Jose Miguel Cabrera, is a 6 foot 4 inch, 240 pound home run machine who was born in 1993 in Venezuela. Cabrera made his first MLB appearance in June of 2003. Playing with Florida for six years, he wasn’t a member of the Tigers until 2008. In 2013, with it being his 6th season on the Tigers, he is now a key player to Detroit and is a fan favorite.
Miguel Cabrera can not seem to be tamed. Fans are going insane as he rakes in the runs over home plate and Coach Leyland is at a loss for words. The Detroit Tigers have an all-star that is rising even higher. Cabrera just might be the tool Coach Leyland needs to reach the top. Cabrera, number 24, plays third base and has some roaring results in the statistics. Playing 45 games, with 184 appearances on base, 72 hits, 39 runs into home plate, 14 home runs and 55 RBIs and being ranked 2nd in the MLB hitting statistics, I think it’s safe to say that Cabrera has the Tigers on the prowl.
Currently, The Detroit Tigers have a record of 26-19, making them not only first in the American league division, but first in the entire MLB. Detroit has not won a World Series championship since ‘84, and it’s clear that they are hungry for another. All season, fans have been packing Comerica Park to see the highly anticipated team take the field. Looking around, not only in the stands, but the city of Detroit on game day, you can find the #24 jersey pretty much anywhere. Not only is Cabrera a fan favorite on the field, but he is off the field as well. Participating in countless charity and donation organizations, he has helped in a vast amount of fields from children’s hospitals to raising money for Haiti. Being a star on and off the field has surely given him the extra support he needs to reach the top.
“I love watching the Tigers, especially with Cabrera up to bat. It always keeps me on the edge of my seat knowing that there could be countless home runs. I hope I can attend a game this season to see it live at Comerica,” senior Casey Josz said.
Cabrera continues to be on the rise each and every game. With games against the Twins, Pirates and Orioles coming up, be sure to tune in and see your very own Detroit all-star Miguel Cabrera do what he is best known for, making the Tigers roar.
After returning from their Memphis trip during spring break, the Highlanders were eager to take on the number one ranked baseball team in the state, Brother Rice.
“The trip allows us to keep building and practicing over spring break. Spring break is an opportunity to ‘outwork’ our opponents. Although the weather wasn’t real cooperative, we accomplished what we set out to do on the trip,” says coach Mike Weatherly.
The Howell Highlanders who reached the Division I semifinals last year with a 30-11 record came out the first game on fire winning 8-3 in nine innings.
On Thursday, April 4, senior Tyler Bradner started the game for the Highlanders, pitching six innings and striking out seven of the warriors batters. Senior Jonny Cheshire relieved Bradner the last three innings.
On the offensive side sophomores stepped up with key hits. Darren Ford hit a double scoring two runs for Howell and Joe Corston hit a two run single in the 9th inning. Junior shortstop Ben Balgaard hit a homerun for the Highlanders.
“It felt great to be outside playing again, especially against a good team like Brother Rice. All the work we have been putting in definitely showed on the field. We are well coached and talented. We are expecting great things this year,” says Balgaard.
In the second game the Highlanders fell just a run short, losing 7-6. Junior James Edwards had two hits for Howell including a double. Edwards pitched the first four innings. Senior Cody Wiggins homered for the Highlanders.
“I think the Brother Rice game went well. It was a great test to see where we were at as a team and we showed that we can contend and beat the best teams in the state. We didn’t play intimidated, we simply showed up and played Howell baseball,” says senior catcher, D.J. Arnold.
Howell lost the game in the bottom of the 6th when a pair of runs scored on a Howell error.
“For our first games of the season our coaches felt we played extremely well against a highly ranked state opponent (Rice was ranked number one in Michigan). We split with them but felt we should have won both games. While we have quite a bit to keep improving on, we really like our team and its potential. Everyone contributed and especially our young guys (sophomores and first year varsity players), played very well,” says Coach Weatherly.
Last year, the Howell varsity baseball team finished off their season in the final four out of all division one teams in Michigan. This season the boys will have high expectations based from last year’s perfomance.
The Highlanders had a record of 30-11 last season. Although they did not win the conference, they beat East Lansing to take the district championship. Our neighbors, the Brighton Bulldogs, won the conference.
After districts, the team continued into regional playoffs. The boys beat the Holt Rams in the regional semi-finals with a walk-off base-hit by junior James Edwards, who was a sophomore at the time. In the regional final, the team beat Dexter.
Howell went on deeper into playoffs. In the state semi-finals, they were finally defeated by Warren de la Salle.
With having two new coaches, Mike Weatherly and Jason Ladd, the baseball team did incredibly well. Weatherly and Ladd will be returning this year as well.
Last season, the Highlanders graduated four players who made a big impact. Tyler Schuler, Josh Vyletel, Greg Cauley, and Mike Lentine were all key parts to their team’s success.
This year, the team will be returning Tyler Bradner, James Edwards, Ben Balgaard, and D.J. Arnold. These four are players to watch out for.
The team’s biggest challenge in the division will be the Hartland Eagles. Some other huge games for Howell are against Saint Mary’s Preparatory school, Brother Rice, and Northville.
“This year is already a lot of fun. I think we’ll be successful and if we play to our ability, we will win some big titles,” says junior Alex Duffy.
The Highlanders have ten players from last year’s final four team who will be returning for this season. They have also brought up three sophomores.
“I see being pulled up to varsity as a great opportunity to contribute to a great team and also to our goal of winning a state championship,” says sophomore Chris Ackerman.
Some of the team’s obvious goals are to win the conference title as well as a state title.
The first game of the season was supposed to be on Wednesday, March 20. With the winter weather still around, this has been pushed back until further notice.
“The chemistry is much better this year. We have a different attitude going into this season, and we’re going to get out there every single day and work hard,” says Edwards.
Something that makes me angry or upset is when I hear about different baseball players using steroids. Just two days ago I found out that one of my favorite pitchers, Gio Gonzolez, was suspected of using steroids. This made me upset because baseball players have the best job in the world in my opinion, and if I got the opportunity I wouldn’t throw it away for anything.
Many professional athletes just throw their careers away for a slim chance at what they think will be better than their natural ability. Steroid use ruins the game in my opinion, and anyone caught with them should be banished from the game for life. It makes it even worse that there are good, honest competitors in the game who have won plenty of awards and have never used steroids.
Baseball, or any other sport, should be a game based on raw ability and God-given talent and should be clean of steroids. It should just be two teams competing their hardest for the win. It’s too bad steroids get in the way of that.
With the addition of Torii Hunter, the Tigers have finally found a solid veteran outfielder that they have always been looking for. This addition helps the Tigers increase depth in the batting order as well.
The Tigers have signed Hunter to a two year, $26 million dollar contract. When the 16-year veteran of the league played for the Los Angeles Angels last year, he had a .313 batting average, and blasted 13 home runs.
“He will do well behind Austin Jackson and improve our offense,” says HHS sophomore Joel Halstead, a Tigers fan.
Hunter has spoken out to the media on the situation as well, saying that he was very excited to come to Motown to play with a big-time slugger like Miguel Cabrera. He’s also probably happy to know that he will not have to face a pitcher like Justin Verlander again during a game.
The projected batting order for this upcoming season shows that Hunter will be plugged into the number two spot, in front of Cabrera and after star centerfielder Austin Jackson. With Hunter, this is making out to be a dangerous batting order for the 2013 season, featuring big names like Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, and Miguel Cabrera.
“In terms of offense, the team will be one of the better teams in the league,” says Halstead.
After being one of the worst defensive teams in the league, this signing also upgrades the struggling defense from last year. The Tigers just couldn’t find the right fielder that they were looking for, with the position being split up to players like Brennan Boesch and Avisail Garcia. Now that Detroit has Hunter, the Tigers should be a force in not only the American League Central, but against the league as a whole.
With nine Gold Gloves (an award given to the best defensive player at their respective position) to his name, Torii Hunter has always been a thorn in the side to the Tigers. He posted his best offensive season of his career during the 2012 season.
Hunter was drafted to the Minnesota Twins out of high school in 1993 and continued to play there until 2007. With the Twins, he was elected to the All Star Game twice. After the 2007 season he signed a five-year, 90 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Angels. As every Detroit fan knows, it is a great thing to see Hunter coming to play on the hometown team.
The Tigers are coming off of a World Series appearance, and no matter how much it may cost, 83-year-old owner Mike Illitch wants to win it all, something the Tigers haven’t done since 1984.
“I think the Tigers have a good shot at winning the American League and hopefully we can win the whole thing,” says Halstead.
For the first time in 45 years, baseball’s Triple Crown has been won and won by a Tiger.
With there only being 13 players winning the Triple Crown ever, it only adds to how unbelievable the award is.
Winning the Triple Crown means that a player has the highest batting average, most home runs, and the most RBI (runs batted in) in his respective league. In this case, the Tigers are in the American League.
With a batting average of .330, 44 home runs, and 139 RBI, Tigers third basemen Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, making him the first Latino ballplayer to ever do so.
“I don’t think anyone will win it again for a very long time,” says HHS junior Alex Duffy who plays baseball for the Highlanders.
The last player to win the Triple Crown was Carl Yastrzemski, of the 1967 Boston Red Sox.
Cabrera won the award during the last game of the season against the Kansas City Royals. While Cabrera won the RBI race handily, Los Angeles Angels phenomenon Mike Trout trailed Cabrera by four points in the batting average race going into the final day, Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, and Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees trailed Cabrera by one home run.
By the end of the night, no player in either category surpassed Cabrera and he ended up making history. The most interesting part of that night, was that the scoreboard at Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium lit up congratulating Cabrera when he won the feat, and he left the field to a standing ovation of Royals fans, a great public gesture to history being made, even to a rival player.
While most every baseball fan knows it, the Tigers and fans of the Tigers believed the whole situation went under the radar and most of them didn’t like it, including star pitcher Justin Verlander. They believed that the nation may have overlooked this incredible situation because Cabrera plays in the not-so-well-liked Detroit, or maybe that he was Latino. Despite all of this, the Tigers made the playoffs, and that’s all that was really on Cabrera’s mind.
Tigers fans have come to the conclusion that he won the award with the help of slugger Prince Fielder batting behind Cabrera all year, which means that Cabrera got more pitches to hit.
“Fielder definitely played a role in Cabrera winning the Triple Crown,” says Duffy.
Baseball fans thought that Cabrera had to win the Triple Crown to be able to win the Most Valuable Player award, which was a hot race at the end of the year between Cabrera and Trout.
So, with the Tigers in the World Series, I think it shows just how valuable Cabrera was to the Tigers throughout the season. If it were up to Detroit, Cabrera would be a shoe-in to win MVP.
With the regular season ending for Major League Baseball, the Detroit Tigers have found themselves competing for a spot to play in the World Series. The post-season is the most exciting and important part of the sport. The playoffs are what every baseball fan looks forward to.
The Tigers led the Central American League with 88 wins and 74 losses. On Monday, October 1, they took a 1-0 win over the Kansas City Royals, putting them into the post-season.
“I stayed up to watch the whole celebration. It was a relief for sure,” says Mr. Brian Riordan, a Spanish teacher at Howell High School.
Riordan, with his Tigers rally towel hanging on his classroom wall, has been a Tigers fan for as long as he can remember. He says that at the beginning of the season he was expecting the Tigers to do better than they ended up.
“It was closer than I expected. It was a tough season to watch, but all’s well that ends well,” Riordan says.
Sophomore Abby Lasagna has similar views. “This season has had ups and downs, but I’m glad they came out on top,” says Lasagna, who plays softball for the Highlanders.
Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, has had an impact on the Tigers this season.
“He is the best hitter in the American League, in my opinion. The numbers he put up this year are unbelievable,” says Lasagna about Cabrera.
Riordan agrees that Cabrera has had the most impact on the Tigers. He has really made something of himself, his team.
The Tigers got matched up with the Oakland Athletics for their first series.
“We can definitely get through the first series, but from then on it will be more difficult. But anyone can get hot, so who really knows how things will turn out,” says Lasagna.
In Game one, the Tigers won 3-1. Justin Verlander pitched the first seven innings. He gave up one solo homerun, but also struck out 11 batters. The solo homerun was given up to Coco Crisp, leadoff hitter and center fielder for the Oakland Athletics, in his first at-bat of the game.
The early lead by the Athletics did not affect Verlander. After that, he only gave up two more hits.
Game two of the series was much more intense and nerve wrecking. The Tigers beat the Athletics 5-4, with a walk-off sacrifice fly ball in the bottom of the ninth inning from Don Kelly.
Going into the eighth inning, the Tigers were leading 3-2, thanks to an error from Crisp in the centerfield. A wild pitch and a solo homerun then made the score 3-4. In the bottom of the eighth, the Tigers also scored on a wild pitch, tying the game 4-4.
Joaquin Benoit, a Tigers relieving pitcher, came in to finish out the ninth inning. Benoit did his job and held the Athletics at four runs.
With a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers knew they had to score. Starting at the top of the batting order in the last inning, the team was in a great spot. They wiggled their way to having one out, and two runners on base. Kelly hit a deep fly ball to right field. Omar Infante tagged up at third base and beat the throw home, which ended the game.
In the start of Game three, the Athletics led after the first inning 1-0. Then climbed to a 2-0 lead after a solo homerun in the bottom of the fifth inning by Seth Smith.
The Athletics beat the Tigers with a 2-0 shutout.
In Game four, the Tigers were the first to score. In the third inning, Austin Jackson hit a line drive to left field which scored Alex Aliva. In the fourth inning, Prince Fielder hit a solo homerun, making the score 2-0.
Going into the ninth inning, the score was 3-1 with the Tigers still winning. In the bottom on the ninth, the Athletics really got hitting. Oakland scored three runs and won 4-3.
Now the Tigers and Athletics are tied 2-2 in the series. They will go into Game five which will determine the winner of the series and who advances on in the playoffs.
“I think the Tigers have a chance to win it all,” says Riordan.
There is one phrase to describe the Howell baseball team’s season so far: hitting a home run.
The Highlanders currently hold a 17-5 record and are second (9-2) in the KLAA west division.
“We have been happy with our team’s performance this year but we all realize there is a great deal of the season to be played,” Coach Mike Weatherly said.
Most of their success has come from solid pitching and all around great play.
“We have exceptional depth in our pitching rotation and on a daily basis, multiple players have been stepping up during games to help us in big games,” Weatherly said.
Some other notable accomplishments the Highlanders have had are winning the prestigious Shelander Tournament. They defeated South Lyon High School 10-0 in the championship game to take the title.
They have also defeated multiple top ten teams in the state.
Howell has a solid group of upperclassmen and has very strong senior leadership.
“We really have been doing well this season and we should have a lot of momentum going into the playoffs if we can win our division,” senior Greg Cauley said.
While Howell is playing excellent ball this season, there are always aspects of the game that need improvement.
“We need to have more consistency in hitting with runners in scoring position. We also need to keep playing solid defense,” Weatherly said.
Howell baseball has high expectations as they complete the remainder of the season.
“We have achieved our first goal which was to win the Shelander. Our second goal is to win the league and our final goal is to win our last game on June 16,” Weatherly said.
Weatherly knows his team has what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs.
“We believe our pitching will keep us in every game against any opponent. We have a very talented team that can reach its goals if we keep our focus.”
All people who follow baseball, especially Tiger fans, have now had two weeks to digest the deal that took everyone by surprise. The Prince Fielder deal, arguably the biggest impact deal in Tiger history, still has people buzzing. From national sport shows to adults to students here at Howell High School, the anticipation of watching Fielder play is growing.
“I can’t wait to see [Fielder] play,” says senior Joshua Weslock. “It’s a great acquisition and helps the Tigers out very much,” he adds.
The deal, which is nine years and 214 million dollars, is the biggest contract in Detroit Tigers history, and the fourth biggest deal in Major League Baseball history. Fielder, who has hit .282 over his career and on average hits 37 home runs a season, adds a powerful force to the middle of the order. Fielder will bat fourth in the lineup, with all-star Miguel Cabrera most likely moving to the three spot in the lineup.
“With Martinez gone, Fielder fills in his role and even gives a bit more production,” Weslock says.
The most surprising part of the whole deal is that the Tigers did not even have Fielder on the radar a few weeks before signing him. What got Fielder on the radar is Victor Martinez tearing his ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) during an offseason workout. With Martinez likely gone for most of the 2012 season, the Tigers had a huge hole in the middle of their lineup. The Tigers could have done nothing and hoped everyone on the roster stepped it up to fill in for Martinez. However, Tigers owner Mike Illitch decided it wasn’t time to hope. The 82-year-old wants a World Series championship now and the Fielder deal makes that dream seem possible.
While the deal improves the offense by far, the possible negative effects on defense have made some fans worried.
“I’m worried about the defense,” senior Alec Gagnon acknowledges. “With two big men at the corners, I think our defense will suffer a bit,” he adds.
The big change on defense will be Miguel Cabrera’s switch from first base to third base. Cabrera has not played third base since the 2008 season and has gained much more weight since then. With third base being known as the “hot corner,” there are deep concerns that Cabrera will not be able to adjust to the change.
There is also some concern that Fielder’s weight will cause his performance to decrease soon as well. Fielder, however, has played 157 games or more for the past six seasons with no significant injuries so far.
“His [Fielder's] weight scares me just a bit,” Gagnon says. “In a few years from now, we don’t know how his body will be able to handle it.”
The Prince Fielder deal has made the Detroit Tigers a serious contender to make and even win the World Series. While it has been a few weeks since Fielder put on the Old English D, the buzz is still here and probably will not stop for a while.
“I really like the deal,” senior Ben Labadie says. “All signs point towards dominance of the AL Central, winning an AL pennant and even a World Series.”
Even though they didn’t win it all, the Detroit Tigers exceeded many people’s expectations this season.
For the first time in twenty four years, the Tigers won their division and for the first time in five years, made the playoffs. Likewise in 2006, Detroit played the New York Yankees in the American League Divisional Series. After splitting the first four games, it took a gutsy pitching effort by Doug Fister at Yankee Stadium in the deciding Game 5. This great start allowed Detroit to move on to the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers.
However, after numerous injuries to key players, such as Delmon Young, Alex Avila, and Victor Martinez, the Tigers could not overcome the potent offense of Texas and lost the series four games to two.
While Detroit couldn’t reach the World Series, there were many positive things the team accomplished this year.
The main accomplishment was Justin Verlander. Although Verlander has been a dominant pitcher for the past few years, this season was special for him. He finished with a 24-5 record in the regular season and earned the first Triple Crown for an American League pitcher (leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts) since Johan Santana did it in 2006. Verlander also threw his second career no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 7. He is a sure lockup to win the AL Cy Young award and even has a chance to win the Most Valuable Player award.
Tiger fans also got to see Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez bat in the same lineup for the first time this season. Martinez, who signed with Detroit last offseason, gave Cabrera needed protection in the batting order. This protection was a major reason why Cabrera won the batting title with a .344 average. Cabrera also hit 30 home runs and had 105 RBIS this year, which is his eight consecutive season over 30 home runs and 100 RBIS. Victor Martinez also provided the Tigers with an excellent season, batting .330 and having 103 RBIS.
Detroit also introduced a few new players to the team during the season. Their first acquisition during the season was receiving Wilson Betemit from the Kansas City Royals on July 20. Betemit filled in for Brandon Inge, who was sent down to Detroit’s Triple A Affiliation, the Toledo Mud Hens, for most of the second half of the season. Detroit then acquired Doug Fister from the Seattle Mariners. Fister, who arguably was the best player on the team in the second half, provided much help to the starting rotation. He had an 8-1 record with a 1.79 ERA with the Tigers this season. The final acquirement of the season was getting Delmon Young from the Minnesota Twins. Young filled in nicely for the injured Brennan Boesch.
Other players that had exceptional seasons were Alex Avila, Johnny Peralta, and Jose Valverde. Alex Avila and Johnny Peralta both had breakout seasons, batting around .300 for most of the season and were both invited to their first All-Star games. Jose Valverde, also known as Papa Grande, had a perfect season in regards of saves. He finished the season 49 for 49 in save opportunities and gave the Tigers no reason to worry when given the ball in a close game.
Overall, the 2011 Detroit Tigers were a relative surprise to many people. At the beginning of the season, most ‘experts’ projected them to finish second or third and not make the playoffs. The Tigers, however, proved those experts wrong and even went far into the playoffs by beating the tough New York Yankees. Although Detroit didn’t go all the way, there is much to look forward to next season.