Gabe Peraino ’22: Baseball is back! Although the Michigan weather hasn’t primarily made it feel like spring, the time has come to bring back America’s pastime. Detroit, after finishing with a 77-85 record in 2021, will look to move forward this year with a sense of aggressiveness.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been quoted at some point by someone every single year saying that this is the time where the Tigers may have a shot at having a successful season. The problem is that I haven’t been right in nearly a decade.
With the opening weekend already completed, fans have witnessed some of the gains the Tigers have made throughout the offseason. Despite losing the opening series to the Chicago White Sox, the Tigers did pull away with a 5-4 victory on Opening Day, with Javier Baez hitting a walk-off that, after review, lifted Detroit on top.
When I make the case that the Tigers possess a sense of aggression, I don’t mean that they need to bite off knee caps in order to win ball games, as Lions head coach Dan Campbell once said about his team. Instead, I propose the idea that Detroit views this season as an opportunity to become relevant again.
As fans, we haven’t had the chance to watch successful teams in Detroit for nearly an entire decade. The Tigers haven’t made much progress in the last couple of years other than grabbing a couple of young prospects that haven’t tasted the big leagues fully yet. Essentially, it’s been hell for this organization.
My point is that this year will consist of change. During the offseason and short lockout, the team made moves to invest in themselves. Although Javier Baez’s was a gutsy sign for a reliable shortstop, fans can’t deny how great his debut was by hitting a walk-off. Moving the mighty Spencer Torkelson to the main roster and seeing the growth in pitchers like Casey Mize shows a sense of new hope for the years to come. But in my opinion, I would say the most important move the Tigers have made involves the trade for outfielder Austin Meadows.
Meadows, from the Tampa Bay Rays, adds a twist to the lineup. His left-handed batting puts more power into the offense, and his skills in the outfield add a bit more rotation than the Tigers were looking for. These additions will make Tigers fans want to watch the games in the late summer instead of preparing for the football season.
I’m not saying this team is World Series bound. Rather, I am confidently predicting that Detroit will provide competition at the beginning, middle, and end of the regular season while possibly making a run for one of the worst divisions in baseball, the American League Central.