Out with the old year, in with the new.
Here at Detroit Athletic Co., we stumbled upon our lucky crystal ball in the storage closet behind some old autographed Nate Cornejo baseball cards. The connection wasn’t very good, but from what we’ve been able to decipher through the smoky glass, here’s what’s in store for the Detroit Tigers in 2015.
January 25: Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Don Kelly model the team’s new jerseys in a gala event at Detroit Athletic Co. on Michigan Avenue. Gone is the Old English “D.” Replacing it is the Little Caesar man swinging a bat. Says stone-faced GM Dave Dombrowski: “Mr. I is serious about winning…and selling pizza. Seriously.” Donny Kelly Baby accidentally knocks over a new display of bobbleheads.
January 26: Don Kelly is released by the Tigers. Announcer Jim Price vows to sit out the first inning of Opening Day in protest.
January 27: In a blow to the pitching staff, Anibal Sanchez leaves the team to pursue a career as an underwear model.
February 1: Unsigned free agent Max Scherzer, along with his agent Scott Boras, are spotted at Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona wearing Red Sox caps. Scherzer is asked who he likes in the game. “I love my boy Stafford, but New England is my kind of town.”
March 2: The Tigers open their Grapefruit League schedule with a 1-0 loss to Florida Southern, stranding 21 runners on base. “It’s the Curse of Donny Kelly Baby,” Jim Price yells after the game. “Are you kidding me? Are YOU KIDDING ME?!”
March 19: The still-unsigned Max Scherzer, along with Scott Boras, is spotted at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago wearing green White Sox caps. “Everyone’s Irish today!” Scherzer screams. “I love you, Chicago!”
April 6: The Tigers begin the regular season with a loss to Minnesota at Rogers Centre in Toronto. The game had been moved due to a blizzard that dumped seven feet of snow in the Midwest. The Bengals’ bullpen blows a 13-run ninth inning lead. “I’m comfortable with our bullpen moving forward,” manager Brad Ausmus says after the game. “I’d just like more than a 13-run cushion.”
April 19: Now a bench player, Rajai Davis and his oven mitt are relegated to baking cookies in the Tiger clubhouse. “He bakes a mean snickerdoodle,” Jim Price says with his mouth full. “But not as good as catchers bake ‘em. You know how catchers are so good around the kitchen.” (Insert Dan Dickerson chuckle).
May 5: The still-unsigned Max Scherzer is seen in Mexico City at the annual Cinco de Mayo parade, along with his new agent/friend Warren Buffett. Both are wearing Mexico City Reds caps, shouting “Te amamos, Mexico!”
May 19: After starting out 5-35, the Tigers trade Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Andrew Romine, Ezequiel Carrera, and Joel Hanrahan to the Chicago White Sox for Melky Cabrera, Chris Sale, and Jose Abreau. Says Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski: “Actually, some caller proposed this trade on the local sports talk radio. I kind of liked it, and, strangely enough, so did the White Sox. I guess there’s one born every minute.” Detroit also signs Don Kelly, who had been bagging groceries. The Tigers immediately reel off a 22-game winning streak.
June 17: Miguel Cabrera hits his 35th home run of the season. Victor Martinez is batting .390. The surging Tigers are in third place, but gaining ground on the stumbling White Sox. The bullpen-by-committee, however, remains shaky, leading the league in blown saves.
June 18: Max Scherzer, baseball’s most famous nomad, along with his new agent Jay Z, are spotted in Havana wearing Cuban national baseball team caps. “I’ve always loved rum and Cuban cigars,” Scherzer insists.
July 4: The newly-married Justin Verlander tosses a no-hitter while bride Kate Upton signs 8×10 glossy photos under the statue of Charlie Gehringer at Comerica Park. The sattue reportedly breaks its ling silence as “The Mechanical Man” utters “Hubba hubba.”
July 14: The Tigers send five players to the All-Star game (Miguel Cabrera, Melky Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, and Jelly Roll Martinez). The National League beats the American when Boston’s Rick Porcello balks in the ninth, allowing Danny Worth to score.
July 25: Miguel Cabrera hits his 50th home run.
August 9: Unsigned Max Scherzer, now without an agent, is spotted at a sushi bar in Japan wearing a Tokyo Giants cap. “I’ve always loved this place,” he shouts. “Hey, make that sushi well done!”
August 20: The Tigers finally reach the .500 mark with a win over the Rangers, despite Prince Fielder’s three home runs in his return to Comerica Park.
September 1: Detroit beats the Orioles at Camden Yards, with the newly-signed Max Scherzer throwing 125 pitches in five innings. “Just like old times!” says a grinning Scherzer after the game.
September 8: David Price wins his 20th game.
October 4: The Tigers and White Sox enter the day tied for first. Detroit wins in Chicago, clinching another American League Central Division title. Miguel Cabrera hits his 74th home run to break Barry Bonds’ record. Verlander gets win number 25. Rod Allen feints, and has to be revived by Mario Impemba.
In the American League Division Series, the Tigers beat Jim Leyland’s Las Vegas Rays in an exciting series highlighted by two blown saves by the Tigers bullpen, and two walk-off home runs by J.D. Martinez.
Detroit takes on Boston in the American League Championship Series. In Game Seven at Fenway Park, Nick Castellanos drives in the go-ahead run in the top of the 18th inning off Rick Porcello. Detroit’s bullpen falters again in the bottom of 18th, however, but the Tigers take the lead in the 19th when pinch-runner Max Scherzer scores on a suicide squeeze by Yoenis Cespedes . With no remaining arms in the bullpen, Don Kelly is called on to save the game, and strikes out David Ortiz with the bases loaded to end the Series.
The World Series features Detroit against Joe Maddon’s Chicago Cubs. The gut-wrenching Series goes to a Game Seven at Wrigley Field, where Miguel Cabrera breaks a scoreless tie with a homer in the ninth off the enormous HD scoreboard in left. New closer Don Kelly escapes another bases-loaded jam to close the game out.
“Wow” says Jim Price.