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Blog Entry

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:54 pm
 

LAKELAND -- If it's possible, Prince Fielder seems even more boisterous and more animated than ever before now that his new $214-million, nine-year contract is behind him and the Tigers are his future. You've never seen anyone so thrilled to be in Detroit.

"This is a blessing,'' Fielder said. "It's a dream come true, even though I didn't even dream about it.''

Fielder, who resided in Detroit while his father Cecil starred for the Tigers, added that "it really hasn't sunk in yet'' that he's a Tiger.

Fielder is already starting on his own legend. He hit a home run in batting practice that veteran Detroit News Tigers beat writer Tom Gage measured as 611 feet (including the roll). he hit a home run in the opener here at Joker Marchant, crashing one about 25-feet up off the light tower in right field, and after he said, "I'm just getting loose.'' 

Folks around the Tigers remember when Prince came to hit for them as a draft-eligible player a decade ago and more consistently hit the ball over the fence than most of their real players. But alas, the Tigers had the eighth pick that year, and Fielder went to the Brewers one pick ahead. (With Fielder gone, the Tigers picked first baseman Scott Moore, who has seven lifetime homers and is in Astros camp after signing a minor-league contract this winter).

Technically, Fielder is here not because of his dream but because of Tigers owner Mike Ilitch's dream. Ilitch, 83, has yet to win a World Series as Tigers owner, and he has shown he will do whatever it may take to rectify that. The loss of Victor Martinez after what is described as a freak training injury that wrecked his knee when his front foot gave out while shuffling is all it took to put Fielder on Ilitch's radar.

The loss of Martinez meant weakened lineup protection for incumbent superstar Miguel Cabrera. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said V-Mart's absence conjured up images of a steady stream of intentional walks for Cabrera. So to Dombrowski it was really like the loss of "one a half hitters.'' Ilitch could not stand to see his team weakened, so he made sure to make it better.

"He is in a situation where he wants to win,'' Dombrowski said about Ilitch. "He is also very cognizant he has a good club, so he's in a situation where he's aggressive.''

Aggressive? Some other teams may claim $214 million over nine years is foolhardy for the productive and jubilant yet stocky Fielder. However, Ilitch has been aggressive before, and it has ususally paid off. It did with Magglio Ordonez, and before that with Pudge Rodriguez.

For Fielder, before V-Mart hurt himself, there was no thought about retruning to Detroit. The leaders for him appeared to be the Dodgers, who offered $160-million plus over seven years and might have gone to an eighth year, and the Orioles, who have a hard time attracting GMs or players. The Nationals and Rangers were among many more interested teams but some of those other teams were reluctant to go eight years, much less nine.

Fielder said of Ilitch, "He wanted to get it done. He was the only guy to really show that.''

The Ordonez and Rodriguez signings came in the years before big stars dreamed of coming to Detroit. Fielder figures Detroit is perfect, and not just because he spent his formative years there (from age 5 to 11). He wants to win, and the Tigers have as good a chance as anyone these days. Also, it probably doesn't hurt that the American League team will give him a chance to DH in the final years of his nine-year deal.

"I remember the years (in Detroit). It was awesome,'' Fielder declared of the time he spent there (the Fielders lived in Grosse Pointe). "Hopefully, I can make some new memories.''

The negotiation, though it took well into January, is the first positive memory for Prince. There were definitely some anxious moments, but Fielder is better equipped than most to handle those. Speaking of his agent Scott Boras, Fielder said, "One thing Scott doesn't do is lie. He said at (age) 19 what would happen if I stayed focused. He was right.''

Perhaps, but no one could have predicted he'd back in Detroit.

Comments

Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:23 pm
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

Detroit certainly has a good looking team, but since when does a homerun in Spring Training rate frontpage news?

Let's wait until it is mid-September in a pennant race and he hits a homerun in the bottom of the ninth against a team they are competing against for the division crown.

Who edits this rag? 

RSZ,

You do realize in the last few weeks -- there have been headlines about the Pirates trading for a pitcher with an ERA over 5.00 and then another headline including a video of the same pitcher breaking his orbital bone trying to bunt.

It is Spring Training -- they are digging to find ANYTHING to talk about.  That is why you see stories regarding players that have switched teams like Fielder and Pujols.

If they waited to write a story about baseball until there is a divisional race -- there would be no stories about baseball for the next 5 months. 



Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:13 pm
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

It's refreshing not to have a spring training dominated by every step the Yankees or Red Sox make.  No Joba this or Posada that.  In fact the biggest news out of New York is the mess the Mets (and several former players) are in right now.  Are they ever going to own up to the fact Joba is a bust?



Since: Nov 8, 2011
Posted on: March 6, 2012 11:02 am
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

Don't forget who carried the Phils to the playoffs and World Series 2008, (Met series in September to be specific).  Have even better numbers if brought up earlier from farm (Thome).  Down year with RBI's and HR's last year but no one to protect him in lineup plus noone getting on base in front of him.  Should be different this year with Pence and if injury heals properly.

In the end, Prince is a beast, wish we had him.
Times yours . . .  



Since: Nov 24, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:59 am
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

Look out Central. Cant wait until Prince and Miggy unleash in that little league park the Yankees call a stadium.




Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: March 6, 2012 10:25 am
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

You've obviousy have never watched Prince play day-in, day-out.  Prince is clutch.  



Since: Nov 18, 2007
Posted on: March 6, 2012 6:46 am
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

Leyland has the tools this season.



Since: Nov 4, 2011
Posted on: March 6, 2012 12:15 am
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

Detroit certainly has a good looking team, but since when does a homerun in Spring Training rate frontpage news?

Let's wait until it is mid-September in a pennant race and he hits a homerun in the bottom of the ninth against a team they are competing against for the division crown.

Who edits this rag? 




Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:47 pm
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

This should be a fun year to be a Tiger fan as long as no one gets hurt! GO TIGERS



Since: May 29, 2009
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:33 pm
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

I'll put Prince under the Ryan Howard rule until he proves himself this season.

Ryan Howard rule : A sky rocketing home run that comes when the team is already up by 5+ runs. Yet, when the game is within one - it's a strike out. 
Seeing as how Fielder hit .301 with Runners on Base with 17 homeruns and hit .299 with the Bases Empty with 21 homeruns -- I'm going out on a limb and saying his game didn't change much at all.

He also hit .350 with a .494 OBP in late inning pressure ABs in 2011 and had a .305 BA from the 7th inning on.

Oh yeah -- he also walked more than he struck out last year.  So either the Brewers have blown out a TON OF TEAMS over Fielder's career and the stats I just posted are incorrect or you are talking out of your ass. 



Since: Dec 18, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:52 pm
 

V-Mart's loss, Tigers' U-turn & Prince's dream

"You've never seen anyone so thrilled to be in Detroit."

Rarely ever does Detroit -- any sport -- have players who don't want to be here. 

Aside from the couple.. AI and Juan Gonzalez, plenty of players found a home in Detroit and loved it.




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