Corporate marketing and cheerleading! Two things that baseball doesn’t need more of, together at last!
The Tigers are looking for fun, energetic fans to be part of the DTE Energy Squad — a promotion, entertainment and fan-interaction team. The squad will help rile up the crowd at Comerica Park.
Members of the DTE Energy Squad will welcome fans to the park, distribute giveaway items and work alongside mascot Paws, dancing atop the dugouts and entertaining fans, according to the Tigers.
Due to my deep and personal connection to Tiger Stadium, I made it a point of principle not to visit Comerica Park for the first few years it was open. After awhile I got realistic about things and dropped the protest, but I never have managed to make it up there for a game yet for a number of odd reasons. In light of the pep squad, I may go back to avoiding the place on principle.
All I know is that if my Great Uncle Harry — the man who first took me to Tiger Stadium and was a season ticket holder there going back to the 40s — were still alive to see this, he’d take a sledge hammer to the place. And that’s saying something considering that he’d be 103-years-old now.
At the risk of crotchety old fogeyism, let me say that baseball in Detroit should smell like beer and cigars and should be watched by knowledgeable fans who have no time or patience for some amped-up teenager tasked with “riling them up.” You know: like it always has been.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.