Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's almost too good to be true...

There really isn't a whole lot to talk about Detroit Tigers-wise, as for the most part, things are going pretty damn well.

The team currently holds first place in the central, in what is beginning to look more and more like a 2 team race with the Indians, with the 2nd place team being a very good bet to get the wild card. I don't want to write off the Twins, as they are always scary. But they have been hovering around the .500 mark all season, and are having injury issues. The White Sox are in midst of imploding like a star going supernova, and for all intents and purposes, are out of contention.

Over the last few weeks, the Tigers have been one of the best teams in baseball, once again running roughshod over the JV squad, otherwise known as the National League. Even the normally crazy as a loon Joe Morgan thinks this season's version of the Tigers is better than last season's pennant winner.

The Tigers' offense has been insanely good. Historically good. Crazy good. Words can't describe how good they have been with the bat. You almost expect them to score 6 runs a game.

The starting rotation is finally taking the shape we envisioned before the start of the season. Kenny Rogers is healthy, Andrew Miller has shown that you can't keep major league talent down on the farm, no matter how veteran the rotation. If Nate Robertson shows tonight that his stint on the DL helped his "Tired arm," that'll be icing on the cake.

As for the embattled bullpen, a few moves have finally been made, and things have settled somewhat. Everyone's nerves have calmed. For the time being, anyway...

There's even more good news. If the All Star game voting ended today, Magglio Ordonez, Placido Polanco, and Pudge Rodriguez would all be starting for the AL. Let alone there's the fact that Justin Verlander and/or Jeremy Bonderman have great shots at being named to the AL pitching staff. We haven't seen such national love for the Tigers in years, not since Ron LeFlore, Rusty Staub, and Mark Fidrych all started the 1976 game.

In the recent MLB amateur draft, high school pitcher Rick Porcello, a consensus top 5 talent, thanks to his contract demands, fell all the way to the Tigers at the 27th pick overall. Showing no fear in regard to having to pay well over slot money, the Tigers were shown to be a gutsy team who weren't going to be bullied by the commissioners office, or other MLB teams, into passing on a potential franchise pitcher. Their aggressiveness warmed the cockles of Tigers fan's hearts, and made fans of other teams wondering why their team isn't more like the Tigers.

More like the Tigers? Never thought I'd ever hear words like that ever again.

The Detroit Tigers have become a model MLB franchise, a team that should be competitive for not only this season, but for many to come. They have a solid front office lead by one of the best executives in all of baseball, Dave Dombrowski. The Tigers have the reigining manager of the year in Jim Leyland, who has become a God amongst men in Detroit. The farm system is finally starting to recover from years of neglect, and poor decision making. The Tigers have been remodeled, from top to bottom.

Detroit is once again being seen for what it once was, one of the best baseball cities in America. It's no longer thought of as a remote baseball outpost, the Siberia of the major leagues.

The last season and a half has been a dream scenario for long suffering Tigers fans. No one would have envisioned such a turn around in fortune. No one.

Things couldn't be better in Tiger Nation. So, no worries, right? Right?

So why am I sitting here, waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak?

In the back of my mind, there is this little voice telling me it's all too good to be true. 2 decades of watching the worst baseball this area has ever seen will do that to you. Other teams are supposed to have long stretches of success, definitely not the Tigers. Never the Tigers. Not since the long ago 80's, anyway.

When it came to the Tigers, for many, many years, I used to hope for the best, but expected the very worst. It's hard getting used to that platitude no longer being true. Considering the Tigers were the dregs of the league a short 2 seasons ago, it's hard to grasp the fact that the Tigers are now an excellent team.

No matter what happens from here on out, it appears that the Tigers are in excellent shape, run by smart baseball people, with an owner willing to spend what it takes to win, filled with a roster of very good players, and plan to stay that way.

Here's a few more words I never thought I'd hear again...

It's good to be a Tigers fan.

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