If you thought the Detroit Tigers made things interesting in 2012, wait until the 2013 season begins in April.
Last year, the experts anointed the Tigers American League Central Division champions before the ink was dry on the new mega-deal of Price Fielder.
Well, that wasn’t the case.
More than the joy of attending as many games as I did (21), more than watching them finally win the division and cruising threw the playoffs, I remember the constant barrage of negative comments about the Tigers and manager Jim Leyland all season.
Unfortunately, that could very well be the case again this year. While I can guarantee I will not be attending 21 games again this year, I can not guarantee the Tigers won’t make things as interesting as last year.
Why? It’s baseball. There is a reason they play the games and play 162 on top of it. In the end, the best teams will show themselves.
Now, with the signing of Tori Hunter and resigning of Anibal Sanchez, not to mention the return of Victor Martinez, the experts, including Las Vegas, have instilled the Tigers as one of the best odds to win the World Series.
The Tigers will have the benefit of playing in the weaker AL Central, which should allow them to reach the postseason. From there, anything can happen.
The problem is, every time I blink, the American League becomes a tougher league to compete.
The Los Angeles Angels now have Josh Hamilton to hit next to Albert Pujols. That’s in addition to wonder boy Mike Trout, which I’m sure some sports writers are still steaming he did not win the MVP award.
Then on Wednesday, the Angels added pitcher Jason Vargas to help with, what may be their only weakness, their starting rotation. The Angels will be tough.
The Toronto Blue Jays (aka the former Miami Marlins) continue to spend money and add talent as if they thought the world was really going to end.
From adding Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and now R.A. Dickey, the Blue Jays have put themselves atop some Vegas bookmakers as favorites to win the World Series.
That’s only two teams which could stop the Tigers from reaching the World Series for a second consecutive season. That doesn’t even factor in the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays. Let’s not forget upstarts Baltimore and Oakland.
Then, let’s factor in the National League’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds or defending champion San Francisco Giants..
Apparently, the Dodgers are able to print their own money. They will top 200 million in salary this year and could set a record as they possibly approach 250 million.
Mind you, as tough as the AL has looked the last few years, it’s been the NL winning the last three and four of the last five World Series’.
So no matter how fancy it looks on paper, the Tigers will still have to go out and prove themselves for 162 games plus the postseason. That means, relax and enjoy the summer. It’s not do or die every pitch, at-bat or game.
The dream is, 2013 is a runaway championship season like 1984. But in reality, seasons like 1984 rarely happen, for any team.