Tigers to retire Sparky Anderson’s number on Sunday

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While it would have been nice to do it while he was alive, the Tigers are nonetheless doing the right thing and are retiring Sparky Anderson’s number before Sunday’s game.

The best part of it — and I’m sure it’s no accident — is that they’re doing it with the Diamondbacks in town. The Diamondbacks managed by Kirk Gibson and bench coached by Alan Trammell, who are arguably the two most significant players of Anderson’s run in Detroit.  Well, we can add Lou Whitaker to that, but I’m guessing he’ll be there too.  No idea about Jack Morris, but I don’t much care for him, so it makes no difference.

In the Detroit Free press today there’s an interview with Gibson, who recounts a great story about an incident in 1983 in which Anderson, trying his best to either motivate or infuriate Gibson — it’s not clear which it is — lined up against the former Michigan State receiver like he was a defensive back and got run over by him.  I had never heard it before, but as a kid whose first reading of newspaper sports sections included a healthy dose of stories that could have been headlined “Kirk Gibson: will this jerk football player ever figure out how to play baseball?”  it resonates.

And, for no reason, I reprint this picture I took in Arizona during spring training, which is easily my favorite baseball picture I’ve ever taken:

Tim Tebow hit his first Triple-A homer

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Tim Tebow is not having a very good go of it in Triple-A. He’s hitting .157/.216/.231 in his first 34 games at the minors’ top level. This is somewhat problematic given that the worse the Mets’ season goes — and it ain’t going great right now — the more likely it is that they’ll want to give him a big league cup of coffee at the end of the year. I mean, they still might do it anyway, but I’m sure they’d like his slugging percentage to be higher than his weight when they do.

Yesterday, though, the Heisman Trophy winner did something good: he hit a dinger. His first since his promotion to Syracuse. It came in his 105th at bat of the year.

The homer was the product of a recent hot — well, let’s call it warm — streak that he’s been on of late. Tebow has hit in seven of his past nine games, raising his average from .130 to .157. He has five doubles and 11 RBI on the year to go with that homer. Citi Field, here he comes.

Here’s the blast is in all of its minor league glory: