Reporting Greg Bowman
Remember 2006? Your house was worth more than you paid for it. Your 401 K was making money. You may have even gotten a nice raise or bonus. And most importantly if you’re a baseball fan, the Detroit Tigers shocked the experts by going to the World Series!
Since then, the economy has fallen on hard times, especially here in Michigan. And the Tigers haven’t gotten close to returning to the Series. But the economy is finally starting to show signs of improvement. And Tiger Manager Jim Leyland and President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski are looking for better things in 2011.
Leyland and Dombrowski joined with other Tiger coaches, officials, and the entire team for an annual tradition, an appearance before the Detroit Economic Club on Thursday. Dombrowski told the enthusiastic crowd that the Tigers have a legitimate chance of winning the American League Central Division this year. And he praised fans for continuing to support the Tigers during these tough times, saying that the team will sell the equivalent of 15 thousand season tickets this year.
Leyland said he can’t promise that the Tigers will make it the world series, but he can assure fans that the team will give its best effort every game. Referring to the Tigers up and down start on the year, Leyland said “One of the newspaper writers said we had the worst team in baseball. Then after we won a few games, they said we had the best team in baseball.” And he said his players can’t afford to get caught up in that emotional roller coaster.
Leyland made it clear that he wants to keep managing the Tigers for the forseeable future. The Tiger manager joked “I hope I’m not here as part of the alumni luncheon next year!”
The loudest cheers at the luncheon went to Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Inge. It seems like Cabrera’s off-field problems are not affecting him at the plate or with fans, at least not so far. And while Cabrera has been consistent all season, it’s hard to say that about too many other Tigers. Alex Avilla and Brennan Boesch have been very pleasant surprises. And Max Scherzer has been perfect with a 4 and 0 record. But the Tigers need more consistency at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. Their defense has been brutual, with four errors Wednesday night. You’re not going to win many games like that.