Royalty in Detroit
The “National Pastime” has been taken down a few notches over the past few decades. Though it’s my favorite sport for many reasons, the national interest in baseball has been on the decline for years. Turn on ESPN tonight and you will see coverage of 14 September NFL games well before anything is mentioned of MLB’s many exciting pennant races. The largest piece of evidence to my theory is the fact that a current Major Leaguer has the chance to make history in a way no player has in 45 years, and this feat has barely been covered in the national media!
Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is currently leading the American League in batting average, RBIs and is currently tied for first in HRs. For those of you who are unaware of what that means, Cabrera is in position to win the Triple Crown Award. You might ask, what’s the big deal? Considering the last player to accomplish this feat was Carl Yastrzemski back in 1967, the rarity of this special accomplishment needs to be celebrated much more than it has in recent weeks. His 42 HRs, 132 RBIs and .332 batting average place him in position to join the most select group of MLB icons!
Cabrera is looking to become only the 14th player of all time to win the Triple Crown. He looks to join baseball royalty in this exclusive club, whose members include Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson and Lou Gehrig. Maybe even more shocking is the baseball legends who were never able to accomplish what Miguel Cabrera is just a few good at-bats away from. Players like Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, Willie Mays, Pete Rose and more recently Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez were never able to pull it off. No-hitters, perfect games and cycles are celebrated throughout the game whenever they are performed, though winning the Triple Crown is a much rarer feat which calls for a player to have a great season, not a lucky day. People, pay attention!
With ten games left, all of which are meaningful because of the tight race Detroit finds themselves in with the Chicago Whitesox, I love Cabrera’s chances. He should easily win the batting average, as he finds himself a good 6 points ahead of Twins catcher Joe Mauer. He’s also 9 RBIs ahead of Josh Hamilton, which is another lead that would be hard for him to lose with only a handful of games left. The category which will be the biggest challenge is HRs, as him and Hamilton find themselves in a tie heading into play on Monday. However, Cabrera’s remaining games are all against the Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals, two teams that are well out of it and as a result do not sport the best pitching in the sport. A determined Cabrera is sure to have another few dingers in games that his team is dependent on winning. Hamilton and his Texas Rangers play their schedule out against the Oakland Athletics, who have surrendered the least amount of HRs in baseball and the Anaheim Angels, who despite a disappointing finish to their season, they bolster a very solid rotation that features Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver.
Whether Cabrera is able to close to the deal and win the award or not, he needs to be commended for the season he has put together. Baseball has turned into a specialist sport in the past few decades. Most power hitters will hit around .250 to .275, as swinging for the fences usually takes significant chunks off the average. The best contact hitters in recent years, like Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer, Chipper Jones and Ichiro Suzuki will always be more conscious to put a ball in play then going yard. For Cabrera to put everything together and incorporate both contact and power into his game in remarkable. While I am not necessarily a fan of Miguel Cabrera, I absolutely respect what he is accomplishing and am rooting for him to etch his name in the MLB record books.