Last year’s run to the World Series has Tigers fans more than a little excited as spring training opens.
From Jim Hawkins in the Daily Tribune of Royal Oak, Michigan:
Warmer temperatures Monday brought out the biggest crowd of fans yet this spring. More than 300 people — three times the early turnout in previous camps — crowded four and five deep in the makeshift corral the Tigers have created to accommodate autograph seekers along the entrance to the practice fields.
There this spring, for the first time, the team is selling spring training T-shirts ($23), blank baseballs ($25) and hot dogs ($3). They have even stocked the area with picnic tables.
"I signed for everybody the first three days, but I didn’t have time today and I really felt bad about it," said Leyland, who loves the fans’ enthusiasm.
According to clubhouse attendant Tyson Steele, 300 to 400 pieces of fan mail arrive for the players each day — four times what the team received last year. Justin Verlander gets the most mail, by far.
Ticket sales for the exhibition games at Marchant Stadium are at 170 percent above where they were at this point last year. The March 10 game against Boston is already sold out and the March 25 games against the Yankees is close to it.
Imagine if they had won the World Series.