The last time the Detroit Tigers made the World Series, they had to wait a week between games after sweeping the A’s in the ALCS. There was speculation that the long layoff contributed to a five-game loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The team had five-or-fewer hits in three of the five games, and committed eight errors in the series, including at least one in each game. The team appears to have learned from their past experience and is trying to make alternate arrangements to stay sharp.
General Manager Dave Dombrowski flew many of the organization’s minor leaguers into Detroit so they could practice and scrimmage with the major league club. The team’s Instructional League ended on Thursday, so the timing worked out perfectly. The only question was whether the team would fly to Lakeland, Fla., to play against the minor leaguers, or remain in Detroit. The team decided to stay in Detroit and luckily the weather cooperated and allowed them to practice on Sunday.
“Any time you can see live pitching, it keeps you fresh. Whether you are hitting the ball or just watching. I like that we’re doing. This is a very smart thing to do. Get work in and not sit around and wait,” outfielder Quintin Berry told the Detroit Free Press.
Dombrowski reportedly began talking about making such arrangements when the team went up 2-0 in the ALCS against the Yankees, but he didn’t want the news to become public because they hadn’t won the series yet. Planning ahead appears to have paid off for them. And with the St. Louis Cardinals up 3-2 in the NLCS against the Giants, Tigers fans can’t help but wonder if there will be a 2006 rematch. The only difference is that Detroit should be better prepared for the series this time.