Since when do the Tigers have to fight for my attention?

Kenny reminds me that I haven’t posted about my favorite team in a while:

The tigers locked up Granderson with a 5 year deal through 2013. Is it possible for a player who finished 10th in the mvp voting in only his second full season to be under the radar? You’re in boston, so maybe you can answer this. Do people outside of Michigan have any idea how good he was last year?

It’s a good question.

People that intensely follow baseball know who Grandy is. He was only the third player ever to hit 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and steal 20 bases—I think a lot of people heard about that. But, in general, players like Granderson kind of slip under the radar because so much of the attention goes to sluggers and starting pitchers. Contact hitters don’t get a ton of SportsCenter love.

In Boston’s defense, I have one friend out here who is obsessed with the Red Sox but begged me to get him a Granderson shirt when I was in Detroit. And that was two years ago, when he was just emerging in our lineup.

One thing about Grandy is that, while he’s not even entering his physical prime yet, he’s still 26 years old. Wouldn’t you feel slightly better about his career trajectory if he had a season like last year when he was 22? If he gives us last year’s stats for the entire five year deal, the Tigers will have gotten a massive bargain. But how much better can he possibly get?

Also, Grandy is so fan-friendly, so media-savvy, so sociable that I think sometimes people assume that he’s a bigger star than he is. Not many active players have a blog on ESPN. But, in terms of national Joe Fan recognition, he’s probably less known than Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Sheff, Pudge, Cabrera, Dontrelle, Zumaya, Maggs.

Wow, I can’t believe I just listed that many famous Tigers. Life is good.

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14 Responses to “Since when do the Tigers have to fight for my attention?”

  1. Kenny Says:

    Yea I’m excited about baseball already. Spring training isn’t that far away. The cool thing about the tigers right now is they have a handful of good young guys that fans can get behind. Obviously it’s nice to bring in big stars via trade or free agency, but there’s something to be said about gettting to watch a player break into the league and then grow into a star. I mean I love having Sheff around, but when he retires in a year or two I’m not going to identify his as being a Tiger. It’s exciting to think we have the chance to watch Verlander, Grandy, Zumaya (if he can stay healthy), Cabrera (if they can sign him to an extension) for the next 10 years and have them be among the best players in the league.

    That’s what was so special about the Wings run. Most of us had the chance to watch Yzerman, Federov, Lidstrom, Draper, Maltby, McCarty, that whole nucleus come into the league and then stay together to win championships. Obviously they had a lot of help from smart trades and veteran signings when they brought in guys like Shanahan, Larionov, Fetisov, Larry Murphy, etc. There has been some talk about the impact his has had on the Wings current attendance woes. Namely, that fans don’t know who the hell any of these guys are, and so they aren’t as excited about going to see them, despite the fact that the wings are just decimating the league right now. I think there’s a lot of truth to this theory. When I look back at the Wings’ run I would say there were four dominant personalities on those teams Yzerman, Shanahan, Mccarty, and Fedorov (who was both popular and villified at times but clearly embraced his ‘celebrity’ and attracted a ton of attention.) All those guys are gone, and while Lidstrom is still around his style both on the ice and off is really under the radar. And while Zetterberg and Datsyuk are clearly among the best players in the league they haven’t been completely embraced by Detroit’s fans yet. Which also shouldn’t be that surprising if you look back. As late as the early 90’s there were a lot of people talking about trading Yzerman, although nobody will admit that now, there were talks about him going to Ottawa. And this was after he had already spent nearly a decade in Detroit.

    So anyway, needless to say I like the idea of getting to watch a Tiger’s nucleus contend on a yearly basis in the same way that I was fortunate enough to grow up during a truly incredible run of Hockey greatness.

    This is what happens when I start talking about Detroit sports, I get all nostalgic and end up writing a damn essay.

  2. sloan Says:

    How can any Wings fans not embrace Zetterberg and Datsyuk? That makes no sense to me. They play fun styles of hockey. And haven’t they both been on the team for like five years? And the Wings have hardly been toiling in obscurity in the Western conference basement. How can that be?

    Maybe what you’re saying makes sense, but it’s crazy to me.

    Also, I know this isn’t news to you, but it’s important to note how incredibly good (I wanted to swear there, but edited myself) Konstantinov was. He was with us for, what, seven-eight years before the accident? And he was arguably the best d-lineman in the league. And he was a rugged ass d-lineman. He was so integral to that first cup, and I really really wish he had been there for the rest of that run.

    (PS–We could really use Bondy developing into the kind of 19 win, 3.0 ERA, 200k guy we all know he can be. That’d take a lot of pressure off Verlander.)

  3. Kenny Says:

    I’m not trying to be critical of datsyuk and zetterberg, they are great players and i think wings fans appreciate them. Maybe saying they haven’t been embraced by wings fans wasn’t a good way to put it. I guess i’m just pointing out that despite having two of the best players in the league and dominating the regular season and going to the Western Conference finals the Wings don’t have the same buzz they once had. There are a lot of factors, which we have discussed previously, the economy, the resurgence of the pistons and tigers, and the competition that has come with it, but I think part of it is fans don’t have the same attachment they had with they guys on previous wings teams. I mean maybe in time wings fans will think of dan cleary in the same way they thought of Mccarty. Who interestingly enough is trying to make a comback.

    http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080205/SPORTS05/80205094/1053/SPORTS

    I would bet 50 bucks that if McCarty makes it back, whenever his first game in Detroit is, it will be a sellout.

    As to the original question you posed on Granderson’s ceiling, I agree he isn’t “young” for a third year player. His numbers aren’t going to jump up in a single season the way they did last year, but like you said if he even gets a little better (maybe cutting down on the K’s and increasing the walks) they are getting a good deal and he’s one of the best centerfielders in the game.

    Completely agree on Bonderman. My dad insists that you can’t give up on talented pitchers because there is a learning process. He always uses David Wells as an example who pitched early in his career as a tiger and was wildly inconsistent and then the tigers let him go and he went on to have a really good, albeit not great career. But Bondo has the stuff to be dominant so if he’s a .500 pitcher it will be a major disappointment. Although you also have to remember that be broke in as a 19 year old so while he’s been in the league forever he’s actually still pretty young.

  4. sloan Says:

    good points all around. bondo is kind of on the opposite track as grandy—been around forever, still not realizing his fullest potential.

    i guess i just don’t really buy the excuses about the economy and the tigers and the stones and whatnot (look at the lions! every game sells out!)

    i think the two reasons are:
    1. no one watches hockey anymore.
    2. the wings lose cups they should win.

    of course, it’s not zetterberg and datsyuk’s faults about the first one, and the yzerman-led squads got bombed out of some playoffs they should have won.

    i’m sure that the kids who are growing up as puckheads like we were love those two as much as we loved yzerman and feddy (though no one can love feddy as much as zach did/does.) there just aren’t as many of those kids out there.

    also, if they win the cup this year, a lot of people will get sucked back in.

    and, regarding mccarty, i hope he gets a shot with the red wings. if nothing else, he should retire a wing (not a senator or whatever team he finished up with.)

  5. Kenny Says:

    Also, in huge news, what’s with the suns talking about trading for Shaq?
    I don’t think i’m the only one thinking that he wouldn’t be the best fit in their offense.

  6. zachary Says:

    screw shaq talk. more detroit sports talk. bondo is my tiger. i love when he does well. i think he still can. 2 years ago he hada good year, then seemed to regress last year. could the lack of kenny rog be a pat of that? i think bondo will put together (im soooo puny) a good year this year.

    the major problem with the wings as i see it is the ticket prices. i can buy cheap ass tigers tickets still. i cant buy cheap ass redwings tickets. and i cant buy any lower level seats cause theyre all season ticket holders i think. however, season ticket holders arent going to the games. why? prolly cause theres no rivalries, its not the same nhl, no one wants to see columbus 20 times. etc. but on that note, if youre not gonna go, release those tickets to the joe box office so that they can be bought by an average fan. i dont really want to pay 80 bucks for a top level seat at the joe. id prolly pay 100 bucks for a lower level seat though. the opportunity cost of the lower level is in my favor in my opinion. but no one can buy those tickets.

    so what ol lil caesars needs to do is a: LOWER ticket prices. B: not have as many season ticket holders, or establish a system that either 1: rewards season ticket holders somehow for letting the joe re sell their season tickets at face value (they could do this by issuing food coupons or beer coupons to the season ticket holder) or 2: punish them for not letting their tickets be used. scenario b2 will never happen, but theres no reason why b1 cant. to me it makes perfect sense and would bring in more revenue. what would happen is john college student buys a few of these re sold season tickets, so he and his friends can have a good time watching hockey, steve the ceo season ticket holder gets his value for that/those ticket(s), the joe has obviously resold that ticket, so they dont lose anything, they give steve the ceo like 10 bucks in coupons, but john college student and his friends blow like 70 bucks on beer and pizza. so the joe makes money that would not be there cause steve the ceo doesnt really want to go down to detroit.

    i dont know if i explained that well, but it works, i can try to clean it up better. maybe ill start writing a petition to illitch/holland.

  7. zachary Says:

    o yea, i forgot to mention that if steve the ceo gives up his tickets and they dont sell, then he gets nothing, the joe gets nothing, and really theres nothing lost. it ends up being the same as if steve didnt go. but at least theres potential.

    i need to patent this idea so no one can steal it, i think its gold.

  8. sloan Says:

    is that really the problem though? are tickets being sold that no one is using? or are the tickets not being sold in the first place?

  9. zachary Says:

    the lower level is mostly season ticket holders. so i think those seats are sold, and not being used.

  10. Kenny Says:

    The empty seats are damaging to the Joe’s atmosphere, but those tickets still count when they are determining whether or not the game was a “sellout” which up until the last couple years was always the case. Now there are tickets that just aren’t being sold.

    Ticket prices are definitely a factor. But as jerry points out, the Lions sell out every damn game and their tickets are rediculously expensive. Sure there are fewer games, but even the Tigers fill up their lower bowl and lower bowl seats at copa are just as expensive as wings tickets. You have to sit pretty high up to get “cheap” seats for tigers games.

    In reality it’s really a combination of all of the factors.

  11. sloan Says:

    there should absolutely a section (as far away as humanly possibly) with ten dollar tickets. that would bring in a bunch of rowdy people who could then sneak into the good seats when the yuppies don’t show.

  12. Kenny Says:

    they sell 200 10 dollar seats at each home game. but you have to buy them at the door.

  13. sloan Says:

    maybe i’m engaging in some weak stereotyping, but how many wings fan live near enough to the joe to walk on over and see if they can grab $10 tickets? it seems like the huge majority are commuting in from the suburbs, and they probably need to have advance tickets.

  14. zachary Says:

    i dont think youre stereotyping at all. youre exactly right.

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