03 August 2008

Tigers Trade Pudge (or: The Day My Boys Became Yankee Fans)

I've always been a big baseball fan. I remember growing up and watching some of my favorite players step up to the plate with the ole English D bold on their chests. Al Kaline, Norm Cash, Bill Freehan, Willie Horton and when I hit my teens Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. Not all hall-of-famers, but Tigers for life who I came to know and loved to watch them play.

Things have changed.

My two boys are at the beginning of their love for sports so it's little wonder when they turn to baseball they are drawn to the man who became the face of the Detroit Tiger's resurgence. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. Yes, he spent much of his career in Texas, but as far as my kids are concerned he is their Tiger. His poster is in their room, his baseball cards litter their dresser drawers, and there is rare silence in the living room when he comes up to bat. Well, there was silence. Pudge is no longer a Tiger. He was traded to New York and now the boys want to know how they can watch Yankee games.

I grew up in an era when sports free agency was in its infancy and players staying with their teams was the norm. Oh, I know sports has always been a business, but there was something about times past that at least gave the impression of loyalty. Players didn't leave and teams seemed to appreciate them. As an adult I understand that it was a naive impression created by antiquated league rules, but I wish my kids could enjoy baseball with that same naivety. I wish they could watch the same "motor city players" take the field for their team, regardless of whether or not different players would bring better results. I wish, for their sake, that Pudge was still a Detroit Tiger.

3 comments :

  1. Nikki said...

    Do I have to scratch myself while reading this post? LOL ;)N

  2. Khaki Elephant said...

    And spit

  3. Freadom said...

    In my narrow mind, those guys you named are hall of famers. I feel a sense of pride every time I see those names in writing.

    I remember still the disappointment I felt when I was a kid and the Tigers let Parrish be the first victim of free agency. He later said he regretted leaving the Tigers -- but that money lit his eyes up.

    I remember when Gibby flew the coop. Remember how close the Tigers came to winning that year? Well, he lead the Dodgers to the World Series, and I can't help but think he would have lead the Tigers to the World Series had he not left.

    He later said he regretted leaving too. But who wouldn't take the money and run. While I'd like to think I'd stay a Tiger forever if the opportunity presented itself, if the HATED Yanks offered me a billion dolloars to play for one year, I'd do it.

    Great post. (scratch....spit)