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Tigers beer vendor catches foul ball in his bucket (Video)

A Detroit Tigers beer vendor made the play of the year on a foul ball Wednesday afternoon. We thought it was remarkable when a Philadelphia Phillies vendor caught a foul ball in his bucket earlier this season, and that guy did it unintentionally. His Tigers counterpart knew exactly what he was doing.

This guy squared up, put his body in front of the ball and made the play.

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That thing was coming in hot, too. Most beer vendors would duck out of the way of an incoming ball since their hands are occupied. Our boy at Comerica Park knew how to improvise.

H/T Big League Stew

Tigers honor Tony Gwynn with his initials in the ‘5.5 hole’

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Teams across Major League Baseball paid tribute to Tony Gwynn on Monday night after the Hall of Famer lost his battle with cancer. Gwynn was one of the most well-liked players in MLB history, and almost every player, fan, coach and anyone else connected to the game felt the sting of his passing on some level. The Detroit Tigers honored Gwynn in a very unique way.

The Tigers wrote Gwynn’s initials and the number 5.5 on the back edge of the infield dirt between third base and shortstop. It was a reference to what Gwynn called the “5.5 hole,” and it’s a spot on the field where he picked up a ton of hits.

Gwynn was such a good hitter that he could pretty much place the ball wherever he wanted. If he got a pitch that was low and outside, he’d just slap it through the “5.5 hole” and get on base. In reality, you could put Gwynn’s initials on any spot in the field where no fielder was standing. That was his favorite place to hit it.

We have more must-read stories about the San Diego Padres legend here.

H/T For the Win

Tigers get stuck in Boston wearing Zubaz outfits

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The Detroit Tigers completed a sweep of the Red Sox in Boston on Sunday night, but their greatest moment came in the hours following the game. After Joba Chamberlain bought the whole team Zubaz pants a couple of weeks ago, the Tigers decided it would be a good idea to wear full Zubaz outfits for their road trip to Cleveland. Unfortunately, the quirky outfits may have been bad luck.

At first, the Tigers seemed to be having a blast with their Zubaz pants and hoodies in the locker room and on the airplane.

Things went downhill from there, as the team’s plane apparently experienced a malfunction and had to be grounded for the night. The Tigers looked a little less thrilled while riding a bus and chilling in a hotel lobby.

At least they did it in style. No one can take that away from them.

H/T CBS Detroit
Photo: Instagram/Torii Hunter

Explaining why Prince Fielder was traded by the Detroit Tigers

Prince FielderThe Detroit Tigers on Wednesday agreed to trade Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler, a deal that Fielder agreed to by waiving his limited no-trade clause.

The Tigers reached the World Series two seasons ago and the ALCS last season with Fielder on the roster. He still had seven years and $168 million left on the original 9-year contract he signed with them before the 2012 season. He also protected Miguel Cabrera in the lineup and gave the Tigers a devastating 1-2 punch in the middle of the order.

So why did Detroit decide to deal Fielder? There are multiple explanations.

1) Fielder had a sub-par season last year. His 25 home runs and .819 OPS were his worst marks since his rookie season. He hit just .225 without driving in a run in 11 postseason games. In 24 career postseason games with the Tigers, Prince only had one home run and three RBIs. Maybe his poor postseason performance convinced the Tigers he was expendable.

2) Fielder’s casual attitude after the Tigers were eliminated from the playoffs didn’t sit well with the organization, per Buster Olney. Let’s just say Prince didn’t take the playoff loss quite as hard as the fans.

“You have to be a man about it,” Fielder said. “I have kids. If I’m sitting around pouting about it, how am I going to tell them to keep their chins or keep their heads up when something doesn’t go their way? It’s over.

“It isn’t really tough, man, for me [to move on]. It’s over. I have kids I have to take care of, so, for me it’s over, bro.”

Told fans may be upset to hear him shake off a disappointing loss so quickly, Fielder said: “They don’t play.”

3) Trading Fielder allows Cabrera to move back to first.

[Read more...]

Detroit Tigers did a Haka dance celebration (GIF)

After winning Game 5 of the ALDS 3-0 over the Oakland A’s on Thursday, the Detroit Tigers gathered at the mound and did a chant and coordinated dance. Many were wondering what exactly the team was doing, and we learned it’s their version of the Haka dance.

The Haka dance is described on Wikipedia as a “traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand.” The New Zealand national rugby team aka “All Blacks” made the dance well known by doing it before competitions. They actually still do.

To see the real Haka dance performed by the All Blacks, watch the video below:

[Read more...]

Detroit Tigers scrimmage against their minor leaguers to stay sharp

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.

Prince Fielder Prefers to Bat in Front of Miguel Cabrera in Tigers’ Lineup

No matter how they order it, the Detroit Tigers will have one of the best 3-4 lineup combinations in baseball. They already had Miguel Cabrera batting fourth last season behind Magglio Ordonez. Mags won’t be back, but they are replacing him with Prince Fielder.

During an interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech Thursday, Prince said he’d prefer to bat in front of Miggy. He likely prefers to bat third because the guy hitting in front has the protection and generally sees better pitches.

Unfortunately for Prince, it does not look like he’ll get his preference. Tigers manager Jim Leyland already has a batting lineup in mind:

    1. Austin Jackson
    2. Brennan Boesch
    3. Miggy Cabrera
    4. Prince Fielder
    5. Delmon Young
    6. Alex Avila
    7. Jhonny Peralta
    8. Andy Dirks, Clete Thomas, or Don Kelly
    9. Ryan Rayburn

Outside of Cabrera and Prince, it’s not too intimidating, but they should have enough support to put up some good numbers. The thing that worries me about the rest of their lineup is that many of their guys had career seasons last year (Avila, Peralta, Boesch) and I’d be worried about a natural dropoff in production.