Written By: S Holmes | www.stonesdetroit.com
Lately, I have taken a lot of verbal abuse stemming from the fact that I have a fondness for all things winter. The temperature can never drop too low and there can never, ever be enough snow. I would absolutely love to see a storm produce four more inches so Detroit can break the season snowfall record of 90.7 from the winter of 1880-1881. Having stated my feelings, I’m only giving Old Man Winter a few more days to pull it off, after that, I’m going to join the countless others in berating the old bastard. While I have adoration for the chill, my heart wholly belongs to another. You see, we are fifteen short days away from the Detroit Tigers Opening Day. Despite the frigid temperatures and the snow, the Tigers say that the field will be ready.
Crews at Comerica Park have been working overtime to prepare the field for the Tigers home opener against the Kansas City Royals set for March 31. After trucks, snow blowers, and plows have removed the layer of snow covering the field, trailer heaters have been heating the playing field by blowing warm air under large tarps. A full-field replacement was needed after the Winter Festival was held there this past December. 103,000 square feet of Kentucky Blue Grass is being shipped in from Colorado for the first sod replacement since 2007. With the front office’s guarantee of field readiness, let the festivities begin.
Opening Day in Detroit is celebrated more than most national holidays. 2013’s Opening Day brought 140,000 fans downtown. If you’re planning on joining the crowd this year, there is a buffet of fun to choose from. Directly across the street from Comerica Park, The Fillmore is hosting the WRIF’s Opening Day Bash. 97.1 The Ticket is holding their annual block party at Grand Circus Park. Many businesses, like Blackfinn in Royal Oak and CJ Mahoney’s in Troy, have party buses making the trip downtown. If tailgating is more your scene, there are plenty of parking lots to choose from. Dress warm, bring a hibachi grill, a cooler full of frosty beverages and kick back and enjoy the scene.
Fans with tickets will get to experience plenty of excitement inside the park as well. If you have been paying attention to the Grapefruit League, you have seen the production that Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos have put forth. Statistically speaking, they hold down the second and third places in Major League Baseball during spring training. In eleven games and 32 at bats, Austin Jackson is sporting a .469 average. He has collected 15 hits including two doubles, two triples and one home run for ten RBIs.
Nick Castellanos has 16 RBIs by way of 17 hits, including six doubles and two home runs. That’s good enough for a .447 average.
The Tigers continue to give reigning Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer massive run support. On March 10, Detroit beat St. Louis 17-5. Detroit’s big cat, Miguel Cabrera, put two home runs out. Scherzer had a nice outing, commanding all four of his pitches. His showing against Houston on the 15th wasn’t as sharp. While his teammates gave him a ten run lead by the third, he gave up runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Although the Astros had Scherzer’s number, he finished up without giving up any walks.
Justin Verlander has thrown a scoreless 3.2 innings with two strikeouts. This afternoon, JV will face Washington National, Jordan Zimmermann. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM.
It looks as though Jose Iglesias will miss much more time than originally reported. A report coming from ESPN said that he could be out as long as four months. Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com that there will be more information in the next few days. Naturally with this news, rumors are flying. Some speculate that Stephen Drew would be an obvious choice for Detroit while others expect the Tigers to look internally. Could Hernan Perez and Steve Lombardozzi split time at shortstop? I guess we will know soon enough.
One thing that I know for certain, I am ready for baseball. There’s nothing better than the sound of a bat knocking a ball out of the park or the snap of a catcher’s mitt. With spring comes hope for baseball fans everywhere. Play Ball!!!
*Photo By: Diane Weiss/Detroit Free Press