Dan Petry, Milt Wilcox, and Dave Rozema were tremendous starters and Aurelio Lopez, Juan Berenguer, and Willie Hernandez were bullpen aces! Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson, Darrell Evens, Larry Herndon, Chet Lemon, and Tommy Brookens were household names! What a team!!!
Watching the game today, we were a few feet away from first base. Watching Miguel Cabrera joke with Yankee players on base, the umps, and his team mates only made me like him more. One can only hope that he will have another great year full of home runs, and key plays. There were a lot of names I did not recognize, and who knows, maybe they will be household names, after the season is done. I hope so.
A Tiger fan for life, in good seasons and bad, I hope this is THE year for the next World Series Championship. Good luck, boys! You looked good today.