This past weekend ESPN Classic aired game 5 from the 1984 World Series. I must admit, that I haven’t seen footage of this game in years. I was 10 at the time this game was played, and was in my formative years as a baseball fan. Whitaker, Trammell, Gibson, Parrish, Evans, Lemon, and Herndon were the players that I grew up watching year in and year out. Despite not seeing these men on the field for a decade, watching them take the field in the replay brought me right back to my childhood. The way they moved and went about their business became instantly familiar.
It was Lou Whitaker waiting on a two-strike pitch and looking just as unfazed as if he were just stepping into the box for the initial delivery. It was Kirk Gibson’s raw intensity, not just on the home runs, but as he tagged up at first base and advanced on a fly ball to left. It was Lance Parrish just being bigger and more intimidating than anyone on the field It was Alan Trammell’s steely focus that never wavered until the final out. It was Sparky Anderson, hands in his back pockets, emphatically speaking words of encouragement on the bench. And it was Tiger Stadium, in all her glory. Her completely enclosed upper deck packed to the rims and draped with bunting. It was why I became a Tiger fan in the first place and why I just can’t wait for the day the fans of Detroit can experience that again.
While the Tigers have fewer questions than in years past, there are still a lot of outstanding issues:
1. Does Urbina get traded?
There doesn’t appear to be a shortage of suitors. The Mets are apparently hot on his trail, but Dombrowski isn’t budging on the price. The Chicago Cubs who were also in the market for a closer are now even more motivated after Joe Borawski broke his arm.
2. Can Monroe man centerfield?
Even if he can’t, it won’t be for a lack of effort. He seems to be soaking up as much knowledge as he can from his coaching staff and other top flight centerfielders. He’s definitely holding up his end of the deal offensively as he hit his 4th and 5th homers of the spring today.
3. Who should start opening day, and does it matter?
Trammell is sticking to his initial plan to start Jason Johnson on Opening Day. Given Bonderman’s strong spring, and Johnson’s poor spring this move is already being second guessed. But really, does it matter? The Tigers will be playing Jose Lima and the Royals on Opening Day. You’d hope that any of the 5 starters could be sent out there and fare okay.
4. The Weather? The forecast for April 4th is 59, partly sunny with a chance of rain.