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Jan
25
2012

Prince Chose Detroit

 

Tom Schreier didn’t see this one coming, but he’s still happy about it.

Wait! Hold the phone! Prince Fielder is going where?

He chose Detroit?

Is this a joke?

Is this like Tony La Russa dialing to the bullpen for Jason Motte in Game 5 of the World Series and getting Lance Lynn?

Did CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman* hear something wrong on the other side of the phone from either the Fielder or Tigers camp?

*After all, they did bury the legendary Joe Paterno (Rest in Peace) prematurely.

Something’s wrong here.

I thought Prince was leaving Milwaukee for sunshine and financial windfall.

I thought he was too good for the smallest television market in baseball, a practical, but hardly glamorous new stadium and snow in the winter.

***

He had a good team there in Wisconsin.

Ryan Braun is among many talented Brewer teammates Prince had in Milwaukee.

Ryan Braun had signed long term and, before the steroid scandal, looked like a nouveau, squeaky-clean superstar.

He had Rickie Weekes, Corey Hart and Tony Plush (nee Nyjer Morgan) protecting him in the lineup.

He had a rotation of Zach Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf to keep runs down and K-Rod and John Axford to close out games once he produced.

And he had those fans.

Those die-hard fans that ignore the team’s rather unsuccessful past and filled Miller Park to support and up-and-coming team in the NL Central.

I thought he was too good for that.

***

I was going to write about how he went to Miami to slug it out in an empty new stadium and tell himself how cool he was with another athlete employed by the city’s basketball team that defected from another small-market in a not-so-small way.

Then the newly christened Miami Marlins dropped out of the Fielder bidding*.

*I don’t care how much money this team spends, how nice that park is or how many people live in South Florida—this team will not win another World Series until they spend their money better. Pitching is wonderful to have, I know Mike Stanton is an up-and-coming hitter and Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes are no slouches in the field, but damn this team should have gone after Fielder.

It seemed to be down to the Nationals and the Rangers.

While Washington has the potential to be a force in the NL East if Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper pan out now that they’ve traded for and signed Gio Gonzalez—assuming, of course, that they re-sign Ryan Zimmerman, I never saw Fielder going there.

It’s not that big of a market and they have no history of success.

The idea of having Fielder in the Texas lineup was mind numbing.

Literally, that team would win games by 10 runs in that ballpark.

It had what I thought Fielder wanted: sunshine and lots of people in the city.

***

But, no: I was wrong.

Fielder chose Detroit.

Prince's father, Cecil, played with Detroit from 1990-95 and part of the 1996 season. Father and son have a strained relationship.

He chose a Midwest state with snow, a city that has lost 25 percent of its population since 2000, an area known for car factories—not beaches or Fortune 500 companies.

He chose the place where his dad played for six years.

He chose Detroit.

Of course he got time and money: nine years, $214 million.

But other places would have paid him that.

He got great teammates: MVP Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera.

But the team had just lost Victor Martinez to injury.

He’s got great fans: Comerica Park has ranked in the top half of the league in attendance in the past five years despite the city’s economic turmoil and only making the playoffs once since winning the AL Pennant in 2006.

But total attendance has not reached three million since 2008.

His decision makes me happy.

And I’m a Twins fan.

Tom Schreier writes for TheFanManifesto. He can followed on Twitter at @tschreier3. Email him at tschreier3@aol.com.

The entire FanMan team can be followed on Twitter at @TheFanManifesto, or liked on Facebook by clicking here.

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